Important LONG Travel versus STD travel defined by NICK@JET..

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El Mamito USMC

Zorros Racing Team..
Staff member
Apr 11, 2012
ok guys im posting this because its very important..

Nick @ JET Suspension;1492704 said:
This question has been asked so many times that I feel a need to explain - which of course opens the flood gates. If this is too lengthy, I apologize, not easy to explain quickly.

There are two different issues that can be affected

First Long Travel and increased wheel travel can be two different things.

Increase wheel travel (Extra Travel, extended travel) is any modification that increase the wheel travel over stock travel. For example the stock 05 TRX450R wheel travel is roughly 9 5/8". This is the amount of wheel movement of both compression and extension which are dictated by the max extended length of the shock and minimum compressed length of the shock (including the bottom out bumper fully compressed). If we remove the shock, then measure wheel travel then the limiting factor of wheel travel become the BIND points of the upper and lower ball joint, mechanical interference with tie-rods, etc. or bind of the tie-rod end itself, this is all obviously BAD NEWS. Given this, we want the SHOCK to control the maximum travel so we don't have a ball joint failure etc.. This would be a pretty crappy day especially rolling through the woods in any gear as the trees never seem to move out of my way, go figure. I'm sure the surgeons don't mind, but I sure do.

LONG TRAVEL is increasing SHOCK travel which will allow or not allow any increase of wheel travel. This is accomplished by the A-ARM manufacture moving the lower shock mount from its stock location and relocating it out towards the spindle, which will require a longer shock. This does give the ability to increase wheel travel, but we can still be limited by the BIND POINTS of the ball joints. This is why the angle of ball joint mounting on the a-arm or type of ball joint is so important. This is also why each a-arm manufacture has their OWN specs on shock length. Again the SHOCK should be the limiting factor of compression and extension length. I can elaborate alittle more on this with a future post if you have specific questions. This is where we get into motion ratio - which is the amount of wheel travel compared to the amount of shock travel. If wheel travel is 10" and shock travel is 5", this would give us a motion ratio of 2 : 1. This also points out the mechanical advantage or leverage ratio. So the long story short, can std travel do the same as long travel and the answer is YES. the mechanical ratio can be duplicated from a long travel to std travel and vice versa. A longer shock travel does move more oil and gives more control of the shock tuner. The cross over position is easier to obtain but still can be done with std travel. Long travel will typically lead to aftermarket shocks and there lies another advantage on a few fronts. However, when someone is asking is long travel better, the answer is it can be if wheel travel is gained, can also be NO if there is no wheel travel gain. Keep in mind, that many aftermarket shocks have their inherent advantages in part design, adjustment range, piston oil flow etc..

Do the a-arms change the ride height? Two items affect this, which is width and lower shock location. If the springs on the shock are not changed and simply change the a-arm width, then YES it will put more torque on the spring stack and will sag more lowering the ride height. However, this is not the way to develop spring rate!

Should I get Long travel or Std travel? I can't answer this for you, only give you the information to make your own informed decision. Biggest factor is obviously cost. As stated above the are advantages to long travel versus std travel.

Can std travel feel the same as long travel if wheel travel is the same? Yes, you can duplicate the SAME spring rates on a standard travel as a long travel, but the crossover position must be more precise.

Lets move on to LT REAR suspension.

If the same question is asked for the rear if LT is an advantage, then that is another discussion. I have no issue with increasing rear wheel travel but there are three things that i look for in a linkage and shock combination; amount of progression, ride height and down travel. Increasing the up travel or rear shock fully extended can be a detriment. There are way more ill affects on have a long extension length. This can be very unnerving on a down hill especially try touching the front brakes...enjoy or you feel like your falling over the front on corner entry. Long travel rear requires an aftermarket shock and will typically be a dual rate. Long travel links have less progression and allows the shock builder to build the spring rates to become the progression of the rear suspension versus a mechanical and therefore FIXED progression. If the progression is controlled by the spring stack, then we can adjust and fine tune the progression, the crossover position and spring stack instead of being mechanically stuck to the progression of the link. This decision can also come down to cost. I don't want to make a stand on a particular link versus the other here, but obviously based on the items I look for in a link, this leads me to work with some specific links and not others. There are numerous links on the market and truthfully I haven't tested all links, so just because I don't offer them doesn't mean I like or dislike them.

Will post more if you like and if I can get the time, but by all means I am not implying that I know everything and I make it appoint to always learn, test, try new tricks, and basically try and screw with every portion of suspension to see if we can find an advantage, which means i'm not afraid to answer I DON'T KNOW, but lets see if we can figure it out!

Nick @ JET

Nick @ JET Suspension;1497948 said:
Positive Castor is the upper ball joint leaning back toward the rear tire, which promotes the steering to stay straight (like a bicycle), negative is the upper ball joint further forward of the lower ball joint which promotes turning (like a shopping cart) - very dangerous! Castor ranges on an atv from 3 to 7 degrees (less if you are on a turny track, more if your on a high speed - like desert racing). I like to start high, then roll it forward until it starts to wonder on straights, then back .5 degree, unless turny track, that I go opposite, start low and increase until turning gets difficult, then back forward .5 degree. Your arms will feel it if it is off!

Nick @ JET Suspension;1713221 said:
bump for some of the questions I have been getting.

I will say in this year we have made numerous gains with stock conversions - riders can tell a difference in the feel of long shock versus a shorter shock the front plants better and still can be plush without too much chassis roll. So the first question to ask is -

1.are you going to buy different a-arms or just have us modify your upper for castor correction and camber adjust?

2. If you are going to buy arms anyway - the cost difference between the LT shock upgrade and LT arms will be in the neighborhood of 30% more. As a shock builder and suspension only shop I do believe it is worth it - but only you know your budget. WE still have a Pro racer in Arkansas series, Spencer Dickerson racing on stock arms and our Triple rate front conversion and wins regularly.

Bottom line, either way we can get you very happy - if money is no object then long travel gets my vote. I personally am on a tight budget and currently no longer race so I would stay with std travel (extra travel) for my personal bike in the woods and have the uppers modified.