Many riders misunderstand motorcycle suspension. They either stick with the factory settings rather than “mess things up,” or they tweak the adjusters without fully understanding the consequences. There’s something to be said for both approaches – the manufacturer generally sets the suspension for a typical 180 lb rider to give a good compromise of handling and comfort. However, you can tweak the suspension to suit your weight and riding habits as you see fit.
Before you start making adjustments, I highly recommend Sportsbike Suspension Tuning by Andrew Trevitt (former editor at Sport Rider Magazine). Priced around $23 on Amazon, it goes into the theory, application and tuning of suspension in a straightforward manner, uncloaking a lot of the mystery. It tells you how and why to adjust your suspension and is an invaluable resource for riders who want to get more out of their bike.
Whether you’re a tweaker or keep it stock, it’s good practice to regularly check your suspension sag. If the sag is off by a relatively small amount it can adversely affect the bike’s handling and you won’t be enjoying the full potential of your bike’s handling.
The reason you check it regularly is sag can change according to chain tension, new tires, weight of rider and gear (always measure sag wearing all your gear), etc.
Up until now, it’s been a two-man task to measure sag. It only requires a tape measure but can be relatively inaccurate. It can also be done with a zip tie around the damper tube but this is prone to inaccuracy when you mount/dismount the bike. There is lots of advice online about the best way to measure it but the Motool Slacker is designed to short cut the process and make it possible for one person to measure sag quickly and accurately.
Let’s address the downside immediately: it’s going to cost you up to $174.98 to measure sag using Slacker so this isn’t for the occasional user. It was designed for dirt bike riders/racers who need to check sag regularly. However, with the bundled Street Kit (which we’ll explore momentarily) it’s ideal for sportbike riders who regularly attend track days or want to maximize their handling performance. It can also be very useful to adventure riders, who will similarly need the Street Kit.
Slacker Street Bundle
As we mentioned, the Slacker Digital Sag Scale was designed for dirt bikes, so the $149.99 kit includes a fender clip to attach its measuring cable. Whereas, Motool has also created a $24.99 Street Kit that uses a front bracket and adhesive rear loop for sportbikes. Bundled together, Motool charges $174.98 for both, including additional rear loops. So what are you buying?
The Slacker is powered by two AAA batteries (not included) and has an LCD display. There is a power/zero button as well as a backlight button for using at night or in dark workshops. The kit also includes a remote display and power cord, which plugs into the slacker. The remote is strapped to the handlebar for one-person operation. Finally, there is the aforementioned fender clip, which isn’t ideal for sportbikes. Therefore, you’ll need the Street Kit, which includes an aluminum bracket that is cinched to the front forks by one of two adjustable Velcro straps. There are also the aforementioned adhesive loops for the rear. So how does it work?
Designed and developed by John Casebeer in Portland, OR, Slacker is a remarkably simply device. It uses a steel cable that extends from the unit, and a display that reads its movement. Slacker has a powerful magnet on the back of the casing that mounts to the front and rear axles. Not only does the magnet hold Slacker firmly in place but allows its position to be rotated to ensure the steel line is straight.
With Slacker mounted to the axle, the cable is extended to either the front bracket or rear hoop. You then press the power button to zero the display. Next, you unload the suspension. Pulling the bike toward you on its kickstand can do this.
It’s relatively easy to do when measuring the front suspension, but requires all the weight to be put on the stand for the rear suspension. We advise you have friends around the first few times you do this. Ensure your stand is firmly attached to the bike and in good order before you attempt it. Alternatively, have some friends lift the rear of the bike until the weight is off the suspension. Unfortunately, you can’t use a paddock stand because it won’t achieve the desired affect.
Once the suspension has been unloaded, you then want to mount the bike in your riding gear and let it take your weight with your feet on the pegs. You can do this by either having a friend hold the front or place the bike close to a wall and lean against it with your shoulder, ensuring the bike is upright when doing so. Sit on the bike for 20-30sec to allow the suspension to settle and you will read the sag measurement on the remote display.
There are several videos on motool.co to illustrate how to use Slacker. But unfortunately, there are no precise guidelines for what your sag should be. Suspension specialists RaceTech (racetech.com) recommend “Street bikes run 25-33% of their total suspension travel, which equates to 30-35mm. Roadrace bikes usually run between 25-30mm.” They go on to say, “Your personal sag and front/rear sag bias will depend on chassis geometry, track or road conditions, tire selection, rider weight and riding preference.”
If suspension settings are important to your riding, you need to start by measuring and setting sag. To do this, you need to accurately measure it, and Motool Slacker is a great tool to achieve it.
− Slacker Digital Sag Scale includes main Slacker unit, fender clip, remote display with connection cable
− Street Kit includes fork adapter, two sizes of Velcro cinch strap, additional adhesive loops for rear
− Digital Sag Scale reads sag using retractable slacker cable
− Display allows user to easily read measurements, while remote display allows a single person to operate Slacker
− Auto Zero feature helps single operator
− Backlit display can be turned on for night or poor lighting conditions
− Slacker magnetic mount attaches to front and rear axle
− Requires two AAA batteries (not included)
− 30-day money back guarantee
MSRP: Motool Slacker Digital Street Bundle (includes Slacker V2, Street Kit & additional adhesive loops) $174.98
For more information visit motool.co