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Old 03-16-2012, 09:59 AM   #1
ThrottleJock OP
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trials suspension setup resource?

Hi guys, new to (motorcycle) trials guy here, I picked up an '07 GasGas Raga about 2 weeks ago and have been slowly working through the basics. I've got the RY video memorized and have basic bike setup where it needs to be I think except for the suspension, for which I'm having difficulty finding info on how to set it up.

I'm 200lbs with gear on and with fork preload maxed out, compression maxed out and rebound damping almost all the way backed out it still seems to be riding too low in the travel, doesn't seem "springy" enough for hop type moves and blows through the travel and bottoms hard anytime I do "big" (to me) moves like bunnyhops landing on the front wheel, larger double-blips (fork clanks on obstacle on the way up) and drop offs over 3ft or so. I'm almost afraid to push too much further on large moves because it feels like I'm going to kill the bike. BTW the rear suspension feels alright, I've got the preload cranked up and haven't found adjusters for the other stuff yet (Sachs shock).

I did a search on here and came up with a lot of talk about suspension but nothing regarding specific trials setup. I'm not sure what it should be, how it should behave. I'm guessing it's nothing like you'd try to tune a motocross or roadrace bike for (i.e. keeping the tire on the ground and controlling stroke). My guess is that I'd want to go up in spring rate, maybe raise oil level a few mm to keep from 'clanking' on the bottom-out. Or is it possible that trials suspension is just like this... extremely soft.. and the bounding around and bouncing the front and stuff that you see the pros do is all masterful technique?
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Old 03-16-2012, 11:21 AM   #2
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forks

Should not be a clank sound coming from any suspension. Sounds like your springs could have a problem. Time for inspection of the forks. And yes trials suspension is set soft. All that hopping by the Pros is skill and timing. Takes hours and hours to be good at it.
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Old 03-16-2012, 12:16 PM   #3
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Got my first "competition" (I put it in quotes because it may actually be more like a crash-fest for me) this weekend; I'll have one of the expert guys check it out and see what they think. In the meantime I'm going to order some stiffer springs and as soon as they arrive, rebuild it. Might as well start there.
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Old 03-16-2012, 02:30 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by ThrottleJock View Post
I'm 200lbs with gear on and with fork preload maxed out, compression maxed out and rebound damping almost all the way backed out it still seems to be riding too low in the travel, doesn't seem "springy" enough for hop type moves and blows through the travel and bottoms hard anytime I do "big" (to me) moves like bunnyhops landing on the front wheel, larger double-blips (fork clanks on obstacle on the way up) and drop offs over 3ft or so. I'm almost afraid to push too much further on large moves because it feels like I'm going to kill the bike. BTW the rear suspension feels alright, I've got the preload cranked up and haven't found adjusters for the other stuff yet (Sachs shock).
Ok, only thing a "newbie" to trials should have to worry about on a newer bikes is, ride heights, and some of that wont affect you at all unless it is whacked out, so seeing an experienced rider to see what he thinks, is a great idea...

compression and rebound settings, will affect you when you ride amature or above (mostly), unless there is a "problem" and in MY humble Opinion.

Sach shocks are not rebuildable, meaning it does nOt come apart, so that the 'average' mechanic or tinkerer can disassemble them and most importanlty get them back together with oil and nitrogen... They can be rebuilt though, and should have it done in 3 years of use, if you can find reasonable person to do so. I had one rebuilt and he changed valving, and I loved it. I also have stock shock on current '2010 raga gold colored 300'

Anyway, back to some tasks you can do. again if novice and if bike isnt messed up, you probably dont need to do this stuff? But I feel that gasgas bikes are more for 180lb riders, than us in 211-220 like me, so:

Front forks, on cheap, you take out the (I hope I have memory right, it is something like) 1.5 inch spacer that exists in the forks, and replace them with longer spacers made from PVC pipe with similiar attributes (inside or outside diameter). creating a spacer that only adds 1/2 inch overall lenght, and doin this on both sides helps a lot on stiffness and preloads for heavier people, both sides could be too much for you at 200?.
***I think somewhere is says you cannot add more than 1 inch per fork, if you do springs bind up before full compression, I cannot recall for sure, so DONT SHOOT ME.

Another option, You can buy springs that are 10% stronger. I put 2 of these in my bike, which replaces existing springs, and left the spacers STOCK lenght. Then lost 55 or so lbs, had to take one out, as it was way too stiff, and might take the other out soon. I used to like stiffer springs all around, now I like softer! so preload is using softer springs, means you wont always be perfect what was it, 1.5 - 2 inch sag. as they used to like it.

Go watch best rider in world, Bou, on youtube! his bike seems to be maybe 1/3 down on where full_weight_off_bike_suspension- travel would be, when standing still position mostly centered. My perception could be off, but then again he weighs in under 200 I am sure, and rides 100x better than I, if not 10000x, so like anything else that is a "clue" to maybe how it is setup, you know?

Compression and rebound: Does nothing to ride height or prelaods

Oil weight in front forks, make big differences in how the compression and rebound works. the clickers make "sllighter" changes... Thicker (10w vs 7wt) means rebound or compression is SLOWER with 10 than 7. Screwing clickers to the POSITIVE, which I think is IN, makes it slower (wait is that right, + means more dampening, I need a picture can only not see it in my head atm)...

One fork does compression (dampening) the other does rebound (dampening) in GASGAS, and dampening means resistance to change in position. I say that just so ANYONE reading this post understands what I believe I understand the terms mean, and hopefully descriptions will make sense if you use same definitions I am. COnvert to your own words if you wish...

I liked (again meaning I used to) use 15wt in compression side, and as close to 5wt I could buy for rebound. now I think I have 7 & 7 (or whatever it was that the factory shipped the bikes with, for oil) in latest bike and am fine with it.

Good luck, you will have fun tweaking as you get better!

One addition, as I reread your second paragraph. Finesse, and some adjustments can change how the forks "bang"... if you jump off things with straight legs and arms, and try to let bike doo EVERYTHING to absorb, then you will want to increase for oil weight and preload. Problem is this is not simple, not hard, you just have to follow a proceedure to change the oil in forks, and you probably should do it once a year anyhow at least, so... mines overdue :)

the Bang also could be something not right in forks, so hopefully your new "experienced" buddy will help figure this out...

Sting32 screwed with this post 03-16-2012 at 02:41 PM
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Old 03-16-2012, 07:26 PM   #5
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Gonna buy a Beta Alp.

I am 6'6" and 260#

I can't imagine that I am not going to have to have the bike re-sprung for my weight. Probably re-valved too. It made a huge difference when I had this done for my Husaberg.

Are there suspension resources in the Portland OR area that know how to setup a Trials bike suspension?
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Old 03-16-2012, 07:52 PM   #6
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Watch some trials bicycle video and imagine jumping off of a 15 foot obstacle with no suspension. You would absorb all of the impact with your legs. Apply that to the Raga. Other than that, refer to the Gas Gas USA website for suspension setup. 10% stiffer springs with 10 wt oil is probably appropriate for a 200 lb rider. The stock suspension is setup for 150 to 170 lb expert rider. Laden sag should be ~1.5 inches. If you have to crank the preload in "all the way" then you need stiffer springs. Also note the raga forks have different oil levels in each leg. The preload side takes 130cc, the left leg takes 230cc. At least that's the fluid levels on my 06 300 Raga, or 180mm from the top with springs removed and the fork compressed.


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Old 03-17-2012, 01:15 AM   #7
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I am not sure all the advice on suspension is going to be quite as helpful to a newcomer, as simply spending as much time as possible on the bike, and becoming familiar with very basic stuff like throttle control, balance, steering etc?
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Old 03-17-2012, 06:14 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Twin-shocker View Post
I am not sure all the advice on suspension is going to be quite as helpful to a newcomer, as simply spending as much time as possible on the bike, and becoming familiar with very basic stuff like throttle control, balance, steering etc?

Agreed, but the OP is also worried that his suspension may not be working correctly and that damage may result if the bike continues to be operated in it's current condition.

ThrottleJock, you may find this article by Jon Stoodley useful:
http://www.gasgas.com/Pages/Technica...sion-tips.html

- Ken
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Old 03-17-2012, 07:45 AM   #9
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Agreed, but the OP is also worried that his suspension may not be working correctly and that damage may result if the bike continues to be operated in it's current condition.

ThrottleJock, you may find this article by Jon Stoodley useful:
http://www.gasgas.com/Pages/Technica...sion-tips.html

- Ken
I'm reading about bunny hops, big double blips and 3 ft drop-offs and wondering how come I wasn't doing all of that stuff in my first two weeks of trials riding.
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Old 03-17-2012, 07:56 AM   #10
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I'm reading about bunny hops, big double blips and 3 ft drop-offs and wondering how come I wasn't doing all of that stuff in my first two weeks of trials riding.
Slacker!

I advise a new rider to practice, turns, throttle control, turns, staying centered over the bike, turns, unweighting and turns. After that go practice turns, uphill, downhill, right, left, anyway you can think of.
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Old 03-17-2012, 12:06 PM   #11
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Slacker!

I advise a new rider to practice, turns, throttle control, turns, staying centered over the bike, turns, unweighting and turns. After that go practice turns, uphill, downhill, right, left, anyway you can think of.

Exactly.........mastering trick riding, comes after you have the basics not before.................
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Old 03-17-2012, 12:44 PM   #12
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Watch some trials bicycle video and imagine jumping off of a 15 foot obstacle with no suspension. You would absorb all of the impact with your legs. Apply that to the Raga.

Chuck
I'm one of those guys, I was a Cat1 mountain biker (xc and dual slalom) and goofed around a lot on a stock class trials bicycle over the years; 12ft drops to flat at 1mph w/ no suspension, etc - I think that's why I'm a little further along after 2wks on the Raga than a guy without that admittedly unusual skillset in the quiver going into it. What I"m struggling with is timing (with front & rear suspension added into the mix) and clutch control. Which is only "everything" when it comes to mototrials skills!


This is all really good help guys, thank you! I just wasn't sure if the suspension was knackered completely, I'm too fat, or it's improper skill. Sounds like I do need to go up in preload a smidge via spacers or heavier springs, and refresh the oil w/ proper weight.

I'm going to have one of the experts ride the bike tomorrow to give me a starting point of where I should have it set up, and as soon as I feel like tearing it apart I'll send the forks off to be rebuilt. Suspension is totally black magic to me, I don't know why I'm even trying to figure it out.

Wish me luck tomorrow, I'll take a few pics!
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Old 03-17-2012, 12:47 PM   #13
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Slacker!

I advise a new rider to practice, turns, throttle control, turns, staying centered over the bike, turns, unweighting and turns. After that go practice turns, uphill, downhill, right, left, anyway you can think of.
I read some Newbie sticky post about this after I'd spent two weeks trying to bound onto 4' high concrete tubes in a single leap (which I can do now, by the way) and there frankly is no better advice. Yesterday I went out and spent an hour doing track stands, slow, tight turns,turning on cambered hills, etc. That stuff is where the the core; even if you can clear big obstacles there's no way you'll be able to do it if you can't get the right angle/set-up and/or stop afterwards within boundaries.

Trust me, I have MUCH to learn. If I make it thru the day tomorrow - that is, riding all sections - and end up in last place in Novice I'll be ecstatic.
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Old 03-17-2012, 09:25 PM   #14
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Seems to me that all the guys that come into trials with aggressive and or outstanding bicycle skills advance really fast. Good luck in your endeavors.


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Old 03-18-2012, 03:26 PM   #15
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Exactly.........mastering trick riding, comes after you have the basics not before.................
I certainly agree, but I don't see harm mixing in some "fun stuff". I'd lose interest if I focused exclusively on the basics.
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