Mono Shock Frames: I Wanna Know!

I’ve been seeing an awful lot of motorcycles lately with this type of design.

Looks pretty cool don’t ya think? When I look at this motorcycle, or others with this type of design, I think to myself, “Wow that looks just like a wasp!” You know, look at the thing! Look at how your ass is part of the main body of this machine, your back is the outer shell, the back of the wasp. Look at how the rear wheel appears like the stinger of the wasp. And while this particular motorcycle has a very boxy and unwieldy appearance to it, I’ve seen others whose sleek lines would cause a welter weight boxer to form an attachment to the machine. It would be something a boxer would want to fashion his body after: sleek, strong, sexy…

But I have to wonder, how does a frame like this work? How will it track? How will it hold up under stresses of the road? Will it twist and crumble when pushed to high velocity speeds? Will it track well around twists in the road? Will the rear end follow the front end without much effort?

I am still looking for answers regarding this type of frame. I want to test em myself. I want one of you builders to let the public test ride these bikes, I WANT TO TEST RIDE this bike…I just want to know how come there isn’t much information out here regarding these frames? How come I can’t find any review regarding how these things track and ride? I guess I’ll just have to do more research during the day today…see what I can find. I’ll bet it’s out here, I just don’t know what search parameters to input… sigh

Update: The advantages of mono shock technology.
“In the good old days, motorbikes had two shock absorbers on the rear of the bike, as shown at the top of this section. As suspension evolved, the dual rear shocks were replaced with a single unit, but the question is why? The answer, it turns out, is pretty simple. In a dual-shock system, the suspension units are typically attached very close to the rear axle. This means that as the suspension compresses and expands, the shock absorber pistons are travelling in a stroke which is nearly the same as the full deflection of the swingarm. Hitting a large bump might deflect the rear axle upwards by 10cm and back, resulting in the same 10cm stroke in the shocks. Do this a lot and the shock absorber piston begins to behave like the plunger in one of those natty little cafetières or milk-frothers – it agitates the damper oil so much and so frequently that the oil begins to heat up and foam or froth. At this point it not only looks like frappuccino foam but it has about the same damping properties too, and thus loses its ability to perform as it should.

This is known as fading shock absorbers.

Enter the single shock absorber system mounted towards the front of the rear swingarm. The swingarm might still have a lot of travel at the axle, but basic geometry shows you that closer to the pivot, the deflection is much less. This translates into shorter shock absorber movements which in turn means less opportunity for the damper oil to froth. The ultimate evolution of this is the complex link monoshock system (also shown above), where a complex series of levers reduce the shock absorber travel even further. Typically multi-link setups like this also have some amount of variance in them so that they have a different amount of deflection in the first part of the stroke to the that in the second. This means a single shock absorber unit can respond better to changing road surfaces, soaking up the smaller bumps and shocks with ease and comfort without sacrificing the ability to respond to the occasional mountain or pothole.”

Photo 1 Larry Nagel
Photos 2,3,4 from Fusion Motorcycles
Photo 2 from Iron Works Magazine.


7 comments on “Mono Shock Frames: I Wanna Know!”

  1. Very interesting indeed. Who’d of thought? Apparently not me. good homework sister!

  2. Mono-shock rear suspensions are fairly ubiquitous. Buells I think are all mono-shock. Almost any superspot kneedragger bike will be mono-shock, including my current 1997 Kawasaki ZX-6. Even my mid-80s bike (Yamaha Vision 550 V-twin) was mono-shock. Last dual-shock bike I had was in the early 80’s (late 70’s Honda CX500 hand-me-down). As for ride difference, I couldn’t really say any more. My ZX-6 is not exactly plush, but it handles very well, so I would say it’s a good suspension. For a cruiser type bike, I can’t say it’s any better or worse on ride, but I do tend to prefer the mono-shock look. Clean and simple. Mechanically simpler too, which is a good thing. Fewer parts (maybe, depends on linkages), fewer things to break, less weight, better performance, what’s not to like?

  3. Excellent read Chessie. Sorry to get you on a tear, but look how fun it was. Next time you need something to write about… no really, don’t ask me.

  4. Excellent research and article!

  5. Andy, thank you for your comment. It means a lot to me to get these opinions. I would like to hear more from others. Still looking to hear from people who have experience on the cruisers…Mr. Motorcycle, and Dean…thank you so much for the compliments. Please come back and check this blog again, as I will be adding more to it. It’s no where near where I wanted it, but I needed to get something posted.IronWorks, You started this whole mess…I even called Bandit and asked him for contacts…I am getting ready to contact them tomorrow. Lets see where this takes us…

  6. Because of the properties you mention, dirt bikes with their long suspension travel, it’s a logical use. I’m sure it was also done for weight savings.My guess, most custom cruisers use it for novelty/looks. Most (not all), of them are probably not ridden much or handle well anyway.

  7. Well I got one and it is the softest ride I have ever had.Only mine shocks in both directions plus the Spring.The one big draw back mine is, it has a large nut on top of shock for the down stroke. Adjusting that to 1″ – 1 1/2″ down movement when you sit on it. Then the speed that the shock releases back up on up stroke is a 5 position Allen screw to position A-E.So it takes some work to get it set up for your weight and general road conditions. Works great !!! But then lets say you want to ride a gal. Well bike will bottom out!! every little bump until you adjust the 2 adjustment. The procedure is a pain in the ass. So ya got to think ahead. Both adjustment are not easy to get to or easy to do. BUT I love the ride!! Best6 I ever had. I’ve had 2 or 3 bikes over 100K miles, This one had by far been the best ride.Pap Feel free to post a pick Chess.

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