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  1. #1
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    Use all of your travel?

    So I got a new Santa Cruz Solo. Pretty sweet bike so far. I have a 130 mm fork on it. However I only seem to use around 100 mm of the travel by looking at my o ring and I notice that top 30 mm stays dirty while the rest stays clean.
    I have only started paying attention to fork travel and stuff like this in the last year. Do I need to set my sag lower or does that final 30 mm only come into play when excessive pressures (ie going off a drop) are put on it?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by GnarBrahWyo View Post
    Do I need to set my sag lower or does that final 30 mm only come into play when excessive pressures (ie going off a drop) are put on it?
    Do you ride off drops? For whatever kind of riding you do, you should use enough pressure to use all of your travel, maybe once or twice on a ride, but you should NOT feel it ever "stop" at the end of travel. That means not enough pressure. It sounds like you need to lose a little pressure.
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  3. #3
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    Get fatter

  4. #4
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    ^ lol.

  5. #5
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    There's a few ways to look at things depending on how involved you want to get. First, and probably the easiest is to ask yourself if the feels good and if you're satisfied with how it's working. If it does and you are then there's no further need to tinker with it, it works and you're happy, so just go ride more and have fun.

    Or if you're not quite happy with things you can start going through the adjustments on the fork until it feels and/or performs better. Keep in mind that feel and performance may or may not be the same thing, a fork that feels better may not necessarily be faster on a timed run or perform better on jumps, bumps, and drops.

    And that's where it gets fun. Most people will tinker with the fork adjustments until it feels good, and that's usually good enough. If you're really going to get serious and squeeze out every last bit of performance from the fork you'll need to pick out various sections of trail which are representative of what you ride and carry out timed runs, and pick out a series of stunts or obstacles and see if you can clear them plus note how the fork performs on takeoffs & landings. Then go through the notes and find what setting(s) work best for the most things, or best for what you'll be riding the most.

  6. #6
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    Just kinda weird since I set sag properly. Set it to 25% exactly. Fork still seems real stiff. Could it be that way since it is brand new and not broken in yet?

  7. #7
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    What's the fork? Does it have some form of compression adjustment, and if so, is it maybe cranked up? Play with that and see what it does for you.

    Otherwise, yeah, sounds a bit soft. Really all depends on what and how you're riding though. Some days I'll end up using all my travel, some not.
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  8. #8
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    It is a 32 Float 27.5 CTD O/C 130 . I can't seem to get passed the 100 m travel I spoke about. I don't do any drops more than 2 feet and I am not a featherweight ride (190 lb). Bike is brand new and have only taken it out 4 times so I am still dialing it in.

  9. #9
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    Dump all the air. Measure your total travel so you know exactly what you have. Pump it back up but factor in more sag. I'm over 30% on my 32 Float. I have it set so I bottom at least once but as mentioned above, I'm not feeling the sudden stop. Mine performs well on the technical rocky terrain I frequent since I set it that way.

  10. #10
    Te mortuo heres tibi sim?
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    Quote Originally Posted by GnarBrahWyo View Post
    It is a 32 Float 27.5 CTD O/C 130 . I can't seem to get passed the 100 m travel I spoke about. I don't do any drops more than 2 feet and I am not a featherweight ride (190 lb). Bike is brand new and have only taken it out 4 times so I am still dialing it in.
    Gotcha. Do as Oh My Sack! suggested as well, just to be sure you actually have 130mm of free stanchion movement. Then go with less air pressure.

    Sag isn't a hard and fast rule - you don't HAVE to have it exactly 25% or whatever - go for what feels good with your riding instead. It may end up being more, may end up less.
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  11. #11
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    It seems to me 25% sag is pretty stiff. Maybe good for XC stuff but I ride a mix of AM and trail. Never hucking but a lot of 1-2 foot drops and chunky rock gardens. I will try that.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oh My Sack! View Post
    Dump all the air. Measure your total travel so you know exactly what you have. Pump it back up but factor in more sag. I'm over 30% on my 32 Float. I have it set so I bottom at least once but as mentioned above, I'm not feeling the sudden stop. Mine performs well on the technical rocky terrain I frequent since I set it that way.
    Also be sure to set your CTD knob to the "D" setting and turn you rebound damping knob to the fastest setting (least rebound damping) when you set sag.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Do you ride off drops? For whatever kind of riding you do, you should use enough pressure to use all of your travel, maybe once or twice on a ride, but you should NOT feel it ever "stop" at the end of travel. That means not enough pressure. It sounds like you need to lose a little pressure.
    I don't think this is totally true.
    I think it is OK for a shock/fork to bottom on occasion, but not necessary, depending on the fork/shock/suspension and the riding situation.

    Some forks, shocks (or rear suspensions) ramp up a lot at the end of stroke, and in order to use all the travel you would need to run way too much sag, or drop 4' to flat like a sack of cement. I don't think I will ever see the last 10mm of travel of my Marin Mt Vision unless I start hucking off my garage.

    I am a big believer in going with what feels good. If you have the shock/fork set to where it feels the best, don't worry if you are not using every mm of travel. If you are not bottoming, go ahead and try lowering the pressure, spring rate, compression damping, whatever, but if it does not feel right, don't go with it just because you use more travel.

    I have generally have my suspensions tuned so that they just bottom on the very biggest drops I might encounter. That means I might go many, many rides without using all my travel. I basically have to botch a landing nose first to use all the travel on my Float these days. Most rides I use 80-90% of it.

    The key to suspension isn't travel, its performance.
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  14. #14
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    I have heard people talking about "breaking in suspension" . Is that even a thing? Just curious what the physics are to that. Seems like suspension should remain pretty static over it's lifespane, unlike something such as a leather baseball glove.

  15. #15
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    Use all of your travel?

    Quote Originally Posted by moefosho View Post
    I don't think this is totally true.
    I think it is OK for a shock/fork to bottom on occasion, but not necessary, depending on the fork/shock/suspension and the riding situation.
    I think jayem said the thing you did.

    Quote Originally Posted by moefosho View Post
    I am a big believer in going with what feels good. If you have the shock/fork set to where it feels the best, don't worry if you are not using every mm of travel. If you are not bottoming, go ahead and try lowering the pressure, spring rate, compression damping, whatever, but if it does not feel right, don't go with it just because you use more travel.
    The only problem I have with the idea is that it takes experience to know what is "feel good". I've been to many bike clinics from beginners to intermediate at the beginning of every sessions it's always the bike setup, and the most common problem is rebound too slow. It feels great at set up but different story on the trail. Similar problems when I help set up the bikes for friends on the trail.

    Invest some time and money and take the reputable bike clinics in your area, it would be the best investment you make on the bike.





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    Last edited by mimi1885; 09-17-2013 at 07:46 PM.

  16. #16
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    The Trek website has a suspension setup and it only goes up to 20lbs below how much I weigh with gear and it suggests 100psi. I only use about 75% of my 100mm travel but I do not ride very hard. I feel like if I dropped the pressure I wouldn't rebound quick enough for the travel I DO use. Any thoughts>

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by moefosho View Post
    I don't think this is totally true.
    I think it is OK for a shock/fork to bottom on occasion, but not necessary, depending on the fork/shock/suspension and the riding situation.

    Some forks, shocks (or rear suspensions) ramp up a lot at the end of stroke, and in order to use all the travel you would need to run way too much sag, or drop 4' to flat like a sack of cement. I don't think I will ever see the last 10mm of travel of my Marin Mt Vision unless I start hucking off my garage.
    If it truly ramps up that much and you'd need to huck off a building to get ALL of the travel, it's effectively "bottoming" short of the published travel, which has happened on a few ill-designed bikes, but the effect would be the same. The reason to avoid this is that it wrecks the bike and the shock. The shock mounts are not intended to take that much stress and the shock has no more "give", so it's metal-on-metal.

    Some bikes and forks do not deliver the advertised travel.

    Some bikes and forks are malfunctioning or have a flaw that is preventing them from getting the travel (derailleur bumping into swingarm, manufacturers that used to measure "arc travel" and not vertical, forks that are hydrolocking because of a failed seal, forks that get too progressive, etc).

    The problem with "go with what feels good" is that it's a matter of perception and if you're a beginner or have ridden a rigid bike, any suspension bike is going to feel like a million bucks. We're trying to help the guy out, and the idea of using full travel on every ride is a general good one, even though in practice it may not happen on a very tame trail. Modern forks and shocks come with o-rings that make this fairly easy to figure out, although dust and mud-lines work just as well in my experience.

    I think it goes without saying that if he has to lower the fork to 50% of travel as sag just to get near 100% some of the time, something is wrong. It's either a flawed design or something that has failed. He might be able to make the most of it and deal with the consequences, but he'll at least have that knowledge for the next bike/part he buys. We're not talking about the last 10mm though, we're talking about 30mm. The difference is huge. I would never worry about the last 5 or 10mm if I'm not seeing that used on a regular basis. There's an internal bumper in air-shocks that is very difficult to compress, but it will compress given enough force. I think you may have taken this all too literally. Getting 100% travel means you should get close to the advertised travel for the riding where you want it to be performing at the maximum possible. That means within a few mm, but it's obviously not possible to get it right to 100%, because then the first time you hit something just a little bigger, you'll hard-bottom it, so practically, we are talking about just getting close to full travel. I was doing DH yesterday and big drops/doubles/jumps, etc. I made sure to reset my pressure before heading up the hill because I wanted it to be set at the psi that I know works for that terrain, so I could get close to the max travel without being in danger of hard-bottoming it. This gives me max control and allows me to safely descend at the speeds I want to. If I ride some other more mellow stuff, I may let some PSI out. I may not care enough to do so, so I'll realize I'm not getting the absolute 100% performance, but that's up to the rider and where he wants to see the performance.

    There is a dramatic difference in how a shock/fork will ride if you're never seeing the last 30mm of travel and set it up properly.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alias530 View Post
    The Trek website has a suspension setup and it only goes up to 20lbs below how much I weigh with gear and it suggests 100psi. I only use about 75% of my 100mm travel but I do not ride very hard. I feel like if I dropped the pressure I wouldn't rebound quick enough for the travel I DO use. Any thoughts>
    Do you have a rebound adjustment? You should be able to speed up or slow down the rebound in addition to adjusting the air pressure.

    Mine shows a turtle and a rabbit (small icons).

  19. #19
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    bottoming out your suspension is not good for either your shock or frame. there is a world of difference between using all your travel and bottoming out...


  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woozle View Post
    Do you have a rebound adjustment? You should be able to speed up or slow down the rebound in addition to adjusting the air pressure.

    Mine shows a turtle and a rabbit (small icons).
    Its already at the fastest setting as recommended by trek because of my weight

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alias530 View Post
    Its already at the fastest setting as recommended by trek because of my weight
    You may try these guys. I haven't used them however others have said good things.

    Push Industries - Home

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woozle View Post
    You may try these guys. I haven't used them however others have said good things.

    Push Industries - Home

    Interestingly enough I use 90% of my rear travel, its my front I was previously referring to.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by .WestCoastHucker. View Post
    bottoming out your suspension is not good for either your shock or frame. there is a world of difference between using all your travel and bottoming out...
    Which we covered multiple times already ?? Who were you responding to?
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  24. #24
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    c'mon now. you know that i know that you know your sh!t...

    i wasn't necessarily responding to anyone. every time one of these threads pops, lots of folk chime in about how bottoming out once a ride is ok. i just want to alleviate that if i can...


  25. #25
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    If you have not bottomed out in a while just let all the air out of your suspension, and hit a loading dock once or twice to get it all balanced out.

  26. #26
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    I am planning on having my LBS remove the 10 mm internal spacer on my 130 mm fork on my Solo so it will be 140. Santa Cruz says its totally cool to that without voiding any warranty or anything. I will ask my LBS about this when I take it in.

  27. #27
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    and I did remove all the air and pushed down and was able to get it to bottom out (well, just a small amount of gold stanchion left). I put air back in and I still can't through that last 30 mm of travel. I will keep tinkering and get back with you all.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by .WestCoastHucker. View Post
    c'mon now. you know that i know that you know your sh!t...

    i wasn't necessarily responding to anyone. every time one of these threads pops, lots of folk chime in about how bottoming out once a ride is ok. i just want to alleviate that if i can...
    Well then thanks, it IS a common misconception and people DO throw the term around without really thinking about the connotations of actually "bottoming". I know of several shocks/bikes that have been destroyed by even just slight "bottoming", not to mention the havoc it plays with linkage bolts and bushings. Using FULL TRAVEL is good, and we use the term "bottoming" to mean this, but any "hard" bottom is bad, so it's not a perfect term by any means. Usually when someone says "I bottomed it" we assume they hit the end, otherwise you wouldn't know for sure.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  29. #29
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    I am wondering if some bath oil is migrating to top of air piston. Bike is brand new though

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by GnarBrahWyo View Post
    and I did remove all the air and pushed down and was able to get it to bottom out (well, just a small amount of gold stanchion left). I put air back in and I still can't through that last 30 mm of travel. I will keep tinkering and get back with you all.
    Hmmm...this is getting interesting. Ok, what happens if you let all the air out then pump it up to 5-10psi? Can you still get over 100mm of travel by pushing down hard on the handlebars or is it still limited to under 100mm? If it's the latter, then something wonky is likely going on with your fork, chances are there's oil where it shouldn't be or too much oil somewhere.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by aerius View Post
    Hmmm...this is getting interesting. Ok, what happens if you let all the air out then pump it up to 5-10psi? Can you still get over 100mm of travel by pushing down hard on the handlebars or is it still limited to under 100mm? If it's the latter, then something wonky is likely going on with your fork, chances are there's oil where it shouldn't be or too much oil somewhere.
    That is a good idea and I will try that today after work. As I mentioned I am having my LBS remove the 10 mm spacer to extend the travel a bit so if something is wonky that would be the time for them to see it. Can leaving your bike on its side cause these issue to occur? Oil migrating to where it shouldn't, that is...

  32. #32
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    I have a brand new Kona Tanuki DL with Rock Shox Sektor 130mm front fork and I have noticed exactly the same thing, in fact I posted almost the same question in the "All Mountain" section of this forum.
    Basically I was only seeing 90mm from the front fork, even on the biggest hits.

    The rear suspension was working fine, occasionally delivering the full travel.

    I have today lowered the front fork air pressure further, just to see what happens. I would suggest you start with the recommended air pressure for your weight and then reduce the pressure by 10psi each time you go out for a ride, until you are happy with how the fork is performing.
    the recommended setting for my weight is 80psi, I am on 60psi and am finally getting over 100mm travel now.

    The static sag on the fork is still only about 30mm which is about right for a 130mm fork, so I will try it like this and see how the bike rides.

    You don't want the fork to be too soft or it will not ride so well.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by lotusdriver View Post
    I have a brand new Kona Tanuki DL with Rock Shox Sektor 130mm front fork and I have noticed exactly the same thing, in fact I posted almost the same question in the "All Mountain" section of this forum.
    Basically I was only seeing 90mm from the front fork, even on the biggest hits.

    The rear suspension was working fine, occasionally delivering the full travel.

    I have today lowered the front fork air pressure further, just to see what happens. I would suggest you start with the recommended air pressure for your weight and then reduce the pressure by 10psi each time you go out for a ride, until you are happy with how the fork is performing.
    the recommended setting for my weight is 80psi, I am on 60psi and am finally getting over 100mm travel now.

    The static sag on the fork is still only about 30mm which is about right for a 130mm fork, so I will try it like this and see how the bike rides.

    You don't want the fork to be too soft or it will not ride so well.
    Yeah I don't it to be too soft or it will ride bad for sure. Is there a break in time of these forks? I wonder if it has to do with the oil in it. As per suggestion a few posts above, I lowered the fork to like 20 psi and was able to get full travel by pushing as hard as I could down on the fork. It seems like these the last 30 mm are just really hard to get through!

  34. #34
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    Same with mine, following similar advice l let the air out and then the fork compressed easily to 130mm, proving that the travel is theoretically available.

    I suggest you lower the air pressure 10psi from what you were running, and try the bike out. If it is still not delivering enough travel, then reduce the pressure a further 10psi and try it again.

    There is no "right" setting only "recommended" settings, try various pressures until you are happy with the way it is performing.

  35. #35
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    break in periods are to wear in the seals and bushings so the fork performs without stiction. your fork will not gradually get more travel as you ride it more...


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