When it comes to brand new motorcycles made to fit a certain price bracket, it isn’t uncommon for motorcycle manufacturers to cheap out on suspension components in order to be able to sell the bike at a lower price tag. As it would turn out, suspension is a highly technical and extremely expensive set of components which could easily cause a bike’s sticker price to soar well above your budget.
That being said, if you happen to own a motorcycle which is equipped with a rather rudimentary suspension system, the likelihood that an aftermarket upgrade is available is pretty high. There are lots of aftermarket companies which are dedicated solely to producing suspension upgrades, so chances are there’s an upgrade kit for your bike available somewhere. With that, is it really worth it to upgrade your motorcycle’s suspension? Read on to find out.
Your motorcycle’s suspension, apart from its tires, is the only things responsible for reducing vibrations and unwanted inputs from the road. From the factory, most motorcycle manufacturers tune their bikes’ suspension setup in a manner which gives the rider the best of both worlds when it comes to comfort and performance. However, in order to keep prices at bay, manufacturers tend to equip their bikes with suspension components which occupy the more budget-friendly side of things. That rings true for both performance and comfort.
Now, upgrading your motorbike’s suspension system can greatly improve comfort, especially if you’re getting a setup designed for touring applications. Usually this consists of better damping, sometimes it even involves replacing your bike’s fork springs to progressive units, which make for a more compliant front end. The same goes for the rear, with aftermarket setups offering features such as gas-charging and progressive springs.
Conversely, upgrading your bike’s suspension can also have a drastic impact on the way it handles. Sportier suspension upgrades can vastly improve the way your bike responds to your inputs, as well as how quickly it can take corners. Several aftermarket options are available from world-renowned manufacturers such as Öhlins, Showa, and Marzocchi, and all of these kits are designed to enhance your bike’s cornering performance.
To make things even better, suspension upgrade kits offer a variety of options when it comes to configuration and on-the-fly adjustment. Sophisticated electronically adjustable setups allow you to toggle settings while riding, while other setups require you to use a tool for adjustment. Either way, being able to tune your suspension according to your preference as well as the terrain you’re covering is a definite plus.
It can be pretty expensive
Unsurprisingly, suspension upgrades can be rather expensive. For instance, a full suspension upgrade kit from Öhlins can very easily set you back north of P100,000. While there are more affordable options out there, if you’re not really looking to take your bike to the track on a regular basis, or you aren’t really too bothered by how stiff or under-damped your suspension is, your money may be better spent elsewhere.
To make things even trickier, nearly all suspension upgrades require you to fully dismantle your bike’s existing suspension components. Some kits even require some modifications in the form of grinding and machining of existing suspension parts in order to fit properly. This means you’re going to need to find a skilled shop to do the install, if you aren’t exactly sure if you can handle the task yourself.
Upgrading your suspension is definitely a worthy upgrade if you know what you’re doing, and you plan on using your motorcycle for long distance touring or as a track bike. However, most motorcycle manufacturers engineer their motorcycles to perform adequately equipped with the stock suspension components