Suspension Testing

Suspension testing can be done by yourself or with a suspension specialist. If you want to figure out how to make best use of your click adjusters then read the article on adjusting your bike to various tracks. In this article I will explain what you can expect when working with a suspension specialist.

As I say on almost all my suspension pages,

rule no1 for suspension is: make it as good as possible the way it was intended to work.

So before you go on a test day make sure the spring rate is right, the suspension is set up properly and serviced well. Use good tires with the right tubes, have a look at the handlebar height or at other areas that could interfere with the test results.

There are two different ways of testing:

1.       SET UP Test: this helps the rider find his personal best setup using the click adjusters (without changing the internals of the suspension).

2.       SETTING Test: changing the internals of the suspension in order to find a perfect setting according to the specific riding style.

SET UP TEST for the average rider

This kind of testing can be done with groups of riders. The average to advanced rider will profit the most from this test. He can experience all the possibilities of suspension adjustments on different terrains and finding his personal set up.

It is easy to get lost when working with click adjusters. Even top riders sometimes are not sure what they feel and battle to give feedback. But by checking the behavior of the suspension from the side of the test track in combination with the rider feedback the suspension specialist will find ways to tweak it into perfection. At the same time the rider gets more and more confidence at what he feels and how to adjust his suspension to different tracks.

SETTING TEST for top riders and race teams

This test serves to change the internals of the bike - mostly for the top riders or for racing teams. It is much more intense and if done for a team can take 2-3 days depending on team size. Because there is limited time to open suspension and change the setting it is important to work very efficiently. It takes a lot of experience of testing with top riders to translate what can be seen from the side of the track into the shim stack.

In the European racing circus you won’t find any professional team that hasn’t done suspension testing at the beginning of the season. Once the team has found the perfect setting the suspension normally only needs to be serviced for the rest of the year.


Suspension testing can be tricky. The most important part of testing (no matter if internal changes are made or not) is to foster the riders confidence into the material. Like wine testing when after the 25th sip you are not even sure anymore if it is sweet or herb or who you came with or what on earth happened to your clothes – it is similar with suspension testing. You will get confused. Which setting felt better? Is it actually harder or softer now? Has anything changed at all? It is the task of the suspension specialist then to help with what he can see and his experience of how shims work. He will guide the rider till maximum confidence in the material is gained.

Both ways of testing not only maximize the suspension performance but instil the so important confidence you need in order to ride at your best. It is mostly your ambition and budget that determines which kind of testing is best for you.

Here you find a suspension specialist in South Africa.

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