Graves Motorsports Suspension Tuning Video
Suspension tuning has long been a mystery to many riders. For the street rider looking for a more confidence-inspiring ride in the twisties -- or novice racers in search of the magic that will allow them to drop those last few seconds off their lap times -- the answer is hidden in a confusing concoction of springs and oil. Often the only advice offered from friends or fellow novices is to experiment, change things slowly and see what works best. This approach can work, if you have the chance to constantly test the motorcycle after every adjustment, in a controlled environment, and have the ability to sense what every change does to the bike's handling. Problem is, today's sportbikes come with so many adjustments that it is very easy to chase your tail when trying to set up a bike, and what if your chassis fundamentals -- such as steering head bearings and chain tension -- are set up wrong from the beginning, sending you on a perpetual, ever-elusive goose chase?
The detailed descriptions of suspension set up is a must-have for every rider, not just racers. Why would you have a suspension if it wasn't meant to work?
Never fear, now you can get reliable, straight-forward information that's easy to comprehend from someone who knows his way around a track. In this video from Graves Motorsports, 1993 F-USA Champion Chuck Graves takes you through every element of suspension setup. As a rider that has spent more time at ballistic speeds while sprint racing than most people have total seat time, Chuck has learned to feel how suspension changes affect the motorcycle, knows what effect changes will have, and passes these secrets on to you.
Chuck's properly set-up GSXR pulling away from the Marlboro Roberts YZR500's at the 1991 Formula USA race at Pocono International Speedway
Although nothing can take the place of actual experience, this video from Graves Motorsports will put you a leg up on all but the most experienced riders.At first, Chuck covers areas not commonly associated with suspension setup, but ones that definitely affect suspension performance. Beginning with items like steering head bearings (a crucial adjustment), chain tension and tires, the video shows you how to get the basics right before delving into the quandary of fine-tuning your suspension. Since the video progresses in the order that you should adjust the bike, it makes it easy to develop your own plan on setting up your bike, or simply follow along if you have a VCR near your workspace.
All the action takes place in the Graves Motorsports shop, interspersed with some fast-action race footage of Chuck at various tracks. The video is easy to follow and presented in a format where all techniques and adjustments are demonstrated on different bikes. It is not often that an accomplished racer will part with secrets that have helped to make him championship-winning fast, and when one does, they are not usually as detailed as Chuck is in the Graves Motorsports Video.
The detailed descriptions of suspension set up is a must-have for every rider, not just racers. Why would you have a suspension if it wasn't meant to work? Knowing how to set up the bike is no longer a mystical art as Chuck clears the smoke by talking us through every step of the way. Although nothing can take the place of actual experience, this video from Graves Motorsports will put you a leg up on all but the most experienced riders.
The lowside of the video is the appalling lack of production quality. A few more hours in the editing room would take off some of the rough edges and make it look less like a home video, but at 39 minutes, the running time is already a little short. The highside, if that term can be used to describe a good thing, is the thrilling race footage cut in between topics, and the wealth of information that Chuck delivers. If you can forgive the crappy production (for which we deducted on star in our rating system), it's definitely worth the price of admission, so based on its technical merits, we give the Graves Motorsports Video four (out of a possible five) stars.****