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USD (Up-Side Down) VS Telescopic Front Suspension System Explained

The suspension is something everyone has heard about and are aware that they are one of the important components of a vehicle. So much so, it is responsible for how your car or motorcycle handles. With the car suspension already clear, let’s focus on the motorcycle front suspension.

Here is more about car suspension.

USD vs Telescopic Suspension
USD vs Telescopic Suspension | Image Source: (1)

A motorcycle, depending upon its use gets two types of suspension in front:

  1. Telescopic Suspension
  2. Up-Side Down Suspension

Motorcycle Suspension

Before diving into the types let’s look at how a motorcycle suspension works. The two main components of a front suspension system are a spring and a damper.

  • It is the spring that is responsible for the amount of compression.
  • On the contrary, the velocity with which the whole system reacts is governed by the damper. The dampers are filled with oil and provide resistance when compressed.
  • Fun Fact: The suspension systems, be it USD or conventional telescopic both have the same components. Now the question comes, why choose USD over telescopic or vice versa.

Telescopic Front Suspension

Telescopic Suspension | 2018 Bajaj Dominar
Telescopic Suspension | 2018 Bajaj Dominar

Most of the motorcycles on the Indian roads come equip with telescopic suspension. These are mainly the commuter motorcycle.

  • A telescopic suspension consists of two parts that house all the mechanisms, an outer tube and inner tube.
  • The system consists of spring and a damper filled with fork oil that provides resistance when they move.
  • In this type of suspension, the slider bar of the inner tube is attached to the triple clamp. Well, a triple clamp is a part on which the handlebars are mounted.
  • That said, the outer tube or primary barrel is mounted on the lower side, on the wheel.
  • This is where the telescopic suspension’s flaw lies. That is, most of the weight of the suspension system is on the wheel. This makes it difficult to change directions or basically steer.

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Why they are used then?

  • The telescopic suspension is cheaper to design and manufacture.
  • This conventional suspension is easy to repair if anything goes south with it.

So, Usually, the commuter motorcycle uses a telescopic suspension as they are not meant to be driven hard. Nor they have to suddenly change direction at high speed. Also, due to the lower cost telescopic suspension makes more sense at a low price. This suspension hampers the performance of high-end motorcycles.

Up-Side Down Suspension

USD Suspension | 2020 Bajaj Dominar
USD Suspension | 2020 Bajaj Dominar

Just like the former suspension type, this too has an inner tube or slider bar and outer tube or a primary barrel.

  • But the difference lies in their placement. In USD suspension, the sliding tube is on the lower side on the wheel of the motorcycle.
  • The primary barrel is attached to the triple clamp. This allows the triple clamp to take most of the suspension weight. It is this mount that takes most of the suspension system’s weight.
  • This arrangement makes the motorcycle nimble and easy to manoeuvre. Also, it allows agile and crisp handling from the motorcycle.

Why use USD Forks?

This type of suspension is restricted to only high end and performance motorcycles. In the end, fast motorcycles are all about cornering speeds and lightning-fast direction changes. So, it is the USD fork that allows the rider to extract the most out of the motorcycle without any compromise in performance. This comes at a cost.

  • Exactly COST. USD front forks are way more expensive than conventional telescopic suspension.
  • However, these more advanced USD forks allow more bump absorption that makes the suspension more prone to damage.

So, which one is better you may ask?

Well, for the most part, it all depends on what you want from the motorcycle. If it is a fast motorcycle USD is the way to go but if the commute and value of money is the preference, the telescopic suspension is the right choice. After all, both are good in their own way.

Watch: Airmatic Suspension Of Mercedes-Benz ML 350 Being Converted To Coilovers

Also, Read The “By-Wire” System Explained (Drive, Brake, Steer, Shift, Throttle)

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Indulging Read: 10 Reasons To Choose Diesel Over Petrol For Your Next Car

Utkarsh Bhardwaj
Utkarsh Bhardwaj
Technical Content Strategist at GoMechanic | Big Time Petrolhead with the passion for building cars and driving those beauties.


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