Suspension advice needed

Discussion in 'Shop Talk' started by SS Barby, Feb 9, 2020.



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  1. SS Barby

    SS Barby Member

    Location:
    Palmdale, CA
    Name:
    Barby
    Current Bike:
    Ibis Ripley LS/ Niner Sir 9 SS
    Hey hooligans, I am tearing my complete bike apart for some needed maintenance. I will be doing complete service of my suspension. Was wondering peoples opinions on whether or not I should purchase some airspring spacers for both the fork and rear shock? I have been happy with the way my bike rides but maybe I am missing it riding even better without knowing it. As some of you know, this is my first modern suspension bike so not sure how it sshould really ride?
     
  2. Maderas84

    Maderas84 Member

    Location:
    Fluent in French & sarcasm.
    Name:
    Andres
    Current Bike:
    Ibis, Pivot & Santa Cruz
    I don't know much about suspension but I have the orange Fox spacers in my X2. I had 3 in there but as I lost weight, I dropped one. I may soon drop another.

    I did this because I like a stiffer shock and I make my bike work.

    Nothing in the front fork.

    I just had both recently rebuilt by Travis in Glendale and the difference is magical.
     
  3. Makoto

    Makoto Member

    Location:
    Costa Mesa
    Name:
    Mike
    Don’t fix what ain’t broke. Spacers add progressivity (made up word?). My advice is if you aren’t bottoming out your current suspension setup (where you shouldn’t be) at the proper recommended sag levels, then you do not need volume spacers. I hope this doesn’t come off snarky, this is just meant to share what I think I know.
     
  4. SnakeCharmer

    SnakeCharmer iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Crescenta Valley
    Name:
    Mike, aka "Ssnake"
    Current Bike:
    PV3
    If you are not bottoming out the suspension regularly (annoyingly) and you are happy with how it feels in all situations, leave it as is.
     
  5. Voodoo Tom

    Voodoo Tom MTB Addict

    Location:
    Castaic
    Name:
    Tom Kokkinakis
    Current Bike:
    Mango one, blue one, black one
    I say take em all out of the shock and run way less air pressure. Also add about 6 more tokens to the fork and increase pressure substantially. Anything that makes you slower sounds good to me...:p
     
  6. Danimal

    Danimal iMTB Rockstah

    Location:
    Mission Viejo
    Name:
    Dan
    Current Bike:
    GG Trail Pistol!
    Ah yes, what are friends for if not to give good advice!
     
  7. herzalot

    herzalot iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Laguna Beach
    Name:
    Chris
    Current Bike:
    2020 SC Megaplower; Revel Rail
    The man knows his stuff! :facepalm: :whistling:

    Yes the OTHERS said it well. If you are bottoming out at your recommended sag settings, or if you just want to try lower pressure, then add a spacer. If not, don't.

    But - throwing 6 spacers in the fork, then inflating it to about 20% over recommended sounds right in @rossage's wheelhouse and would compete with his rigid fork!
     
  8. rossage

    rossage iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    East Sacramento
    Name:
    Ross Lawson
    Current Bike:
    Highball
    Oh yeah! The rigid is on hiatus. Replaced with a Fox32 120mm for my nephew. Been riding the crap out of my Fuse-and when suspended, I prefer my fork to be plush and responsive. My MRP Ribbon 140 delivers.
     
  9. SS Barby

    SS Barby Member

    Location:
    Palmdale, CA
    Name:
    Barby
    Current Bike:
    Ibis Ripley LS/ Niner Sir 9 SS
    Thats what I was thinking. I never bottom out. So I may be running to much air I guess.
     
  10. SS Barby

    SS Barby Member

    Location:
    Palmdale, CA
    Name:
    Barby
    Current Bike:
    Ibis Ripley LS/ Niner Sir 9 SS
    Already ran rigid SS for years. Thats the reason I dont kbow much about how a modern sus fork should operate.
     
  11. herzalot

    herzalot iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Laguna Beach
    Name:
    Chris
    Current Bike:
    2020 SC Megaplower; Revel Rail
    Most fork manufacturers recommend waaaay too much air. Reduce pressure about 10-20% until you are bottoming out (riding your favorite bumpy trail). Then add a little. Make sure you reduce rebound damping as you reduce air pressure. Air pressure and rebound damping are tied together for optimal suspension performance. Reduce one, you need to reduce the other.

    WARNING: Rebound damping is a little like "clipless" pedals - an easily confused term. Sometimes people think that to "add rebound" means to make it rebound faster. You don't add "rebound" you add rebound DAMPING by turning the dial clockwise. Adding rebound damping slows the fork or shock's rebound. Something you will need to do if you add air pressure, unless you like a bouncy bike that loses control easily.

    I cannot tell you how many people I've seen at the bottom of The Luge who have used about half of their available travel. What are they saving the rest for? A 6' drop to flat they will never hit? I think everyone's afraid of an endo. They overpressure their fork, lean back and refuse to use front brake. Don't worry kids - unless you are still running a 71° head angle, none of those things will make you endo. Embrace the front!
     
  12. Grego

    Grego iMTB Rockstah

    Location:
    Fullerton
    Name:
    joe
    Current Bike:
    WFO9
    Who knows? Maybe your fork already has volume spacers in it. Only one way to find out. I say tinker with it if you are mechanically inclined. Learn your fork. If you change it up and don't like it you can always change it back. If you are not mechanically inclined, don't mess, have someone look at it.
     
  13. SS Barby

    SS Barby Member

    Location:
    Palmdale, CA
    Name:
    Barby
    Current Bike:
    Ibis Ripley LS/ Niner Sir 9 SS
    Herzalot, thats funny. I actually realized my fork was working properly after riding the Luve a couple of weeks ago. Thanks fpr the advice. I also still ride a bike (second bike) with a 72 degree headangle.
     
  14. SnakeCharmer

    SnakeCharmer iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Crescenta Valley
    Name:
    Mike, aka "Ssnake"
    Current Bike:
    PV3
    That's great advice Herz, thanks. My fork is too stiff and I already have it set at the lower end of the range for my weight class. Gonna try to drop more PSI and adjust the rebound for a better magic carpet ride.
     
    Danmtchl, Voodoo Tom, Mikie and 2 others like this.
  15. Cyclotourist

    Cyclotourist iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Redlands
    Name:
    David
    Current Bike:
    Chameleon 60%
    Just to clarify in my head and make sure I'm doing it right, reducing dampening means making the rebound faster/rabbit-ey, and you do that by turning the rebound screw counter clockwise (screwing it out)?
     
  16. UPSed

    UPSed iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Simi Valley
    Name:
    Ed Bottorff
    Current Bike:
    Niner Jet 9 RDO
    That is correct.
     
  17. herzalot

    herzalot iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Laguna Beach
    Name:
    Chris
    Current Bike:
    2020 SC Megaplower; Revel Rail
    Yes, yes and yes.

    Remember you are not adding or reducing "rebound," you are adding or reducing rebound DAMPING. More of it makes it slower (clockwise), less of it makes it faster (counterclockwise). If you reduce air pressure significantly and do not reduce rebound damping, the fork will be slower to rebound than it was prior to reducing pressure.
     
  18. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Ibis DV9, Santa Cruz Hightower
    Don't listen to my advice, I call my bike fluffy. :whistling: But this is my theory which will probably be pummeled by the experts.
    Forget about sag.
    I use the Mikie Watson Average Trail Response Guide. That's right, the MWATRG!
    I run as low as pressure as possible. When I bottom my fork, I keep track. If I find I bottom out too much, then I increase the air pressure. I seek chatter bump utopia and have never found it by running my life by sag recipes. I don't run any tokens. On long climbs I simply lock out my fork and shock. Turns my bike into TWO... TWO... Two bike in ONE! o_O

    Let the Suspension Guru's now destroy me...
     
  19. Cyclotourist

    Cyclotourist iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Redlands
    Name:
    David
    Current Bike:
    Chameleon 60%
    Thank you both... for some reason it's just not intuitive for my brain, so it's one of those things I need to occasionally revisit!
     
  20. SnakeCharmer

    SnakeCharmer iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Crescenta Valley
    Name:
    Mike, aka "Ssnake"
    Current Bike:
    PV3
    I like your theory. I felt you bike recently. It's incredibly cushy! Do you happen to know what PSI you have it set at, compared to Fox's recommendation?
     
    Danmtchl, herzalot, Mikie and 2 others like this.
  21. UPSed

    UPSed iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Simi Valley
    Name:
    Ed Bottorff
    Current Bike:
    Niner Jet 9 RDO
    I do the same thing @Mikie. I adjust air pressure until I'm using 90-95% travel on my regular rides. I've only bottomed out the fork a couple of times. I set up my shock the same way.
     
  22. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Ibis DV9, Santa Cruz Hightower
    It's been a while since I have checked it. It's a Fox Float 36mm x 150mm and I believe I run 53lbs (it might be 63lbs, I forget) Float like a butterfly, sting like bee!

    Edit: Going to service the lowers so I will check.
     
    Danmtchl, SnakeCharmer, UPSed and 3 others like this.
  23. herzalot

    herzalot iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Laguna Beach
    Name:
    Chris
    Current Bike:
    2020 SC Megaplower; Revel Rail
    Me too. Except on the back of a new or demo bike, I will eyeball sag to around 30% as a starting point. Then I reduce or add air in fork and shock until I bottom out on specific features/g-outs I know well.

    Fox recommends 85 psi for me on the 36 Factory Fit 4. I run 62 psi with a Luftkappe and one spacer. Plushy plush. If I am doing something gnarlier or steeper, I will add low speed compression damping to prevent dive.

    On the rear, I just check my o-ring indicator after any hard g-out or huck to flat. If I used it all, but didn’t feel it, it’s probably about right.

    Getting rebound damping set right is a whole other story!
     
    mtnbikej, Danmtchl, Mikie and 4 others like this.
  24. Voodoo Tom

    Voodoo Tom MTB Addict

    Location:
    Castaic
    Name:
    Tom Kokkinakis
    Current Bike:
    Mango one, blue one, black one
    I can tell you on my Pike set at 150 that they recommend 65-75 psi and 1-2 tokens. I've messed with settings a bunch over the last couple years. I have mine at 48-50 psi with zero tokens and it's magic. I also put the 2019 airshaft in mine which has a larger negative chamber with the green skf seals. My bike actually sags 5-10mm with no weight on it fully extends if you pick up the front end.
     
    mtnbikej, Danmtchl, Mikie and 5 others like this.
  25. Sidewalk

    Sidewalk Well-Known Member

    Location:
    The road is where I call home
    Name:
    Josh
    Current Bike:
    N+1
    I'd recommend renting (buying, or getting a group together) the Shockwiz and figuring it out that way, or leaving it as it is and start playing around with adjustments.

    Without knowing what you are doing, it is hard to know what you need.
     
    mtnbikej, Danmtchl, herzalot and 4 others like this.
  26. Obsidian

    Obsidian Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Costa Mesa
    Name:
    Obsidian
    Current Bike:
    2017 Intense Tracer
    I am a set it and forget it type of rider. To me, suspension setup is a dark art on the level of adjusting a derailleur.

    My bike feels perfect right now, but I will be renting a ShockWiz soon. I will be curious to see how wrong my settings are.

    I love lots of rebound, and my fork is 25 psi lower than Fox recommends (shock is 5 psi higher) so it will be interesting.
     
    mtnbikej, Mikie, Danmtchl and 4 others like this.
  27. Sidewalk

    Sidewalk Well-Known Member

    Location:
    The road is where I call home
    Name:
    Josh
    Current Bike:
    N+1
    I basically have two settings: regular and aggressive. Only difference is HSC gets turned up to handle harder hits.

    One thing I don't think I have ever heard when it comes to finding suspension setups is the idea of learning how to ride...differently. I noticed when I started doing more park riding that I could change some settings to my suspension, or adapt my riding around the limits of the suspension. The latter made a MASSIVE difference to my speed (control) and comfort. When I upgrade the suspension, I carried over a lot of those habits and tuned the suspension for it, and was faster still. But breaking a lot of habits was kinda hard to do.

    I am running my fork at nearly wide open on rebound, with the rear one notch closed from middle whereas I used to run the rear nearly closed to reduce bucking. The faster rebound took some learning, but once I adapted to it, I was faster and more confident.

    Currently running Ohlins coil front and rear, which is a far cry from riding a rigid bike :Roflmao
     
    mtnbikej, Mikie, Danmtchl and 7 others like this.
  28. Obsidian

    Obsidian Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Costa Mesa
    Name:
    Obsidian
    Current Bike:
    2017 Intense Tracer
    I cannot remember the pro who said "dial in as much rebound as you can handle" ... Gwin, perhaps. I max mine out out and adjust from there. Bouncy is good.
     
    mtnbikej, Sidewalk, Mikie and 3 others like this.
  29. Cyclotourist

    Cyclotourist iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Redlands
    Name:
    David
    Current Bike:
    Chameleon 60%
    At 76 psi, my sag is right at 25% on my Fox rhythm 34 120. I had three spacers and took out two. We'll have to wait till Wednesday to see if that has any noticeable difference for me.15813779061177950097127512437371.jpg
     
    mtnbikej, Mikie, Danmtchl and 3 others like this.
  30. Ebruner

    Ebruner Well-Known Member

    Name:
    Erik Bruner
    Current Bike:
    SC Hightower, Kona Hei Hei
    I disagree with most of the recommendations here. Setting your air pressure based on suspension travel used is not a good practice. The bike has an optimum window where it was designed to operate with regards to settling into it's suspension. SAG is a great starting point because it balances out certain variables which are muddying the waters and boils it down to the single most important aspect of full suspension bike performance, which is the starting point or resting point of the suspension product in question.

    It's nearly impossible to answer the question of, "should you add volume reducers" with none of the background information. There are some general rules that you need to keep in mind:
    • Step 1 - Spring Rate: The single most important adjustment you can make is getting the proper spring rate. This is where you should focus all of your time initially. This should always be done by utilizing SAG and the frame manufacturers recommendations on where their ideal sag point is. Some frames are more sensitive to this than others, for example, certain DW Link bikes will have completely compromised performance by having too much or too little sag (example, pivot). Where as some other frames (commonly VPP or faux/four and horst link bikes) have a softer and wider range of acceptable sag, however the changes do affect the character of the bike and it's performance. As a general rule, you want to be around 25-32% in back, and 20-25% in front. On a shorter travel frame, I find myself wanting to be more towards the 25% mark, and generally on a harder hitting bike/frame i'm more towards the 30% mark. Once you have your sag point determined, and the air spring that is necessary to hit that point, you can move onto air volume.
    • Step 2 - Progression: Air volume spacers are utilized to control bottom out. This is not only to affect the quantity, but the quality of the bottom out events. If you are at the optimum sag for your frame and you are still bottoming out often, you should be using air volume reducers to limit the bottom out events to minimal or at the very least, so subtle that your only indication of bottoming is when you finish a ride and the o-ring is at the bottom of the suspension product in question. You should not, for any reason, use volume reducers to try and change the character of the air spring mid stroke, or add support, etc. Bottom out events on an air sprung suspension product are based on the compression ratio of the starting air volume. That's exactly what volume reducers are doing, they are changing amount of progression to the air spring, thus, making it more progressive.
    • Step 3 - the Clickers: Generally, start with everything in the middle. Know that if you weigh less than 150 or more than 230... an off the shelf suspension product is not designed for you. That's not to say that it can't/won't work. However, the engineers are not accounting for these loads when dealing with off the shelf (aftermarket) suspension tunes. Some brands are waking up to this and providing smaller frames with lighter compression tunes, however that's still rare, even in botique brand pricing. What you need to know the most about clickers is that you always start with them at full closed and work counter clock wise. The first 1/3 of the adjuster will have a profound effect with each click, with that diminishing significantly with the second third, and on 90% of the suspension products out there, the last 20% of clicks on the adjusters are having zero to no effect. Think of it this way, imagine that your suspension product is a 10 lane freeway that's grid locked for a CHP traffic stop. In terms of car volume, the difference between 0 lanes open and 1 is huge. 2 lanes, is an even bigger delta to 0. However by the time you get to lanes 8-9-10, it's difficult to quantify if more cars are getting through with 10 lanes as there were with 8. Sure intuitively, it would seem like it should be, but once we have enough lanes to deal with the flow at hand, anything past that is more of good, enough.
    • Step 4 - Service: Your front fork is going to operate at a pressure of 50-100psi, generally. Your dust wipers, seals and other o-rings inside that fork provide around 4-5 pounds of drag/resistance when freshly serviced, and it can be as high as 15-25lbs if not serviced. That is a huge percentage of the total force when you're only dealing with 75psi in the first place. This issue is magnified when you're asking the suspension to change directions quickly, as not only are you asking it to start up and get to speed, you want it to also slow down and switch directions. All of this is hampered by additional seal drag and very quickly, makes hte problem worse.

    Ok, TLDR... cause i'm certain it was. I emphatically, disagree with using travel used at a meaningful suspension tuning tool. This is not a process that any engineer, in any form of motorsport does, nor is it a process that any suspension engineer at a bike company pays attention to, and it simply isn't how these vehicles are designed. There is an optimum window for your body weight and the kinematics of the frame. From there, you utilize the progression of the spring (air volume tokens), compression settings, rebound etc, to help control how the bike feels, and the nature of what the rider wants

    It is critically important that you have the bike (especially the rear suspension) operating in the intended window of antisquat, brake kick back, pedal kick back, legerage ratio etc. Using travel used as an indicator that the suspension is setup correctly throws all of those things out of the window entirely. Instead, I would recommend utilizing a subjective measure of what sort of feel you are going for.
     
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