Suspension Setup article!
Posting this as its about as good a explanation on suspension setup thats served me well over the years and may actually carry more weight for some.
I just see this so often out on the trail injury and crash causes and read so much mis information so this article has great tips on setting sag correctly, balance for rebound front and rear as well as sag and tuning from base eg no lazy adj with compression still on etc.
I will add another wee trick I just tried after my last ride was to bleed air from my forks by using a zip tie, Ive tried not to make too many adj of late and everything felt pretty good but my last ride felt a little harsh, may have been conditions, really really dry lately and that makes some sticky suspension, even though Im anal about cleaning my bike and components down after every ride.
Slide a small zip tie in between the fork seal and push down gently on fork get that sucker in they're and bleed any air build up, this affects air forks more, one benefit of coil is more set and forget, but air can still build up in those over time as well, not as much a problem as say moto but still they're especially if you're slack in serving your lowers regularly.
Anyway needless to say my fork felt quite a bit better.
Important to keep a diary of your suspension setups as well and how it felt.
Anyway great article again, even knowing it all it can really bring ya back to good basics, ya never to good.
Just as a base currently I run 35% rear sag in my shock and 25% sag up front.
Good luck and enjoy.
Thats a good calm article Mav. Nice
The zip tie trick I first heard about from BOS btw lol.
Def not new, but many people just don't know, if it helps one person then job done.
Originally Posted by nzl62
Sometimes simple things help more than a hefty credit card bill even when we have the knowledge or been around along time, sometimes thats worse than being a newbie, I just regularly see setups that make me cringe and they have no idea, most common in the que for the shuttle, you know where I mean and stuff I read on mtbr at times.
While simple and pretty straight forward, still the most misunderstood subject vs $$ to buy better performance, along with tires.
What that article is missing (or I just missed it) is the bit about suspension setup is not one size fits all. I tweak mine a little based on the trail I'm on. Not huge changes, but enough to make a difference. EX: slowing rebound 1-2 clicks if I am going to be pedaling through lots of technical stuff.
Your zip-tie method is good. I usually do it by removing the lower leg bolts and burping it that way, but the zip-tie is a way easier method. I'll be doing it via zip-tie from now on.
You only need to burp with the zip tie if you make a big elevation change, so shuttle runs its a mandatory, if you stay at the same elevation level most of the time its not necessary but not a bad idea once in awhile. When we do Downieville shuttles I always burp peoples forks for em, you would be amazed at how much air comes out.
I run about 25% sag up front and %30 out rear
I don't agree with the article about faster riders using slower rebound, I've noticed the opposite. I usually see slow guys running almost no rebound and no compression. intermediate riders run too slow of rebound and some compression, and ultra fast riders run a lot of compression and keep the rebound to a miniumum, running it fairly fast. But then again seems like there are so many people who run funny setups there almost is no normal, lol.
Overall that article is a pretty sound generalization for people to follow, good read
I know that when troy joined sam hill he said he slowed down the rebound and increased his compression, now that said really rebound is completely track dependent and spring rate dependent.
if you run less compression you will adjust rebound accordingly, if you run more compression you will find the rebound is still similar because as you move deeper into the travel the rebound is automatically increases due to the spring rate, really compression should have no bearing on rebound, you always want to achieve no packing down and no kick back so its always going to be track and rider dependent. Now many people subscribe to the as fast as you can without kicking but i do wonder if maybe as slow as you can without packing is a better method.
I think the article is a great source for most riders who don't want to know all the ins and outs but there are some key advanced explanations that would be good to have too.
That article is a good read. I'm still getting my head around how to set up my suspension properly. I've set the sag, but I'm trying to get the rebound right. I guess it is just a case of experimenting until I get the sweet spot.
I'm new to full suspension, as I have ridden a hardtail for 22 years
Arthur is an incredible mind when it comes to suspension setup. FTR when he set up my Mojo is was pretty close to half way on the rebound (9 in on the fox 34). A little quicker on the rear. He is also an advocate of moar air pressure for the fox 34 CTD and running it in Descend (I'm 180lbs and in running 105psi). At slow speed it definitely feels firm, but when charging hard, especially around here, excellent wheel control, and no sudden surprises. Sits high in the travel and gives me really good support to push off of.
I ride with him often, and well he's bloody amazing. He rides a TRc with a fox 32 (yes32) on the North Shore tech gnar faster than 95% of the DHr's here. He's like Yoda of shore riding.
What I have learned about rebound over the years is that as softer spring rate often needs more rebound damping. A firmer spring rate often needs more rebound damping. Huh? How is that? Well the relationship between rebound and spring rate is not linear - it is more like a U shape. If you go deeper into the travel then you will need more control to avoid pogoing. If you run your bike firm you will need more rebound damping to counter increased spring force.
The comments about what fast riders do with regard to rebound is generally pretty accurate but there are exceptions.
Take an article in Dirt some years back when the Athertons and Cedric Gracia were on Commencal. Dan and Gee could not ride CG's bike and I think the reverse was also true.
With regard to setup being track specific- to a point. Steve Peat has been known to not touch the bike at all once dialed whilst Voullioz had changes based on data logging etc.
I have personally found that a good setup on my bike is just that and I need to avoid the urge to tinker. It is also important to note that a good setup will be fine for 90% of the trail. Don't fiddle for the 10% at the expense of the majority.
The other point that is made is the mistakes in understanding high speed and low speed compression and the forces that affect each. Big mistake I have made is thinking that jump landings are high speed comp moments, they more often than not are low speed due to the fact that you are going through most of the shaft length.
I have also found with my Vector Air HLR that you really can't use one without the other, in fact you can cause spiking if you use only LSC and no HSC - theres a diagram in on of the posts in the suspension forum.
I have also found it is easy to mistake too fast rebound for too much HSC and vice versa
The faster I go the firmer I have my compression and the more rebound damping I find I need. This makes sense as there is much greater force needing to be absorbed.
In my experince, the better, faster the rider I have met, the slower and stiffer their setup
For pretty much everyone here the article is pretty sound - good find Mav
I should also add, that just as I think I have got it all sorted then I realize I know stuff all!
It is incredibly useful to write down settings accurately and have a base setup to go back to. EG the BOS Deville base setup is pretty darn good, and I know that if I go back there then increase the rebound damping 3-5 click I am pretty good
The faster you go the more chatter there will be and the more the suspension will pack up. So you need less rebound so it can recover and keep you floating over the top of the terrain. Everything has to be within reason. There's always a Window of what's right. When I say fat rebound I don't mean"no"rebound, lol
likewise when I say more rebound I am most def not saying to the point of packing up
You just missed it, it dosent say or state how much or pigeon hole people, but theyre is a balance that most people miss that is the point of proper setup, of course you run what suits your bike, shocks forks etc every damper and most are shite run the way that suits them to perform the way you ride, but the balance and percentage of sag and speed of rebound front to rear regardless of how fast you like it is the same for everyone, how many clicks you run is irrelevant.
Originally Posted by d-bug
However re garding rebound speeds since that riles most here!
Most run fast rebohnds for a number of reasons.
1: Poor damper! Requires faster rebounds so shock fork does not pack up and you end up trying to turn a poor damper the muppet tune for most
of the market I call it, to run high in stroke yet still be soft off the top but be supportive the harder you ride and have control on big hits, dam hard with some of the poop offerings weve had in recent times.
2: Poor techinque, after proper setup and balance, then poor technique of the rider, just lack of timming, unloading and loading ability and general base skills. People rely too much on rebound to throw themselves over stuff, fine on the smooth shite I see allot of riders on
refer to point 1
3: People just dont know better which is why I posted this, it wasnt for the more technical savy riders in here, though im sure theyres more improvement that could be had if open to get out of the rut and understand it.
plus add point 1
I include myself in that.
Read some other comments below!
I don't know what "fast" or "slow" means to you but I think its funny how you say we're "in a rut" lmao. You my friend are in the rut, if you think slower is always better. Maybe you observe some people who don't know how to ride at all and you bounce on their bikes and they feel like crap, but thats not me. I'm running top notch suspension components, well serviced, setup correctly. When you hit stuff fast, you can't have slow rebound. I don't know how your trails are, but ours aren't buffed out flow trails with smooth jumps. They are fast gnar with lots of natural terrain, and not everything is man made and built to be flowed. And speaking of weighting the bike and riding correctly. It takes a more skilled rider to hit jumps at speed with faster rebound. But you will go faster if you do. Its a bandaid to slow down the rear suspension when jumping because you can not keep weight on the pedals and let the bike up into you fast enough. I'm not the pro rider, but I have a decent understanding of the correct ways to do things.
Originally Posted by Maverick005
Again this is all speaking within a window of whats acceptable, setups that are all way off like a pogo or a sticky turd are not what we're talking about. I'm talking within 2-3 clicks (max) either direction on a neutral setup. (not too fast, not too slow)
No total misconception, yes fast riders can often ride fast setups that does not mean thats right, or they are as fast or in control as they could be, some xould be down to bike design add damler with that, its what the old saying ya dont know what ya dont know then add poor dampers in the mix and its no wonder people end up with wack setups.
Originally Posted by Yody
I no longer as fast rider by any means, but Ive coached riders many fadter than me on a DH track and made them significantly faster, I always work on setup first basing it around that rider, not myself, ususally stiffening and slowing things down and the improvements have been significant, I certainely dont know everything though, why I like MTB it challenges you as things improve, dont get caught on semantics, its a variable guide line but the formula is always the same. Just as it is for calculating sag, its about balance of all said variables.
Ive also ridden pros bikes in DH and I get to ride some pretty good setups, I've always been surprised how stiff and how slow these setups usually are, and im talking national champions and multiple national champions, read any good suspension maker of the top end not mass produced shite and they will tell you the same thing!
A very good example of this is BOS suspension (5th Element shocks were anlther back in the day far ahead lf anything else, though still shite) and I include XFusion close behind this, read anything from BOS about rebound speeds, on the trail they dont pack up yet in the carpark test you'd swear it was so slow its a turtle not a jack rabbit, yet on the trail it just gets on with it, thats how my experience has been with my XF Veng and Vector on the HD!
Recently I got a play on a Deville and again it was very slow in the carpark test, then I got to play with 5 different Pikes on todays ride the comparison using the carpark test the BOS was as slow as Ive ever felt almost felt like it would come back to full travel.
Every Pike I had a quick play with felt like a ruddy fast pogo stick so much so I have doubts about it, theyre rears were too stiff stink bug setups, but then I refer back to my above points of lack of setup knowledge, 3 of the 5 riders were on 10k plus bikes full Enve M6s full XTR bling and could barley ride a bike, literally Im not exagerating, still other too I know the riders and was surprised and commented to them how fast theyre rebounds were, way too fast in rear as well, VPP bikes urgh lol, fast XC style riders, but I would kill them in technical single track, jumps drops or where technique was important as well as good bike setup.
Now this is a touchy subject because what you may perceive as me saying slow may or may not be slow, I havent rideen your bike seen you ride so I have no idea how fast is fast for you and differnt dampers as ive said are no comparison, hence why no where have I said or has the article said you should be either side of middle setting for a fast setup or slow setup, what it said was the front should be faster than the rear, more sag in the rear than the front, tunning is from theyre to the individual.
Its a fine balance between, too slow packing up or too fast, if too fast pretty simple to diagnose, you wont use full travel let alone skip the terrain, boucning off everthing out of control, skipping stuff is done by good rider technique nlt fast rebounds! Usually a laxk of timming and inability to load and unload your suspension which is technically harder the faster you ride, less time to implement, add again refer poor dampers or lack of basic knowlegde.
Ive experimented on my XFusion at all extremes of rebound and compression and run those settings enough to know what works best now for those dampers for me, my balance front and rear is spot on woth this artocle, btw this guy who wrote that artcile will know more about suspension than all of us together and then some.
My XF is very close to the BOS up front still give the BOS the edge on pure dampening quality stiffenss like NZL62 to XF Veng, the XF is critical on the rear, too fast in the rear in an XFusion damper and not only will you have your ball sack wacked constantly on an HDR/HD but it will be a harsh uncontrolled slow dangerous ride, the shock Vector anyway when setup correctly does not need a rebound crutch, same with the fork they are very well damped throughout the stroke but easily to over work them as each adj makes a sig difference if all added at once, simple to set but hard to setup if so used to a Fox or older RS, another plus dor the BOS limited adj as eaxh click makes a good difference, again due to a superior damper.
At the end of the day as dbug was alluding to theyre are allot of variables but the formula is the same, adjust for the bike design, damper quality or model of shock fork, rider style and conditions, but a good rider wont need to change for every condition if a good balance is struck and the formula balance front to rear is the critical aspect not how many clicks makes you so fast.
If comparing a WC racer they need every adavange which is very small at that level between 10th and 1st, they have the best dampers and tuners not us hacks so dont compare better riders unless they are lf that level, I bet I could take most people here down one of our techincal trails on the HD and them on theyre HDR HD using the analogy better riders can run fast rebounds and they wont stay on thier bikes I promise you!
Id be interested to know Brian Lopes settings and Anne Cs settings!
Also note another varible though basic, but also along Dbugs lines for a given spring rate then rebound speeds need to be adjusted accordingly so saying faster top riders have faster rebounds is also again a moot point, higher spring rate or stiffer setup the slower the rebound is, and faster better riders usually have very stiff setups, so that does not fly.
Lighter riders, softer spring rates need a faster rebound again this is relative to the quality or lack of in the damper!
I posted this article to help people under 2 things not the string thory of relaitivity but jnder balance front and rear, proper sag and how to work that out, balance of rebound front and rear regardless how fast or slow you wan to run it.
If Im labeled a slow rider due to slow rebound then so be it, as with so much of mtbr people like to turn helpful info into a storm and people lose the point which was meant to help them improve theyre riding, you cant make people drink you only lead them to water and them its up to you!
Anyway dam response is nearly longer than the article
Happy trails people.
Think I had my fastest ride of 2014 today, bike was accelrating like a rocket, had so much more in the tank yet totaly control, braaap.
Originally Posted by Yody
Maybe you should read properly, one the article which for someone with your knowledge and expertise was not the intention, meaning this was to help those that regualry post about suspenion setup, I get PM"d allot And get asked this question and happy to help, the article shared to help people get base settings and balance right, not how many clicks of rebound or compression you need! we are reading off the same song sheet and you are acting all insecure!
If you are a better rider than me and think you are all that good on you enjoy it no one who knows me has riden with me would ever say I like to ride smooth trails cheers for that gave me a good laugh anyway.
Read propely and try not to read to much into it
Who cares who's better. Its all relative. We're riding bikes in the woods to put a smile on our face. I don't enter racers and I'd rather ride with friends than be in competition. And nowhere did I make any reference to how fast of a rider you are, speed is relative, skill level and control are what matters.
"3: it wasnt for the more technical savy riders in here, though im sure theyres more improvement that could be had if open to get out of the rut and understand it."
I'm posting in this thread so I'm taking it as directed towards me. I think its good to help out average joes with their rebound fast to the moon, and slow it down and help them out. I've seen you in the past recommending slower rear rebound and I don't necessarily agree with that for everyone. I'm showing the other side of things, keeping the info posted here more well balanced. Slower can be okay but you can't say that if I'm not signing up for your slower is better method that I'm in a rut and I maybe I'd see the light if I just tried it out your way (which I have). If you are qualified enough to give everyone such advice I think you'd recognize the need for faster rebound for some people. The fact that you do not is what makes me logically figure you must ride smooth flowy jump trails. No idea if thats correct or not but its all I could come up with because I feel from your readings you must be a pretty good rider, its the only scenario I could think of. OR we're all riding similar setup or setups that are good and we are arguing for no good reason because trying to explain in words the action of the shock is near impossible! lol.
I don't think the article was bad in anyway, was just discussing one point they make in it for us to talk about. I think its a great starting point for people to start learning their suspensions. So many guys out there who just ride and don't really mess with their bikes and they are set up so far from whats a good starting point. I do agree with you on that for sure.
I too would like to see how Brian's bike is setup, no idea if he's much of a bike setup expert but he def knows how to ride!
Yody you've picked up the "slow rebound" thing and ran with it, I think you have assumed something that simply hasn't been said. We are probably all talking about exactly the same range. _ I think we are singin from the same hymn sheet albeit coming from diff directions
The average rider out on the trail runs their forks too fast. Loads of reasons for this but this was in no way directed at any specific rider. I am however always surprised at how slow fast riders have their setups, or more specifically how slow and stiff. Most of us couldn't ride Gwins bike for example, or Blenkis or Cam Coles
When we talk about suspension most people think only in terms of bump absorption and give little thought to stability and maintaining geometry
Some really great articles from Chris Porter (Mojo UK - Fox importer) that completely debunk the whole notion of running fast rebound to allow full extension for next hit - he calls it complete horseshit. Instead he makes the point that the bike should return to its dynamic geometry position ie sagged position and mustn't over extend past this point - think rally car landing a jump - rebound controlled to allow car to compress and return to sagged position - opposite to what a cadillac would do
For most people this would feel far too slow and they will worry about pack down. In this setup square edge hits that are very close together will prob pack the suspension down a little buy is this a bad thing if the control is there? Mojo uk would suggest not. Chris Porter is a 50 year old rider that can prob bust out more runs faster over a really rough track like Fort William and avoids the dreaded and very common arm pump etc due to his philosophies above.
I have noticed a great deal of improvements over control and fatigue with slowing my forks down significantly. The point Mav makes about poor dampers is valid as there are plenty that really don't have the same quality compression circuits as rebound, so you have to compromise
I'd rather float over the top of all that rough by running quicker rebound keeping the bike riding higher in its travel and keeping it moving forward. Then run it slower and have to work harder to keep it from pounding and slowing down. Again this is all assuming were talking within the same frame of what we would consider a correct setup. I can't believe someone of his knowledge (so you say) would say its horseshit to keep the suspension on the quicker side to avoid repeated hits. In sports where there is something with wheels and suspension its pretty common to leave the rebound on the looser side if hitting a lot of chatter and roughness, and when its smooth and fast you run it tighter. Lets not re-invent the wheel here and start saying that its okay to run it nice and slow because theres some way of avoiding it packing and pounding(which will make the geometry even worse as your FS bike dives into the travel) lol. I like the convo tho, hearing that someone who does that much suspension tuning says such things does get me thinking
Maybe I just haven't bounced on enough fast guys bikes, the few very fast guys I know all run their bikes reasonably fast. Haven't felt too many pro's bikes that were noticably slow. We're talking trail bikes here though, I don't have too much DH bike experience. Dh bikes are heavier, have more travel, and have more negative travel (sag) so they aren't necessarily operating the same way.
I weigh 170-180 depending on how often I'm riding and how much beer I'm drinking
Mojo HD XL
2011 Fox 36 Float kashima rlc 160mm (with 10mm cut off piston rod for a little more air spring volume)
55-60PSI in fork, 3-4 clicks of compression from open Out of 8 (depending on trail etc)
I'm 9 clicks in on rebound from full open, out of 20 total clicks (anything more than 15 clicks is way to slow like molasses)
About 25 percent sag, maybe a hair more
Rear shock is monarch Plus, tuned by push with aggressive tune with more valving (ie not plush)
High volume can with 3 foam ring shims to reduce volume
Always ran on the middle compression setting
Running 3 clicks of rebound from full open, out of 8
This is a pretty even balanced setup front to rear and is on the quicker side of things. Its not some ultra fast setup but it rides high carry's momentum very well. Misplace your weight and it can get a lil bouncy
Yody, I'll try to dig out the Chris Porter article. But I'd associate skipping over obstacles as a compression factor not rebound. We are all talking the same thing here but lets define rebound speed - I would say the optimum /midway would be where if you compress the fork or shock hard it out to return to the sag point and not overshoot. This is consistent with pretty much all fox documentation. They use the exple of riding over a curb - compress, then return and no further bounces.
I'd say my range of adjustment would be 2-3 click maxx either side
Next take a look at this youtube vid - at approx 50seconds you will see the guys performing some suspension tests. Full weight compression and then pulling up.
Get your rebound like that and you are so close to optimum again a techniques used by TF Tuned uk, Mojo, etc etc
NIcolas Vouilloz tests the Bos Deville fork - YouTube
Been looking and can't find the Chris Porter interview. I will look through my collection of Dirt Mags later lol
His comment should really be taken as to make the rebound fast enough to rebound fully before next obstacle is far too general as accounting for really quick hits will me rebound is too fast. Some aspect of the trail you will have to just deal with in order to maintain balance etc. If the forks are too active they will break traction, add to arm pump and not have the optimum control. Too slow and everything turns to shit, ride gets harsh.
The motocross guys often start with everything on full full hard full slow and run the bike easing things up until its not too hard. So they are coming from the opposite angle to most mountaibikers ie as much compression and rebound as possible without it being harsh.
During a DH race season my bike will start soft and fast and end up harder and harder as I get faster. To accomodate the stiffer compression you need rebound to match to a point. No point running slow with zero comp control on either hs or ls. Likewise no point having a firm compression setup or tune without rebound to compliment. The controls need to be considered together
Werd, solid stuff. I can't say that I disagree with anything you just said. And I think you're mostly right, compression comes into play for sure to keep the bike from falling into holes and going over the top. Like you said, it's all a balancing act
I think I call that neutral, where it just comes right back at you. And I like to tailor from there and air on the faster side of things. But only marginally. And you can't have any idea on the supsension rate in that video, he has the brakes on too hard, its in slow motion, and who knows where in the setup they were when taking that video.
Last edited by Yody; 02-02-2014 at 12:22 PM.
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