Rear motorcycle suspension or shock absorbers were invented in 1913 in the hope of minimizing or reducing the effect that rough the terrains provided. Paved roads were few and far between, rear suspension on motorcycles was designed to increase riding comfort and riding quality. So in the battle of the shocks absorbers, is it better to use a Single Suspension (Mono-shock) or Dual Suspension (Twin-shock) setup?
So you want to know about Rear Motorcycle and Scooter Suspension?
The first motorcycle rear suspension was called Twin-Shock. It was commonly used to describe off-road motorcycles. They would go on to play an important role in an era when motorcycle riders began meticulously calculating their rear travel and swingwarm motion. Most of the classic motorcycles with the biggest followings of all time rely on twin-shock suspension. Some race tracks will even distinguish between twin-shock (dual shock / dual suspension) and mono-shock (single shock / single suspension) racers.
Mono-Shock motorcycle rear suspensions was created in the late 80’s and in many applications has more advanced performance than that of the twin-shocks. It utilizes a linkage to connect to the swingarm which, by and large, gets rid of the torque and will supply better handling and breaking. Single shock rear suspension requires less maintenance and adjustments. Some say that mono-shocks were created because the Long Rear Travel measurement of Twin-Shocks, were making the bikes too tall to sit on. Maybe.
I’d guess that 90% of motorcycles on the road will never see a suspension upgrade. Many motorcycles won’t even have their adjustable suspension adjusted from whatever it was set to on the day they’re picked up at the dealership. Generally, motorcycle reviews will rate the suspension and will sometimes even mention the chassis design, angles, and other information. It’s good to do your research before buying. The dual shocks on my 2007 Harley-Davidson Sportster were a known weakness, but Progressive suspension can change that.
Dual shock motorcycle suspension isn’t always antiquated technology compared to single shock suspension. When it comes to scooters, dual suspension will provide much better feedback and a smoother ride versus the puny single shock found on even the “luxury”, retro-styled brands of fine scooters. Fellow Italians, are you listening? Ditch the mono-shock before it ditches you!
There are so many variables in rear motorcycle suspension that its difficult to give a straight answer on which of your options are better. How you use your motorcycle and how good the shocks themselves are really make all of the difference. Smooth roads need little motorcycle rear suspension adjustments or rear travel, unless you’re hauling a lot of weight. A bumpy road would give a lot of stress to most stock settings. Better rear suspension would provide a more comfortable ride and better contact with the terrain. Take a look at how much rear travel Motocross riders have to play with in order to minimize the bumpiness of the tracks. But, then again, most city roads are pretty much smooth.
To each their own, happy riding!
If you’d like to learn more about motorcycle suspension, you should also check out this article on what makes gas-charged motorcycle shocks better than non-gas motorcycle suspension.