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  1. #1
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    Fox air forks - Modifying volume to get full travel?

    Hi there,

    I own a 2008 Fox F120 fork that i've been riding for the past 6 months for primarily XC and trail riding. I weigh around 67kg and when i first used the fork, could only get about 100mm of travel out of it regardless of sag setup.

    After reading magazines and forums about others having similar issues, i decided to modify the push rod length in the air spring side of the fork in order to increase the volume and reduce the forks inherent progressiveness.

    I cut about 20mm off the top of the push rod, with the DIY article suggesting up to 30mm could be severed.
    The fork has been a lot more plush since the modification, though there's still another 10mm of travel to be had.
    I'm thinking of taking the push rod out and cutting some more to get a bit more volume.

    Im just interested to see if anyone else has performed this sort of modification and if so what sort of results they had.
    Im pretty sure that i can get full travel out of this fork, but id like to hear others experiences before i go hacking into its internals again

    Cheers,
    Wil

    FYI, the article about the modification was published in an Australian MTB magazine.

  2. #2
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    A guy in Finland modified a -07 Fox float 140 mm, see pictures:

    http://suksiseppo.pinkbike.com/album/Huoltoa/

  3. #3
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    Another possibility...

    Where is the schrader valve for your fork? What about adding a remote volume device of some kind...maybe even something adjustable. Risse makes or made this little doodad. It can be used for shocks or forks. It is just a chamber that has its own valve to add or release air. Its volume can be adjusted much like the piggyback on many modern rear shocks. I post this just to provide another angle on the issue. One could even make their own simple device with a fixed volume to suit their needs. Any attached or hosed remote device could creatively be fastened to some part of the fork or frame as long as there is a decently accessible air valve. Dirt motorcycles did something like this a long time ago. If added volume is desired, something along this vein might be better than hacking into the internals of your fork. This or something similar could be removed if you sell the fork later without any difficulties.
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  4. #4
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    Thanks for posting this info.
    I have a 2006 f100 RLT that I can only get 80mm of travel out of. I think I'll be trying this modification soon.

  5. #5
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    Make sure your dampener side is not overfull. I have a 2007 F100 RLC only getting 80mm and that was the problem. To correct it I unthreaded the the top of the damper assembly, released all the air from the air spring side, compressed the fork all the way, extracted oil until under the threads, reassembled. Works perfect & has full travel now.

  6. #6
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    If there is too much oil in the damper side, then if you let out all the air from the spring side, the fork will still not compress all the way, even with without air in the fork.

    However, if the damping side has the correct oil levels, then you should be able to compress the fork all the way without any air in the fork.

    If this is the case but you are still finding the fork isn't using all the travel, then its likely to do with the forks volume in relation to your bodyweight.

    Correct me if im wrong.

    cheers

  7. #7
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    Thanks guys.
    I'll be trying the oil level thing first and if that doesn't do it I'll try rod trimming mod.
    The fork works great except for the limited travel.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Little Willy
    If there is too much oil in the damper side, then if you let out all the air from the spring side, the fork will still not compress all the way, even with without air in the fork.

    However, if the damping side has the correct oil levels, then you should be able to compress the fork all the way without any air in the fork.

    If this is the case but you are still finding the fork isn't using all the travel, then its likely to do with the forks volume in relation to your bodyweight.

    Correct me if im wrong.

    cheers

    You are correct.

    I've never owned a fork that got 100% of its advertised travel at recommended sag.
    Usable travel and advertised travel are differant animals for us light riders.

  9. #9
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    Yeah I agree about the never getting full tarvel out of a fork before but missing one out of 4 inches seems excessive.
    That said this Fox is soo much better than the SID's I've had in the past its ridiculous.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Little Willy
    If there is too much oil in the damper side, then if you let out all the air from the spring side, the fork will still not compress all the way, even with without air in the fork.

    However, if the damping side has the correct oil levels, then you should be able to compress the fork all the way without any air in the fork.

    If this is the case but you are still finding the fork isn't using all the travel, then its likely to do with the forks volume in relation to your bodyweight.

    Correct me if im wrong.

    cheers
    Correct, that is how I determined the dampener was over full. The Fox web site documents F100/F90 RLC/RL/R all have an oil volume of 155ml. This is incorrect because the RLC dampener cartridge has more components, than the RL, that take up more volume thus the necessity for less oil. I contacted Fox after repairing my fork and the technician agreed with my conclusion.
    It is also very common to over fill the damper when servicing the fork. The damper cartridge retains oil, if not evacuated, and the fork will be way over full when the recommended oil volume is added.

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  11. #11
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    also, removing some of the lubrication oil from the air chamber should free up enough volume for u to get u full travel, it will also make the air spring a bit less progressive...be sure to leave about 1cc (5cc is stock) in though to keep everything running smoothly

    i would check the oil levels and remove some lubricating oil out of the air chamber before i would go ahead with the mod
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  12. #12
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    Well Push actually has a high volume kit for the float forks which I imagine they are doing similar to what you are doing because obviously they cant add the volume through diameter.

    Also to the poster above the RL and RLC dampers are very similar to each other it is just the top pison or valving (the compression piston inside the top cap) that is different. The RLS had an adjustable orifice (port) for the low speed compression where as the RL all the orifices (ports) are a fixed size.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jesse Hill
    Well Push actually has a high volume kit for the float forks which I imagine they are doing similar to what you are doing because obviously they cant add the volume through diameter.

    Also to the poster above the RL and RLC dampers are very similar to each other it is just the top pison or valving (the compression piston inside the top cap) that is different. The RLS had an adjustable orifice (port) for the low speed compression where as the RL all the orifices (ports) are a fixed size.
    The RLC has low-speed compression & lockout force adjustment. The lockout force adjustment internal workings is what displaces more oil in the RLC fork.

  14. #14
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    I've just checked my fork under full compression without air in the spring and it compresses all the way, so i can safely assume i need to increase the volume rather than modify the damping oil levels - though i will refill the forks after i do the mod and check them anyway.

    As for taking out some of the lubricating oil from on top of the piston, i only have about 3cc in there at the moment, and i think i will need substantially more volume to achieve full travel.
    If i end up cutting off too much, then i can always add float fluid on top of the piston to decrease the volume.

    I'll report back once i've done the mod (V.2)
    thanks for the help.

    Wil

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jacobus
    The RLC has low-speed compression & lockout force adjustment. The lockout force adjustment internal workings is what displaces more oil in the RLC fork.
    Ah forgot about that. Not sure if it really takes up too much more though as it is just an adjustable preload spring on the base valve and I cannot remember of the top of my head but I thought the RL still had the blow off it was just set tight and not adjustable but there was still relief so the cart wouldnt blow. I cant picture it though its been a few months since I had one apart.

  16. #16
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    Just an update:

    i've just put the fork back together this evening after cutting an additional 10mm off the piston rod to increase the air volume.
    Will get out tomorrow to see if the fork has improved and will write back.

    cheers

  17. #17
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    Fairly brief ride today but i can already tell the difference; fork is much more linear in action now.
    Im getting pretty much all the travel now and the fork feels smoother.

    FWIW im putting 70psi in the fork, whereas i had 65psi in before and 60 psi when i had the fork new.

    Highly recommend this mod if you arent reaching full travel of your fork!
    cheers,
    wil

  18. #18
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    Kudos to you for having the moxie to take a hacksaw to such an expensive component!

    I felt brave just servicing the thing...

    jeff

  19. #19
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    Did this mod to 36 float

    A few months ago I cut 20mm and redrilled my Float 36 air piston control rod. It's very simple and easy modification that provides immediate results. On normal rides my average full travel went from 5" to 5 3/4". The most travel I have used post mod is 6" so there still is 1/3" for the OH Sh!T I went off that wrong move. Besides warrenty I can think of no down side to this mod for my useage...
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  20. #20
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    howsabout on a 100mm?

    i have a float r 100mm; thinking i can get 120mm ? can i do this mod on this fork?

    I'm thinking fox did not make a 100mm and a 120mmm float?
    who would know...push, fox, ?

  21. #21
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    Will not help you 100mm getmore than 100mm

    ecoast, in a word NO. This helps you get full travel or close to the full speced travel of the fork

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Little Willy
    Just an update:

    i've just put the fork back together this evening after cutting an additional 10mm off the piston rod to increase the air volume.
    Will get out tomorrow to see if the fork has improved and will write back.

    cheers
    Are you noticing brake dive and lack of mid stroke support symptom since the mod?
    sth

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by HoJo
    ecoast, in a word NO. This helps you get full travel or close to the full speced travel of the fork

    So you think fox made float in 100mm, 120mm, 130mm an, as well as 140mm?
    That's alot of separate parts for essentially the same thing...

    ...personally find it hard to believe my 100mm is not a longer travel model w/ spacers in it...was hoping someone would know, but looks like I'll have to pull it apart to find out.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by HoJo
    A few months ago I cut 20mm and redrilled my Float 36 air piston control rod. It's very simple and easy modification that provides immediate results. On normal rides my average full travel went from 5" to 5 3/4". The most travel I have used post mod is 6" so there still is 1/3" for the OH Sh!T I went off that wrong move. Besides warrenty I can think of no down side to this mod for my useage...
    HoJo
    Interesting mod. It is my understanding the part of the reason the 36's don't get full travel is that the bottom-out resistance is set firm at the factory. Changing it to med or light gives additional travel. How much I don't know.
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecoast
    So you think fox made float in 100mm, 120mm, 130mm an, as well as 140mm?
    That's alot of separate parts for essentially the same thing...

    ...personally find it hard to believe my 100mm is not a longer travel model w/ spacers in it...was hoping someone would know, but looks like I'll have to pull it apart to find out.
    You're correct that Fox makes one air piston rod for all model forks. Your fork probably doesn't have spacers in it, but the rod will have holes in it so that you could push the pin out of the negative spring stop and move the stop, thus changing the travel. Moving the stop to the holes closer to the piston head will increase the travel. Moving the stop the other way reduces the travel.

    One thing to make note of: Depending on the model year of your fork, your damper (right leg stuff) might not be long enough for you to increase the travel to 120mm. I have a '03 Float that can only go to 100mm because the damper isn't long enough.

    A by-product of increasing the travel is the air chamber size is increased as well. A Float at 140mm will act more linearly in it's travel than one set at 80mm, which makes sense.

    The mod described in this thread is a way of increasing the air chamber size without increasing the travel of the fork, making it more linear at that given travel.

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  26. #26
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    Hi All, does anyone have a link to the mod as described by Little Willy? Cheers, Steve

  27. #27
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    To Singletrack Hound - Yes. With the fork set up as it was before the mod, there is a marginal increase in brake dive from the fork.
    However, i have dialled in 2 more clicks of LSC damping which has reduced the dive, yet the fork is still plusher than what it was before.

    As for a link Stevo, i followed the instructions out of an article in Mountain Biking Australia, though i've since lost the magazine and couldnt tell you which month.

    Are you familiar with taking apart fox forks?
    If you are, the actual mod is pretty simple, just remove the piston rod from the air spring side, push the pin out of the piston head and the negative spring collar and remove all the pieces from the rod.
    Measure the distance that the top hole is from the top of the rod as well as the hole diameter.
    With a fine tooth hacksaw, cut between 20-30mm of length off the rod, then drill a new hole at the top of the rod in the same location as the original piston-head hole.
    Assemble the pieces back onto the rod.

    The actual cutting/drilling process i had done by a local machining shop and cost me $25 (Aus) but it is absolutely perfect and much better than what i could have done.

    wil

  28. #28
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    I just did this mod and wow.
    My f120 feels excellent, it feels 5 times better then it did before.
    The fork feels more tunable.

  29. #29
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    Does anyone have their air piston on the block for this? I could really use the dimensions for a 140mm version. I'm looking for the total air piston assembly length and the spots where the negative spring is set to.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by pipes10
    also, removing some of the lubrication oil from the air chamber should free up enough volume for u to get u full travel, it will also make the air spring a bit less progressive...be sure to leave about 1cc (5cc is stock) in though to keep everything running smoothly

    i would check the oil levels and remove some lubricating oil out of the air chamber before i would go ahead with the mod


    Tired this on my Fox F120RL fork . I took the spring cap off drained oil into a cup. Replaced enough oil to cover the air spring . Gained more than half inch of travel thanks for the tip .

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by jackab1
    Tired this on my Fox F120RL fork . I took the spring cap off drained oil into a cup. Replaced enough oil to cover the air spring . Gained more than half inch of travel thanks for the tip .

    This may be stupid question but do you remove the air first prior to removing some of the fluid in the air side of fork?

    Also how do you know when the oil fills the air spring? Should there be no air in the fork and then lift the fork so it is completely sprung up and then just fill so it covers or how is the advice here?
    Last edited by gigabyte772; 06-22-2009 at 09:20 AM.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by gigabyte772
    This may be stupid question but do you remove the air first prior to removing some of the fluid in the air side of fork?

    Also how do you know when the oil fills the air spring? Should there be no air in the fork and then lift the fork so it is completely sprung up and then just fill so it covers or how is the advice here?
    If you dont remove the air first, the top cap will be pressurized and shoot out at you when you try to unscrew it. So you should definitely let the air out.

    You need enough lubrication in the air chamber to keep the seals wet so they hold air. You can use as little as you'd like - the limit is the point where the fork won't hold air. I usually cover the top cap with the thick fox float fluid, that seems to do the trick.
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  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berkley
    If you dont remove the air first, the top cap will be pressurized and shoot out at you when you try to unscrew it. So you should definitely let the air out.

    You need enough lubrication in the air chamber to keep the seals wet so they hold air. You can use as little as you'd like - the limit is the point where the fork won't hold air. I usually cover the top cap with the thick fox float fluid, that seems to do the trick.


    Yes remove the air . I should have said air piston instead of air spring . With the oil drained you can clearly see the top of the air piston . Just add enough to cover top of piston . Also with the air out the fork will collapse making the air piston very easy to see .

  34. #34
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    2007 F100RLC
    Cut it (5mm)
    Result: More sag with same psi, to squishy and same travel as before.
    Fix: Ordered a new air piston assembly; $45 from Fox.
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  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jacobus
    2007 F100RLC
    Cut it (5mm)
    Result: More sag with same psi, to squishy and same travel as before.
    Fix: Ordered a new air piston assembly; $45 from Fox.
    Sometimes your the windshield, sometimes the bug.
    So did you try increasing the pressure to reduce sag and make it less squishy?

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevo the Devo
    So did you try increasing the pressure to reduce sag and make it less squishy?
    Of course, 15mm - 20mm - 25mm.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Little Willy
    If there is too much oil in the damper side, then if you let out all the air from the spring side, the fork will still not compress all the way, even with without air in the fork.

    However, if the damping side has the correct oil levels, then you should be able to compress the fork all the way without any air in the fork.

    If this is the case but you are still finding the fork isn't using all the travel, then its likely to do with the forks volume in relation to your bodyweight.

    Correct me if im wrong.

    cheers
    I'm only getting 105mm out of 120 (there's room for 127mm though on the stanchion). Took all the air out and got a full 120-122mm of travel. So this would seem to indicate the damper side is not overfilled, which is good.

    So I did the simplest "mod" first and took about 2-3cc's out of the air side top fluid (not main body fluid). It's the thick green fluid. I guess this is the "Fox Float Fluid". I can see how 5cc is considered too much by many here, since when I let all the air out, oil was even shooting out of the air valve for a split second. 5cc isn't much by itself, but that volume above the air piston gets small at full compression, and that 5cc becomes quite a bit. Hopefully I didn't take out too much. The air piston was still well fully covered when I screwed the top cap back after taking out 2-3cc's worth.

    I'll have to test it out on the trail this week. I did the work at my work's shop and there are no features around big enough to get full compression. And it's raining and I have eggbeaters with my cycling shoes being at home, so was not a good day to try out. I'll be riding on the weekend so we'll see how removing some float fluid affects the travel. As a last resort, I'll cut that rod a few mm, but that's a bit more involved - I may wait until riding season is done.


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  38. #38
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    It's a good mod because you can undo it very easily by simply adding more Float fluid. Add 1 additional CC of Float fluid for every mm of shaft you remove.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by MI_canuck
    So I did the simplest "mod" first and took about 2-3cc's out of the air side top fluid (not main body fluid).
    I've done the similar many moons ago. I used very little Float fluid on inside the air chamber. Stroke the fork many times and dumped the rest out. Bascially enuff to the coat the inside the stanchion. That didn't do much for me.
    sth

  40. #40
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    Well I'm not holding my breath, but it was a harmless first attempt... Rod surgery might be next if this doesn't do it...

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  41. #41
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    Just out of curiosity - are you guys running 25% sag, or some other value? I'm noticing when tuning via sag, I need waaaaay less pressure than the "chart" shown in the owner's manual on Fox's service section of their website. I'm about 185-190lbs geared up, and per that weight, recommended pressure is 95psi. Well with 95psi, I only get 15% sag (around 18mm). So gonna try just by sag, chart be damned... To get 25% sag on my F120, I had to lower the pressure down to 60psi which seems crazy low to me...

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  42. #42
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    Are you measuring sag seated or standing?

  43. #43
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    i was doing it seated, but was also not quite at 30mm, was at 27mm... I'll remeasure standing and see how it pans out...

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  44. #44
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    Standing and pushing on the bar? Would you care to elaborate the logic behind it?

  45. #45
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    Standing and pushing on the bar? Would you care to elaborate the logic behind it?
    Logic being

    When you set your front sag do it in the standing attack position as this is the postion you should be riding in most of the time. If you set the front whilst seated, when you ride correctly it will be out.

    PS - I set my rear whilst seated.
    cheers
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  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by MI_canuck
    Just out of curiosity - are you guys running 25% sag, or some other value? I'm noticing when tuning via sag, I need waaaaay less pressure than the "chart" shown in the owner's manual on Fox's service section of their website. I'm about 185-190lbs geared up, and per that weight, recommended pressure is 95psi. Well with 95psi, I only get 15% sag (around 18mm). So gonna try just by sag, chart be damned... To get 25% sag on my F120, I had to lower the pressure down to 60psi which seems crazy low to me...
    I have to run 10psi less than what Fox recommends to get 25% sag. Even than I never get last 1/2-3/4" travel.

    I weigh 165lbs geard up and run 50-55psi.
    sth

  47. #47
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    Oh standing on the pedal in attack position, then? I thought you guys were just casually standing on the floor leaning on the bar to measure a sag. How would that be possible, you know. Hahaha. Thanks for the clarification.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by SingleTrackHound
    I have to run 10psi less than what Fox recommends to get 25% sag. Even than I never get last 1/2-3/4" travel.

    I weigh 165lbs geard up and run 50-55psi.
    yeah i'm realising the Fox charts don't jive with what pressue my bike needs to get 25% sag... I'm at 60psi in the F120 now, and still not quite 25% (30mm).. maybe about 27mm (22.5%)... but i'll re-measure it standing...

    based on your weight and psi, my 60psi makes sense (based on 185lbs geared up)

    i'm still not sure i'll be able to reach full 120mm of travel, but i'll find out next time I ride...

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  49. #49
    on my 3rd wind...
    Reputation: SingleTrackHound's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
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    1,775
    There will be folks who thinks having inch of reserve travel is good thing. Perhaps. Maybe one day I'll do a front heavy 10 ft flat landng drop to see if I'll use all my travel on my Fox xc fork...not.
    sth

  50. #50
    Code Burr
    Reputation: thebronze's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    1,376
    Quote Originally Posted by SingleTrackHound
    I've done the similar many moons ago. I used very little Float fluid on inside the air chamber. Stroke the fork many times and dumped the rest out. Bascially enuff to the coat the inside the stanchion. That didn't do much for me.
    Removing some of the oil from on top of the air piston worked for me. With about 2cc I could easily get all the travel dropping in on ledges and step downs around 2-3'. I think my fork is a 2007 float RL @130mm travel. What year and travel is yours?

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