Performance Consulting

I have over 50 years of "behind the wheel" competitive racing experience.  Although my experience is with 4 wheels the principals for mechanical grip are the same for 2 wheels. 

I can tell you for a fact that the most important thing on your vehicle is tires, and the next most important thing is your shocks, struts or forks.  Unfortunately most people will spend money on everything but quality dampers.  If you are interested in performance then you should put dampers high on your list.

I am always amazed when I see dampers that have been "tuned" by some "shock guru" that has never been behind the wheel or in the saddle in competitive racing.  I have driven cars with other peoples "trick" setups and I can tell you that if they had to drive what they produced they wouldn't be doing what they do.  There was on famous "guru" that had things 180 degrees wrong yet he had a large following.  When people would complain that their vehicle was un-drivable he would tell them that they just couldn't drive the car because it was "on the edge" and the "good guys" could drive it.  I know of many cases throughout the years when people actually sold their vehicles and quit racing because they thought that they couldn't do it when in fact the vehicle was just bad and scary.  Dampers have a powerful effect on your vehicles performance and feel.  This is important on the street as well as on the track.

Another misconception is that shocks need to be changed for track or road use or smooth or rough tracks.  I believe this is incorrect.  Once your damping and springs are correct they should be good on any surface or use.  I never advocate adjusting dampers once they are correct. 

A perfect example of this is in Gunnar Linstrom's great book on the history of Husqvarna "Husqvarna Success" .  On page 148, 1979 250 World Motocross Champion Haken Carlqvist  makes this point and talks about my mentor Bruce Burness and his shocks in his 1979 championship season:  "I had the pleasure of working with Bruce Burness from Öhlins.  He come up with a setting that I used all year, the same pair of shocks for every race, then we took them off for other races and put them back on for the next GP.  They worked so good that I believe I had the best suspension of all."   Motocross is a sever test of dampers so I think this is a great example of not messing with shocks once they are correct.

With a few measurements on your vehicle (and I might already have them as I have data on several motorcycles and cars) I can suggest proper springs and do valving changes for your Öhlins damper.  Please feel free to call me.