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  1. #1
    Bellydraft
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    2013 Anthem X Advanced, SID RL and Monarch RL Questions

    I have had my 2013 Anthem X Advanced for around a month now, and have ridden it as much as possible. It's my first FS bike and I LOVE it. Having given ample time to break in the shock and fork, I've done some experimenting and am now ready to ask for some guidance in hopes that I can get it tweaked to do what I hope it can do. I am 180lbs and short. 5'5". The bike is an XS. It's TT measures .5in shorter than my 2012 XTC hardtail, which came with a Fox fork, which has been my basis for comparison. I could have gone with the sm frame, but went smaller for the little bit extra standover.

    Day 1 I started with the suggested sag on the Monarch and SID, which was very plush and exactly what I imagined a FS bike should feel like. Riding in the hood it was awesome. On my local trail it left a lot on the table. Lots of pedal strikes, occasional bottoming out, and wouldn't turn. I slowly adjusted the air in each end, then went through the damping adjustments to keep the wheels tracking accordingly. Wheel control was better the more air, and generally the bike began to corner better the higher the PSI went.

    Eventually I also did a back to back comparison with the XTC and found the the XTC had very precise steering and the front end tracked exceptionally well. I wanted this from the Anthem too and wound up locking the rear shock out so I could focus on having hte forks feel the same. Once I did that I did more loops on the control singletrack. I also have used 3 different tires up front and three different stems so far, none of which really impacted the lap time of their own accord. Higher rear ride height definitely has positively affected the cornering.

    I found that with more PSI in the fork, the bike turns (more) like the XTC. I found that with a little less air (like 111psi vs 121psi) in the fork and with the lockout lever one click from full squishy, it also corners pretty well, but not as well as with more air and on full squishy.

    If I run the shock in the 30% sag range, it won't turn on my local course because the rear squats too much, the front gets light and then won't stick. Conversely, using the middle of three settings (ProPedal?) on the shock, the bike rides higher in the back and does corner.

    Last night I readjusted the shock pressure (up) to 20% sag, which was significantly more air than the first time with an unridden shock. The fork is in the 20% ballpark too, which is where it was. I haven't ridden it yet to seen how the added PSI will affect the turning, but will tomorrow. In the meantime I am hoping those of you with these shocks and more experience can give me some guidance and answer some questions.

    My goal here is to have a bike that will turn where I want it to and feel solid like my XTC when turning. At the same time, our local trail is totally flat, covered with leaves, sand and pinestraw, has tree roots every few feet, and has probably 200 turns, and I would like the bike to be plush so that the roots don't beat my ageing ass up like on my hardtail. Is this possible with the suspension on the bike, or will I need a custom tune possibly? Or, is it just not possible to have both?

    Q: Will my fs ever turn like my XTC?
    Q: Am i feeling like a shock/fork with adjustable slow speed or high speed damping will help keep the bike riding high to keep from pedal strikes as well as avoiding the dive and squat that is hindering the cornering?
    Qo any of you happen to know if the OEM's would have different setups for an xs frame vs. a larger one to reflect the normally slighter stature of an XS frame buyer?
    Q The bikes have nearly identical seat to bar measurements, but the FS is .6" shorter in TT length though it's also .5"+- longer in wheelbase. It's comfortable, but I feel like I'm on top of the FS bike and "in" the hardtail. Is it possible that a larger frame, which in this case is .5" longer in TT, would change my weight distribution enough that it will turn better?

    I know this is long and apologize, but I haven't been able to find answers or guidance elsewhere. The Anthem is faster everywhere I've ridden it so far, and is much more fun feeling to ride than my XTC. This cornering issue is specific to my local two trails. On fast, bumpy stuff-BIG stuff, and rollers, hardpack, etc.., the Anthem is WAY easier to ride no matter what I adjust. Unfortunately, the trail I ride everyday for training is flat and rooty. I feel like I should be able to take big chunks of time from my fast loops on the XTC with the Anthem, but am not able to get through the corners with nearly the same speed and precision unless I effective lock out both ends. I really would love to have the bike glide over the roots AND also turn. So far I can get the glide, OR I can get the turn (but still not as good as the XTC), but not both.

    Experts, please advise!

    Thank you all for listening.
    This may hurt a little..

  2. #2
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    If you've come from a hard tail its probably better to start with less sag front and rear until you get comfortably with the new bike. The 20% you're currently running is a good starting point.

    To dial your rear damping, start in the fastest setting and ride over a typical root on your XC loop. Keep adding rebound damping until the rear is not wanting to buck you off the saddle. Now try the same thing standing up. You'll need less rebound damping standing up. This will give you an adjustment range your can experiment with. Normally a couple of click less rebound than the setting you arrived at sitting down will be a good compromise.

    To dial your fork rebound damping in start with rebound in the fastest setting and the lockout off. Find a good, smooth fast corner you're comfortable attacking repeatedly. Keep adding more rebound damping until the bike feels nicely settled mid corner and through the corner exit. If you've got too little rebound damping the bike will want to push wide on exit, if you have too much then the bike will feel like it wants to "knife-in". If in doubt, too fast rebound damping is always better than too slow.

    You can definitely get you Anthem X cornering as fast (if not faster) than your XTC, but it might take you a bit of riding time to get used to the different dynamics of FS. With a hard tail on a flat course you can get away with a lot of rear-ward/abrupt weight transfer without affecting the handling adversely.

    You may also look at your bar height on the Anthem X. Lowering the bars can help weight the front end more and give you some extra grip mid corner.

  3. #3
    Bellydraft
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    Thank you for the tips. I've been working through the rebound damping options at each different PSI just like you suggested and feel like it's mostly under control in that department. I also most recently put a much steeper dropped stem on it vs the 8 degree stems I have tried. It is a tiny bit shorter than the 100mm and 110mm 8 degree stems that seemed like they helped plant the nose a little better. I also "think" the steeper but shorter stem makes the front wheel flop side to side harder. May just be in my head though. I'll do a comparison with one of the others and follow up.
    This may hurt a little..

  4. #4
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    Is your XTC 26" or also a 29er? 5'5" is pretty short for a 29er. I don't like the geometry compromises inherent with many small and extra small framed 29ers-- or even 700c road bikes, but I haven't studied the Anthem X Adv to see if it's like that or not.

    I haven't ridden an XTC but I did ride your exact new bike at a Giant demo day about a month ago. It turned in noticeably better than a Trance X 29er I also rode that day, but it didn't turn in as well as my own bike or my dad's (SC Blur classic and BMC Speedfox SF01, both 26" FS).

  5. #5
    Bellydraft
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    ColinL, its an XTC composite 29er . And the Anthem is also a 29er. I'd like to be both taller and less 'husky' as my fellow cyclists call me, but I'm not, so I have to corner better to compensate,and do it on a very big bike

    Its a bit like driving a Corvette, I guess.
    This may hurt a little..

  6. #6
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    Yes, I understand. And you have the bike, so it's important to make the best of it, regardless of the wheel size.

    Besides continuing to work on shock and fork tuning, if both bikes have the same tires (the new one definitely came with Racing Ralphs-- which are great on hardpack and dry roots) and you have the tire pressure sorted, I think you could have a slight fit issue.

    Put your bikes in a stand (frame or wheel, doesn't matter as long as they both use the same) with the rear tire touching a wall, with the bike sticking straight out perpendicular from the wall. Measure the height and distance to get X-Y coordinates for your saddle, center of bottom bracket, center of bars and center of handgrips. This will show you the exact fit on both bikes and you can then make changes to the Anthem to make it match the XTC.

    After you do this, however, they won't necessarily ride exactly the same because their geometry isn't identical.

    Whatever you do, don't give up and lockout the Anthem. You could just need more time to get comfortable with FS and how the bike handles. I often see people used to HT bikes always in attack position on a FS bike. You can ride like that, but it's more efficient to sit down and let the FS do what it's supposed to. You still want the attack position for descending and jumping, but you don't have to use it to climb or go over roots and rock gardens.

  7. #7
    Bellydraft
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    I love the Racing Ralphs too! And yes, I have them on both bikes. Though I don't have the same seat on both bikes, I do have same crank length, bars, etc. and did, as you suggested, get as close as is possible with the measurements. I didn't want any of that to take away from the rear shock. The bikes are more similar than not in terms of geometry. The Anthem has a longer rear triangle. Riding it though, the Anthem feels way lighter and also shorter/smaller than the XTC, which is actually shorter and lighter. Funny..

    My goal here is to get the Anthem turning like the scalpel the XTC is and somehow make it all squishy and comfy too. Hopefully I'll find my happy place. Without the lockout.
    This may hurt a little..

  8. #8
    Bellydraft
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    I put the 110mm stem on and ran the shock with close to 260psi today. Though I had trouble in 3 specific corners during both of my hot laps,generally the bike was improved. I ran the first lap on a Tufo xc2 tubular front and rear,which is generally the least grippy combination I have. Second lap I put a grippier Maxxis Aspen on the front. Still had trouble in the same 3 turns,but marginally better than lap 1. Two of the corners I had trouble with are fast sweepers. I'm gonna chalk the difficulty up to lack of tire,not suspension.

    But... While the shock was better,and stayed high in its travel,I am now fairly close to the max psi. Is there a way to re-tune the 2013 Monarch so it will sit high like today but do it with lower air pressure and also give me some suspension travel early in the stroke to deal with all of the sharp edged bumps such as roots?

    I didn't touch the fork,nor lockout on either end today. I'm learning a lot with your help and through this process. Thank you all for being so helpful!
    This may hurt a little..

  9. #9
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    You are running way too much air in your shock and fork on the Anthem, I presume in pursuit of what must be a nearly-rigid ride on your XTC. There are people who need 260 psi in that shock, but they weigh closer to 280 than 180.

    Go back to the start. Set your sag properly. A firm ride is 15%-- not 15mm, 15% of the shock/fork travel. A plush ride is 30%.

    Suspension is not evil. You can corner a bike fast with a suspension that moves. In fact, due to these annoying bumps, rocks, roots and jumps, you can pedal, brake and corner faster with suspension than you can with rigid.

    Set the sag and ride at least 50 miles. You'll wonder why you beat yourself up so much.

  10. #10
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    IMHO you are just not used to a full suspension bike yet and not really familiar with how weight transfers affect handling. Accept that rear suspension means that it will not be as nimble as rigid. For now, what will make you happy is higher rear pressures and more low speed compression damping. As you get more familiar, you will eventually want to lower these to gain more shock absorption.

    If you are still not satisfied after enough time to get used to it, you can throw money at the problem and send the shock out to Push, Suspension Experts, etc. for tuning.

  11. #11
    Bellydraft
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    Thanks colinL and beanbag. The fork was set at 15% sag for yesterday's ride. Though I didn't check the shock sag at its current psi,at 240-250 psi it was at around 21% sag. I now have 200ish miles on the Anthem and agree that there is more going on with weight transfer than I am used to on a hardtail. Neither the fork or shock have adjustable compression damping. if they did, i would probably set sag at a more comfy 30% and work on the compression settings to keep the weight transfer during cornering under control. I will go back to a 20 or 30% sag for my next test and let you know how it goes.
    This may hurt a little..

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by 0sparky0 View Post
    Though I didn't check the shock sag at its current psi,at 240-250 psi it was at around 21% sag.
    This doesn't add up. Either your math is wrong about the 21% sag, or you weigh far more than 180.

    That shock will normally require somewhere between 90-110% of your body weight to achieve correct sag, depending on your bike's rear suspension.

    I am guessing the same situation is going on up front. If you are doing this on purpose, re-read some of these other posts and take it to heart. Set your sag correctly and ride the bike. Forget about the XTC. Do not try to make the Anthem ride like the XTC. It's not supposed to. The cornering feel is because of either fit or unfamiliarity with the bike.

    If you need help setting sag, take the bike and all your riding gear including water (whether bottles or camelbak) to your LBS and have them help you.

  13. #13
    Bellydraft
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    ColinL- I took the bike to the shop and had the owner make sure I was checking the sag correctly. I weigh 180lbs with my Camelbak and shoes. I used the shops pump, which reads a tiny bit lighter than my personal pump does, but only a smidge. The pics show the sag as well as PSI as I rode yesterday.

    I will empty them both and start from there.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 2013 Anthem X Advanced, SID RL and Monarch RL Questions-imag1172.jpg  

    2013 Anthem X Advanced, SID RL and Monarch RL Questions-imag1178.jpg  

    2013 Anthem X Advanced, SID RL and Monarch RL Questions-imag1174.jpg  

    2013 Anthem X Advanced, SID RL and Monarch RL Questions-imag1176.jpg  

    This may hurt a little..

  14. #14
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    Wow. I am really just trying to help so I'm sorry if you feel I've been badgering you. That shock pressure blows my mind. As I said I've ridden your exact bike and it didn't have near 240 psi in the shock.

  15. #15
    Bellydraft
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    LOL!! ColinL: I started this thread because I felt like there were a lot of much more experienced people out there with this type of thing than myself. I was clearly correct about that! I am no suspension expert, but have enough experience with other two wheeled suspension that I thought I could probably get this hooked up pretty quickly, not to mention dealing with other mountainbikes, like my present XTC. I'm clearly an overthinker though, and have been doing my best to be thorough and systematic so as to not come off sounding like a complete tard. There have been some tips on this site and in this thread that have really made identifying and isolating the individual actions and reactions of the wheels and suspension easier for me, and probably for others too. I am a little perplexed by the bike, just like you are at the moment. I feel like there is too much air in both ends. Given that I'm not 300lbs, the shock is the end I am most focused on, as it, through this process is clearly the main reason the bike doesn't turn in properly. Thanks to everybody's help here, I can pretty readily figure out which end to work on to resolve a handling problem now. I am very interested in seeing how it goes after emptying both ends of air and starting fresh at 20 or 30% sag. I know it will ride over the roots as if they aren't there, which is definitely why I got this bike and hardly ever ride my poor XTC now, however, I expect that it's possibly gonna be under-damped at a 'comfy' sag/psi on the compression side, which will negatively affect my ability to go faster in the corners that make up most of our local loop (because there is not enough compression resistance to keep the front from diving and rear from squatting in a controlled manner. Also, there is a distinct benefit with me on this bike, to have it sitting higher in the stroke. Especially the shock, so more sag=lower ride height=potentially less cornering speed.) It would be nice if I was wrong though!! With 200ish miles on the bike, I hope it's broken-in enough to work as designed. I' just want to go faster than ever. That's all. That is, after all, why I bought it.
    This may hurt a little..

  16. #16
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    Just forget the dumb sag number for now. Set up the air pressure so that you use up most of the travel on your rides.

    Also, both your fork and shock have adjustable compression damping.

  17. #17
    Bellydraft
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    Thanks Beanbag. I know there is a rebound knob for both, a 3 position lever for the shock which does delay when the shock compresses, and a similar lever on the fork. Is there another way to adjust the compression damping other than with those lockout/compression levers? I haven't really played with the platform/lockout adjustments at a low psi.
    This may hurt a little..

  18. #18
    Bellydraft
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    Hey beanbag, I did play around with the compression lever on the fork, as well as lower pressures front and rear since last post. I appreciate the heads up about the compression. The rear end really seems to work best at this one trail with between 230 and 250psi. At that pressure it does a decent job of being a shock, yet still sits high enough in its stroke to turn and prevent pedal strikes. I went as low as about 60psi on the shock, which really choppered the bike out. At around 90psi in the fork it bottoms out fairly hard, so I went back to around 100. Still using most of the travel, but not bottoming out and not so soft that it slams down when cornering.

    Are roots something that would be slow speed or high speed compression? And if you are riding through a mostly flat, smooth sweeper, would the attitude of the bike be most controlled by slow speed compression?

    Also wanted to point out that in playing with the compression lever on the fork and the platform lever on the shock, it feels to me like the ride over rooty sections becomes more harsh as I get closer to the locked position, but, the bike also at that point corners several mph faster in fast corners. If on the fork the lever I adjust slow speed compression, do the high speed damping charachteristics remain unchanged as I apply more damping at the lever, or does using more clicker adjust both slow and high speed together? I am starting to feel like roots, and whichever damping the levers control are playing in the same pool. Can someone please explain what's really happening and if I am on the right path to understanding what I'm trying to do and feel? Small, easy to understand words are very welcome.

    I also noticed that the Anthem is much easier to corner (under me) while pedaling vs. coasting. Is that generally true with FS XC bikes, or Anthems specifically, or is it just that I've blown the setup so much that everything I do on it is goofy now?

    You are all being really helpful and I am learning a lot. Thanks for being patient with me here. The bike is fast. Faster than my hardtail was now. Now I am maybe nitpicking, but am at the point where there are a few turns I can go much faster through, but haven't found the right setup that still works everywhere else. I rode without messing with anything yesterday for 6.5hrs on this root covered trail. There is no way I could have done that on my hardtail. All hail FS!!!
    This may hurt a little..

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by 0sparky0 View Post
    Are roots something that would be slow speed or high speed compression? And if you are riding through a mostly flat, smooth sweeper, would the attitude of the bike be most controlled by slow speed compression?

    roots are medium and high speed compression, and yes, more low speed compression will keep the back of the bike higher. So will lower rebound.

    Also wanted to point out that in playing with the compression lever on the fork and the platform lever on the shock, it feels to me like the ride over rooty sections becomes more harsh as I get closer to the locked position, but, the bike also at that point corners several mph faster in fast corners.

    yeah, it's going to be like that

    If on the fork the lever I adjust slow speed compression, do the high speed damping charachteristics remain unchanged

    unchanged

    I also noticed that the Anthem is much easier to corner (under me) while pedaling vs. coasting. Is that generally true with FS XC bikes, or Anthems specifically, or is it just that I've blown the setup so much that everything I do on it is goofy now?

    the anthem is a dw-link-knockoff bike which means that it has anti-squat properties and the rear gets a little stiffer when you pedal. Some bikes have more anti-squat, and some have less.
    Also I notice that you keep complaining about pedal strikes. The Anthem is a low bottom bracket bike. Get shorter crankarms, different pedals, or learn to time your pedal strokes. Or you can run eccentric offset shock bushings to raise the rear end of the bike.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by 0sparky0 View Post
    ... do the high speed damping charachteristics remain unchanged as I apply more damping at the lever, or does using more clicker adjust both slow and high speed together?...
    This is certainly the case with the SID. I've not had a Monarch apart but typically there will be some affect on all damping (high, mid and low) when altering the platform.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0sparky0 View Post
    ... a mostly flat, smooth sweeper, would the attitude of the bike be most controlled by slow speed compression...
    Correct. If you hit a root on the way through that will be a high-speed compression event.

    If I were you, I'd get in lots of riding on the bike with as little platform/lock out/low speed compression as possible. This will allow you to get a better feel for how your particular bike rides and enable you to learn how to ride it quicker.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0sparky0 View Post
    ...I also noticed that the Anthem is much easier to corner (under me) while pedaling vs. coasting....
    You, the rider, are the major contributor to how your suspension performs. Weight distribution front to rear and side to side (eg. which pedal do you weight: outside or inside, both evenly etc.), sitting down, standing up? All these things have a huge impact on how your suspension works.

    I'm surprised that you find it easier to corner when pedaling v coasting. It's all but impossible to corner at the limit of adhesion and pedal at the same time. The act of pedaling is enough to through the weight balance/distro out, as well as the risk of striking the inside pedal.

    Suspension settings are a compromise. For example, a rebound setting that will stop you from bouncing out of the saddle when seated will be much too slow for controlling rear wheel hop entering a rough corner with braking bumps that has you standing up. It's your body language on the bike that enables you to work around the compromises.

    Also the front and rear affect each other. Too high a pressure in the rear shock (or having the rear locked out) will make the fork feel harsher than it really is.

    Don't fall in the trap of turning your FS into a heavy hard tail.

  21. #21
    Bellydraft
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    Thank you beanbag. That was very helpful. I have 170's on there and am getting better at timing the bottom of the pedal strokes.

    Also a good reply from TigWorld. The more I ride with it and work out the nuances per your suggestions, the better I am getting at riding it. The trail I ride is a slow trail as far as trails go, and its a no-coasting type of singletrack. constant pedaling. The fastest dirt segment is maybe 18-20mph if I am really pushing hard. The couple corners I'm really focusing on now are 12ish mph s-turn sweepers if the bike is sticking (8-9mph if not), and I can't really pedal through them, other than transitioning from one side to the other. I was wondering yesterday how much affect standing the bike up in those turns instead of leaning it over would have. I was fairly tired at that point, so didn't try it. At other trails where stuff happens faster the bike is great. There is a series of three very off-camber turns where the bike really needs to be finessed. It doesn't like to coast there. Pedaling makes an obvious difference. I am really trying to spend my time on it now using little or no platform. The suspension is the reason I got it. Is it possible to set fork and shock up to sit high in the stroke with air and LSC, yet still soak up the roots with the HSC somehow?
    This may hurt a little..

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by 0sparky0 View Post
    ... Is it possible to set fork and shock up to sit high in the stroke with air and LSC, yet still soak up the roots with the HSC somehow?
    Not sure about the shock, but the SID design does not allow a truly independent HSC/LSC adjustment. Indeed, you don't really have LSC adjustment. You have a "platform" adjustment which is really more of an ultra-low speed adjustment. But that adjuster also influences compression adjustment right across the range (more in the LSC and less in the HSC). Its a fairly primitive system and there's nothing you can really due to tune it as its damping behavior is dependent on the stiffness of the damper tube and the port size/port adjuster shape at the bottom. You can see some pictures of the XX system here.

    It's possible to use different oil weights and oil heights for some tunability, but without a proper shim stack to manipulate, tunability is limited.

  23. #23
    Bellydraft
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    What are compatible xx race shock and fork examples that have shim stacks? I'm also wondering if employing a 5" travel combo wouldn't eventually be a way to get the ride height plus room to eat the roots. I'm just curious about this stuff while I have your ear. Not really looking to make changes like that now.
    This may hurt a little..

  24. #24
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    In my 13 anthem X1 29er i have about 220 or so and the sag sits at 20% in the back but i have FOX and im 225lbs. NOt sure why your pressure reads so high and your only 180, odd? Ive a medium frame.

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