Honda motorcycles employ a great variety of rear suspension systems, each tailored to the needs of the specific model to which they are fitted. Honda’s Pro-link® and Unit Pro-Link® single-shock rear suspension systems in particular serve as great examples of how competition and technological advancements bring about new designs that yield benefits to everyday riders.
Honda’s Pro-Link rear suspension system incorporates a linkage system with a rising rate to deliver notably compliant and comfortable ride quality with a high level of wheel control. This system features a single spring/damper unit connected to the swingarm via a progressive linkage setup to deliver an ideal combination of spring and damping rates over a wide range of riding conditions. Initial rates are soft, in order to yield supple action over small bumps and ripples. As the suspension compresses, increasingly stiffer rates resist bottoming and maintain rear-wheel control over rougher surfaces. An additional benefit of the Pro-Link system is enhanced mass centralization because it places the suspension unit closer to the center of the motorcycle.
As testimony to its effectiveness, a wide variety of Honda off-road and street motorcycles as well as ATVs incorporate Pro-Link rear suspension, including the highly tuned competition CRF250R and CRF450R. In addition, two sophisticated, premium-level long-haul bikes, the Gold Wing and VFR1200F, both feature Pro-Link rear suspension systems along with a Pro Arm single-sided swingarm. Honda’s unique Pro Arm is a functional and stylish departure from a conventional fork-type swingarm. Developed from Honda’s championship-winning racing efforts, the cast-aluminum Pro Arm offers finely tuned rigidity, light weight and simple rear-wheel removal. Additional benefits include added flexibility for exhaust routing, easy shock access and decreased unsprung weight.
Unit Pro Link
Honda’s Unit Pro-Link single-shock rear-suspension system can be found on the high-performance CBR600RR and CBR1000RR sport bikes. Unit Pro-Link Rear Suspension was first patterned after Honda’s world-championship-winning MotoGP RC211V®, and it remains in use in the latest Honda MotoGP designs. With Unit Pro-Link, the upper shock mount is contained within the swingarm rather than being mounted to the frame. With no top frame mount for the shock, this unique system reduces negative suspension energy from being transmitted into the frame, allowing optimum frame rigidity and improved rideability out of corners. It also permits repositioning of the fuel tank to a lowered position, and places this load closer to the machine’s center of mass.
Thanks to Honda’s pioneering innovations forged in competition, everyday riders benefit from the same fundamental suspension systems found on the factory Honda CRF450R motocross machines as well as the current RC213V MotoGP machines competing for the road racing world championship.