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Old 03-21-2011, 08:16 AM   #566
The Jerk OP
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Joined: Mar 2006
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Oddometer: 2,662
Race Tech, on the FAQ section of their web site, have this to say about progressive springs in forks:

Q: I have heard of progressive springs and this concept makes sense to me. Why does Race Tech recommend Straight Rate Springs for forks?

A: When setting up the spring forces in a bike you want a setup that is progressive enough yet not too progressive. A setup that is not progressive enough will have a tendency to feel too harsh yet when a big hit is encountered bottoming occurs. A setup that is too progressive will either drop through the travel feeling mushy and then feel as though it hits a wall or can feel good until it hits that wall. On front forks there are two forces we consider to be "spring" forces. First is the coil (mechanical) spring and second is the force due to air pressure and oil level. Even if you run zero air pressure the oil level causes the pressure to increase as the forks are compressed. By its very nature this increase in pressure is very progressive. We have found that in combination with a straight wound spring we have a good level of progressiveness. If we want more progressiveness we simply raise the oil level.

Another subtle benefit of straight wound springs is that they are easy to understand. In order to make sense of progressively wound springs you really have to map out the force as you compress the spring. For example a spring marked 20/40 lb/in (excuse me for the Imperial units but this will work with metric units as well) may start out at 20 lbs/in in the first inch but where does the 40 refer to? It might be referring to the rate in the 4th inch or it could be referring to the rate in the 6th inch. This would cause a huge difference in ride.

Any thoughts on this line of reasoning? It kinda makes sense to me but then I'm no suspension expert.
2000 Kawasaki W650
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