Sportbike Suspension Tuning Book Review

February 5, 2009
Bart Madson
By Bart Madson
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Bashing away at the MotoUSA keyboard for nine years now, Madson lends his scribbling and editorial input on everything from bike reviews to industry analysis and motorcycle racing reports.

Sportbike Suspension Tuning
Andrew Trevitt’s Sportbike Suspension Tuning explains the technical elements of motorcycle suspension in an approachable format.

One of the best upgrades to a motorcycle costs nothing and can turn an ill-handling pig into a smooth-turning thoroughbred. Intrigued? Well, the trick is dialing in your motorcycle’s suspension. But this task is much easier said than done. For riders looking for answers, however, there is hope with Andrew Trevitt’s book – Sportbike Suspension Tuning: How to Improve Your Motorcycle’s Handling and Performance.

Sag, pre-load, rebound, compression, damping… If your eyes just glossed over, fear not, for Trevitt’s well-written and informative book will have even casual riders talking the talk of suspension basics.

First up in Sportbike Suspension Tuning are the nuances of motorcycle steering geometry. Rake and trail are explained, along with different ways to manipulate the stock settings. Next up is the basics of how suspension works and the importance of setting sag and pre-load on your bike. After that Trevitt tackles damping and the best way to dial in compression and rebound settings.

In the latter chapters, Trevitt delves into more complex and subtle suspension problems for the racers and serious high-performance riders, addressing issues like manipulating rear-end squat or installing aftermarket suspension upgrades.

It’s all pretty heady stuff, but the writing is informative yet concise – supplemented by excellent photography and illustrations. Trevitt explains a complex and technical subject without getting dry – which is amazing when you’re talking about physics, geometry and engineering. Instead of a college-level math text the book feels like having a helpful friend looking over your shoulder while working on your bike in the garage.

Trevitt, an editor for Sport Rider, is very generous with divulging tricks of the trade to the reader – like snugly installing a zip tie on the fork tube and shock to see how much travel was used during a ride. He also includes a handy trouble-shooting section in the final pages, a great reference for riders looking for likely suspension solutions to common problems.

The book will work for everyone, be it the casual rider looking for a proper base setting on weekend play rides to the avid racer attempting to shave laptimes by solving more advanced suspension conundrums.

My suggestion would be to give the entire book a read through, which at 128 pages with lots of photos and large, easy-to-read text won’t take long. Once you get a day or two to digest the material, go back chapter by chapter and get to work on your bike.

Before you know it, you’ll be clicking out rebound damping and pondering whether to increase preload or just raise the forks. Not only will you be able to do these things, you will understand why you are doing them. In short – you’ll be a suspension student, thanks to a suspension guru.

Sportbike Suspension Tuning
ISBN: 1893618455
MSRP: $24.95
Publisher: David Bull Publishing

The author of Sportbike Suspension Tuning, Andrew Trevitt, is still recovering from a serious motorcycle accident. Well-wishers are encouraged to visit his blog, Get Well Trev, which is documenting his recovery. While there readers may purchase a signed copy of Sportbike Suspension Tuning for $35 and make a donation to Andrew’s recovery costs.

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