Adjusting Your Suspension Clickers

Top of fork that shows dirt bike compression clicker adjustment screw.
Here is a compression clicker adjustment screw located at the top of the left fork.Dirt Rider Staff

Your dirt bike’s suspension is made up of two components that work in conjunction with one another. At the front you have the fork, whether it be upside down (USD) or right-side up depends on the make and model of your bike. At the back is the shock. You can control the amount of compression and rebound to suit your needs.

Rear shock clicker adjuster with low-speed and high-speed compression adjustment.
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-edged bumps, and affects the ride height of the bike.Dirt Rider Staff

To adjust these for an individual rider’s weight, comfort, and riding terrain, they come with adjusters called clickers. Making the right changes with your clickers will make your bike handle better and give you a better riding experience.

Dirt bike navigating through soft dirt in a turn.
Soft terrain usually requires more compression damping. The bumps are bigger and spaced farther 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.Dirt Rider Staff

Before You Adjust Your Suspension Clickers

Before you start changing the settings on your suspension, we have created a checklist for you to run through:

  • Check where your clickers are set and take note with torque paint or a paint marker.
  • 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 fork every time you ride.
  • Maintain your suspension and your bike.

How To Adjust Suspension Clickers

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 overcompensate 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 one to two 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.

Dirt bike bottoming out its suspension.
Adjust your suspension for your weight and riding style to reduce the chance of bottoming out.Dirt Rider Staff

Suspension Troubleshooting And Different Terrain

Remember, your suspension settings on one bike do not translate to the same settings on every bike. Adjust your suspension whenever you change terrain to allow you to control the bike more efficiently.

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.

On hard terrain it is better to adjust the rebound and compression to a softer setting while still maintaining control and bottoming resistance.

Dirt bike riding out of sand with stiffer suspension settings.
Sand is soft so your suspension settings shouldn’t be.Dirt Rider Staff

If you are running in deep sand, your compression and rebound settings should be stiff to ensure you don’t get bogged down. Run your front end high and the rear end lower if possible for stability.

Dirt bike rear shock being tested by logs.
Dial in your rear shock to handle bumps better.Dirt Rider Staff

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.

Dirt bike close to bottoming out rear suspension.
Too little compression damping can cause you to bottom out on acceleration.Dirt Rider Staff

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.