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  1. #1
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    Black Platinum setup for 04 HP Expert

    I've had my Expert for about 6 months now and I love the rear suspension setup. (Thanks to everyone here for the tips). However I think that the front suspension needs some tuning for me. I weigh about 150lbs and I find that I don't get anywhere near full travel in any travel setting and I don't think that small bump sensitivity is great. I don't have a lot of experience with other forks to compare (an old 50mm Headshok and a RS Quadra 21R).

    I've got about 75psi in the SPV chamber and the SPV volume near to wound right out. Any less pressure and I get a topout clunk.

    I'm thinking I might need to get a different spring, or to at least remove the booster spring. Anyone know what weight spring is installed as standard? I tried to take mine out by removing the RTWD knob, but the spring wouldn't pull out. I read in the manual that I need to get at it from the bottom and remove a washer, but I'm a bit reluctant to be disassembling that much with my limited experience and the fact that the LBS will do it for me for nothing for the first year. I want to be able to advise them on what I need done though.

    I've also read on other threads about oil levels, so I guess I'll check that out as well. Some people have said that the new SPV Evolve damping is an improvement, but that would involve extra expense.

    Any other tips that I could do or get my LBS to do?

    Steve

  2. #2
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    Removing the booster spring is your best first step, and is a pretty simple operation. Just be sure to have some semi-bath oil on hand (4 stroke *motor oil* is what Manitou recommends).

    Once you remove the washer, you'll be able to do any future spring swaps from the top of the RTWD.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by slaw
    I've had my Expert for about 6 months now and I love the rear suspension setup. (Thanks to everyone here for the tips). However I think that the front suspension needs some tuning for me. I weigh about 150lbs and I find that I don't get anywhere near full travel in any travel setting and I don't think that small bump sensitivity is great. I don't have a lot of experience with other forks to compare (an old 50mm Headshok and a RS Quadra 21R).

    I've got about 75psi in the SPV chamber and the SPV volume near to wound right out. Any less pressure and I get a topout clunk.
    I'm confused on this point. How much sag are you running? What happens when you lower the SPV pressure to its lowest setting? (I weigh around 200 lbs, and have been setting the SPV pressure to 50 psi.)

    I'm thinking I might need to get a different spring, or to at least remove the booster spring. Anyone know what weight spring is installed as standard? I tried to take mine out by removing the RTWD knob, but the spring wouldn't pull out. I read in the manual that I need to get at it from the bottom and remove a washer, but I'm a bit reluctant to be disassembling that much with my limited experience and the fact that the LBS will do it for me for nothing for the first year. I want to be able to advise them on what I need done though.
    The spring that I found in my Manitou Black Platinum fork has a light blue stripe with no booster spring. When I ordered a medium spring, I received another spring with a light blue stripe, but with a booster spring wound into the middle. So, depending upon how you look at it, you either have a soft spring, or a medium spring without the booster. (I tried the medium setting for a while, but couldn't get quite enough sag for my liking.)

    So, if your fork is like mine, removing the booster spring is not an option, because there is no booster. This means that you'll have to have your shop order the extra-soft spring for you. This'll set you back only about $20.

    The washer that's mentioned in the manual will definitely need to be removed in order to remove the spring. The good news is that once this is done, swapping springs in the future is relatively easy.

    This is a fairly easy fork to work on, but if you feel uncomfortable with it, it may be best to let your LBS do the job for you. If you go that route, tell them to order and install the X-soft ride kit from Answer/Manitou.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinB
    The spring that I found in my Manitou Black Platinum fork has a light blue stripe with no booster spring.
    If that's the case, it's best to verify before ordering. For the retail forks, Manitou is installing the "Soft" springs w/ booster in all RTWD forks. Extra-Soft, Medium & Firm are options, and each and be paired with the booster.

    It would make sense that Iron Horse might have ordered up their OEM forks with a heavier spring, but if find a blue stripe on the stock spring, that sounds like the same blue stripe on the "soft" that I incorrectly ordered (because it was what was already installed) for my wife's bike (I needed the X-Soft).

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speed�b Nate
    If that's the case, it's best to verify before ordering. For the retail forks, Manitou is installing the "Soft" springs w/ booster in all RTWD forks. Extra-Soft, Medium & Firm are options, and each and be paired with the booster.

    It would make sense that Iron Horse might have ordered up their OEM forks with a heavier spring, but if find a blue stripe on the stock spring, that sounds like the same blue stripe on the "soft" that I incorrectly ordered (because it was what was already installed) for my wife's bike (I needed the X-Soft).
    Yes, I agree that it's best to check before ordering.

    The other thing to keep in mind about the Black Platinum fork that Iron Horse ships on the Hollowpoint Expert is that it has an SPV damping system in the right leg. You have to pump some air (min 30 psi) into the right leg. I don't pretend to understand how the SPV part of it works, but it seems to me that the compressed air in the right leg forms an adjustable air spring that you don't have with the standard TPC damper. I speculate that this is why I, a 200lb rider, am able to use a soft spring in the left leg. It may also explain why Steve, a 150 lb rider, is less than happy with his current setup. Before swapping springs, I think it'd be worthwhile for Steve to drop the SPV pressure down to 30psi to see what effect this makes on the sag and, ultimately, ride quality.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinB
    The other thing to keep in mind about the Black Platinum fork that Iron Horse ships on the Hollowpoint Expert is that it has an SPV damping system in the right leg. You have to pump some air (min 30 psi) into the right leg. I don't pretend to understand how the SPV part of it works, but it seems to me that the compressed air in the right leg forms an adjustable air spring that you don't have with the standard TPC damper.
    Good point. SPV pressure does indeed affect sag on this fork (strange, huh?).

    I'm not the only Hollowpoint rider to have asked whether the bike rides lighter on the front end than your "average" bike. My 2001 Manitou XVert Air, a coil/air combo, required me to switch to a "soft" coil to realize proper fork performance. Mind you, I'm a 200 pound guy! The stock, medium coil I had in there previously performed fine when the fork was on my NRS.

  7. #7
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    Thanks KevinB and Speedüb Nate:

    I'm confused on this point. How much sag are you running? What happens when you lower the SPV pressure to its lowest setting? (I weigh around 200 lbs, and have been setting the SPV pressure to 50 psi.)
    I get very little sag (haven't actually measured) even with pressures under 50psi. If I have any less than 75psi, I get an annoying clunk each time the fork fully extends. Maybe I'll try the lower psi and put up with the clunk. Or, maybe it's a problem with my forks.

    The spring that I found in my Manitou Black Platinum fork has a light blue stripe with no booster spring. When I ordered a medium spring, I received another spring with a light blue stripe, but with a booster spring wound into the middle. So, depending upon how you look at it, you either have a soft spring, or a medium spring without the booster. (I tried the medium setting for a while, but couldn't get quite enough sag for my liking.)
    When I opened up the top, I noticed the light blue stripe. So does that mean it is soft or medium? Also I couldn't see down far enough to tell if there was a booster spring in there.

    Anyway, for my weight, sounds like I should just get the X-soft spring. However, the owner's manual doesn't list an X-soft ride kit for Black Platinum. Would the X-soft kits for other Black forks, or for the Minute 1 suit? Might just get the LBS to contact the local Answer distributers and sort it out for me.

    Thanks for your replies.

    Steve

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    The booster is no more than 1" shorter than the main spring, so you would probably have seen it if it was in there.

    Again, I'm under the impression that blue = soft and white = x-soft, but it seems Kevin's experience was different. Probably should verify with Manitou just to be safe. Their email tech support isn't the speediest, so if you verify with them, they'll have a response in about a day.or two.

    If it's a 90-120mm RTWD fork, the X-Soft ride kit is part number 85-4468. You can verify this by going to www.answerproducts.com , clicking on their tech support tab, and looking through the list included in their service instructions.

    Watch out for the Minute One springs -- that was a 100-130mm fork.

  9. #9
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    Ahh, I only looked in the Owner's Manual. Yup, it's in the Service Manual.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedüb Nate
    Again, I'm under the impression that blue = soft and white = x-soft, but it seems Kevin's experience was different. Probably should verify with Manitou just to be safe. Their email tech support isn't the speediest, so if you verify with them, they'll have a response in about a day.or two.
    Perhaps it's: blue w/o booster = soft and blue w/ booster = medium ?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by slaw
    I get very little sag (haven't actually measured) even with pressures under 50psi. If I have any less than 75psi, I get an annoying clunk each time the fork fully extends. Maybe I'll try the lower psi and put up with the clunk. Or, maybe it's a problem with my forks.
    If the fork is frequently reaching full extension, then you probably don't have enough sag. I'm guessing that with the SPV pressure set at 75psi, the fork is fully extended and the reason that you don't notice the clunking so much is because it never moves that much from its fully extended position. A useful thing to do (if you haven't done it already) is to put a zip tie around one of the legs for use as a travel indicator. The zip tie is also a useful device for helping to measure sag.

    That said, I'm not sure how much dropping the SPV pressure down to 30psi is going to help. I'd still try it if I were you, but I think you'll be happier with a softer spring.

  12. #12
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    Good job! My Black Platinum...

    First: all of you guys posted incredible information around this topic. I took note of everything.

    When I got my HP Expert, I noticed the fork was too soft. I understand that this fork doesn't require a breakling time period like the Minute line (because it is practically a Minute 1 but without 10mm of travel). It really bob during stand-up climbing. But now, after 4 months, it is working more firm and running with a nice sag. I have it at 100mm and 50psi on the SPV. For therebound I have it almost open (near the "more" point). I will put a zip-tie to see how much is the sag.

    I weight 170lb (aprox.) and it perform really great.

    Thanks!

    Erwin
    Yauco, PR

  13. #13
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    Firm Ride Kit

    I just got back from the shop after having them install a firm ride kit in my fork. The colour combo I got was yellow main spring with a booster. So... this is my under standing of colour codes.

    Firm=yellow with booster
    Medium=blue with booster
    Soft=blue
    X-Soft=white

    I have yet to test ride the new set up, but the sag seems about right for me. Large frame, 6'4" 210lbs with gear.

    Kirk

  14. #14
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    You might want to check the SPV valve...

    Quote Originally Posted by slaw
    I get very little sag (haven't actually measured) even with pressures under 50psi. If I have any less than 75psi, I get an annoying clunk each time the fork fully extends. Maybe I'll try the lower psi and put up with the clunk. Or, maybe it's a problem with my forks.
    I recently learned that the SPV valve on my Black Platinum fork wasn't working correctly. It was stuck in the open position. I've called Answer tech support and (through my LBS) have ordered a warranty part. The part is backordered, so I decided to experiment with the defective part to see if I could get it to work. See the thread Anyone worked on SPV assembly. (Fork) for details. Anyway, I had regreased the SPV valve with some silicone based "High Vacuum" grease and was hopeful that it would keep the fork oil from displacing the air (spring) in the SPV valve. It seemed to work okay for the initial ride, but not for the subsequent ride.

    On that ride, I heard the same clunking noise that Steve experienced. At first I thought it was a (really) loose headset, so I stopped and checked, and it was okay. I then noticed that the fork was riding really high and that it made the clunking noise when I unweighted the fork. My guess is that the valve was stuck in the closed position which gave almost no sag. At that point, I bounced really hard on it and think I succeeded in opening it up. It didn't clunk anymore, and it was indeed stuck open when I got it home and tore it apart. When I disassembled the SPV valve, I found that fork oil had gotten in and displaced at least some of the air -- it was probably sucked in when I forced the valve open by bouncing hard on the fork.

    Anyway, it's certainly worth checking the SPV valve to make that it's working correctly. If it's not, installing the X-soft spring isn't going to help very much.

  15. #15
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    Anyway, it's certainly worth checking the SPV valve to make that it's working correctly. If it's not, installing the X-soft spring isn't going to help very much.
    I have been following your other thread, Kevin. Meanwhile, I've sent the fork off to the Manitou dealers here (in Australia). I'm getting them to check the SPV unit and to change over the spring. Hope to be able to report back soon.

  16. #16
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    I got the fork back, finally. The mechanic at the distributors had a broken hand or something and had someone helping him only 2 days a week. Not what I wanted to hear with a 24 hour race looming.

    So last Tuesday, after many calls via my LBS, the fork finally returned. Good news for me was that they replaced the damper on warranty. Not sure if it is a new SPV Evolve unit, but it is definitely smoother and I can run with a lower pressure. They didn't change the spring as they also thought I wouldn't need the lighter spring with the fixed damper.

    I only got a short ride in before the race on the weekend, so I couldn't dial in the fork. However, the fork did seem to perform well during the race - I was getting much more travel and I don't think I was bottoming out. Now I'll get a chance to fiddle with the settings knowing that the fork should be operating as it was designed.

    Steve

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