Having a comfy ride is always a pleasure, but it might not always be like that if your vehicle suspension is not good.
Most people say that the basic purpose of motorcycle suspension is to make it comfortable and smoother for the rider. But that is not true.
The purpose of suspension is to stick your motorcycle’s wheel on the ground, no matter what kind of road you are riding it over.
If your vehicle has a good suspension, you will ride without getting stuck in any situation, whether it’s dry or wet, smooth or sandy, bumpy or rough terrain.
Are soft suspensions preferable or stiff ones? It’s a never-ending debate. Both the suspensions have their function and are useful in their way.
Let’s have a look at which suspension is more suitable.
What is a Soft Suspension?
The soft suspension will have soft springs, allowing more elongation and compression than hard ones.
Tires will touch the ground as these springs will allow more extension. So, you will not feel a bump when your motorcycle hits the depression.
Soft springs are flexible to a greater extent and give you 100% vehicular control in your hand. They are adjusted to either the front or rear suspensions of your bike.
They are usually preferable to less performance-oriented motorcycles.
Soft suspensions come with bikes that are used regularly. You will not feel the road and have a soft cushy ride while rushing for your day-to-day errands.
- It gives maximum road grip when turning at high speeds.
- The whole chassis of your bike will remain in shape when it hits the potholes.
- It makes the ride more comfortable.
- Chassis weight shifts to one side at high turning speeds, making the steering feel unstable.
What Does it Mean by Stiff Suspension?
Stiff suspension means having stiffer springs. The ride will be stiff when the damping and stiffness ratio is high.
These types of suspensions are used on sport-oriented motorcycles with high-performance output.
- It will make the steering wheel stable. We can feel it taking the vehicle going where we want to take it at low speeds.
- Stiff suspension decreases wobbling and rollover risk when cornering.
- The ride will be stiffer, giving a better handling and more road feel.
- It gives improved traction and improved air drag.
- You will get more feedback from the suspension to adjust and ride properly in a sports scenario.
- Stiff suspension makes the ride hard and less comfortable.
- It’s unfriendly on rough, rock or pothole roads.
- It results in uneven or accelerated tire wear.
- A stiff spring decreases grip on bumpy surfaces.
How to Adjust the Suspension?
The motorcycle’s suspension needs to be adjusted for your weight. You may want someone to have set up the suspension, or you can also adjust it yourself.
If you are a lightweight rider, set up your suspension softer, so you will absorb more impact from the road.
Whereas, if you are a heavier rider, you need to stiffen your suspension. It will prevent you from wallowing and overextending on the motorcycle.
Why Do Sportbikes Have a Stiff Suspension?
The stiffer suspension maintains the center of gravity closer to its optimum spot and ensures it moves less around the bike
Hence, this makes it easier for the rider to focus on driving faster and control the vehicle. Using stiff suspension on motorcycles ensures they are safe above the ground.
It would help if you remembered that extra stiff suspension could also reduce stability as the tires cannot contact the ground after hitting a bump.
Which Type of Suspension is Best for Your Motorcycle?
It depends on what kind of ride you have planned. You need to adjust the suspension according to the daily touring or track day ride.
Your sport and daily drive bike will have different requirements. For a sporty bike or a heavy output vehicle, you will choose an extremely different suspension.
A softer suspension will work better if your bike is designed with performance and comfort. If you mainly drive on country roads and highways with smoother surfaces, go for soft suspension.
Whereas, for sportbikes, it is a stiff suspension that suits best. The stiffer suspension will ensure your motorcycle is pushed exactly where you want to take it.
What’s better: stiff or soft suspension?
Today, the soft suspension is preferred by day-to-day riders because it gives them a more mechanical grip over bumps, depressions, and potholes. At the same time, the stiff suspension is better for sporty bikes.
Is stiff suspension better for cornering?
Yes, stiff suspension reduces the risk of rollover while cornering. The bike becomes more stable as the suspension becomes stiffer.
What happens if the suspension is too soft?
A bike with too-soft suspension is sometimes difficult to handle. It feels like a vehicle is floating and seems detached from the road.
It usually results in a bouncy ride.
Should the front or rear suspension be stiffer?
The rear and front spring suspensions should be different. By changing spring stiffness, we can get the desired natural frequency.