Husaberg Motorcycle Front Suspension

This information is generally accepted for all Husaberg motorcycles. And make sure you check out the dedicated Husaberg Suspension and Handling forum.

Front Fork Service Manuals

Front Forks

Please read the Parts Manual for updates, the Fork Manuals for the best methods to complete the job, and the Owner’s Manual tells you how to set the sag. All information, unless stated is for enduro, green laning, and trail riding. A big thank you goes to KTM Talk, who gave their time, info, and photos freely; and Supertrunk did a great job with clear photos.

Front Suspension Charts

Ride Height

Read the manual for this, but the following notes are pertinent:

  • Forks – why not mix an old and new spring to see if it isn’t a better combo? Label them clearly though! so a .44 and a .46 = a .45 – it’s simple!
  • Instead of getting yer togs on for the ride height check, chuck an old MX tire over your shoulder ‘Pancho Villa’ style.

Balance

One thing the manual doesn’t tell you is the term ‘balance’. This subject should only apply to those that aren’t the perfect weight for Mr Husaberg! Imagine two machines: a chopper and a speedway bike, it’s hard to imagine bikes with two more different head (or fork) angles. The speedway bike is ALWAYS unstable, the chopper – unflappable! Most machines live close to this flappable point (ask a KTM rider that one!) and so at any time the front dips, the steering head steepens, and the steering becomes unstable. Typical places are: under braking, down a hill, over heavy chop. But if you feel the motorcycle doesn’t turn well – then it could be you have a ‘kicked-out’ front end.

The best way to tell what you prefer is to do either of the following: lift or lower the forks in the clamps OR change the front or rear preload. Changing the preload IS changing the suspension but try and think of the steering and handling first?

Husaberg motorcycles are essentially so stable that 99% of testing can be done to steepen the front end up for quicker low speed handling.

The Clickers!

As you're aware, the top adjuster is for rebound and the bottom one (under the leg) is for compression. Essentially, when the oil moves through the shim stacks it is also moving through a bleed hole. This is duplicitous behavior! So you are in charge of how big that 'bleed-off' is. When adjusting the clickers, remember that it's a guide to how the shim stacks are. So if we go to extremes with the clickers, a change in the shim stack is called for. When all is finally 'right' we should be working in the middle area of the 30 clicks. Around 10 to 18 clicks would be right.

As you’re aware, the top adjuster is for rebound and the bottom one (under the leg) is for compression. Essentially, when the oil moves through the shim stacks it is also moving through a bleed hole. This is duplicitous behavior! So you are in charge of how big that ‘bleed-off’ is. When adjusting the clickers, remember that it’s a guide to how the shim stacks are. So if we go to extremes with the clickers, a change in the shim stack is called for. When all is finally ‘right’ we should be working in the middle area of the 30 clicks. Around 10 to 18 clicks would be right.

We ALWAYS measure the clicks by screwing the adjusters right in to a stop and then counting them off as we ‘unscrew’ the adjuster out. If you can imagine a hole being gradually uncovered, you’ll appreciate that at the beginning we’re revealing very little of the hole and therefore, as a rule, the first 8 and last 8 clicks do very little to change things. The calamity is going past 6 or 8 clicks from the ‘norm’ and NOT the fact that we carry on for another 8!

Terminology

We recommend getting information from Husaberg suspension discussions to get the terminology right, because you need to understand what’s happening in there before working on the internals of your front forks.

A Run Through Your Front Forks

These photos will help guide you through the front fork internals:

Front Fork Internals Front Fork InternalsFront Fork InternalsFront Fork Internals

You have two sets of shim stacks. The first set are screwed in the bottom of the fork leg and are static, this is the ‘base valve’. The other set sit on the cartridge rod which is connected to the fork cap. That means that although they don’t move, the lower fork leg does so it still effectively moves in and out the fork cartridge. The photo and the diagrams in cutaway below show the compression ‘stack’, also known as your base valve (BV). Find it above in the fourth photo at the bottom of the fork leg.

Base Valve Unit InfoBase Valve Unit InfoBase Valve Unit Info

Below are three diagrams of the ‘midvalve’ also known as the ‘check-plate’, they sit on the ‘rebound tap’. You get a very good idea of what is meant by ‘the float’ from these.

Mid Valve Float Info Mid Valve Float Info Mid Valve Float Info

This exploded view shows the BV: tap and shims set out in order with the nut on the top right (then note the tiny float spring) then the first shim which is actually a thick metal washer called the ‘check plate’, then a piston, then many large 24mm shims before (in the lower row) the shims then get smaller, finishing with the dark and small 9mm @ .3 thick shim. The piston cross section looks like a nuclear logo and can be best seen three photos down:

This exploded view shows the BV: tap and shims set out in order with the nut on the top right (then note the tiny float spring) then the first shim which is actually a thick metal washer called the 'check plate', then a piston, then many large 24mm shims before (in the lower row) the shims then get smaller, finishing with the dark and small 9mm@.3 thick shim.

Elsewhere, the long cartridge rod has two ‘stacks’ on the end of it each side of a piston in the middle, the shims you can flick on the top side are part of the check plate/check valve/mid-valve (CV/MV). It has many names and we’ll explain them as we go!

By exploding the left photo you can just see some ‘shiny’ shims above the port hole of the piston. These are forced back by the oil as it rushes through from right to left as you view it. The distance the shims move here is called ‘the float’. They stop moving when they hit the rim on the large nut. The small drill hole is your rebound bleed, you control this from the top of the fork leg. Below the piston, towards the nut on the right, is the rebound shim stack (unseen here):

By exploding the left photo you can just see some 'shiny' shims above the port hole of the piston. These are forced back by the oil as it rushes through from right to left as you view it. The distance the shims move here is called 'the float'. They stop moving when they hit the rim on the large nut. The small drill hole is your rebound bleed, you control this from the top of the fork leg. Below the piston, towards the nut on the right, is the rebound shim stack (unseen here).

There’s a 22mm (later became 34mm on later forks) spring on the cartridge rod known as the ‘top out spring’ (a photo on the left shows an enormous 75mm Terry Hay T-O spring) for when you are in mid-air and the forks want to fall apart! They cushion the bang!

When hitting a bump, the cartridge rod assembly goes down into the oil. The fork oil is either forced down through the BV or up through the ‘check-plate/MV’ but it goes through the check-plate three times as quickly. When the forks rebound the CP lets the oil back down through, then through the piston and then past the rebound stack.

There's a 22mm (later became 34mm on later forks) spring on the cartridge rod known as the 'top out spring' (a photo on the left shows an enormous 75mm Terry Hay T-O spring) for when you are in mid-air and the forks want to fall apart! They cushion the bang! When hitting a bump, the cartridge rod assembly goes down into the oil. The fork oil is either forced down through the BV or up through the 'check-plate/MV' but it goes through the check-plate three times as quickly. When the forks rebound the CP lets the oil back down through, then through the piston and then past the rebound stack. There's a 22mm (later became 34mm on later forks) spring on the cartridge rod known as the 'top out spring' (a photo on the left shows an enormous 75mm Terry Hay T-O spring) for when you are in mid-air and the forks want to fall apart! They cushion the bang! When hitting a bump, the cartridge rod assembly goes down into the oil. The fork oil is either forced down through the BV or up through the 'check-plate/MV' but it goes through the check-plate three times as quickly. When the forks rebound the CP lets the oil back down through, then through the piston and then past the rebound stack.

Because the MV/CP moves three times the oil that the BV does, recently, the CP has found favor as another form of compression stack thus the change in term from ‘check plate’ to ‘mid valve’. Check plate really means a solid item that simply floats to allow oil through without bowing over when hit really hard! Setting the MV as well as the BV is harder because that makes two sets of valving you’re working on when setting the compression. A typical check plate will have 4 x 24mm shims and no flex, while a MV will have a pyramid from 24 down to 10mm.

The rebound stack has 4 triangular shims called ‘delta shims’ on it next to the piston then the rest of the shims and the nut. Both the BV and MV/rebound shim stacks sit on posts known as ‘taps’.

The fork spring surrounds a black plastic unit called the ‘spring guide’ that keeps the spring central. The guide dives into a 36mm deep cup called the ‘bottoming cone’ that helps resist bottoming as the guide blocks some oil/air off and creates a small compressed bubble.

The fork spring surrounds a black plastic unit called the 'spring guide' that keeps the spring central. The guide dives into a 36mm deep cup called the 'bottoming cone' that helps resist bottoming as the guide blocks some oil/air off and creates a small compressed bubble. The fork spring surrounds a black plastic unit called the 'spring guide' that keeps the spring central. The guide dives into a 36mm deep cup called the 'bottoming cone' that helps resist bottoming as the guide blocks some oil/air off and creates a small compressed bubble.

We call the inner/chrome leg-the ‘lower leg’ and the parts we clamp in the triple clamps are the ‘upper leg’.

List of all the Strange Shim Names

There is a really narrow but fat shim that’s fitted at the bottom (say 9.5mm x .3 thick) called the ‘clamping’ shim. This shim is normally near a 10/11mm but if it’s near a 14mm the name for it is now a ‘pivot shim’. If a small thin shim then a large shim are near a piston: it’s ‘transition’ or ‘crossover’ shim. If say a 14 divides two 24’s it is a ‘splitting’ shim.

If a thick (often 18 @ .25mm) shim is next to the nut it’s a ‘stopper’ (as in ‘stop’ the others bending too far!). Shims are normally stacked like a pyramid, however, they can have a ‘splitter’ to aid flex in the larger shims and allowing them to bow and flex. It appears that flex is good but alas too much and the shims crack. However, the mid valve shim is unique from the others in that the shims sit on a shoulder and can literally ‘float’ 1-2mm AND then (2003+ :read just below) bend backwards on the tap center’s shoulder! These shim stacks therefore need supporting carefully by using 4+ shims or stepping them.

Updated Forks

The 2003 model got the big axle pin-that’s visible-but it also got new rebound and compression taps, also both sets of needles for these (that’s 4 parts. Listed in the parts book). However, the only truly significant change was the rebound tap (which holds the MV shims, then the piston and finally the rebound shims and nut) which had the shoulder around the top machined away so that the MV shims can now bend and ‘arch their backs’. The photo of the later 2003+ tap on the right (below), shows the shoulder of the tap just above the line of the hexagonal nut, on the pre 2003 the hexagonal nut had a rim all the way around that was level with the shoulder in the middle. A shim therefore just floated but never bowed as it had support on the inside and outside shoulder. ZP3’s super modified tap is on the left which we discuss later.

Differences in Husaberg Front Forks Differences in Husaberg Front Forks Differences in Husaberg Front Forks Differences in Husaberg Front Forks

  • 2002, 2005, 2006 have 2 fork bushes, while the 2003, 2004 have 3 bushes.
  • 2002, 2003, 2004 have same upper fork tube, but 2005, 2006 have a different taper on upper fork tube for more even flex under load but I have a hard time feeling the smoother action.
  • 2002, 2003 have the same rigid mid valve, while the 2004, 2005, 2006 have a flexible mid valve.
  • 2002, 2003 have a softer mid valve float spring. 2004, 2005 have a stiffer spring.
    • “I like a softer spring, which is gentle over loose rocks. There have been different mid valve gaps-don’t remember what year-but 1.5mm is what you want. The 2006 bottom valve stack may not work on an 2002 fork since the 2006 has different mid valve.” (Viking)
    • The conflicting view is that the float gap should be 0.9 – 1.1mm if using less shims in the stack. Each year the internal shim stacks are updated by Husaberg so you could play ‘dead safe’ and ask for the latest OEM stack to try.

Carrying out Suspension Work

It is best to start by changing the oil and measuring it’s level. Try the preload and maybe spring changes are next. Next would be to simply service the forks using the manual. Whilst the forks are down everything should be measured and checked to gain understanding and data. You may now reflect upon ride height, oil level, spring strength, riding area and skill before making your first charge into the forks to make changes.

What to Look for when Servicing

The plastic spacers pictured behind the leg (below) are the packing/preload spacers.

The plastic spacers pictured behind the leg are the packing/preload spacers.

  • Clean under the dust caps and re-grease or even oil soak some sponge.
  • Watch that the steel washers under the seals are flat. If not, flatten or renew and be careful next time you pull apart the forks! (Viking)
  • Look for chips in the chrome leg or bubbles. Use a sharpening stone to flatten. Clean out, a blob of paint and then later, scrape gently with a safety razor blade.
  • Check the bushes, they look worn quickly but aren’t. The narrower bush takes more stick than the broad one.
  • When removing the shims make a note of how they came off, lay them in order, write it down.
  • Forget how they go back together? -then pull the other leg apart as well and copy immediately!
  • The bushes and the piston rings may contain allos chips, use Scotchbrite and Swarfega Jizer to remove.
  • Put MV shims on a vernier and check for hollowing. If you use them again, turn them around.
  • Check condition of shims looking for bending and cracking. If you know they haven’t been serviced for a year you should consider all new shims but especially those in the MV.
  • Only tighten the tap nuts to the correct torque and thread lock any nuts.

Required Tools

Aluminum jaw plates for the vice or thick box cardboard will do. Loctite and a de-gunk bath are good. Then make a squeeze bottle with a tube on it for measuring the oil level. You can chop an old fork seal up, sit it over the new one and hammer it to get the new seals in.

Servicing Notes

  1. It’s a good tip to lightly undo the fork cap and the compression stack (under the legs) whilst in the bike with the wheel in etc. Also if struggling to tighten right up. Re-fit to machine and then compress front end (get a mate to help lean on the front or use your bike straps) to tighten.
  2. When replacing the fork cap turn the rebound CCW all the way. Otherwise as the cap screws on it can unwind completely the rebound spring/ball mechanism. When tight on the cartridge rod and everything then put together, turn the rebound CW to the bottom. Now turn out the appropriate amount of clicks.
  3. Don’t panic that the BV unit can’t be tightened in the leg: screw in as much as possible, pull the cartridge rod over to one side and continue to tighten. If this fails, re-fit forks to bike, fit everything else and drop onto the wheels. Now compress the forks and tighten. By the way you should only pinch up the right fork leg to the spindle AFTER you have pushed the forks down a few times. Better still, press open the right leg clamp and then when forks are compressed-tighten.
  4. Check that the rebound rod (small alloy tube sticking slightly out of the top of the cartridge rod) can be pressed down flush using your thumb before fitting the fork cap. The middle picture below is wrong, the right: is correct because although not flush, the rod is on the needle and will press flush.

Starting Fork Cap on Bottoming ConeBottoming Cone in Correct PositionBottoming Cone in Correct Position

Air in Forks

Bleed the Phillips screws immediately after a ride. Raise the bike and wheel clear of ground first. The air in the forks has a cushioning effect so do this after your ride!

Fork Oil

  • Don’t use Silkolene as it damages the seals (apparently!).
  • One bottle of 1000ml should do both legs.
  • The airspace (oil level) is around 115-130mm on MXMA legs so forget the 110mm quoted in the manual.
  • Stick to one oil weight when testing as a change later here will unravel ALL your work.
  • 2.5W helps with light/soft bumps whilst 7.5W puts more onus on the adjusters
  • 26ML equals 10mm of air gap approximately.
  • Fork oil is hydroscopic which, means that it absorbs water so keep the lid on it!
  • The photo below shows a squeeze bottle with a drill bit zip-tied to the side of the plastic ‘extractor’ tube and the clothes peg is 130mm from the end. The pipe slides down the side of the fork tube until the clothes peg comes into contact with the top of the tube. You are now ready to suck out any oil that is over your desired height.

a squeezy bottle with a drill bit zip-tied to the side of the plastic 'extractor' tube and the clothes peg is 130mm from the end. The pipe slides down the side of the fork tube until the clothes peg comes into contact with the top of the tube. You are now ready to suck out any oil that is over your desired height.

Oil Height

Forks do have a progressive rate of resistance, it’s called ‘air!’. The further we compress the forks, the more the air squeezes up and resists. We set the amount of fork oil to allow the forks to use maximum travel and no more because too little oil not only allows the fork to bottom easily but also may not cover the upper piston at times. Too much oil ‘locks’ the fork early in it’s travel.

To ‘set the air gap’ you need to remove the fork cap and then the spring. Place the fork in a vice and allow the cartridge rod and outter leg to drop down until the dust cap rests on the axle casting. Using a syringe with a piece of pipe (or see the squeezy bottle photo!) connected of some 250mm size or so: place a long rod along it’s side to keep it straight and zip-tie the two together.

With a clothes peg, measure along from the ‘mouth’ of the pipe the decided measurement you are aiming for: say 120mm and place the clothes peg here. Drop the pipe into the side of the cartridge rod. If it binds – pull the cartridge rod gently to the side and allow the pipe to fall and the clothes peg to rest on the outer leg (the outer WILL be the higher). Now pull the syringe. If you get bubbles, start again with a drop more oil and then ‘suck’. You should re-measure the peg to pipe end distance and if satisfied you have now set the ‘oil level’ or the ‘air gap’ as it’s called!

MV and BV Balance

The BV acts as a cork on a bottle keeping the oil inside the cartridge. The MV then drives through this oil and as the shaft of the rod enters the chamber it’s own size and dimensions must be able to be displaced out of the MV and at the same time oil goes through the MV stack to sit above it in the the cartridge chamber and await to fall back through the rebound on the rebound (return) journey.

If the BV is weak, oil is pushed ahead of the MV and not through it, the Chamber above remains empty and so with no oil there the rebound will have no oil to go through it and can make the bike ‘ping’! Further proof is the air gap. If this remains above 110mm at say 120mm it means that the MV is too strong and/or the BV too weak. To be on 110mm air gap is to be close to getting the balance right and from there shims should be removed equally at both ends.

Drilling the BV Piston

Essentially this is like having the compression clicker further open. At low speeds the shims aren’t working much, the free bleed controlled by the clickers (both rebound and compression) are controlled in the same way. As we hit anything slowly like the downside of a table top or landing on a table top, going over a long mound – all are slow relative to whacking a sharp bump at speed. If the forks still feel slightly course and the free bleed doesn’t keep up, a small 1mm drill hole can be made between the wall of the rebound and compression on the piston. This also helps a great deal with ‘ride height’ so that the forks have settled downwards for better corner entry etc.

Problem Solving

If you lose the clickers in the rebound it means that you have over turned the rebound adjuster clockwise whilst off the cartridge rod. Look inside the cap, the black pin is protruding, so turn the black pin back out-CCW. Re-screw the unit on top of the cartridge rod and NOW screw the rebound back down to a stop. It may be necessary to pop the black adjuster knob off. Do this inside a transparent bag as the two ball bearings are just 2mm in size!

The correct order of rebuild is: have the rebound screwed CCW completely, then fit the cap onto the cartridge rod and screw up the guide nut to the cap and tighten. Now adjust the rebound down (can use a Philips screwdriver) until it’s locked and then come back the correct amount of clicks. Re-fit the plastic adjustment cap.

Checking Preload

Suspension Preload Gap

Built for Preload Check

To do this you should build the rod, spring, spring cap and cartridge on the bench with no packing. Now measure the gap twixt spring and the underside of the cap. The ideal spring isn’t slack but has between zero and 6mm preload. The left photo shows a 9mm gap between the end of the spring and the underside of the cap. So 10mm of packing will net just 1mm of preload. Remember, there’s a difference between preload and packing!

Details to Remember

  • Always try to get full travel from the forks-to check, simply put a zip tie around the lower leg and check where it is after a good ride! Husaberg NEVER uses the last 5mm due to the dimensions of the chrome tubes.
  • The steering head angle was steepened by 1.5 degrees in 2003 however, weighing has confirmed that the balance is similar at 49% front and 51% back (51.8% to 48.2% for the old model).
  • Remember that if you go to heavier springs as a rule: the compression will need softening slightly if at all whilst the rebound will need stiffening.
  • The top out springs are tapered and must only fit the cartridge rod one-way.
  • The clickers should end up as per the book if you’re in the ball park. Use them as your ‘Northern Star’.
  • Bikes can sink and not rise quickly enough before hitting another bump. If they don’t rebound quickly enough and get lower and lower it’s called ‘packing’ or ‘packing down’.
  • Bikes can also change their attitude (pitch) due to the valving changes.

Basic Setup

We can set the following right before we modify our forks: Fork oil weight-stick to SAE 5 and especially when testing as this is part of your baseline and will be destroyed by a late change to 2.5W for instance. Check your weight against the chart for the correct spring rate. Remember that we want little (around 6mm is considered the sweet spot) preload if we can help it and that packing and preload are two different things! If a new pair of heavier fork springs feel ‘hard’, then swop one new for one old and code them etc. Set the sag correctly. Next use your oil height in the fork to adjust the slow down of the fork at the end of it’s travel both ways. We should very occasionally ‘bottom out’ that’s all! The pre 2002’s are fitted with the softer MV ‘float spring’. It’s just a baby spring but it helps stop the suspension spiking on fast bumps.

Preload

This is the plastic spacer we put on top of a spring. There is a natural gap between the spring and the underside of the cap so you can rebuild a cartridge rod, spring and cap without the preload spacers to work out the gap. On my forks it’s 9mm so i always write “15/6” meaning 15mm packing but 6mm preload. No preload up to about 6mm is the choice of champions.

In direct testing we have to look for two things: ride height and performance. If running no preload a front end may droop and so on hitting bumps riding downhill or under braking the front will weave. If we have too much preload the ride is harsh without even being hard, you’ll just get battered and at corners the front won’t ‘dip’ so that the bike is difficult to turn.

Spring Rate

This is really hard to help you with, it depends on your weight, speed and ability, terrain, riding style. However, on a series of bumps soft springs will ride in the bumps whilst a harder spring will ‘flit’ over the top. As nowadays more people are aware of what’s needed, you may want to borrow some springs to test.

Back to Front

A good test of the balance of your machine is to take off from a flat jump and see how both ends ‘pancake’. They should sink and rise together. This is another good indicator as to whether you’re getting it right!

Simple Things For Better Performance

Some ideas that should always work:

  • Polish up the cartridge rod, springs and the inside of the cartridge.
  • Machine polish the lower leg for better finish-careful!
  • Purchase Race-Tech Gold Valves or similar (see below right). The ‘Nost SS’ base valve (see below left) is like a re-valve with just the turn of a screwdriver. There is a bottom valve that you adjust 4-ways externally high speed, mid speed, low speed and suppleness. (Viking)

'Nost SS' base valve is like a re-valve with just the turn of a screwdriver. There is a bottom valve that you adjust 4-ways externally high speed, mid speed, low speed and suppleness Race-Tech Gold Valves or similar

  • Update internals (see above) especially machining the rebound taps.
  • Terry Hay’s top out springs said to help the racer (70mm long).
  • Drill a 2 x 5mm holes (direction: across the bike) 18cm up the inner leg to halt air bilging.

Drill a 2 x 5mm holes (direction: across the bike) 18cm up the inner leg to halt air bilging. Drill a 2 x 5mm holes (direction: across the bike) 18cm up the inner leg to halt air bilging.   Drill 2 x 2mm holes in the bottoming cones. One down 20mm the other down 40mm and around 180d apart.

  • Drill 2 x 2mm holes in the bottoming cones. One down 20mm the other down 40mm and around 180d apart.
  • Try fitting an oily sponge under the dust seals.
  • Get the suspension right and THEN fit ‘sub tanks’.
Enzo's subtanks
Enzo’s subtanks
Enzo's Caps
Enzo’s Caps
Valve on fork caps
Valve on fork caps

Above are three photos. Left, are the Subtanks with plumbing to the top of the forks. Note the bleed off underneath, in truth though they are totally unnecassary as the oil doesn’t follow the air out. Middle, are the small valves that release and re-introduce the air to the fork. They swivel and even have an air valve on them to regress progress of air, right, are the caps with small recesses machined to allow air to get past the packing/spacers.

Base valve check plate nuts drilled to help the weak conical spring shut the check valve faster. And to open full wide faster by reducing oil cushioning in nut head. Drilled Ø2.5 mm.

Base valve check plate nuts drilled to help the weak conical spring shut the check valve faster. And to open full wide faster by reducing oil cushioning in nut head. Drilled Ø2.5 mm. (Smorgasbord)

Advanced Suspension Tuning

This can be all things to all men, however, here are some of the areas that help you to understand what you’re doing if you decide to tamper with your own machine. Firstly the above “simple things …” need more detailing so do a search on UHE/K-talk suspension sections. Remember that these are free mods in that they may reduce friction, add variability or react faster and are thus all gain and no loss but you may need a ‘knock-on’ adjustment however.

Knowledge and Ideas about Shim Stack Changes

The BV (compression) (see below left) can lose two 24mm shims and a 22mm for sure. Next, a splitter can be put between the five 24s so: 24, 24, 14, 24, 24. This will mostly help low speed/small. The smaller shims are for HS damping (16 to 10) and you’re softening the high speed/big bumps.

The MV (compression) (see below middle) starts with 5 x 24s and two should be your minimum. Less than this though and one would break perhaps. So a tapered stack is tried here: 4 x 24 becomes maybe 2 x 24, 22, 20, 18, 16, 14. The mid stack is said to aid the medium bumps (thus: mid!) whilst the BV does all. Playing with both at once though is said to be a skill! Some keep the thickset original CP set-up and only play with the BV initially so as to feel what it’s all doing!

Standard float gap is 1.4mm (.056″) so fine spacers need to be made if adjusting. The KTMs are running 0.8-1.1mm float gaps. To do this you need to machine down the 8mm step so as to make the float to small, then with special 6mm ID/8mm OD washers you can push the gap back out.

The BV (compression) can lose two 24mm shims and a 22mm for sure. Next, a splitter can be put between the five 24s so: 24, 24, 14, 24, 24. This will mostly help low speed/small. The smaller shims are for HS damping (16 to 10) and you're softening the high speed/big bumps. The MV (compression) starts with 5 x 24s and two should be your minimum. Less than this though and one would break perhaps. So a tapered stack is tried here: 4 x 24 becomes maybe 2 x 24, 22, 20, 18, 16, 14. The mid stack is said to aid the medium bumps (thus: mid!) whilst the BV does all. Playing with both at once though is said to be a skill! Some keep the thickset original CP set-up and only play with the BV initially so as to feel what it's all doing! The rebound stack is kept essentially how it is. But again playing with removing from the large or small end will affect which part of the return stroke you want.

The rebound stack (see above right) is kept essentially how it is. But again playing with removing from the large or small end will affect which part of the return stroke you want.

The general rule with the compression stacks is that shims get removed and at best a crossover is added, the rebound comes through pretty much as is. Sometimes the damping is s-o-o-o-o soft that it can feel hard. However this isn’t normally a complaint with WP equiped bikes!

Remember that the rebound stack is working in duplicity with the rebound needle and rod. This is what you adjust at the top of the fork leg (cutaway diagram at top of page).

Some Stacks to Try

This can only ever be a guide. Unfortunately UHE doesn’t have a big reputation for suspension ‘geeks’ so we are searching in the dark here. Many of these settings come from K-talkers and may have had other modifications prior to shim stack changes that we don’t know of. Also check out:

And this is how they go:

Base Valve Exploded

Base Valve

24, 24, 16, 24, 24, 24, 22, 20, 18, 15, 14, 13, 11, 9 @ .3

or you can try

24, 24, 16, 24, 24, 24, 21, 19, 17, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 9 @ .3

Mid Valve

24, 24, 22, 22, 20, 18, 16, 14, 9 @ .3, 18 @ .25

or you can try

24, 24, 24, 22, 20, 18, 16, 14, 22 @ .25 with only 1.0mm float gap.

Rebound Valve

24d, 24d, 24d, 16, 24d, 22, 20, 18, 17, 14, 12, 10 @ .2 (x2)

or you can try

24d, 24d, 17, 24d, 24d, 24d, 22, 20, 17, 14, 12, 10 @ .2 (x2)

(the 24s are delta shims)

Record the Information

Setup Notes by Taffy, as of April 30th 2006:

Hard ground, soft in woods, bike gripped well and handled very well. Cornering and ‘dip’ are now excellent. FE400e (without electric start, etc.) weighs 246 pounds dry. Rider weighs 205 pounds plus gear.

  • Forks: .46 springs, 5W oil, 140mm air gap, 15/6 packing
  • Sag figures are: 33mm and 65mm
  • Comp out 15, rebound out 12, unused from the weekend = 33mm (5mm is unusable so it’s actually 28mm unused), float = 1.5mm
  • BV: 24, 18, 24, 24, 24, 22, 19, 15, 13, 11, 9 @ .3
  • MV: 23, 23, 13, 20, 15, 10mm ZP3-type tap post (see photo above) soft springs
  • Rebound: 24d, 24d, 24d, 24d, 15, 20, 18, 16, 14, 12, 11, 10 @ .2, 10 @ .2, 16 @ .25

Setup on August 1, 2006:

Since the above more testing has been carried out. Fitted .48s which many deem too heavy but with a softer valving set-up they have been great! 2mm preload and an air gap of 110mm for full fork travel but no bottoming. The float has been reduced from 1.5mm to 1.1mm to 0.8mm.

  • Base valving is changed in under 30 minutes and stands at: 24, 24, 14, 24, 24, 24, 22, 20, 18, 16, 14, 11, 9 @ .3
  • MV is now 23, 23, 22, 22, 20, 18, 16, 14 and all sits on a 10mm post around the tap as per ZP3’s tap in the above photo with a soft MV spring
  • Rebound has now been beefed up with 24d x 2, 17, 24d x 2, 20, 19, 18, 16, 14, 12, 11, 10 @ .2, 10 @ .2, 16 @ .25

Handy Tools

Keep your shims in one of these photo bags
Keep your shims in one of these photo bags
Rebound Adjuster Screwdriver (Viking)
Rebound Adjuster Screwdriver (Viking)

Supermoto Spring Preload

Spanner found the springs on his FS650 were already under 30mm of preload.