Oversteer - How To Fix It

Oversteer is a balance problem. Balance is weight distribution between the front and the rear wheel. The motorcycle is primarily balanced by its springs. An "unbalance" will result in bad steering characteristics e.g. difficulties to hold the line or headshakes.

When my suspension was set up the first time for me I started to ride rutted corners like on rails. Normally my bike would fall into the corner (oversteer). I thought it was me being useless at cornering. But it was the bike riding too high at the back (YES! Wasn't me after all!).

In my case it was good intentional friend with no idea of balance. Because I am small they wanted to help me by pulling the forks right through the triple clamps.

For oversteer there are 2 unwanted situations:

  • either rear is too high
  • or front is too low

Both result in rear higher than front.

It is important to distinguish those cases for the trouble shooting as you will see in a moment.

When the motorcycle looks like a bull dog oversteering is the main problem. The front wheel wants to tuck under you in turns or you find it hard to keep the line falling inwards. Losing the front in turns or headshake in straights is also caused by that.

If you experience everything at the same time you might be a bad rider after all ;-)

How Do I Get The Balance Right?

When you experience handling problems you first whant to know if the front is too low or the back too high. Then you know where to start. How does the bike look when it is settling under its own weight and when you are sitting on it?

With those two indicators you can start to sort out the problem.

Basic rules to keep in mind:

  • have the standard clicks front and rear when you start and don't change more than 3 clicks at the time
  • only change one thing at the time or you lose track of what has the most influence

If you want to make the front higher...

  • Drop the fork in the triple clamp a few mm (front wheel must be further away from the handle bar)
  • If you have a preload adjuster on fork add some preload
  • Add compression (harder comp) or reduce the rebound (faster reb)

If you want to make the rear lower...

  • Reduce some preload on your shock but stay within the static and rider sag range
  • Add some rebound (slower reb) on the shock or reduce compression (softer comp) damping.

It is actually not that complicated once you are a bit familiar with the click adjusters.

Stay always as close as possible to standard click setting

The standard click settings have been tested for weeks on end with top sponsored riders on all sorts of terrain. So you have a setting that works very well, if you have the right springs and your bike is balanced.

Make the adjustments in the following order:

  1. Fork triple clamp
  2. Fork preload
  3. Shock preload
  4. Shock and fork damping

This is the most efficient way to understand the effects. If you do change the fork position in the clamps make sure you tighten the lower triple clamp to the recommended torque as over tightening has serious negative effects on your fork performance.

Finally

Never change only the rear spring or only the front springs. That will also cause havoc with the balance. For more info you can read the following articles: headshake, spring rate, motorcycle suspension setup.


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