Wilbers Motorcycle Suspension Technology Book Review


Ask a dozen motorcyclists which aspect of motorcycle design and technology causes them the most pain and I bet they say the word 'suspension' will rank high on the list of answers.

Well take heart because help is at hand. European wrenches and suspension manufacturers Benny Wilbers and Werner Koch have reached into their reserves of wisdom to produce Motorcycle Suspension Technology in detail, a 96-page hardback that sets out to provide the information you need to get your motorcycle's suspension adjusted to suit you and your riding style.

The book is divided, roughly, into three sections: design, adjustment and troubleshooting. The first section explains, with the aid of plenty of helpful photography, diagrams and cutaway plans, how the modern suspension unit is put together and how it works. It's all about spring movement and fluid transfer.

There's also a short section on overhauling telescopic forks that's frankly far too brief and too general to be of much help unless you're already a motorcycle mechanic.
Much better are the pages dealing with suspension design and adjustment. Subjects such as rake, trail, fork offset, center of gravity and wheelbase and their influence on your motorcycle's performance is explained clearly and concisely. Again, there are plenty of helpful drawings and photographs to help the reader understand the concepts.

Most helpful of all, perhaps, are the pages of troubleshooting tips that help the reader gain a still clearer understanding of the symptoms of too much compression or rebound damping, for example. The book's text originally appeared in German and it might have suffered badly had the translation not been up to snuff. Fortunately it's pretty good, bar a minor wobble or two.

The central message is that problems are easiest when they're tackled one at a time and with patience. Learn that and you're halfway home.
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