Not every dirt bike accessory is as useful as those compression adjuster fork caps. You can change compression without using any tools. That makes them indispensable for racing and suspension set up testing.
It is obvious that different terrain requires a slightly different set up. When a set up is tested by the manufacturer they test it on all sorts of different terrain. Often the chosen set up is the best compromise to try suit a wide range of terrain.
Many riders will never adjust their suspension and it has to work and be safe everywhere. But if you are somebody who wants to get the optimum performance from your forks you should adjust them to the situation.
Before I had this dirt bike accessory I never really adjusted my set up. I don’t have a special affinity to fiddle with my bike when I’m not riding it. But once I had protune fork caps on my bike I finally got into it. It made a big difference and it was fun!
First of all I got an idea of what compression is all about. If you make it softer you will feel more comfort. Sometimes that can save you energy because it absorbs more bumps. The forks will dive deeper and that can make the bike more agile in tight sections. If you make them harder the bike will ride a bit higher and will be a bit more stable on straight sections. Too hard compression can make the suspension feel harsh and uncomfortable.
In sandy sections like here in South Africa the riverbed in De Wildt you don’t want it too soft. The front fork will dive in too deeply and you will experience over steer. In those sections you want fairly stiff forks so that the front end stays up in the stroke and gives you the maximum stability and safety. When you reach sections like ”long rocks” you need a softer set up. By a quick turn of the dial you can set up your fork softer to avoid deflection and to absorb the rocky sections better.
(click here to read more about set up for different terrains.)
On the fly adjustable forks allow for quick set up changes. Therefor you can test different set ups on different sections. So play around and check if you can actually feel the difference. As these adjusters only affect the low speed compression turn at least 4 clicks at the time to get a good feel. You soon will get a proper idea of what adjustments are possible and how they affect your bike and its handling.
This is important in order to do quick adjustments during races.
(Click here to read more about getting familiar with your click adjusters.)
Unfortunately only closed cartridge forks have the compression adjusters
on the top of the fork. That is a drawback of open cartridge forks as
they have rebound on the top. Don’t change rebound without good
knowledge. Standard rebound is nearly always the best option. This is
not entirely the case when it comes to compression adjustments and small
changes can help a lot in certain areas.
Some manufacturers like KTM already have this type of system on their forks which allows quick tool free adjustments on the move. Then obviously you don’t need to buy this dirt bike accessory.
When racing you want to be very confident about the effect of this dirt
bike accessory. During the slower regularity sections you can turn the
dial out and have good fork comfort when you need it to save energy.
Once you approach a special test it is then possible to turn the dial in
and have a harder race type set up that is needed for the special
tests. You can also change it according to the terrain, e.g. sandy,
rocky, tight or fast sections.
The price varies from country to country but will be in the range of around EUR 200,-. Which makes them quite costly but as said before they are really useful to get to know your suspension and to do customized set ups during races.
If you are one of those people who address their bike as “she” and talk about how sexy she is then you will also appreciate the “bling-factor” of this dirt bike accessory. You get them from different suppliers. The ones I have are Protune fork caps from Fox Racing Shox. They are very nice and I can only recommend them.
I would give those fork caps 8 out of 10 must-haves.
The Dirt Bike Garage Manual
HOW TO GUIDE for "do it yourself" riders