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Thread: What mountain bike skills are you working on?

  1. #81
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    Default Re: What mountain bike skills are you working on?

    Quote Originally Posted by suspectdevice View Post
    Suspension isn't for comfort though, it's for grip. If properly sprung suspension is uncomfortable, the rider is too weak. Why not just fix yourself instead of handicapping your bike?

    If your bike is constantly sitting low in the travel and wallowing around it's going to be more difficult to ride in a straight line, too.

    The cheaper a suspension unit, the MORE important it is to tune the correct spring rate and do everything you can to modify the spring curve to suit your needs(including cramming random objects inside your cheap Sram fork to reduce positive air volume), because the damping adjustments are useless on cheap stuff, in general "cheap stuff(units on bikes that retail for less than $4-5k)" needs to be run open, so pumping it up harder than "recommended" is literally the only tuning option you have. Softer is NEVER the solution for cheap forks or shocks, and supple free stroke is not the same thing as effective suspension.

    If you aren't running the right amount of sag front and rear, you will never find the right damper settings, and you'll be a passenger for the rest of your days!

    A shock pump is less than $30 and is literally the only tool someone needs to change the way their bike rides for the better.
    Riding an undersprung bike for "comfort" is silly. If you want comfort, go ride pavement, or an Ebike, since the added unsprung mass of the battery and motor does allow for better grip even with spring rates and damper settings that are way off.

    The amount of dentists and lawyers I see on plastic-fantastic bikes with top end suspension that is clearly not setup appropriately is astounding. In some markets, I would say the majority of premium medium to long travel bikes I see on the trail are visibly, painfully, poorly setup.

    Those same folks who can afford high end bikes certainly wouldn't let bike shop employees clean their teeth or file legal briefs for them- I don't understand why anyone thinks a local bike shop employee can help you setup your bike.
    I check my fork pressure every Sunday evening after a week of riding. I didn't do it for about a year and I thought something was wrong with me because my bike handling skills were bad. Wrong sag means wrong geometry. Garro built my hardtail to have a certain geometry for a 120mm travel fork. Properly set up with 25# in the 2.5" tires and 118# in the fork, it descends telepathically.
    Weight Doper

  2. #82
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    Default Re: What mountain bike skills are you working on?

    Quote Originally Posted by suspectdevice View Post
    Suspension isn't for comfort though, it's for grip. If properly sprung suspension is uncomfortable, the rider is too weak. Why not just fix yourself instead of handicapping your bike?

    If your bike is constantly sitting low in the travel and wallowing around it's going to be more difficult to ride in a straight line, too.

    The cheaper a suspension unit, the MORE important it is to tune the correct spring rate and do everything you can to modify the spring curve to suit your needs(including cramming random objects inside your cheap Sram fork to reduce positive air volume), because the damping adjustments are useless on cheap stuff, in general "cheap stuff(units on bikes that retail for less than $4-5k)" needs to be run open, so pumping it up harder than "recommended" is literally the only tuning option you have. Softer is NEVER the solution for cheap forks or shocks, and supple free stroke is not the same thing as effective suspension.

    If you aren't running the right amount of sag front and rear, you will never find the right damper settings, and you'll be a passenger for the rest of your days!

    A shock pump is less than $30 and is literally the only tool someone needs to change the way their bike rides for the better.
    Riding an undersprung bike for "comfort" is silly. If you want comfort, go ride pavement, or an Ebike, since the added unsprung mass of the battery and motor does allow for better grip even with spring rates and damper settings that are way off.

    The amount of dentists and lawyers I see on plastic-fantastic bikes with top end suspension that is clearly not setup appropriately is astounding. In some markets, I would say the majority of premium medium to long travel bikes I see on the trail are visibly, painfully, poorly setup.

    Those same folks who can afford high end bikes certainly wouldn't let bike shop employees clean their teeth or file legal briefs for them- I don't understand why anyone thinks a local bike shop employee can help you setup your bike.
    Most people buy their first modern geo mountain bike then fixate on using all of its travel on every trail regardless of terrain. Good luck telling someone who's ridden for decades their body positioning needs be adjusted. Demo bikes often come back with shocks having fully bottomed and barely 2/3 of the fork used. New bikes roll and out and come back, they want to take air out of their forks. They'd rather continue to hang off the back of the bike, take air out of the fork, use all of it's travel that way and count that as an accomplishment, and never get the hype around why people like the new bikes.

    These are usually the same geniuses that insist on sizing down because the numbers looks radically different from their previous bikes. They know what they're doing. They've ridden old bikes for decades and done all of their research on the new bikes on the internet.

    /End rant
    Got some cash
    Bought some wheels
    Took it out
    'Cross the fields
    Lost Control
    Hit a wall
    But we're alright

  3. #83
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    Default Re: What mountain bike skills are you working on?

    For most riders in most places modern trail bikes really are a ďproblemĒ when it comes to setup.
    Most people donít live within 3 hours of a decent place to ride a modern mountain bike(I donít), yet still they buy long, low, and slack and make it squishy because thatís what is being marketed, even if the buyer never rides modern trails.

    A modern trail bike without modern trails or a modern rider who is looking for progression ainít no fun, in fact it turns mountain biking into something ponderous and squishy and slow, a big unmanageable beast of a bike, YMMV, but no fun for me.

    At least XC race bikes are getting badass again- but it worries me that so many of them still ship with handlebar mounted lockouts- talk about the most mis-used and misunderstood piece of equipment in mtb! There is, in my experience, a 100% positive correlation between massively undersprung suspension forks and people who use fork lockouts. A good suspension tune for having control and going fast on a short travel bike can and should be firm enough that using lockout isnít something you do unless you are sprinting up a paved hill with a clock running.

    Go to a local xc race and MARVEL at all the people running 40 percent sag on their Sids and 32ís.

  4. #84
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    Default Re: What mountain bike skills are you working on?

    Quote Originally Posted by suspectdevice View Post
    A modern trail bike without modern trails or a modern rider who is looking for progression ainít no fun, in fact it turns mountain biking into something ponderous and squishy and slow, a big unmanageable beast of a bike, YMMV, but no fun for me.
    I just rode my overforked S6 Stumpy Evo at Downieville because it's my one mountain bike and my god is that boring.

    Oh well. Its a pretty drive and the river is nice.
    Got some cash
    Bought some wheels
    Took it out
    'Cross the fields
    Lost Control
    Hit a wall
    But we're alright

  5. #85
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    Default Re: What mountain bike skills are you working on?

    Quote Originally Posted by chasea View Post
    I just rode my overforked S6 Stumpy Evo at Downieville because it's my one mountain bike and my god is that boring.

    Oh well. Its a pretty drive and the river is nice.
    Can I buy that off ya?
    Jason Babcock

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    Default Re: What mountain bike skills are you working on?

    Quote Originally Posted by chasea View Post
    I just rode my overforked S6 Stumpy Evo at Downieville because it's my one mountain bike and my god is that boring.

    Oh well. Its a pretty drive and the river is nice.
    The answer is "less brakes".

  7. #87
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    Default Re: What mountain bike skills are you working on?

    Quote Originally Posted by suspectdevice View Post
    ....

    Those same folks who can afford high end bikes certainly wouldn't let bike shop employees clean their teeth or file legal briefs for them- I don't understand why anyone thinks a local bike shop employee can help you setup your bike.
    In the same way that a person would assume a dentist know something about cleaning teeth, most people are going to assume that the bikes shop where they just spent $$$$ knows how to set-up the bike. Though I don't have a shop near me that I would assume they know how to properly set-up this up. But as a typical 'retro' woods rider I am sure I don't know how to properly set-up a modern dual suspension bike.

    If not a bike shop, where does someone go to get things set-up properly when they don't have access to someone with your background and expertise? (this is not snark - it is a real question)

    Is it as simple as following the manufacturers' instructions?

    Or find a shop that has one of these tools?
    Brian McLaughlin

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    Default Re: What mountain bike skills are you working on?

    Quote Originally Posted by suspectdevice View Post
    Suspension isn't for comfort though, it's for grip. If properly sprung suspension is uncomfortable, the rider is too weak. Why not just fix yourself instead of handicapping your bike?

    If your bike is constantly sitting low in the travel and wallowing around it's going to be more difficult to ride in a straight line, too.

    The cheaper a suspension unit, the MORE important it is to tune the correct spring rate and do everything you can to modify the spring curve to suit your needs(including cramming random objects inside your cheap Sram fork to reduce positive air volume), because the damping adjustments are useless on cheap stuff, in general "cheap stuff(units on bikes that retail for less than $4-5k)" needs to be run open, so pumping it up harder than "recommended" is literally the only tuning option you have. Softer is NEVER the solution for cheap forks or shocks, and supple free stroke is not the same thing as effective suspension.

    If you aren't running the right amount of sag front and rear, you will never find the right damper settings, and you'll be a passenger for the rest of your days!

    A shock pump is less than $30 and is literally the only tool someone needs to change the way their bike rides for the better.
    Riding an undersprung bike for "comfort" is silly. If you want comfort, go ride pavement, or an Ebike, since the added unsprung mass of the battery and motor does allow for better grip even with spring rates and damper settings that are way off.

    The amount of dentists and lawyers I see on plastic-fantastic bikes with top end suspension that is clearly not setup appropriately is astounding. In some markets, I would say the majority of premium medium to long travel bikes I see on the trail are visibly, painfully, poorly setup.

    Those same folks who can afford high end bikes certainly wouldn't let bike shop employees clean their teeth or file legal briefs for them- I don't understand why anyone thinks a local bike shop employee can help you setup your bike.
    Interesting comments. I am new to suspension fork tuning, but I am curious.

    How would you suggest I approach the air spring side of the fork?

    Air pressure is easy to do.

    One of my forks (mid range 140mm 2020 RS Pike) seems soft in the mid travel unless I put a lot of pressure in it. With a lot of pressure, the front tire is skipping on small bumps.

    I was thinking of adding another volume spacer, and playing with air pressure.

  9. #89
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    Default Re: What mountain bike skills are you working on?

    Quote Originally Posted by darkmother View Post
    Interesting comments. I am new to suspension fork tuning, but I am curious.

    How would you suggest I approach the air spring side of the fork?

    Air pressure is easy to do.

    One of my forks (mid range 140mm 2020 RS Pike) seems soft in the mid travel unless I put a lot of pressure in it. With a lot of pressure, the front tire is skipping on small bumps.

    I was thinking of adding another volume spacer, and playing with air pressure.
    You are definitely describing wanting to to experiment with volume reduction. That gets you more flutter off the top to smooth stuff but stays higher overall in the travel, especially under hard compressions.

    If you havenít cracked the fork open yet it probably has one volume spacer inside, or maybe none. Try adding 2 more spacers than what you have installed now. Itíll probably be too progressive- but then youíll know what that feels like and if you want to pull out a spacer, itís a 5 minute job.

    The general idea when messing with your suspension is toÖ always record your changes, and to take the time to do some a/b bracket testing. Try it firmer/harder/slower/etc, and then move back toward the previous settings.
    Only change one thing at a time to reduce tail-chasing.

    Chose some trail that is easy to get to from home or wherever you work on your bike, and that is easily repeatable. Tuning volume is pretty dang easy- and the documentation and consumer info is out there, jump in, itís fun!

  10. #90
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    Default Re: What mountain bike skills are you working on?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bewheels View Post
    In the same way that a person would assume a dentist know something about cleaning teeth, most people are going to assume that the bikes shop where they just spent $$$$ knows how to set-up the bike. Though I don't have a shop near me that I would assume they know how to properly set-up this up. But as a typical 'retro' woods rider I am sure I don't know how to properly set-up a modern dual suspension bike.

    If not a bike shop, where does someone go to get things set-up properly when they don't have access to someone with your background and expertise? (this is not snark - it is a real question)

    Is it as simple as following the manufacturers' instructions?

    Or find a shop that has one of these tools?
    I just tried the Shockwiz and if you don't know what you are doing it will probably help. My problem was that I borrowed it from the shop, injured myself bad enough I couldn't ride for almost 3 weeks and then when I finally was able to use it I was so deep in other projects that I couldn't take the time to really learn how to use it. The one ride I did it I wasn't in the red on anything so I reduced my fork pressure like it suggested and that was it. There were a bunch of other recommendations but my options right now are ride or screw with the settings. I don't have time for both. Especially since I'm known to mess things up.

    As a beginner with fork/shock setup I would say try what the manufacturer says and look at youtube vids for your fork. Then try things.

  11. #91
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    Default Re: What mountain bike skills are you working on?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bewheels View Post
    If not a bike shop, where does someone go to get things set-up properly when they don't have access to someone with your background and expertise? (this is not snark - it is a real question)

    Is it as simple as following the manufacturers' instructions?

    Or find a shop that has one of these tools?
    Brian,
    I think you are near Berkshire Bike and Blade- they have a bucketful of employees that are racing enduro now.
    Any shop that is staffed with people that are currently racing gravity disciplines will hopefully have someone who would be willing to go ride with you and then talk about setup changes, and what modern ideas are hooey for your locality.

    Itís pretty much impossible to tune suspension via message board- unless someone wants to start messing with their own gear and has the desire to learn themselves, riding with someone with a knack for helping people get set up is by far the best way to get some good settings quickly. A product like Shockwiz can give you some good feedback, but someone with experience and passion could also just set your bike up for you in a parking lot during a ride and youíd be just as happy. Shockwiz needs TONS of riding on it(including serious compression events) before it gives much feedback. Shops that bought them to rent mostly gave up because most customers donít see enough variation in shaft velocity or displacement for the software to do analysis.

    Many bike and suspension brands realize there is a lot of point of sale and end user education that needs to happen. Norco, for example, has very thorough setup guides for their bikes now that will get people into some pretty solid settings. Trek just has some dumb calculator you put your weight inÖ

    The approach my friends at Cane Creek are
    taking(loading the van with forks and shocks to put on peopleís personal bikes for demos) is what everyone should do- a pro-level racer who knows exactly how the product works because they spend time assembling it helps you find the right sag settings, then the right damper settings based on your spring weight, then goes riding with you to observe and supervise your a/b tests on the trail.

    Because the pilots are so much heavier than the machines you canít un-couple riding position from the suspension setup- so itís really best done with someone who has the gumption to help someone find optimal posture and weight distribution on a bike too.

  12. #92
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    Default Re: What mountain bike skills are you working on?

    Quote Originally Posted by suspectdevice View Post
    Itís pretty much impossible to tune suspension via message board...
    So true. With that caveat in place, it's worth noting the Shocks and Suspension forum at mtbr.com is very active. The noise to signal ratio can get out of whack on some threads but it's a good place to dig deep into the topic.

    Also, pretty much all of Jordi's video's are worth watching.




  13. #93
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    Default Re: What mountain bike skills are you working on?

    All my cornering practice is helping on the road too. Between improving and having switched the road bike to a shorter stem and 46cm bars I'm getting more pedal strikes than ever. It doesn't even feel like I'm turning so I keep on pedaling.

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