Is your rear shock not working properly? If it isn’t, you are not getting the high-performance, responsive ride you expect from your dirt bike. That is, your bike’s suspension system allows you to dominate however you choose to ride, whether it is in competition or just for fun.

Anytime you work with motorcycle components under pressure, you must know what you are doing. After all, a compressed spring can turn into a dangerous missile faster than you may think. While not all dirt bikes are the same, removing shock springs usually requires the same procedures from motorcycle to motorcycle. Fortunately, if you have the correct tools and a bit of patience, you can likely remove and replace your dirt bike’s shock spring in an afternoon.

The Purpose of Replacing Shock Springs

Before we take a look at how to remove shock springs, we should probably explain why any dirt bike rider may want to tinker with his or her suspension system. As you probably know, most dirt bikes leave the factory ready to fulfill the riding objectives of the middle-of-the-road rider. While you can likely adjust your bike’s suspension system within a few degrees, you may never be able to adjust it to fit your riding style.

If you want to improve your dirt bike’s handling, there may be no level of spring adjustment that satisfies you. Often, swapping out ineffective stock shock springs for upgraded springs is the most important thing any serious rider can do to improve performance, maneuverability and control. This is especially true for either lightweight or heavyweight riders. Put simply, if you are on either end of the weight spectrum, your bike’s stock springs may not be right for you.

Necessary Tools

Before you start your shock spring replacement project, gather the necessary tools. Fortunately, you do not need a warehouse full of professional-grade tools and other pieces of equipment to achieve success with your removal. On the contrary, you likely only need four tools: a vice, a hammer, a punch and a spring compressor. 

Rear shock spring compressors come in a few different styles. While most have universal compatibility, you should check to see that your spring compressor fits your application. 

After you have the right tools for the job, you are ready to remove your rear shock spring. There are a couple different ways to complete the job. We discuss each approach in the next two sections.

Shock Spring Removal: A Simple Way for Most Shocks

After gently clamping the assembly eyelet into a vice, use your punch and hammer to dislodge the preload rings loose. Once you dislodge the rings, you can use your hands to spin them toward the bottom of the threads. This gives you sufficient room to work with the rest of the spring. 

At the top of your assembly, you are likely to find a bumper cup. On top of the bumper cup, your assembly probably has a ring. Move that ring downward to expose a lock ring at the top of the shock assembly. Often, you can remove the lock ring with your fingers. If yours is stuck, though, you may need a small pick to remove it completely. After the lock ring is off, slide the lock collar off over the top of the assembly to remove it.

After the preload rings at the bottom of the assembly and the lock rings at the top are off, you are ready to remove the spring. Simply grab the spring and pull it off the top of the assembly. To install your new shock spring, simply follow these instructions in reverse. That is, place the spring over the assembly and reinstall the top lock ring. Then, place the bumper back over the top of the assembly and replace the outer ring. Then, move to the bottom to secure the preload rings again. If you have a problem with your rear shock not working properly, this gives you an easy way to fix the issues. 

Shock Spring Removal: An Alternative Approach for Other Shock Types

While the above procedure works for most shocks, it does not work for every type of assembly. If you have a different type of shock, though, you may need to take an alternative approach. With these shocks systems, the bottom of the assembly removes in the same way. For the top, though, you need a different strategy.

After clamping the shock in a vice and removing the preload rings at the bottom, focus your attention on the top of the shock. With certain shocks, you do not dislodge the ring at the top. Instead, you look for a gap at the head of the assembly. The gap has a collar at the top of it. Press the collar downward to expose a locknut on the shaft by pushing the bumper cone down. 

After depressing the bumper cone, you have space to move the shock off the assembly.  You likely cannot, though, compress the spring enough to remove it fully. To do so, you need the help of a spring compressor. Install the shock compressor lever arm and activate the compressor. This forces the shock to compress, allowing you to free it from the assembly. You likely do not need to compress the spring much, as dislodging the preload rings removes much of the spring’s compression.

If you are working with this type of shock spring, you probably need to use your compressor to install the new spring. You may, however, need a compressor to install any type of spring onto your dirt bike. Either way, when reinstalling shock springs, be sure to follow manufacturer recommendations to get a better rate than your bike’s stock spring rate. 

Now that you know how to disassemble and remove your shock spring, you don’t have to worry about having a rear shock not working properly. That is, of course, if you order the best dirt bike replacement shock springs for your repair project. By choosing a top-grade component from one of the leading manufacturers in the motorcycle parts and accessories business, you know you are getting a reliable replacement part for your dirt bike.