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Suspension 101: Motorcycle Classics and Race Tech at Barber

by Richard Backus


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Got an old bike with tired front forks? Want to learn some of the secrets of suspension tuning? Join Motorcycle Classics and Race Tech Suspension’s Matt Wiley at 11a.m. on Saturday, October 10, at the 5th Annual Barber Vintage Festival for a guided tour on effective suspension upgrades.

Old bikes have old suspensions. Duh. So what do you do when you want to upgrade? New shocks? New forks? New fork springs? There’s more to suspension tuning than just slapping on a new set of springs, something Race Tech Suspension’s Matt Wiley appreciates only too well. 

Since joining Race Tech three years ago, Matt has spearheaded Race Tech’s involvement in the classic bike scene. In that short time he’s created over 200 vintage bike applications for Race Tech, and become a familiar face to AHRMA racers thanks to his regular presence at AHRMA races, where he sets up shop in the pits, giving racers on-the-spot suspension tuning including fork overhauls, shock replacements and installing Race Tech’s Gold Valve Emulators.

Gold Valve Emulator 

We’re getting ready to install a set of Emulators in a 1974 BMW R60/6, and when we found out Matt was also heading to the Barber Festival we asked him if he could come by our tent and give us a little seminar on what the Emulators do (they give traditional damping-rod type forks tunable compression damping) and how to install them (almost a drop-in affair on some bikes, a bit more involved on others). We know we’re not the only ones needing a little insight on basic suspension tech, so we asked Matt if we could expand our little workshop to a wider audience, and he agreed.

If you want to know more about basic suspension workings and effective upgrades, this is a great chance to get the inside dope from a guy who does nothing but suspension tuning, and pretty much on nothing but vintage bikes. Join Matt at the Motorcycle Classics tent in the Expo area at the Barber Vintage Festival on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2009, at 11a.m. The seminar will take about 30 minutes, and Matt says he’ll be happy to hang around and answer any questions we might have. See you there. – Richard Backus