How To Adjust The Rear Shock On A Dirt Bike

Adjusting your rear shocks is something that can have a huge impact on the performance of your bike on different terrains. In this post, I’ll be showing you how to alter the rear shocks on your dirt bike.

It’s pretty easy these days to make adjustments on your bike to maximize the performance for different situations. That being said, when something is easy to mess with there’s always a chance you can adjust things too much. That’s why it’s recommended that you make small tweaks and test it to see how you like it.

Whenever you make changes to the suspension there are always pros and cons. The bike is set up pretty neutral so it can be used in a wide range of conditions. If you adjust the suspension to favor sand riding you’ll probably make it worse for trail or track riding. If you loosen the suspension for trail riding, it’s not going to perform well in the sand.

That’s why it all starts with what you’ll be using it for and doing small adjustments until you get it right. I tend to keep my suspension pretty neutral and will sometimes stiffen it if I’ll be in sandy areas. There are 3 different things you can adjust on your rear shocks:

  1. The high-speed compression adjuster.
  2. The low-speed compression adjuster.
  3. The rebound adjuster.

The high-speed comp is used to control the compression speed when the suspension compresses very quickly (hitting a rock or landing a jump). If you’re going to be riding your bike on the trails you’ll probably want to have this softer to make your ride more comfortable. If you’ll be riding in the sand you’ll want to make this stiffer so your bike doesn’t get buried. Also, if you’re a bit too heavy for a bike (like I am for my TTR125) you can always stiffen the shocks.

The low-speed comp is used to control the compression speed when the suspension compresses slower (small bumps from normal riding). This is pretty similar to the high-speed comp in that it all depends on your weight and also what type of conditions you’ll be riding in. Trail riding would be softer while sand riding would be stiffer.

The rebound is used to control how quickly or how slowly the shock returns to it’s extended position after it’s been compressed. If you’re going to be riding over large, rolling terrain you’ll probably want to have this stiffer so your back wheel will stay in contact with the ground longer. If you’ll be riding on a bumpier surface you’ll probably want to have this a bit on the loose side.

Here’s how you adjust the rear shock on a dirt bike:

High-speed compression adjuster: Grab a wrench and look for the bigger nut on your adjuster. If you want to make the suspension tighter you’ll have to turn it clockwise. Turn it counterclockwise to make it looser.

Low-speed compression adjuster: Grab a flat screwdriver and look for the screw that’s in the center of the bigger nut. If you want to tighten the suspension turn it clockwise. Opposite if you want to loosen it.

Rebound adjuster: This can be different on some bikes but for mine, it’s on the bottom of the shock. Grab your screwdriver and screw it clockwise if you want it stiffer and counterclockwise if you want it looser.

Dirt Bike Suspension Setup For The Trails

If you’re going to be riding the bike in the trails (or enduro) you’ll probably be able to leave the suspension where it’s at. If you’re a bit too heavy for your dirt bike you can always stiffen the suspension. If you’re too light for your bike you should probably loosen it a little bit.

You can always make a small adjustment and take it for a spin to see how you like it. Just don’t make adjustments on all 3 parts at one time because it’ll be hard to know which one works the best for you.

Dirt Bike Suspension Setup For Sand

If you’re going to be riding your bike in mostly sandy areas you’ll want to stiffen your suspension. If you have a soft suspension you’ll end up bouncing all over the place which will make you lose control, lose speed, and get tired really really fast.

The amount you stiffen your suspension will depend on the sand itself and also your weight. If the sand is pretty wet and compact you won’t need to tighten it as much as you would in soft sand. Also, if you’re pretty light for your bike you probably won’t have to tighten it as much as you would if you’re a bit heavy for it.

Let me know your thoughts and any questions you have. Like this article? Feel free to give it a share!

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Jon Webber

I'm by no means an outdoors or fishing expert, but it's something I've been interested in for over 20 years. I created this site to test out different gear and techniques to see what actually works.

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