Geometry is the core of all motorcycle handling, but there is more to geometry than just handling! Below are 5 reasons why you want to setup your geometry. From a dirt bike, race bike, or a cruiser riding your favorite back road, geometry plays a key in all.
Geometry dictates handling
Rake, trail, swing arm angle, and wheel base are a few measurements that dictate how the bike turns, it’s flickability, edge grip, and drive. OEM suspension with the proper geometry setup can make any rider feel like they are on top of the world. Combine aftermarket suspension with a bike’s geometry set up and you have the makings of a lethal track day weapon.
Tires are an expensive commodity. And when wear starts going awry, the first thing most look at is pressure. But some may not realize that geometry has as much effect on tire wear as pressure and compounds do. Improper weight transfer and swing arm angle are just two of many adjustments that have riders scratching their heads when looking at unknown tire wear. Are your street tires wearing too fast? The manufacture may not be to blame…
It Makes Your Bike Safe
Proper geometry equals handling. Once your bike is handling properly, your focus can now be set on things like the fallen tree in the middle of the road. In addition it allows you to avoid hazards that you normally would not be able to miss if your bike is fighting your along the way.
Suspension Can’t Fix Geometry
Even the most expensive suspension components cannot always fix geometry issues. Trying to stick a stiffer spring in a shock to hold swing arm angle is only going to cause more problems like improper tire wear and a poor handling rear end. And adjusting compression and rebound to fix front chatter can lead to even worse problems then when you started.
Eliminates Guess Work
Many racers have limited track time to test and get familiar with a track layout before a race. By measuring and adjusting geometry, testing time is drastically decreased. Generally we only have to take a session or two to make small adjustments to the rider comfortable after geometry is setup. Whereas before we could be spending close to a day of going through the front and rear of the bike to make the rider feel comfortable.
As you see geometry does so much more than just dictate handling. From safety to troubleshooting, geometry plays many intricate roles on many different areas of a motorcycle. So the next time you get a new bike and are having issues, don’t forget to check your geometry settings.