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  1. #1
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    What to do with my Totem?

    Ive got a 2009 Totem SA that I picked up on clearance a few years ago. I have the Mission control damper with Low+high speed compression and rebound but it isnt the DH damper (I guess it was just called RC2). I took the floodgate out too. My ride weight is about 245lbs.

    The Totem has never felt great since day 1. It seems to struggle in the initial stroke and getting proper sag. It sticks a lot with poor small bump sensitivity. The mid stroke then feels good, not great. But then I cant get the last 1 - 1.5 inches with out dropping the pressure ridiculously low.

    I recently upgraded my frame to The One with a CCDBA. The CCDBA puts my Totem to shame for XC to DH.

    These are my options as I see them:
    1) I can send it in to SRAM for full service (it needs it) and DH cartridge upgrade
    2) I sell it for cheap then buy a new 2013 model RC2DH
    3) Send it to Avy
    4) ?

    What should I do with my Totem?

    Thanks in advance!
    6'5" 230lbs
    My Build: Vitalmtb - Bike Check

  2. #2
    Flacko
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    send it to avy

  3. #3
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    either get a newer fork, 2013 model or avy it...

  4. #4
    Biking Like Crazy!
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    Never had good sensitivity with my Solo Air either, and it had the DH Mission damper. Sold it to a friend.
    I have an 2011 Totem coil with the regular Mission damper and it works better. I have to use the lighter spring than calls for my weight tho.
    You could try converting the SA to coil. I'm sure the Avy would make it better but the air piston stiction is most of the problem.
    Niner RIP9
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  5. #5
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    Either convert it to a coil or send it to avy. I have a 2010 coil on a Knolly DT and use that bike probably very similar to how you use your The One. It is going to be a little heavier with the coil but the difference in feel is great. Food for thought....

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the responses everyone! Im trying to avoid adding weight but coil sounds like the only option if I stick with a Totem. Conveniently Marz isnt making the 66 anymore (at least temporarily) or I would pick one of these up.

    In exploring all options, would anyone do XC/AM with a Boxxer WC or the new 40 Float? The impact on geo would be minuscule and they are only a little heavier than the Totem. Is there a noticeable difference in turn radius between the Boxxer and 40? Ive only ever been on Boxxers.
    6'5" 230lbs
    My Build: Vitalmtb - Bike Check

  7. #7
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    55 RC3 Ti @ 170mm. That will have you smiling for all type of riding and light as hell for a coil.

  8. #8
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    I had a Totem SA and felt like I really had to ride it hard to get it to open up for AM riding.
    Much prefered my Marz 66. I tried to run a totem coil for a bit, but it was DOA, had an oil migration problem.

    Just got my first ride on a new rig with a 888 - I can say the turn radius would be a problem!

    So, when I was in your shoes, I talked to craig @ avy - he said to:
    1. put a coil in it. there is no substitute for a coil if you are a bigger rider. air is inherently a trade-off between small bump and bottom out.
    2. if the coil didn't solve my problems, he'd custom tune it.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtnord View Post
    In exploring all options, would anyone do XC/AM with a Boxxer WC or the new 40 Float? The impact on geo would be minuscule and they are only a little heavier than the Totem. Is there a noticeable difference in turn radius between the Boxxer and 40? Ive only ever been on Boxxers.
    Based on what i understand XC/AM to be then no i wouldn't. I wouldnt ride a dual crown for anything but DH/Park.

  10. #10
    Huffy Rider
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    Coil+Avy cart. It won't matter what year the fork is if you go this route, you will have a much nicer set up that is custom valved for your weight.

  11. #11
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    How about servicing it. Have you ever had it rebuilt? I see forks that need to be serviced when they are brand new. Two weeks ago I rebuilt a brand new Fox 32 on day one because it felt terrible.

    You can spend $80-100 getting the fork serviced to see if it still is no good. I have the same Totem and really, really like it.

    Take it to your local suspension-friendly shop. If it's re-built, it'll be easier to sell if you go that route.

    Good luck. Let us know what you do.

    mk
    trailwerkssuspension.com

  12. #12
    Biking Like Crazy!
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailbildr View Post
    How about servicing it. Have you ever had it rebuilt? I see forks that need to be serviced when they are brand new. Two weeks ago I rebuilt a brand new Fox 32 on day one because it felt terrible.

    You can spend $80-100 getting the fork serviced to see if it still is no good. I have the same Totem and really, really like it.

    Take it to your local suspension-friendly shop. If it's re-built, it'll be easier to sell if you go that route.

    Good luck. Let us know what you do.

    mk
    Good advice trailbidr. But I think the OP's problem is his weight (no offense OP) and air suspension don't work well
    when you have to add a lot of air for proper sag, hence coil will work better. At least that's what I've told by Craig at Avy.
    You said you have good success with your SA. How much do you weigh if you don't mind me asking?
    Niner RIP9
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  13. #13
    usually cranky
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    avy all the way.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailbildr View Post
    How about servicing it. Have you ever had it rebuilt? I see forks that need to be serviced when they are brand new. Two weeks ago I rebuilt a brand new Fox 32 on day one because it felt terrible.

    You can spend $80-100 getting the fork serviced to see if it still is no good. I have the same Totem and really, really like it.

    Take it to your local suspension-friendly shop. If it's re-built, it'll be easier to sell if you go that route.

    Good luck. Let us know what you do.

    mk
    Ive changed the oil 2x and buttered it up but I do need a rebuild thats what triggered this dilemma. There are no shops around that are suspension friendly. The shop I favor will send it in for the rebuild but it will cost about $150. For that amount of money I dont know if it's worth it.

    Quote Originally Posted by iguanabartola View Post
    55 RC3 Ti @ 170mm. That will have you smiling for all type of riding and light as hell for a coil.
    Might consider it. How is the stiffness? Im quite heavy. Can I get it in 1.5 straight steerer? From the Marz website it doesnt look like an option.

    Quote Originally Posted by CharacterZero View Post
    I had a Totem SA and felt like I really had to ride it hard to get it to open up for AM riding.
    Much prefered my Marz 66. I tried to run a totem coil for a bit, but it was DOA, had an oil migration problem.

    Just got my first ride on a new rig with a 888 - I can say the turn radius would be a problem!

    So, when I was in your shoes, I talked to craig @ avy - he said to:
    1. put a coil in it. there is no substitute for a coil if you are a bigger rider. air is inherently a trade-off between small bump and bottom out.
    2. if the coil didn't solve my problems, he'd custom tune it.
    Yeah I wouldn't have to think about this if I could pick up a new 66 rc3 evo ti with 1.5 steer. Im not in a hurry to go with a coil conversion and add that much weight but not out of the question.

    Thanks for all the help guys!
    6'5" 230lbs
    My Build: Vitalmtb - Bike Check

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtnord View Post
    Yeah I wouldn't have to think about this if I could pick up a new 66 rc3 evo ti with 1.5 steer. Im not in a hurry to go with a coil conversion and add that much weight but not out of the question.

    Thanks for all the help guys!
    I know everyone has different preferences, but at 230lbs, you shouldn't use 1lb of weight difference to justify not running a coil, you are strong enough for it to not matter and heavy enough that you'll notice an immediate improvement in ride quality. It really is that simple.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by CharacterZero View Post
    I know everyone has different preferences, but at 230lbs, you shouldn't use 1lb of weight difference to justify not running a coil, you are strong enough for it to not matter and heavy enough that you'll notice an immediate improvement in ride quality. It really is that simple.
    I rode a 37lbs freeride bike with 36 spoke outlaws (2440g claimed weight) for XC for 1.5 years. It sucks. Ive spent a lot to get this new bike down to 34lbs even. So no, Im not in a hurry to add 1+lbs although it is most likely the route I go.
    6'5" 230lbs
    My Build: Vitalmtb - Bike Check

  17. #17
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    Where are you at? At 230, you are certainly pushing the design limits of products. A Totem is an xc fork for you, for sure. The change-over to coil isn't crazy expensive (I don't have it off-hand) and you can always go back if you don't like it.

    I get the feeling it's not the damper causing you drama, but the spring rate of the air spring in that fork. I've asked the boys what the delta is between the coil and air spring and will let you know when I hear back. If you aren't getting the last 1.5" of travel, it's hard to say what is causing that other than the spring. You could try lighter oil in the damper but I just don't see that really doing it for you.

    Keep us in the loop.

    mk
    trailwerkssuspension.com

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailbildr View Post
    Where are you at? At 230, you are certainly pushing the design limits of products...
    Actually he is 245lbs RTR

    I would echo the statements of others here. If you are in the 'I want my bike at light as I can' boat. Then you need to have the mentality of picking products that are as strong as you need, but also light. This brings back the "Strong-Light-Inexpensive...pick any two" truism. If you already broke the bank, that's fine. It just mean the upgrade will come in a few months when you save enough money. There are improvements with each year, some are cosmetic, but many are actual engineering improvements.

    My advice: think about what is the minimum strength range you need for a product. THEN look at the cost-no-object market. THEN fine a buddy, or local shop that has that item in stock, and test it. You will find that things feel different at your weight, flexy, or poorly damped etc. Don't limit yourself to 'I don't like x-product, they are jerks/bad CS etc'. I may not like the elitist attitude of Fox shox, but I think they make some of the best air shock products out there. Remember your basic physics, a 180mm fork with the same stantions will be more flexy than a 160mm fork. I have both Float 180 and Float 160, and am happy with both.

    I think you will be able to find a low weight fork that works for you. You may need to change oil viscosity from 5wt to 7.5wt or higher, or oil volume, or aftermarket damper/seals. But, again it will probably be "Strong-Light-Inexpensive...choose two".
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  19. #19
    Huffy Rider
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    You CANNOT change back from coil to air. Once you install the spring, it bangs around on the inside of the tube, scratching the surface, and the air piston will never seal again. At your weight, coil is the way to go. Think about it, I run my Totem air at 40PSI, the damper is under about 20lbs of pressure while it is working.....so right off the bat, my damper is having to work against the 40lbs of pressure from my air piston. Imagine how much more air you would have to run and how much that damper is fighting against the air pressure. With the coil, there is nothing under pressure. Good luck in your quest.

  20. #20
    RideDirt
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    Go coil , send it to Craig @ Avy , have him work the magic . The outcome is so worth it , im only like 190lbs now and i will ONLY ride coil ... I even did it during trail riding etc... Coil is the only way !

  21. #21
    Biking Like Crazy!
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    Hope

    Hey jtnord.
    One thing you could try is to shorten the air piston shaft to give you more air volume.
    It's a mod that is widely used on the Fox Floats to give them full travel and small bump sensitivety.
    Check out the thread on this forum for more info.

    Fox air forks - Modifying volume to get full travel?

    Just another thought.
    Niner RIP9
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  22. #22
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    Shrink wrap the coil to keep it from banging against the inside of the stanchions. That's your old hope of going back to air from coil.

    mk
    trailwerkssuspension.com

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtnord View Post
    I rode a 37lbs freeride bike with 36 spoke outlaws (2440g claimed weight) for XC for 1.5 years. It sucks. Ive spent a lot to get this new bike down to 34lbs even. So no, Im not in a hurry to add 1+lbs although it is most likely the route I go.
    I hear you, rode a 38lb Delirium for about 2 years, went back and forth between the Totem Solo Air and Marz 66. Rode it AM here in Austin, switched stem and wheels and took it to NM and CO for lift duty.
    I ended up splitting up the stable this year (Chilcotin and a Status) and am sure that having the appropriate tools will keep me happier...but I'd build a ONE in a heartbeat.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by blcman View Post
    Hey jtnord.
    One thing you could try is to shorten the air piston shaft to give you more air volume.
    It's a mod that is widely used on the Fox Floats to give them full travel and small bump sensitivety.
    Check out the thread on this forum for more info.

    Fox air forks - Modifying volume to get full travel?

    Just another thought.
    Hey thanks for the link! I found it interesting and learned a few things. Im not sure I can really use that mod with the Totem as it uses a different system. If there is a mod for the Totem beside removing the floodgate on the damper please let me know.


    Im going to try to take out a few ml of oil from the damper as Im pretty sure I'm slightly over. Im not sure this will make much of a difference though.
    6'5" 230lbs
    My Build: Vitalmtb - Bike Check

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by rdhfreethought View Post
    This brings back the "Strong-Light-Inexpensive...pick any two" truism.
    Strong + light. I never mentioned price other than to say Ive spent a lot to lighten my bike so I dont want to rush into a conversion that will add 1+lbs.

    I think a 180mm 36 might be too flexy for my liking and I want a 1.5 straight steerer if I go with a long travel single crown. Newer models dont seem to come with the 1.5 straight steer tube option.
    6'5" 230lbs
    My Build: Vitalmtb - Bike Check

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