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  1. #1
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    2007 Fox 32 Talas R

    Hey...I've been contemplating monkeying with my fork a bit, looking for input from anyone familiar with the tech. I wonder if anybody has already messed around with any advanced tuning? I'm totally comfortable with the tear-down and mechanics, and I've taken my fork apart and rebuilt it a bunch. My question is "what can I change?"

    I'm still running the stock oil weight and the recommended IFP pressure of 150psi. I've played around with the main air spring and I seem to like it around 50psi. I'm probably no more that 155 lbs. dressed to ride, but I ride aggressive slow-techy singletrack and I don't launch much except for clearing obstacles.

    Here's my observation: I'm not getting full usable travel. At any travel setting or main air pressure level, I can't truly access that bottom 20-30% of the stroke. Basically, the stroke is pillowy soft at the start and impossibly stiff at the bottom end. I don't think I've ever bottomed the fork out. I can get it to move just a bit with sharp hits that are hard enough to sting my hands. It's really stiff.

    The complex Talas cartridge and Internal Floating Piston is supposed to set up a really linear feel from a single air cartridge, but I'm not totally thrilled with how the fork feels. I don't think it's working for me exactly how it's reported to by other riders.

    I have already tried lowering the main air pressure/increasing sag, but I feel that the fork gets wallowy and wobbley in the main middle range and I lose the top of the travel, so the tradeoff is the same -- less than full travel. With a lower main air-spring pressure, it's mushy and uncertain and feels rotten. It's then like I need more compression damping or more control out of the valving. With the Talas R model fork, I don't have any external compression adjustments...so that approach is limited and doesn't get me what I want.

    I feel I have two potential options that I haven't tried:
    *drop air pressure in the talas leg and combine that with a higher oil weight in the cartridge leg
    *reduce IFP pressure

    In combination with lower air pressure, could I simply run a higher weight fork oil in the cartridge leg, dial back my rebound setting, and get relatively more compression damping with the same rebound feel? This might be what I need?

    I think that the IFP is designed to address the bottom of the stroke. Has anybody played around with the air pressures in their IFP chamber? I wonder if a moderately lower pressure would allow me to engage the floating piston earlier in the stroke, or whether it would come on more softly.

    I think what I'm really feeling with this fork is that the IFP piston is so stiff that I'm not really heavy enough to hit a pressure that gets it to truly engage. Ie., the air-pressure within the IFP is so high that in effect, I'm only working the main chamber.

    If I can change the IFP pressure, can anyone recommend a suitable pressure range for a lighter rider? Or...is it bad to mess with this? Can I hose my fork by monkeying with that pressure settings?

    Could I simply raise or lower oil height within the IFP chamber to change the ride feel, to get more a linear stroke? I use a full packet of float fluid right now...how about 1/2, or 2 packets to get a slightly different IFP chamber volume and a different response at the same pressure?

  2. #2
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    I think you could go with less IFP pressure for a start, i remember reading on a thread where a fellow forum-er ran no IFP pressure on his TALAS 36 and got the fork working nicely~
    Oh yah and you'll probably have to readjust the positive air spring pressure after reducing pressure from the IFP chamber~

    Mas
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  3. #3
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    I'm about your weight though run a 2006 32 Talas RLC. I had similar complaints until I removed the IFP completely. Best thing I ever did for that fork. You could do about the same thing by running the IFP pressure at zero without physically removing it, or just back the pressure off from 150 down to anything that's still greater than your main chamber pressure (for it to continue to have an effect on the spring curve).

  4. #4
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    It sounds like you've already figured out your problem, your IFP is in all likelyhood way too high for your weight. Emanresu pretty much summed up your options as well. Lower the IFP, or remove it completely. In my experience, I like the IFP where it's at. I weigh 200 lbs. and ride a main chamber pressure of around 100 psi. That puts me at a bout a 1.5:1 pressure difference, which allows me to use all my travel (I nearly bottom fairly regularly, but never hard enough to really notice, which is great IMO). You might try to stay around that ratio of pressures. I think you'll probably want to up your main pressure a bit to account for the decreased ramp up that the lower IFP pressure gives you, but that;s just a guess. Like I said, I'm lucky enough that the IFP pressure works fine at 150, so I;ve never actually messed with it. Good luck, and let us know the results!

    Edit: I'm no expert, but I don't see how running a lower IFP pressure could damage your fork in any way. If anything, it should help. Seals aren't worked as hard when they're sealing a lower pressure.
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  5. #5
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    I've been reading your thread with interest because I have exactly the same fork with exactly the same complaint. I even weigh the same as Lukey.
    Can any of you tell me how you change the IFP pressure (or where to find such info)?
    Will I find this addressed in the Fox manual?
    Thank you, CK

  6. #6
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    Officially, you're supposed to use the fox IFP tool, but it's pretty pricey. I've been using a baskteball needle and a friend to hold it while I pump. Just screw the needle into your shock pump. The needle goes in a little hole under the talas knob that's covered up with a little screw (at least on my TALAS I). The procedure for filling the IFP should be in the rebuild manual.
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  7. #7
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    OK...I tried it! That is, I've dropped the IFP pressure and rebuilt the fork. Test ride only so far. My initial impression is that it's working better!

    Current setting is 125psi in the IFP. 90psi in the main air spring chamber.

    (I also tried 100psi in the IFP at first, that was baaad.)

    Surprisingly the main spring pressure is MUCH different than the 50psi I was running before. It's touchy as to pressure too. 100psi took out all the small bump sensitivity. 80 psi was mushy. Seems to ramp up more dramatically than before I altered the IFP.

    It's finally feeling "linear". Nice tracking, works the gentle bumps, and it's now using the bottom of the travel on the big hits without feeling like it hits a false bottom.

    It bottoms out! I have to really punch it hard, but I can feel a gentle bottom on a huge hit. First time ever to feel that in my 3rd season on this fork. I will need some real trail time to make sure it's not blowing through the travel too fast or bottoming too hard, but it feels pretty good so far.

    But finally, I'm getting full travel! Coooool. I'll report back after I get a real ride on it.

    (By the way, I talked to Fox in email, and I was advised to not mess around with the oil weights on the damper leg like I was thinking I might...apparently it can mess up the hydraulic bottom out resistance. Good to know.)

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Comrade K
    I've been reading your thread with interest because I have exactly the same fork with exactly the same complaint. I even weigh the same as Lukey.
    Can any of you tell me how you change the IFP pressure (or where to find such info)?
    Will I find this addressed in the Fox manual?
    Thank you, CK
    There are some service instructions on the Fox website.

    Here's a crash course:

    You can make all the changes just pulling apart the top cap. No need to monkey with the rest of the leg.

    To pull apart the top assembly, you would depressurize the air valve and unscrew the nut and pull the blue travel knob, the lower plate with pins (lift pin with pliers pull straight up + watch for a tiny ball-bearing to shoot out the side), then the inner adjuster rod (helix rotates it up and out counterclockwise, rotate using the hex on the airfiller cap). Below that, you'll see a tiny red grub screw on the forward/leading side of the inner top. A 2mm allen key removes that screw, and you push a sports inflation needle into the same hole, into a valve below that. That inner opening is the IFP inflation point. I use a shock pump w/ sports needle.

    Then, do everything backwards to rebuild it.

    The tricky bit on the reassembly is to re-do the Talas adjuster knob 'timing'. In a nutshell, you dial the adjuster rod in all the way clockwise, then back it off exactly 180 degrees counterclockwise (automatically will then be at the low travel point) and slowly inch it back in clockwise again to find the exact positions where the second and then third travel positions are. A smidge past the third travel position is where you want to stop turning the adjuster rod. Now line up the pin plate such that the ball bearing in the side detent aligns into the third/forward channel on the top cap. Then bolt everything else back in place.

    Pro tip: A tiny shot of air pressure (25psi) inside the main chamber and a bit of upward pressure on the bars helps to move the fork when you're trying to locate the Talas travel positions, but mind you don't unscrew the adjuster rod all the way as it would be pressurized!

    More details are on the fox site.

  9. #9
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    Thank you for all the tips and info. I'm looking forward to trying this out.
    Cheers, CK

  10. #10
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    Nice one, lukey. I forgot it's a lot more involved process with the TALAS II you have there so congrats on sorting that. Not sure if the TALAS I I run here have a different total volume comparred to the II's but I've quite liked the no-IFP mod. I found I can still do drops to flat upto ~3 feet without it bottoming which is good enough for me in general. Usually use a good 80% of the travel when I'm out now which is much better than before I did the mod, and I don't get my arms beat up so much on the rocks now.

  11. #11
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    Well, I did it. I reduced my IFP pressure to roughly 125 psi and boosted my main pressure to about 90 psi. Took her out for a good test ride - nothing to hairy to start with but some good rock gardens, steps, and a little bit of steep downhill. Worked like a charm. I've done this same ride many times but now I'm getting much better travel. Later this week I'll try something a bit rougher to see if my pressure settings are still right.
    It may be my imagination, but it seems that the travel adjustment works better now too. The different stroke settings seem better defined.
    If this mod holds, it will be the best tip I ever gleaned from these forums.
    Thanks, CK

  12. #12
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    Longer term review

    OK... I've also been riding this for a while. At this point, I'm basically ready to rave madly about this modification. Stand back!

    After tinkering with the fork in the manner described, I now have a much clearer idea of where I started.

    First off, here's how the fork works from the factory:

    You have a main (positive) air spring which you can raise the pressure up and down on. There's a second positive spring too...that's the IFP or "Internal Floating Piston" with a pre-set, non-adjustable pressure.

    The IFP is essentially a "second-stage" to the main air spring. As the main air chamber is compressed, the air pressure inside it rises. At the end of the cylindar is the IFP, with a higher pressure inside. The IFP doesn't move for roughly the first 60% of the stroke.

    As the fork compresses...at some travel position, the main air spring is compressed to the point where the pressure within the main chamber and the pre-set pressure within the IFP are equal. Now, the two chambers start moving or compressing together, forming one big chamber. In essence, at a given point in the stroke where the pressures equalize, the volume of the air spring is magically increased. This tunes the feel of the last part of the stroke. The larger volume at this point is desireable to get a "metal-spring-like" linear feeling. Without the main+IFP big volume, the fork would ramp up dramatically instead.

    The take-home point for us lighter riders is that the secondary chamber, the IFP, is factory set at 150psi. Basically, running a lower air pressure in the main chamber would get me the correct sag height, but I couldn't lower the IFP pressure as well. For this reason, it wasn't coming on correctly.

    As a 145lb rider, I couldn't truly activate the fork the same way a heavier rider would, and hence, the fork feels and rides totally different for me. Under my settings, I was almost riding with just the one main air spring...and probably just the first 1/4 of the IFP travel on huge hits. Basically...the IFP stage was acting almost like a bottom-out bumper, not a second-stage to the travel of the fork.

    I wasn't getting much usable travel!

    Before:
    I was running low main air pressure, and little rebound damping. To illustrate, imagine a 4" travel setting. I was essentially pumping 50psi into the main chamber, then getting a sag of around 1 inch. I was only using the travel between the sag point 25%-travel and about 70%-travel. About halfway through the travel, I could feel a sudden stiffness in the stroke. That was the IFP chamber I was "bouncing" off.

    At this point, if I added more air pressure in the main chamber, the fork would get stiff and lose-small bump sensitivity. With less air, the fork got uncertain, wallowy and mushy feeling, and the hard ramp-up (IFP kicking in) was even more pronounced. To confound this, there's also a hydraulic bottom out protection which comes up later in the stroke as well. So with lower pressure I had part of the travel governed by the main chamber, part by the IFP and part by the bottom-out, with distinct notches of resistance between. Ugh!

    Essentially, I was riding the fork right near the bottom of the main air-cylinder and near the top of the IFP, and kind of bouncing back and forth across that threshold...but that was the best I could get things to work. I should mention that I used to be a suspension tech in the past. This fork was fitted to a new bicycle and I just adapted to everything at once...but I realize now just how bad everything worked!

    After:
    Gosh, what a difference!
    * The fork rides higher in the travel, less divey on corners, handling is crisper, front-end ride-height level is held more accurately, fork is helping the bike steer and some over and understeer issues are gone -- I need to learn to corner again
    * BUTTERY ride (on the first ride didn't notice 20psi too much in the front tire!)
    * my rebound valve is awesome! It has way more of a useful range!
    * Can't feel the second-stage IFP kicking in at all! It's linear!
    * The stroke feels nearly exactly like a spring fork on my other bike...very linear!
    * Travel adjustments are more precisely felt and the ride height is feeling more exact.
    * Less wallow and doesn't react to weight distribution as much, steeps and chutes are not as "pitch-y".
    * Square-edged bumps don't make the fork click and creak
    * No issues with bottom-out -- the ample travel is eating the big bumps too

    It's such a dramatic difference that I'm having to relearn how to handle my bike in the techy sections. Handling is much more positive, I'm overcooking everything right now...slamming the front end around where I don't really need to any more. The front end now seems to need a lighter touch to accomplish the same things.

    Basically, I'm currently 100% satisfied. I was ready to buy another fork, now I love this one.

    I have 2 bike trips planned in the coming month...I may have more insights after that.

    In the meantime, I really recommend this to any mid-weight or lighter riders. I totally "get" the way that this fork would perform under a bigger rider now. Amazing.

  13. #13
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    That's awesome news guys! I can't believe Fox doesn't mention this anywhere in their literature. It sounds like they would have had a few more happy customers if this information had been available.

    One more question, it sounds like some of you are running the 36, and some the 32. I've got a 32, but it sounds like the 36 has a bigger problem with the IFP pressure. Does that sound right?
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  14. #14
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    What that does not explain is all the heavier riders also only using 70% of travel! Not to mention only using 70% of travel using the new Talas III system, which lacks all IFP pressure.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by schoolie
    That's awesome news guys! I can't believe Fox doesn't mention this anywhere in their literature. It sounds like they would have had a few more happy customers if this information had been available.

    One more question, it sounds like some of you are running the 36, and some the 32. I've got a 32, but it sounds like the 36 has a bigger problem with the IFP pressure. Does that sound right?
    Yeah...that's an interesting point.

    First off, the higher the volume, the lower the psi required. (more square inches, less pounds per)

    Supposing the 36's IFPs are ~20% larger in volume than the 32's. For a given level of inflation, you will need less air pressure. Exactly as expected, the factory recommended main air spring pressure settings are about 20% lower on the 36 than the 32.

    We know that from the factory both the 32 and the 36 have IFP's and all are charged to exactly the same pressures - 150psi.

    From messing around, the 32 seems good only when the ratio of main:IFP pressures are 1:1.5-ish. Assuming this is true on the 36 too. The bad news is that since the main pressures are lower, the ratio of pressure difference will be quite a bit higher in the bigger volume fork, since the main pressures are correspondingly lower for any given rider body-weight.

    Bad news unless they have compensated for this somehow in the design.

    I consulted the recommended air pressure settings from Fox's chart. If the internals were simply scaled up with no engineering adjustments...the math says that a 200 pound rider on the 36 would have the same "too light to move the IFP" problem as a 150 pound rider on the 32.

    Ie...the bigger fork amplifies the problem!?!

    I'd have to assume that this was engineered for or accounted for by changes in the design? Anyone with a 36 have any insight? Please tell me that 200lb riders aren't dealing with the same thing on the 36's as I was on the 32? Gah!

  16. #16
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    It's like a new bike...

    I've been on two more rides since my last post. I did the loop described in my last post a second time only pounded it harder and then yesterday, I did a ride which is about as good a test for suspension as I'm ever going to ride. Maybe I've been lucky but my intial settings (main = 90psi, IFP = 125psi) seem fine. On my first couple of rides, I had about 3/4" on unused stroke. After really testing it yesterday, I had used all but about 5/8" of the complete 5.5" of available stroke.
    It's like I have a brand new bike. I can't help but wonder how many could benefit from this mod including Fox and the majority of female mountain bikers?
    Couple of questions: For those you you have been following this thread and have tried this mod, if you had to buy a new fork right now, would you buy another TALAS?
    I have read similar complaints about Fox Floats not using their full travel too but I don't know if Floats use the IFP or not. Can anyone enlighten me?
    Happy 4th! CK

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Comrade K
    I've been on two more rides since my last post.
    Agree completely. I just returned from a 3-day trip to Rothrock and Ellicottville. I attempted to put the fork through its paces on long fast rough downhills, slow/techy gnarly rockgardens and fast flowy singletrack. But there's a bit of everything...climbs, jumps and drops, mud, log rides, etc.

    The fork is working really well compared with before. However, I ended up boosting the main pressure to about 95psi for the second ride, but otherwise everything is the same.

    The slightly higher pressure decreased the initial sag just a touch, but I feel that the actual stroke/travel workings are otherwise almost about the same.

    The slight gain in extra ride height was hopefully aiding pedal clearance in the rock gardens (where the full TALAS step towards longer travel was making the geometry for the front wheel too wander-y in the uber-rough stuff). I may drop it back down now that I'm home and aren't dealing with miles of jagged rock at slow speeds.

    Quote Originally Posted by Comrade K
    Couple of questions: For those you you have been following this thread and have tried this mod, if you had to buy a new fork right now, would you buy another TALAS?
    They appear to have totally rejigged the internals on the 2010s. No more IFP, as I understand it. Now, they have something called a FIT damper?

    I'm currently happy with the fork I'm running. I'd like to ride the new version before I make a judgement on a next purchase.

    I have read similar complaints about Fox Floats not using their full travel too but I don't know if Floats use the IFP or not. Can anyone enlighten me?
    Happy 4th! CK
    According to the Fox site, the Floats don't have the IFP. However, they appear to have a long metal spring which is quite similar to the same principle (tunes the bottom of the travel) -- it seems to be engaged by the main air piston at a particular travel position. There is a diagram at the bottom of this page where it talks about travel spacers.

    In the TALAS, the main chamber's air piston pushes on a second air spring (ie., the IFP). In the FLOAT, the air piston pushes on a second metal spring.

    I would assume that the same thoughts would apply. I haven't had one apart though. It seems that this second spring will have a certain rate. Heavier or lighter riders might have issues? The way that it shows the jacks push on the spring to limit the travel shows that a rider who isn't heavy enough to compress the spring wouldn't get full travel either.

    Can anyone else comment?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Comrade K
    I have read similar complaints about Fox Floats not using their full travel too but I don't know if Floats use the IFP or not. Can anyone enlighten me?
    Happy 4th! CK
    Floats do not use IFP but they come with about 5cc of float fluid on top of the air piston. If you reduce that amount by half you should be able to get most of the travel. If that doesnt help you can shorten the piston rod, try a lighter oil, or you could just ride harder and brake less.

  19. #19
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    Lukey, the coil spring you're talking about in the float is the negative spring. It lowers the spring rate at the top of the travel to control top out, among other things (Basically, it counteracts the positive spring at the top of the fork's travel, trying to compress the fork instead of extend it). There is a chamber below the main air chamber in the talas that serves this same purpose. It also plays a role in the travel adjust mechanism. I have a picture with the talas chambers labeled in another post from a while back if you care to look.

    I have heard a few complaints that about the negative spring not being tunable to rider weight in the float and other forks. The negative chamber in the talas automatically adjusts with the main chamber pressure, which keeps the force balance consistent between rider weights. The rockshox dual air models have an externally adjustable neg. chamber, which makes them very tuneable.

    The FIT cartridge is a closed cartridge like in the 36's instead of an open bath damper like in the current 32's. Other than that, I'm not familiar with them.

    I agree, more people should know about this. If you guys are any indication, there would be a lot more happy talas owners.
    If you don't crash, you're not going fast enough...

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by lukey
    Agree completely. I just returned from a 3-day trip to Rothrock and Ellicottville. I attempted to put the fork through its paces on long fast rough downhills, slow/techy gnarly rockgardens and fast flowy singletrack. But there's a bit of everything...climbs, jumps and drops, mud, log rides, etc.

    The fork is working really well compared with before. However, I ended up boosting the main pressure to about 95psi for the second ride, but otherwise everything is the same.

    The slightly higher pressure decreased the initial sag just a touch, but I feel that the actual stroke/travel workings are otherwise almost about the same.

    The slight gain in extra ride height was hopefully aiding pedal clearance in the rock gardens (where the full TALAS step towards longer travel was making the geometry for the front wheel too wander-y in the uber-rough stuff). I may drop it back down now that I'm home and aren't dealing with miles of jagged rock at slow speeds.



    They appear to have totally rejigged the internals on the 2010s. No more IFP, as I understand it. Now, they have something called a FIT damper?

    I'm currently happy with the fork I'm running. I'd like to ride the new version before I make a judgement on a next purchase.



    According to the Fox site, the Floats don't have the IFP. However, they appear to have a long metal spring which is quite similar to the same principle (tunes the bottom of the travel) -- it seems to be engaged by the main air piston at a particular travel position. There is a diagram at the bottom of this page where it talks about travel spacers.

    In the TALAS, the main chamber's air piston pushes on a second air spring (ie., the IFP). In the FLOAT, the air piston pushes on a second metal spring.

    I would assume that the same thoughts would apply. I haven't had one apart though. It seems that this second spring will have a certain rate. Heavier or lighter riders might have issues? The way that it shows the jacks push on the spring to limit the travel shows that a rider who isn't heavy enough to compress the spring wouldn't get full travel either.

    Can anyone else comment?
    The 2009 Talas Forks (Talas III) did not use the IFP. They suffer from the same problem. The feel is much better but you will not get anywhere close to full travel.

    I personally, would not recommend nor buy (again) a Talas fork.
    Last edited by Vespasianus; 07-09-2009 at 11:27 AM.

  21. #21
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    Wonderfull topic! I got the same problem no using full travel on my 2008 36 Talas RC2. Yesterday i wanted to inflate the IFP-champer to 100 PSI (I emptied before), but with a basketball-needle I couldn't pump more than 50 PSI into the chamber, after that, air escaped because there was too much pressure to hold the needle straight. I also deformated/bent the needle...How did you guys do this with a basketball needle?

  22. #22
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    I usually have someone help me. I hold the needle and they pump. It makes things easier to keep track of. Good luck!
    If you don't crash, you're not going fast enough...

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by schoolie
    I usually have someone help me. I hold the needle and they pump. It makes things easier to keep track of. Good luck!
    Thank you for your answer. I'll try again.

  24. #24
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    I too wasn't able to pump it up alone. The needle must be held just right to keep air pressure escaping. With someone else pumping for me I was able to get it done.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Comrade K
    I too wasn't able to pump it up alone. The needle must be held just right to keep air pressure escaping. With someone else pumping for me I was able to get it done.
    Thank you. I've got to search for someone to hold me the needle. Alone it seems impossibly to inflate beyond 50 psi.

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