FS set up help plz
Bike: 21" airborne zeppelin elite w/ a fox float 32 (100mm) fork / rock shox bar 2.1 spring
Rider: 6'3" 280lbs
Went riding tonight with some more experienced riders all riding 29ers
They were just killing me. I have to carry a ton of speed to just keep up. Constantly spinning just to stay close. If I loose momentum on a hill they just crank easy and I'm done.
Is this the 29er advantage or the pedal Bob eating up my efficiency?
I'm regretting not going with a 29er and wanted to see if there is anything I can change.
I have sag set at about 25% on both ends but I'm still bobbing on hill climbs.
Would a better shock help with the bob?
I feel like I messed up buying this bike.
You're 280 lb. That's two of me at my favorite racing weight. You were riding with more experienced riders.
You could have been on a perfectly tuned wonderbike and they'd probably still have owned you. If you want to be faster on hills, you need to weigh less and develop more power.
The bike was probably not helping. Looks like the pivot's pretty high and it's a single-pivot suspension. But, you can't change that without replacing the whole bike. So let's look at a few things you can change.
First of all, is 25% really "your" sag? I ask because this is all about rider preference and if I'm looking at the right spec, your shock doesn't do compression damping of any kind. A bit more pressure will mean a bit less movement from pedaling. You'll probably need a bit more rebound damping too if you do that. I'm using a suspension fork that has air pressure and rebound damping only, so I've been using air pressure to tune out bob. While not ideal, I'm more content with it than I thought I'd be, coming from a more feature rich (but less durable) fork. Anyway, experiment with a bit more pressure. When you find too much... you'll know. Keep good records so you can re-find a setup you like and stay there in future.
Depending on the adjustments on your fork, maybe you can dial up compression damping. I don't know what damper you have. There are a lot of Fox Float models.
Now for the bigger but longer-term change. You. How often do you ride? Are you doing anything to control or limit calories?
The fork is a RLC. I can mess with it and keep it good.
My rear spring is the major issue on the bike. It's only adjustment is rebound.
I am riding at least 5-8 miles at least 3-4 times a week. More if I can sneak away from work. I've lost 20lbs in the last month so I'm dropping weight.
Just figured I would see if I had any options for stiffening up my suspension.
I can ride 5 miles in under fifteen minutes on the road and if I'm feeling really motivated.
There are trails where 5 miles takes me over an hour.
I find time to be my most useful way of measuring training load. It also generalizes well - I count a half hour of running as half an hour, even though I only go a few miles, and an hour and a half on the road as an hour and a half, even though I ride more miles than most of my MTB rides if I'm not training for something.
Regardless, adding some volume may help, depending on whether or not you feel like your fitness is improving. It sounds like you're already making progress. Change takes time, and if you aren't getting enough rest, more volume is actually counter-productive. So you may have already nailed the best balance for your current self.
A place where people sometimes leave watts on the table is technique. If you can't comfortably spin your pedals at 90 rpm when you're riding something boring, like a road or MUP, that would be a good thing to work on. You can practice that on your way to the more interesting parts of a ride. Keeping a good spin on a climb is very useful, as long as you can do it.
Ask one of your more experienced friends if your riding position looks right - a lot of riders insist on putting their saddle too low or too high at first. You can try climbing out of the saddle, but IME, FS bikes that don't have a lot of technology going on get mushy and weird when I get out of the saddle, so it might not be useful on your bike. I'm on a hardtail, so I get a bit more flexibility there.
Thanks a lot. I have one single trail loop I love riding and it's 5 miles and when I started riding it I was at 1hr20min and like 4 mph. Now I'm down to 50 minutes and 6.5mph. It's a good mix of nasty rocks and rolling singletrack.
Tonight I got my butt kicked by a fast group I did the harder trails hidden in my loop and the usual stuff. It was 8 miles and I was riding for 1hr 50mins.
So I certainly have a trail that can grow as I get my legs built and get better lines.
Just seeing if a better spring is out there that might fix the bob. I'll crank up my pressure and see if that will get me anywhere.
Thanks a lot for all your help
There are no hard rules for sag. Try stiffening one or both ends. You don't need to run the same sag front and rear.
Originally Posted by jkidd_39
That high/forward main pivot design should be decent at not bobbing if you have a decent pedal stroke. You will still get some, but it is certainly not what is holding you back.
You can certainly try stiffening up one end or the other. 25% is not set in stone, it's just a starting point. Some rear suspension designs require you to keep the sag within a small specified range, but yours is not one of them.
How much of your travel are you using during your rides? Do you have any drops over 12" on these rides?
As a general rule, if people are dropping you on rides, and you have anything close to the right equipment (which you do), it is not the suspension causing this. It's you, not the bike. It sounds like you are already addressing that by riding 3-4 times a week :thumbsup:
Yes, a better shock will make a difference in how the bike rides. 29" Wheels also have certain advantages. But neither of these things is going to make you noticeably faster at this point.
I am using about 2/3 of my front fork's travel and 95% of my rear shock. There are a few home-brewed jumps that I get 1-2ft of air on. But as far as drops 6-8 is max. This trail is more so a lot of nasty rocky medium speed flowing trails. With some fun creek drops mixed in here and there.
Originally Posted by kapusta
I figured my issue was rider skill/fitness more than suspension set up. But it seems like the rear spring has gotten worse since I switch from a tora 289 coil fork to the fox air fork. I think my weight was just bottoming the fork most of the time. Now that I have a fork that can hold my weight it's transferring that energy to the rear spring.
This idea makes sense in my head. Please correct me if I'm way off.
I will be sol on trying anything for a few days. It appears my oil seals are on the way out on my fox. But I think putting more air in my shock and turning up my rebound might help a bit.
Thanks again for all the help guys
i have to agree with everyone about it not being the bike. I have the zeppelin elite and i haven't had any problems climbing with it. Now, it doesn't climb as good as my Trek hardtail but f/s bikes don't normally climb as good as a hardtail. Are you sure your climbing/riding in the right gear?
also how much pressure are you running on the bar 2.1?
I think I'm in the right gear. But just incase... What is the right gear? I'm trying to keep 60-70 cranks a min. So whatever gear allows me to do that.
Originally Posted by CaTiRo
I am at 190psi right now. Up from 160. Seems to give me a little less bobbing when climbing.
What's the Max psi on these shocks??
Its not 29ers trust me. I ride a 26 and stay up or pass my buddies on 29ers, especially in windy trails.
They just have more seat time. Don't worry you will get there!
To be honest your thinking about crap to much just go out there and ride! Every ride push yourself!
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the manual states, not to use air pressure outside the 100 to 300 psi range. I would think 190 is too low for your weight. just take your pump with you and play around with the pressure until it feels right.
I am pushing myself. That's no problem. Just not used to FS. I'll crank the shock up and see where she goes from there.
Originally Posted by EmbraceTheHate
Thank you all for the help guys
Ya I took my new fs on its maiden voyage last weekend I had to get used to the bob. But honestly mine wasn't bad at all, never used the pro pedal feature.
Originally Posted by jkidd_39
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Most experienced cyclists in clipless shoes hit their best efficiency around 90 rpm. Here's an article that goes a bit more in depth and links to some real studies, if you want to go that far.
Originally Posted by jkidd_39
Technique - Pedal Like A Pro - BikeRadar
While the study notes (and I'm sure we've all observed) that people tend to ride at a lower cadence while climbing, I think it's better to stay at a nice, high cadence. Something to keep in mind is that running out of low gears is often a factor. I find it can feel very odd to back all the way down to a gear and power output that I can sustain at high cadence during a climb, but it's also kind of refreshing to realize that nobody's holding a gun to my head and making me work at a certain rate. And it's kind of fun to power past people who are showing their level of effort by spinning. :D (Even if I feel like I'm dying. :p ) On a mountain bike, higher cadence tends to mean a smoother pedal stroke, at least until it doesn't, and more even power delivery. That's good for keeping traction, and as long as you don't have too much range of motion on your pedals to usefully lift your front wheel, it's win-win.
It sounds like you're already using a cycling computer with cadence. So, when you're JRA - on your way to your loop, or if there are some service roads or something that are part of it - try pedaling 10 rpm higher than is comfortable for you for a while. Practicing that should help raise your self-selected cadence over time, so you won't have to think about it when you're doing something that demands your attention.
I am not using a computer. I just kinda keep track in my head. 60 seconds in a minutes. So I just think about one stroke per sec. It's kind of a guesstimate really.
I am using flat pedals and having trouble with my foot placement. I keep getting my foot in a spot that doesn't feel ideal for my spinning so that slows me down having to adjust.
I just found a pair of sidi's for cheap so I'm prob gonna try clip less and see if this helps me any.
I think there are a few issues I am having but I'm trying to work thru them.
I guess I'll list them for anyone reading along.
1) rear shock set up
2) climbing power/cadence
3) foot placement
4) seat height
I think all these are easy things to fix just have to put in the time and miles and I'll get them sorted.
In reference to shifting gears, when riding some loopy singletrack I like to shift up and lower my cadence but really push my speed up to rally thru the fun curves. Brings me back to my sport bike racing days, although much slower and less armored. Should I be focusing on faster cadence/lighter gears verses slower pedaling/heavier gears??
Thanks fellas. Can't wait to get back on the trails and try out some new styles
High cadence is just a tool. Bombing around in rolling singletrack, on the other hand, is the whole point. At least, that's one of my favorite things. :)
Experiment with different cadences and see what works. I don't like to be in too low a gear when I'm riding a lot of curves. I like to be in a high enough gear to be able to give the pedals a good shove when I start pedaling again after each turn. To my mind, when you're in this sort of trail, you should just ride with whatever cadence is comfortable for you. The point of practicing higher cadences on the boring stuff is to teach yourself a new tool. You should naturally gravitate toward your own best cadence when you're not paying attention to it, as long as you're not forcing some kind of a misconception on yourself.
So I'd say when you're on the boring stuff, work on learning to spin a light gear. When you're on the fun stuff, play with cadence if you like, but emphasize having fun and don't stress out about gear selection too much.
I don't use a cadence computer myself, so I'm hesitant to tell you to. I know a bit about my cadence range because sometimes I count it when I'm on the trainer. I count the number of times my right knee comes up in fifteen seconds and multiply by four. It's relatively accurate and doesn't get too messed up by using cadences that aren't clean-ish multiples of 60. Although, I'm actually planning to start recording cadence again. There are also web sites that can back-calculate it from your wheel size, speed and gear selection. Here's one I like.
While I'm at it, here's an article on bike setup I like.
How to Fit a Bicycle
I think most mountain bikers would be happiest being a little more conservative than he suggests about handlebar placement. At least if you do it on the road.
All right I'll' bite and talk about the shock since Andrew has the technique covered.
I have a Bar 2.1 and will agree it is the lowest air sprung rung of the RS latter. I have a low pivot fux-bar type suspension so my setup likely will not match the zeppline but I will give my standard setup as a point of reference. To prevent bottoming on trails without jumps or drops I run 200psi to 205psi and I weigh 215lbs with gear. To get any rebound damping mine is set to full turtle. For trails with some air I will run the shock at 210". You might get some improvement by going with a higher pressure and experimenting with pressure is free. As to if there is a better shock; Yes almost every RS and Fox shock is better than the Bar. Will they make you faster; A little. Is it worth a couple hundred to find out; that's your call. I know I was slightly faster on a $10K S-works demo bike than I am on my $700 mongoose but will stick with the goose.
Don't beat yourself up over not keeping up with a fast group of riders.
Ask yourself, how many years have these guys been riding?
Now ask yourself, how many years have you been riding?
You gain speed on a bike by riding based on months and years, now how many times you ride in the last month. It's more of a long term strength/fitness/technique thing than it is something else.
I'm afraid you are going to try to do too much all at once (clipless, suspension changes, etc) all in hopes of riding with guys who have 10 years of riding as a fitness/strength base.
You will only get more frustrated as you make these changes and find you still can't keep up with them, and (as an inexperienced mechanic/tuner) you may end up making your bike slower/more uncomfortable/generally screwed up by changing many things in a short time period.
Be careful with what you are doing.
Originally Posted by faceplant72
Those guys have been riding 10yrs+. I know I'm not gonna keep up. It's a great motivating thing for me to get my @ss kicked. Pushes me to really go out day after day and grind.
Originally Posted by Garasaki
There are a few things that discourage me. Like I really should have went with a 29er. I regret it but I wanted to ride. But this pushes me to push myself and use my disadvantages as something to drive myself. But I'm also coming from a trackday/road racing background. I know that your ability is 90% between the ears. I went riding twice this weekend with a friend that's very slow so I pushed myself thru parts that challenge me and slow up on the easy stuff so he could catch up.
And the biggest plus of all is I have two discs protruding in my lower back. Everyday starts with Advil or aleve. This week is the first week in longer than I care to remember where I woke up and started my day without. My core strength is increasing. My stamina is up. I could not be happier about this.
I even gave my bike a bath to show my love for it. Although the gf was pissed I washed it in the shower. It was like 28 degrees outside. F that jazz.
I'm picking up pedals and sidi's for $50 and I'll go slow on any changes I do on my suspension. You only change on thing at a time otherwise your screwed.
Why do you insist on 29er just curious? To me they are like steering a monster truck thru a city.
If you did like it that much better sell the Zeppelin and get a giant anthem. My 2 buddies have anthems and they are nice.
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I've ridden a trek marlin, an airborne goblin, a turner burner and a carbon stumpjumper FSR elite (which shouldn't count since its a $9500 rig). All in 29 trim.
Originally Posted by EmbraceTheHate
I feel much faster, and nimble on a 29er. I think the zeppelin is a tad bit small for me. I sit in it, where the others I sit on it. I love the lower rolling resistance and seems to fit my style of riding. And maybe my local trails.
I'm thinking of selling my zeppelin and trying airborne's new hobgoblin.
I think it's a want what you cant have thing to some extent. Or maybe I just feel the desire to have a stable of bikes.
If someone made me an offer on my zep I'd prob sell it but I'm at the point where my fitness level is nowhere near my bike ability so until I am overriding my bike I don't think I'll upgrade.
I actually like 29ers a lot. But I don't think it makes that much of a difference.
I bought my current mountain bike, a Specialized Hardrock Comp, on a bit of a whim in 2007. I was living in Manhattan and didn't expect to ride much, but thought it would be a fun thing to do with my girlfriend at the time, who was kind of annoying to ride with on the road. While that relationship didn't last, it rekindled my love of mountain biking. 2009 hit me pretty hard, and while my life is back on the rails now, I haven't been in a place where I've been comfortable buying a new bike, despite starting to compete when I had lots of time on my hands and nothing to do but train.
The point of this backstory is that I do a fair amount of racing in a couple of different disciplines. It's fairly easy to show on paper that once the equipment is reliable and correctly set up, it "shouldn't" make a difference to throw more money at it. I have to say that I still get a kick out showing my cheap and aging aluminum (or steel, depending on the discipline I'm racing) seatstays to guys who'll spend as much on their race bikes as I did on my last car. And, I may spend that much on my next race bike. I'll be buying myself something nice as a first paycheck present after I finish this latest degree. :D But if it was that important, I wouldn't be able to hang in the classes I race. I'll buy that it makes a difference, but fitness can account for hours and minutes, while the bike is really only good for seconds or minutes, depending on course length. They can be very important to someone who finishes top ten - maybe that's the difference between 6th and standing next to the podium, or the extra little bit it takes to get by the other fastest guy in a finishing sprint, but that's not what you're doing right now.
Keep this bike. Get it really dialed. You've already taken the biggest hit to its resale. If that Fox fork was aftermarket, you've already taken a bit hit there. Maybe this is not going to be the right bike for you in a year. That's fine. Your chances aren't much better if you replace it now, IMO (and from seeing friends do this.) Get it dialed in for you. Really dialed - like moving the saddle or the grips 5 mm in any direction will have an effect and you won't like it, and you know your suspension pressures to +/- 5%. One of the biggest values you can get from a first mountain bike is knowing what you really want in a second mountain bike.
EDIT: FWIW, lately when I demo a wonderbike, I miss having "my" setup. I want my tires, "my" riding position, my bar ends, my saddle. I can't tell the difference between a Deore/LX/SLX drivetrain and an XTR drivetrain and I miss my drivetrain when I ride SRAM. About the only place where I give up much to a wonderbike is suspension and what the little numbers are if I put either bike on a scale. Although, 29ers do feel smoother. :) I don't clock a faster time on a familiar course on one, though.
this thread has a lot of good advice. if you are completely unhappy with the bike, sell it and use the funds towards the bike you want. if you still have the tora's, you could put them back on and sell the bike in its stock form.
I'm not unhappy. Just wish I woulda trusted my gut and went 29er instead of watching my wallet. Heck if the hobgoblin was an option then I woulda bought that.
Originally Posted by CaTiRo
I am just using the experiences of others to help fill in the blanks. I use all advice given subjectively.
If I didn't sell off my zeppelin after demoing a full carbon $9500 stumpjumper fsr then I'll stick with this guy.
I'll ride all winter and put in my time. Prob keep my eyes open for a RP23 fox shock and go from there.
If anything I might buy a hobgoblin frame and build it over the winter and it will be totally what I want, as funds allow. This bike is everything I had hoped it would be.