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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Mar 2013

    Eliminating one of the suspension springs. Is it safe?


    This is my first post and I'd like to thank you for all your help. And sorry for the long message as well the quality of my English.

    I'd like to know if I can eliminate one of the springs in the suspension of my wife's bicycle.

    This may seem a bit radical so to explain things better I must say that the suspension is a Suntour XCM, which has a spring and an elastomer in the right leg and a spring in the left leg.

    The problem is that it's very stiff even with the preload at the minimum. My wife weights about 52Kg (115 pounds) and when she sits in the bike the suspension doesn't compress at all. The Sag that should be around 2cm, since the suspension has a 10cm (4 inches) travel, is non existent.

    Besides, I've been observing the behavior of the suspension and I barely see it moving in off-road, and except for a harder bump that must have compressed the suspension about 6cm, the dust marks on the legs are about 2 or 4cm "measured" by eye... In fact, she complains about dormant arms when we just ride on the road. Even if she's still starting this sport I think that much of it is due to the poor vibration absorption. Honestly, this suspension seems to be just a little more efficient than a rigid fork in the absorption of small bumps and vibrations.

    Even I, that weight 83Kg (184 pounds) need to force a little for it to compress and the Sag I get is about 1cm (less than half an inch).

    Meanwhile I've decided to take out the left spring, leaving the right spring and elastomer. I've set the preload to the maximum and when I sat I've got a 2cm (almost and Inch) of Sag without problems. Pressuring the suspension with all my weight I got a travel of 6cm out of the maximum 10. And the response to smaller pressures in the handlebar improved a lot.

    Considering the reaction of the fork in my previous paragraph where I used my 83Kg (184pounds) even if stopped, would it be safe for my wife, for me to eliminate one of the springs, and leaving the second spring and elastomer to prevent bottoming out considering that she weight 52Kg (115 pounds) and her ridding isn't radical at all?

    Is the safety/structure of the fork compromised for having just one spring?

    My own suspension (an old Rock Shox Jett Race/SL) has only one spring in one of the legs, and the hydraulic rebound control in the other, and comparing the diameter of the legs and crown it's much thinner than the Suntour XCM.

    I'd appreciate a lot your input, particularly if you have good mechanical knowledges.

    Unfortunately it's impossible for us to buy a better suspension or even softer springs not only for the money but for the difficulty to get them where I live.

    Best regards,
    Jose Elias
    Zenfolio | LusoImages | FOTOELIAS.COM
    Zenfolio | Portugal Photography and RF images

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation: trailbildr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004

    It is designed for two so keep two. Not worth the potential drama.

    TrailWerks Cyclery
    TrailWerks Suspension Service

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    I had a 2005 Marzocchi Z1 FR fork that had the perfect spring rate for a 190lb rider. Lighter riders simply removed one spring w/o any issues. I don't see any reason you couldn't eliminate one coil. I'd also contact Suntour and see if they have any options available (lighter coils?) Air springs are more lighter rider friendly.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Thanks for your answers so far.

    I'm still indecisive. If it was my bike I'd risk it but since it's my wife's bike I'm more on the cautious side.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Just take it out. The worst that can happen is there's not enough resistance on the remaining spring and it will bottom too easily. Then you simply put it back in.

    I did this on 2 different forks in the past. Didn't ride that great, but it didn't hurt the forks and I survived just fine. The spring does not hold the fork together.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation: 006_007's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    I know several lighter (under 100lb) riders that have pulled one spring out of a two spring fork to get it so it works for them.

    Not sure exactly how that suntour is setup, bit if there is a spring AND an elastomer in one of the legs I would even consider trying to remove the elastomer and see how it feels.

    Good Luck!

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