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Features

ARE YOU ACTUALLY ADJUSTING YOUR SUSPENSION?

Kent Lester, Photo By: Mike Lester
10/26/2015

One of our fave things about new-generation sleds is the ability they provide to adjust the damping in both front and rear suspensions and thus custom-tailor your ride exactly the way you want it.

Whether you're using infinitely adjustable air shocks or multi-setting adjustable gassers, with so many sleds today you can get ride quality enormously close to the way you like it.


True, some shocks offer so much adjustability it can actually be baffling to alter settings for your particular weight and riding style.

For instance, some shocks offer mid-teens settings for compression dampening and up to a dozen different positions for rebound adjusters.

Not only that but threaded spring collar adjustments allow you to have an almost infinite number of tension settings without even fiddling with the dampening.

For sure, if you don't have a rudimentary knowledge of where your adjustments are taking you, you can end up with a worse ride than you started with.

In the last year or so, Supertrax has offered some editorial on the subject of setting up your suspension and some of you have commented how it has clarified your understanding of suspension set-up. Glad we could help.

A trend we're liking is the move to simpler (less) compression settings on shocks like Fox's QS-3s used on some Arctic Cat, Yamaha and Polaris models.

These shocks use three compression settings and they are labeled simply, SOFT (1), MEDIUM (2) AND (3) HARD. How simple is that!

The idea here is to create less settings but ones that are really noticeable and make a discernible difference when you change them.

From our limited exposure we've found the Soft setting is really good for average weight trail riders (up to about 200 lbs) and then Medium works very well for riders who are a bit larger.

Certainly, very aggressive trail riders in the lower weight range can alternate between Soft and Medium and get excellent ride results about 95-percent of the time without going to the Hard setting.

For super-aggressive ditch-clankers, the Hard setting is everything you need to loosen those dental fillings you paid so much for. The upshot is this setting will prevent bottoming, even over the worst terrain at high speed.

The simplicity of these adjustments and their calculable change from one to another solves the problem of riders just being too intimidated by the complexity of messing with their suspension.

Just another great idea this industry has come up with.