Stock suspension refers to the standard suspension that comes with the bike, as set by the manufacturer. The stock suspension set-up is designed and adjusted to provide a balance of comfort, maneuverability, and safety for the majority of riders and riding conditions. Stock suspension typically has conservative settings to cater to a wide range of riders and conditions. While it may be comfortable for everyday riding, it may lack the sporty or high-performance behavior desired by professional riders.
On the other hand, tuning suspension involves customizing the suspension settings and components to achieve specific performance goals. Suspension tuning can involve adjustments to springs, dampers, oils and other components. The aim is to improve handling, stability in corners, reduce body roll during acceleration or braking, enhance tire grip. Tuning suspension is often popular among riders seeking a more aggressive or race-oriented feel during their rides, but it may sacrifice some comfort for everyday use.
It is important to note that suspension tuning requires expertise and knowledge about fluids and other physic things :) , and it is usually performed by specialized technicians or workshops. Additionally, any modifications to the suspension may affect the safety.
So, let's back to tuning; In the case of the Val di Sole World Cup track, to gather information about the suspensions performance, telemetry data is collected. This data is then analyzed to determine necessary adjustments, which can range from simple changes like adjusting air pressure and adding or removing tokens, to more complex tasks such as modifying the shim stack, changing the viscosity of the oil, redesigning valves, and adjusting oil flow.
In this particular case, the suspension tuning involved a valve and oil flow redesign, as well as a shim stack modification.
After the tuning process, further measurements were taken, resulting in significant improvements: the oil flow on the high-speed compression (HSC) side increased by 13.93%, while the high-speed rebound (HSR) improved by 3.7%. The fork covered 23.72% more distance in a single lap compared to the stock settings, indicating a much more sensitive and responsive suspension. This translates to a faster and smoother ride, which can make a significant difference during the finish. These results were achieved with one of the top 10 fastest bikes in the world.
Few words from rider's side:
"after tuning my suspension is faster from compression side and more sensitive from grass sections to rock gardens. Just that it works faster and it makes riding more smooth. More travel is being used and suspension is more efficient.
Before: bike was just bouncing more around, I couldn’t see some lines, because it affected vision for riding".
After the tuning process, it is crucial to achieve a good balance between the front and rear suspension to maintain stability during descents and prevent the bike from diving excessively. The Val di Sole track was particularly challenging, as it featured technical sections that put the equipment to the ultimate test.
Additionally, it is worth mentioning that the setup for Cross-Country (XCC) and Cross-Country Olympic (XCO) disciplines is full different.