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Motorcycle Shocks

Motorcycle shocks are a highly important part of any motorcycle, as they help to maintain the upright position of the bike, ease the force when hitting bumps in the road, dampen the vibration through the bike (which is particularly helpful for steering) and help to create strong traction between the tyres and the road. There are two main types of motorcycle shocks, each with its own strengths and weaknesses.

Dual Shocks

Dual shocks are the oldest type of shocks and were the most common type used on older bikes. Dual shocks contain two tubes, and inside of these is an oil chamber and outside there is an air chamber. These shocks are generally used when roads are particularly bad or where the bike is under a great deal of stress, such as in rural areas. Having two tubes instead of one allows the bike to carry an extra load, absorb bumps better, reduce the load on the chassis and ride more smoothly overall.

Mono Shocks

Unlike dual shocks, mono shocks only contain one tube. Mono shocks are a more recent innovation, and this was mainly because manufacturers found that for bikes with a lighter chassis, dual shocks did very little. Mono shocks are perfect for a bike that needs to be able to handle corners exceptionally well, because unlike dual shocks, mono shocks can handle variable loads more effectively. Mono shocks' design also helps bikes to remain stable on highways at high speeds.

How Do Shocks Work?

In a traditional motorcycle shock, the spring bounces back from an uneven surface, while the piston and oil dampen the impact of the bump. They do this by the piston moving inside the tube, which is filled with oil. The oil moves through the holes of the valve and the resistance is limited to the movement of the piston, dampening the effect of the bump. When this occurs repeatedly over the length of a long ride, the oil can begin to foam, which reduces the resistance and therefore decreases the performance of the shock absorber. This can be fixed by simply pulling over and giving the oil time to settle, though the process is slightly different with a gas-filled motorcycle shock absorber.

Gas-Filled Motorcycle Shocks

Gas-filled motorcycle shocks can come in either mono or dual-shock form. Gas shocks are different in that they feature a canister attached to the spring in the shock that contains gas (mainly nitrogen gas). This nitrogen gas works to keep the damping oil pressurised so that the molecules within the oil remain bonded, preventing the oil from foaming. This allows for more consistent dampening of bumps and shocks for even longer rides.

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