September 10, 2019 at 1:59 pm #269902
So for three seasons now I have had a good hard tail and still unsure if I have the front shock pressure where I want it. I know as with all things mountain bike the first answer is personal preference. That being said I want to hear from the field thoughts and experience others have had. I want to learn from others experience and perspective.
Up to this point I set the pressure to the factory recommendations on the shock and have the rabbit setting for rebound. Currently there is not a ring on my shock to measure sag. Is that a definite in your opinion out there or do most of us stick to manufacturer’s recommendation and not think too much else about it?
Also been toying with the idea of whether to try volume reducers/spacers. Thoughts here. What have you noticed or what are pros and cons.
I have watched multiple vids online about this topic. Understand it some but don’t need another article or vid. I want to hear about personal experience. Look forward to what everyone has to say.
BTW I am 6’1″ 210lbs. Probably on the bigger side as a rider. I am sure that plays in here too.
September 10, 2019 at 3:29 pm #269916
What brand and model fork is it? When you say rabbit for rebound, do you mean all the way toward rabbit, usually there are several clicks between turtle (slow) and rabbit (fast) in the rebound adjustment. If the front feels bouncy going over rocks and roots you probably want to go a click or two slower.
At your weight, depending on what fork you have, a volume spacer would probably be prudent. I have a Rockshox Lyrik, it came with one spacer from the factory, and being 200 lbs, it felt like the front dropped too much when braking or going slow over obstacles. I added another and it seemed much better to me. To measure sag get a thin zip-tie and put in on the fork. You can just leave it, it won’t hurt anything. I would start at 20% sag, and then see how much total suspension you use on a normal ride. If you never use more than 80% let a little air out.
September 10, 2019 at 4:10 pm #269921
Agree with what’s above.
Volume spacers are a great way to tune your fork and make it ride so much better.
The only way to really know what’s going to work for you is to experiment and see what you like. A more progressive fork, or linear. More or less sag. More or less rebound.
If your rebound is cranked all the way up, that can help prevent bottoming out, but it’s going to be constantly forcing the up and can feel really bad on the trail.
Volume spacers can help prevent bottoming out while being able to dial back your rebound for a better controlled fork.
More pressure will help the fork stay high in its travel as well and be more efficient when climbing, but harsh with worse small bump compliance. Less pressure will give better small bump compliance and feel softer but it will be less efficient while pedaling.
Fork maintenance is probably you’re best friend to keep it feeling good and performing the way you want. Play around with pressure, rebound and volume spacers to get the right set up for you. Then make sure you keep it clean and lubricated!
September 10, 2019 at 6:58 pm #269928
I have a hardtail with a fork that just didn’t feel right using the standard 25-30% sag rule. The way I set the fork pressure was to see how often I bottomed out my fork. If I bottom out my fork about once per ride, that was where the pressure is just right. If I never bottom out, the pressure is to high. If I bottom out often, the pressure is to low.
If you don’t have a ring on your shock just use a twist tie or a zip tie.
September 10, 2019 at 10:40 pm #269931
I have a different perspective with bottoming on every ride. I prefer to have suspension dialed so I rarely fully bottom out with a clunk. Took me a long time to learn using full travel every ride isn’t necessarily a good indicator of proper suspension setup. Some trails just don’t require all of your travel and that’s okay. Using more travel than you need just makes you slower. It’s all about feel and making small adjustments on one factor at a time. When working on a tune and I know I’m close I’ll go 2 clicks in a direction at a time to really feel the difference then adjust accordingly. After 2 years of tinkering with suspension settings on a new (was new) bike I finally felt like I could go to any trailhead and know how to tweak it for that ride.
Addition: there is a difference between bottoming out and using full travel. Bottom outs are harsh clunks that should be avoided if possible. Tokens will help make the compression more progressive (due to a smaller air chamber) which leads to less bottom outs. It doesn’t really effect the mid or top stroke of the travel. for full travel, I find some rides I only use half of my travel and some rides I use it all and the tuning i do beforehand plays a big role in that. (I ride a 170 mm Ribbon).
September 11, 2019 at 9:13 pm #270009
You already know how the fork performs at the factory recommended settings, so spend a little time testing different setups.
Create a note on your phone with your base settings. Find familiar sections of trail that best represent the extremes of your normal riding – a technical climb, some flowy turns, and a rocky downhill. Ride a section with your base setup. Set your rebound 3 clicks faster and ride it again. Note if it felt better or worse. Set your rebound 3 clicks slower (than baseline) and ride it again. Note which setting you liked best. Repeat this test in each type of terrain see what rebound setting you like best – it will most likely be a compromise. Repeat the test with +/- 10 psi in the fork and again with +/- 2 psi in your tires.
Completing these tests will give you a good understanding of how the different parts of your suspension affect your ride. Review your notes to see which individual changes you liked best and then combine them to create a new setup. I doubt you will end up at the extremes of your test, but you should find a setting you like better in most situations.
I have never regretted the time I’ve spent setting up my suspension.
September 14, 2019 at 1:59 pm #270200
Diawson hit the nail on the head. Treat the factory specs as a baseline and tweak from there. On my hardtail, I’ve Found I like about 8% less than the recommended sag with no tokens (initially stuff with linear travel) because I like a really positive feel on that bike. On my FS trail bike, I use the recommended sag with two tokens for more progression. For my damping, I use the method in the attached video (sorry, I know you said no vids but I didn’t feel like typing it all). I’ve fine-tuned them a click or so either way, but it got me really close.
September 17, 2019 at 3:00 pm #270362
Thanks for all the thoughts and suggestions. I see multiple people made the zip tie suggestion. Easy solution.
Since it was asked a Manitou M30 on one of my bikes and a Rock Shox Recon on the other. I tend to experiment with the bike with the Manitou fork first.
I don’t think I have ever had a hard bottom out. I don’t think it is because I am a light rider although I am working on riding lighter lately. I am surprised sometimes when I observe how far the shock has moved up and down. I probably could push the bike a bit harder.
Probably try one volume spacer and start with manufacturers guidelines and play with it from there. Probably start off by rabbit rebound setting although on the Manitou fork it may be turtle or rabbit without the options to ramp it up or down a click at a time.
Still listening if this additional information brings any more thoughts or suggestions. Thanks for the responses so far. Gives me some ideas.
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