suspension tuning on Aprilia Atlantic 500

Discussion in 'Battle Scooters' started by Scootrider, Oct 10, 2012.

  1. Scootrider

    Scootrider Adventurer

    Oct 10, 2012
    Champlain Islands, VT USA
    Am new to this forum. Like what I've read lurking....

    Have an Atlantic 500 that I've just debugged with the help of people on the AF1racing forum. Love the bike, its position, pep, fuel economy, carrying capacity, but find that the suspension, especially the rear, is a bit too stiff for my liking. The dealer reminds me that the bike was designed with three digit speed capability, and they probably didn't want there to be any problems. When roads are rough or there are frost heaves, it can be quite harsh. The damping is great, but I feel that the whole system could be more 'active' and though there is limited travel, it could be made to work better. What gives me this idea is that I've also had a couple of Helixes, which ride like 'butter', even with smaller wheels and limited travel. I need help in finding rear springs which would give me the same static ride height or sag, yet have a softer compression and rebound. It is possible that the gas shocks are just too tight, but a more expert rider might have to determine that. Up front, I think trying a lighter fork oil might help; I would try that before changing the springs. Nobody 'round here wants to get involved; they might if it were a race bike or a motorcrosser. A standard retort might be 'Hey, it's a scooter, the suspension is never going to equal a motorcycle, with all that unsprung weight...' To which I reply: true, but if I could just back it off a tad, say halfway to the relaxed ride of the Helix, it could be done, and since I only really need springs and maybe fork oil change, it shouldn't cost too much.

    Who could help me with this?
  2. Warney

    Warney Been here awhile

    Jun 6, 2010
    Omaha, Ne
    Perhaps Ohlins, Bitubo, or YSS could help?
    Is there any way to modify the oem shock for less spring preload or purchase a different spring to change the spring rate? Tire inflation pressure and tire brand will also affect the ride. Suspension tuning gets expensive pretty fast.
  3. MotoRandy123

    MotoRandy123 Been here awhile

    Jan 2, 2009
    NH/MASS Border
    Generally manufactures use a soft spring and firm damping to make it seem firmer. You usually soften the damping and put
    a firmer spring on. You need to see how much the bike sags with your weight on it to tell if the spring is soft or firm.

    The front is probably a damper fork. You would have to measure the size and see if someone like Racetech had something
    that could be used on that size to allow for some tuning.

    Small bikes and scooters do not get much support from the aftermarket as you might have to pay 1/4 - 1/3 the cost of the bike to get proper suspension.

    If you have progressive springs changing them to straight rate would help. If the springs need to be firmer cutting approx.
    10% of the length off and rebending the end then making new spacers will help. The bike will ride higher in the stroke so will absorb bigger hits.