Without a doubt suspension is the biggest and most important improvement you can make to a vintage motocross bike. The outdated technology just wasn't like it is today when these bikes were current. Suspension technology is perhaps the single biggest improvement when comparing a modern bike to a bike built 40 years ago. Hours upon hours and millions of dollars have gone into research and development over the last 40+ years for suspension performance to get where it is today. The difference today is light years ahead. Imagine if a mid pack pro in 1974 was able to have today's suspension technology applied to his bike back in the day. The absolute best shock available today in our opinion is the V-Shock designed and developed by Noleen's Clark Jones. (see Clark's bio below) Every single person without exception we know, that has tried the V-Shock says it is the one single biggest improvement they made to their bike.
On the track riders notice a huge improvement in the way the suspension reacts to the whoops, braking and acceleration bumps. The damping performance from the new technology is staggering. The chassis is also much more predictible and provides much less rider fatigue. This is a benefit that most riders wouldn't even think of but notice once they try the suspension. Lap times have no where to go but down with the V-Shock.
Each V-Shock is 100% hand made with precision in the USA using the finest materials and latest technology available. They are designed and made for each bike application; for example a 1974 Yamaha shock is different than say a 1974 Maico shock. Shocks are available for the early twin shock bikes of the 1960's all the way to the EVO single shock bikes of the 1980's . Clark has a list of the applications on his web site and nearly every popular bike from all era's are covered. If you don't see your bike on the list, give him a call and he'll probably be able to build you a custom set. Each shock is adjustable and can be tuned to each rider weight and skill. After a complete personal consultation with Clark, your shocks will be built from scratch and arrive at your door all set-up just for you and ready to install. Minor adjustments can be made on the fly at the race track to dial in the suspension from track to track. If we were going to make one improvement on a vintage race bike it would be in the suspension department and we would start with these shocks. To insure the customer is getting the absolute best performing shock available, Clark and multi national champion Gary Jones are competing with these shocks on a weekly basis and their data and notes are recorded. When updates are made, customers have access to all changes, no secrets are kept. It's like having your own private works suspension team. Check out the Noleen website and give Clark a call with any questions. You won't be disappointed. www.noleenj6.com
Disclosure: MXworksbike fully endorses Noleen suspension products and receives no compensation for any content on this site whatsoever. We have known Clark Jones for many years and have comissioned his services on many projects. He has never dissapointed. Clark probably has as much or more experience in the shop and on the track than anyone we know and he really has come up with an excellent product with the Noleen V-Shock.
On the left are the standard V-Shocks and on the right are the piggyback versions. Both types feature hand machined bodies made from T-6061 billet aluminum and are hard anodized. The real secret is inside using modern technology for the valving. These parts are all hand machined too. Each shock is custom built for each rider.
Clark Jones: Clark Jones the genius behind the V-Shock has been around motocross at the highest level for over 40 years. He was an AMA pro on the national circuit back in the late 1970's through the mid 1980's and at the same time he was a test rider for Motocross Action Magazine. He also owned and ran the famous Noleen Racing Team from the late 1980's and early 1990's. Clark is currently a suspension technician for a top contending Red Bull Ralley race car team. On top of all this, he still owns Noleen that specializes in suspension and still races motocross nearly every week in Southern California. And if that isn't enough, he is married to former national champion Gary Jones sister Lois.
Vintage pro Clark Jones on a V-Shock suspended 490 Maico. With the new V-Shocks the rear wheel follows the ground much better than anything did back in the day. The result is better hook-up, more stable bike and lower lap times. Each time Clark races with the V-Shocks, data and notes are taken and any new development is passed on to the customer.