change Fox "XV" rp23 to standard vol. air can CTD? (element MSL 26")
I'm trying to stiffen up the firmest mode on my Element MSL -- something about as stiff as a moots YBB even.
So without a ton of rear-suspension experience (trying to transition from my hardtail love affair), here's what I'm scheming: change out the Extra Volume rp23 that comes spec'd on this platform, for the smaller, standard volume CTD-remote. I'm hoping that will give me the viagra-firmness I'm looking for in Climb mode, a pretty firm Trail mode too; and then the Descend mode that's typically reputed to blow through its travel a bit easy would instead come out about right? (ie comparable to "Open" on the rp23?)
I'm only 145-150 all geared up. Riding aggressive cross country, on occasion hitting some 3' drops, very rarely a 5-6'
Another feature that has me confused is how fox's "Boost Valve" feature affects this scheme? (ie, are my goals better achieved by staying with the XV air can but opting for no Boost Valve? or going standard air can with or without BV??)
Thanks for any & all tips, experience, suggestions!
You'll find that with the STD air volume, it's really hard to get all your travel (or more like impossible) as the air spring will ramp up really hard. Before you go and drop all that money, at least see if you can source the air sleeve spacers, and you can test the theory before you invest.
Also: if you do get a new CTD shock, DO NOT GET THE BOOST VALVE VERSION. You can get a factory level Kashima triple mcsplendid that uses a different valve (billet valve? or something like that) that has a much more firm C mode than boost valve. The boost valve shock is more "trail" and the other one is more "race".
Main Rides: 14 Proto - 13 Element RSL 29 - 13 Altitude MSL - 13 Prestige RSL
I'd say before you change the MSL that much I'd also just spend more time on the FS bike and get used to the differences between FS and a hardtail. There's no value in turning a well balanced trail bike into an excessively stiff FS bike that doesn't provide the full benefits of a FS bike. You want a rear end that is compliant enough to keep the rear wheel pushed down into the trail on climbs and can handle the trail surfaces that a 120mm bike can handle. If you spend more time on the FS bike you'll get used to dynamic changes in geometry from the rear suspension compressing while cornering.
If you really want more race hardtail handling, you could buy the shock, linkage and hardware to convert the MSL to an RSL, and shorten the F120 up to 100mm travel. The RSL has a much racier near hardtail feel in handling. I guarantee that an Element RSL rides like a race hardtail with the edges taken off. I've got one of each.
Thanks for the good information gentlemen. I tried an RSL and was *very* impressed -- that bike just rips, and I like the low BB for cornering and technical stuff too.
But I couldn't resist the extra give for bigger landings on the MSL... or more likely that drop-dead-sexy, matte black finish
Point well taken about giving myself awhile to transition to FS handling, riding input changes, and dynamic geometry. It would be a bit prematurely pigheaded of me to go altering a well-thought out design after two months on this platform. I'm definitely gonna give it some time before any expensive, later regrettable modifications.
At least as a thought-experiment, I still can't help this lusting for the Grail of bikes -- that One, scandalously adulterous, Do-it-All machine to blaze smooth xc singletrack, climb stupid-steep stuff Chris Sharma-style, and float over rock gardens and occasional ledges like Plush’ the magic dragon…
So with the expanded range a CTD might offer, I can’t help but wonder if I can have my cake and eat it too-- wickedly efficient in one setting, and pretty plush in another? Given my slight stature and aggressive-XC leaning, Could a retro-fitted MSL be the Grail?
The suspension linkage and leverage of the RSL is different than the MSL, so the MSL will always have that greater leverage on the longer shock, and a higher leverage ratio early in the travel so it feels plush and supple. That's different linkage tuning not just the shock tuning. So you'd have to find a way to tune the shock to be stiffer in the first part of the stroke but then get easier to move as the leverage falls deeper into the travel. That's not something that can be done easily with a more progressive air canister.
The MSL also has slacker head and seat angles and just a 7mm higher BB, so it's always going to feel more laidback and less aggressive than an RSL.