The compression and rebound damping adjusters on your suspension are known as your clickers. Making the right changes with your clickers will make your bike handle better and give you a better riding experience. Clickers control the amount of oil that is allowed to bypass your suspensions valving stack. They work like a carburetors fuel screw and fine tune your suspension.
Compression adjusters control how soft or hard your suspension is when it compresses.
Rebound adjusters control how fast or slow the suspension returns.
A shock has both Low-Speed and High-Speed compression adjusters. The Low-Speed adjuster controls the damping at low shock speed velocities like rolling bumps, whoops and jump faces. The High-Speed adjuster controls damping when the shock is moving at high speeds like g-outs and square edge bumps and effects the ride height of the bike.
Before you begin to make changes to your clickers do this first:
- check where your clickers are set.
- adjust tire pressure for your type of riding and terrain.
- make sure you have the correct spring rate on your bike and set your sag.
- install the front wheel correctly and torque your triple clamps to spec.
- bleed the air out of the forks every time you ride.
- maintain your suspension and your bike.
Start off by riding your bike with your clickers set in the stock position. This will give you a good base setting of how your bike handles. Ride a few laps at a time when you try new settings so you won’t learn to over compensate when your bike is not working correctly. Ride the same lines every lap so you get a feel for the changes you make and do not ride around the bumps you are trying to test on. Make changes to your clickers 1-2 positions at a time and one adjuster at a time. Changing compression and rebound on the fork and shock can confuse you as to what setting is actually improving the bike.
Soft terrain usually requires more compression damping. The bumps are bigger and spaced further apart so they require more rebound damping to minimize kick. If there is a hard base underneath, the bumps will usually be closer together and square edges will develop and a softer setting can be used.
If you are running in deep sand your compression and rebound settings should be stiff. Run your front end high and the rear end lower if possible for stability.
On hard terrain it is better to adjust the rebound and compression to a softer setting while still maintaining control and bottoming resistance.
This setup is similar to off-road riding in the woods where compression and rebound should be as soft as possible to absorb rocks and roots. Soft compression and rebound settings allow the bike to follow the terrain better in these conditions when it is so uneven.
Some common problem areas where adjusting your clickers can help include bottoming out, in which case you would adjust your compression clickers to a stiffer setting. Adjusting your rebound damper to a stiffer setting will help if your bike feels unstable and pushes out in turns.
While it is common to stiffen the shock rebound when your bike kicks straight up over bumps, many times it is caused by compression that is too stiff. The key here is try one change at a time to determine what is the cause. The same is true when your shock kicks to the side and the cause can be too stiff rebound or too stiff compression. If your bike is bouncing on big bumps stiffen your rebound and soften it if is bouncing on small bumps.
Poor traction on acceleration bumps can usually be improved by softening the low-speed compression on the shock or softening the rebound so it follows the ground better. Keep in mind that faster riders generally prefer stiffer settings to maintain control at speed while slower riders prefer softer settings for comfort.