Should You Revalve (modify) Your Suspension?
most important factor for good race results is the
talent level of the athlete.
The second most
important factor is a well-tuned and tailor-made
So, should you revalve?
more things to
consider before you decide.
On the positive side you can
get: increased performance, more control, higher
confidence, less fatigue, faster lap times, and
Well, you are
spending money, a wrong choice could leave you
unsatisfied with who does the work, and in some
cases you may have significant downtime.
it make sense to spend the money?
Is your bike old or
are you getting a new one soon?
do not recommend spending the money to revalve your
bike unless you are going to be using it for a full
An exception is if
you are in high standings in a “points” battle or
race series and you need a little extra performance
to edge out your competition.
If you do NOT revalve:
most riders money is the biggest consideration.
If you find you
cannot afford to revalve, at least do a
on the bike.
A bike setup is
basically setting the race sag (very important),
adjustable compression and rebound dampening,
setting the fork tube height, balancing the bike,
and in some cases changing spring rates according to
Setting up a bike
is really where the expertise of the tuner plays a
major role. The ideal setup will involve rider
feedback, which involves asking the right questions
and knowing what the answers mean
you are not going to modify your bike but you fall
outside the weight range for which the bike was
intended, you should at LEAST re-spring the bike for
Note: if you are
making a big change to the spring rates, two sizes
up or down, it is even more important that you
consider revalving the suspension because the
rebound will need more or less dampening according
to whether you went heavier or lighter on the spring
OK, let’s say you CAN afford it.
WHEN should you
have it done?
when it is time to change the suspension fluids,
which is about every 30 hours of riding time.
If you are getting
a new bike and already know that you are going to
revalve the suspension, go ahead and
ride it first.
Put about two hours
on it so that when the suspension oil is changed you
remove most of the metallic contaminants from the
break-in of the newly machined surfaces.
will imbed themselves in the soft side of your
bushings and increase friction --- something you do
Choosing the company that does the work
What you find in the world of
suspension is very much like what you find in any
profession (doctors, teachers, engineers, etc.)
There is always a common breakdown of talent:
1 of 10 is exceptional.
2 of 10 are good,
5 of 10 are just OK, average.
2 of 10 should not EVEN be in
you are willing to believe that breakdown, and most
adults do, you have a 70% chance of wasting your
Ask around and do
some good research before you spend those dollars!
are two general categories: Local and National.
There are benefits
and risks, pro and cons for each.
well-established National company will have good
technicians and limited mistakes.
The job will be
better than stock suspension, but not as customized.
Due to their size
they generally use cookie cutter type formulas for
the suspension decisions.
Most of the
technicians, while adept at the technical aspect,
are not the true designers and tuners of the
suspensions they work on.
This is OK, and it
is not risky.
It is safe
and you get a good product.
There are problems
with downtime due to shipping, and this is magnified
if you have to return the suspension for needed
There is also the
issue of bike setup and support.
They cannot set the
sag and balance the bike for you.
will basically go by a number off of a chart that
was created by someone else as a “standard” setting,
so there is less “fine tuning”, especially
considering different tracks.
the rider this setup info not based on feedback, and
does not work as well.
Remember this: a
stock bike that has been properly set up is
preferred to a revalved bike that has NOT been
If you choose this
route, find a local person to do the setup, or learn
to do it on your own.
It will be to your
advantage to know a little about suspension, anyway.
are local shops and individuals that claim to do
The obvious reasons
to stay local are time, ease of recourse with
problems, and simply keeping work in your community.
Another big reason,
as already mentioned, is bike setup.
advantage to go the “local” route turns out to also
be the biggest risk.
If you can find a
true suspension tuner you will
reap far more
benefits that using any big-name national
company (unless you are famous and fortunate enough
to use the guy who started the national company).
The key is in
It is the
equivalent of working with the one who makes the
formulas, rather than the one that follows them.
A true suspension
tuner will ask questions and work on feedback.
There is much risk
in this because there are few individuals out there
that can do this, yet there are many who claim it.
Beware that MOST
locals that claim to revalve suspension do not
actually understand it and simply copycat or use
“cookie-cutter” type formulas that may or may not be
In their very best
outcome you will be getting the same product as if
you had used the national company, but with a lot of
They are good at
changing parts and their best function as it relates
to suspension is for oil and seal changes after you
supply them with the technical info from your tuner.
Also, trust me on
this: you do not want the guy whose main job is
sweeping the shop floor to be working on your
You also don’t want
someone who “dabbles” in suspension.
It should be their
main focus, not just something they do on the side.
you absolutely love your suspension as it is and you
see no possible way for it to be improved, then you
will probably want to stick with it.
But I have to say,
in all the years I have been doing suspension, and
even as stock suspensions continue to get better, I
have always found improvements that can be realized
for the rider.
tech tip was provided by Quinton Cain of Suspension
does bike setup, suspension service, and revalve
modifications on all bike brands for racers in
motocross, arenacross, supercross, and cross
can be found at TEXAS area races on the weekends.
There are also two
locations where you can drop off your bike or ship
- Action Motorsports in
Decatur, TX (Hours M-F 9a-6p, Sat 9a-4p)
- Suspension Dynamics in
Arlington, TX (call for appointment: