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  1. #1
    KVW
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    New question here. Full suspension and Hardtail - best of both worlds with a flick of a switch!

    OK Let me just start off by saying I'm new to the full suspension world. I now have two of them (one's built second one is in the works). One thing I always loved about my Rockshox Reba RLT fork on my hardtail was it's lock out. When I recently switched to a Fox 32 F120 RLC, the lock out was even stronger! That thing doesn't even budge like switching to a fully rigid!

    However it was a bit of a disappointment when I finally built up my fully and found my Fox Float RP2's "propedal" is a joke, plain and simple. I honestly cannot tell a damn difference. I come to find out (through calling my vendor thinking it's defective and asking on mtbr) that's just how propedal is. It's not so obvious - it's "subtle" I'm told... Yeah... subtle would be an understatement of the year.

    So let me ask the experts in the Shocks and Suspension subforum of mtbr... does a rear shock exist with a *real* lockout? Something as good as my Reba or F120 forks? If not, why not?

    Why isn't there a rear shock you can completely lock out and make that rear as tight as a drum? It exist for a reason on forks, why not in the rear where you need it most when standing up and hammering the pedals? Hell, a remote triggered lockout would be just as useful if not more useful than a fork remote lockout!

    Please edjoomicate me.
    "Single track is for pansies!
    I blast down a mountain once, and in my wake, lies a new single track for the rest of you."-sm

  2. #2
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    Lockouts are bad.

    If you've designed a suspension bike and then have a full lockout, the peak loads will quickly fatigue and crack some part of the frame.

    A properly designed suspension linkage can give efficient pedalling without a lockout. Different frames and different companies offer varying degrees of pedalling efficiency from their suspension designs. Some are less compromised in other areas than others, but the expectation that a suspension bike should be locked out to be efficient is a recipe for a short-lived frame.

    Some designs need more propedal than others. The objective is not to have lockout but to have an active suspension that supports you through the pedalling stroke. If you're relatively new to full suspension, this may feel strange compared to the simple solidity of a hardtail. If your bike choice doesn't suit your riding style it still doesn't justify locking out the bike. Spend the time adjusting to the riding style that works best with the bike and then you'll find that any change you actually require is fairly subtle.

    Renowned shock tuners such as Push typically modify Fox shocks to have an even more subtle transition from propedal into the full stroke.

    Give the bike time to prove itself. Lockouts are bad.

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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by KVW View Post
    If not, why not?
    Because it completely eliminates all the benefits of suspension, and ruins the action. Full lockout makes bikes perform much, much worse. Its detrimental to suspension.

    Regardless of that, foxes medium and firm tunes have drastic propedal. Makes the bike harsh and rigid feeling.

    When you lock out your suspension, your body uses more energy absorbing the trail, and it wears you out faster, and ultimately makes you a slower rider.. climbing included.

    As a new full suspension rider, you kinda have to refine you style and learn to appreciate the benefit of suspension. Running locked out is a downgrade, not something that helps you.

    The biggest upgrade I ever made to my bike was ditching the fox shock and getting something that had no platform or "propedal" at all, just smooth proper damping.

    Lockouts exist on forks to compensate for bad damping, or to appease newer riders to suspension. Id give it a little time, and practice a different style to take advantage of the suspension.

  4. #4
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    Locking out suspension is also horrible for the seals inside the fork/shock. If you ride with your lockout on often you will ruin the seals in side the fork at a greatly accelrated rate. In the case of Rock Shox this usually means the oil will leak in to the lower legs and lock up the fork completely. Also, maybe it's just because you are new to suspension that you don't notice the Fox Propedal platform, but all four of the settings on my new Adaptive Logic RP23 are quite noticeable and I'm really a fan of the design in general.

    Specialized makes rear suspension bikes that use something called a "Brain". The Brain sits in a locked out position while you are pedalling, but senses bumps on the trail using an inertia valve, and will make the suspension active whenever you hit anything rough on the trail. The amount of force required to put the suspension in to action is adjustable, as well. Not something I really have a desire for on my own bike, but I have ridden a handful of Brain bikes and I find it works quite well.

  5. #5
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    My first MTB was a 1999 Gary Fisher Joshua F4 (full suspension) and it had a RockShox Deluxe rear shock with remote lockout. It worked very well and would fully lock out the suspension. The whole bike was heavy as a tank, though. It was nice to lock it out on climbs and then flick it off when headed back down.
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  6. #6
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    In my opinion, Petercarm and One Pivot really nailed it. If you're going to have full suspension, then go ahead and have full suspension. There are so many great pedaling designs to choose from now. Don't try and make you FS bike ride like a hardtail. If that's what you want, then just buy a hardtail. Riding full suspension is different than riding a hardtail, and requires some changes in technique. Learn how to do that, and enjoy everything FS has to offer.

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    I use a bionicon supershuttle fr with an x-fusion rear damper. The lockout on this damper is excellent. I can compare it with my Reba race lockout in my hardtail.

    But as the others say, if you forget to open the lockout and go hard downhill then you can kill your frame/suspension!

    For uphill I use the travel adjust in the fork and frame (a cool bionicon feature, google it...). Total lockout is only for very technical hard terrain. In normal climbing a little suspension is better. It holds your tire on the ground.

    Try the new bionicon alva. It uses a frame Change for lockout. Hard as a hardtail.

  8. #8
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    Cannondale has bikes with a remote lockout for the fork & shock. I believe that the shock lockout remote is patented though but it does exist.

  9. #9
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    I'm curious if you anti-lockout guys race? Seems to me a front/rear lockout (or even partial lockout like my Bomber ETA) would save a lot of watts on climbs, especially non-technical climbs?

    BTW, OP I have a 2006 Kona with RP3 Propedal and agree that it is not that great.

  10. #10
    KVW
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    Some very interesting points made and I do appreciate the input. It's made me and perhaps others realize some things I've never considered before.

    I do understand that some suspension under climbing actually aids traction and is more of an advantage then a hindrance but traction aside, I find the suspension causes a greater tax on my cardiovascular system vs a my old hard tail overall.

    What I mean by that is, provided you *are no't* struggling for traction but the climb is long and enduring, one of by best "secret weapons" if you will, is to climb out of the saddle, relax every part of my body except what's absolutely necessary (no unnecessary flexing of ANY muscles not in use) and let myself fall on to the pedals while slighting pulling up on the handlebars (usually in a rocking motion) as needed. I'm sure this is no "secret" however it feels almost like cheating and taxes my lungs quite a bit less than grinding through it on the saddle. However, this technique is *very* bob inducing on my suspension but I attest, it uses the absolute minimal amout of energy, at least on a hardtail! I can out climb all my friends by doing this and now that I've switch to a full suspension, I feel like that's been robbed from me.

    Now I know you can use "technique" to compensate, to minimize bob ... what that really translates to is using a whole mess of other muscles to prevent bobbing (mostly core muscles) which is fine but that also means the climb just got a whole lot more expensive in the currency of oxygen requirements. Having a rigid lock out, just for the low speed climbs, I would love to have back. Notice I said low-speed climbs. That totally makes sense about the stress on your seals and frame if you're creating harsh impacts on a locked out suspension bike so it would be imperative it's unlocked for anything over say 5-6mph.

    So as it stands from the few that have said they've seen something of which I'm looking, it would be possibly a new frame by Bionicon or Cannodale or a "brain" feature of Specialized. Buying a new frame is out for me - I'm still recovering (and will be for a while) from the recent purchases of my current frames so perhaps I should look in to a X-fusion rear shock solution... perhaps next winter when the down times become more frequent again and funds recover, lol.

    It still amazes me that it's the accepted norm to not have a decent rear lockout. I don't know how many times I've read people actually preferring a hard tail for the exact same reason I stated over a full squish. Would seem like quite a selling point if you could build a bike that could double as both with the only downside being a slightly heavier frame than a dedicated hard tail.
    "Single track is for pansies!
    I blast down a mountain once, and in my wake, lies a new single track for the rest of you."-sm

  11. #11
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    KVW,

    I totally know what you mean, man. I do a fair bit of road biking on my MTB, and it would be nice to have a more firm platform available. To answer your original question, some of the older Fox shocks like the Float RC and Triad had very firm lockouts. These days, full suspension bikes are better at anti-bob, so shocks have weaker platforms than they used to.

    My current Fox RP2 had a moderate lockout. I sent it to Push for a retune and asked for the lockout to be firmer. It came back softer. They said that due to some design constraint, they couldn't make it any firmer without messing up the damping in the open position.

    I think a good goal to aim for is a lockout that is just firm enough that you don't bob a lot when standing and mashing. It sucks trying to pedal smoothly when you are already tired.

  12. #12
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    That's the reason why I went with a Brain shock when I switched from a HT to FS. I wanted the ability to climb like I was on a HT.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by KVW View Post
    I do understand that some suspension under climbing actually aids traction and is more of an advantage then a hindrance but traction aside, I find the suspension causes a greater tax on my cardiovascular system vs a my old hard tail overall.

    What I mean by that is, provided you *are no't* struggling for traction but the climb is long and enduring, one of by best "secret weapons" if you will, is to climb out of the saddle, relax every part of my body except what's absolutely necessary (no unnecessary flexing of ANY muscles not in use) and let myself fall on to the pedals while slighting pulling up on the handlebars (usually in a rocking motion) as needed. I'm sure this is no "secret" however it feels almost like cheating and taxes my lungs quite a bit less than grinding through it on the saddle. However, this technique is *very* bob inducing on my suspension but I attest, it uses the absolute minimal amout of energy, at least on a hardtail! I can out climb all my friends by doing this and now that I've switch to a full suspension, I feel like that's been robbed from me.

    With no disrespect intended, maybe you need to ride your full suspension a few more times to give yourself a chance to get used to it before deciding it doesn't work for you. Yes it is true that you can't throw your body weight up and down on the cranks any more and until you learn your technique standing and pedalling is going to be incredibly taxing, but that's something that most likely every person who went FS likely had to adjust to as well. You'll learn how to pedal standing up just fine if you actually take the time to do it.

  14. #14
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    Having a full lockout is awesome in the right situations, even on modern, efficient suspension design. You likely won't spend a ton of time with it locked out, but for those specific situations where it is appropriate, it does make a large difference in getting the power to the ground with the least amount of effort.

    Much of it depends on your riding style and local terrain. If you like to really dig deep and hammer very steep, but relatively smooth climbs, you'll get a lot out of it.

    Many folks don't notice much of an effect when they move the propedal lever on their Fox shocks, due to the factory tune of the shock itself. Different manufacturers spec different tunes for their shocks, and if the factory compression tune is low (one bar on the little red sticker), then the propedal does almost nothing.

    If you want a Fox shock with a true lockout, check out the RL.

    -D
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Full suspension and Hardtail - best of both worlds with a flick of a switch!-foxrl.jpg  


  15. #15
    KVW
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    Quote Originally Posted by elTwitcho View Post
    With no disrespect intended, maybe you need to ride your full suspension a few more times to give yourself a chance to get used to it before deciding it doesn't work for you. Yes it is true that you can't throw your body weight up and down on the cranks any more and until you learn your technique standing and pedalling is going to be incredibly taxing, but that's something that most likely every person who went FS likely had to adjust to as well. You'll learn how to pedal standing up just fine if you actually take the time to do it.
    No offense taken - I haven't given up on a full suspension, hell I just invested a significant amount towards it. Don't get me wrong, coming from a hard tail, absolutely love full suspension. In fact on the trail now, I sort of feel like a hardtail is like bringing a knife to a gun-fight now.

    I'm going to continue to work on sprinting technique and I think there's still a bit more setup and tweaking i can do before trying to find a new "better lockout" rear shock to buy. I went out for a ride last night once again with a bit more air pressure and set the shock to a slower rebound and it made a noticeable difference. Of course I still cant see any difference with the propedal switch but I'll get over that soon enough, lol. Just wanted to see what people's thoughts are on the subject and if there is any thing out there like a switch to make your fully in to a hardtail.
    "Single track is for pansies!
    I blast down a mountain once, and in my wake, lies a new single track for the rest of you."-sm

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    Excellent, I think you'll be happy with some more time on the bike. I came from a fully rigid single speed before I got my FS and my first time climbing out of the saddle felt like I was jumping around in a bouncy castle instead of climbing. Nowadays I don't feel that my suspension takes anything out of my climbing at all, it's just a matter of adjustment and trying to keep your center of gravity more or less stable instead of jumping up and down

  17. #17
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    Lockout your fork and lean fwd, especially with a virtual pivot bike. The pivot is at it's highest anti squat posn with less sag.

    Spinning seated is more efficient and less tiring than powering up standing. You won't see marathon xc racers standing for long. Try taking your seat off and riding your normal loop and see how far you get. Or go single speeding.

    You could also have a faulty shock. Does the rebound damping work with the pro pedal on. If not,the nitrogen may have leaked past the floating piston. Propedal on the boost valve shocks is much weaker than pre propedal shocks. they were very close to locked out , pre boost valve. Bike mfg's have been pushing for more active shocks since most now have good antisquat properties. So Fox responded and opened things up with boost valve shocks.

    Spawned a nice retro up grade market back to less active Rock shock shocks for those who don't like the change.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by KVW View Post
    OK Let me just start off by saying I'm new to the full suspension world. I now have two of them (one's built second one is in the works). One thing I always loved about my Rockshox Reba RLT fork on my hardtail was it's lock out. When I recently switched to a Fox 32 F120 RLC, the lock out was even stronger! That thing doesn't even budge like switching to a fully rigid!

    However it was a bit of a disappointment when I finally built up my fully and found my Fox Float RP2's "propedal" is a joke, plain and simple. I honestly cannot tell a damn difference. I come to find out (through calling my vendor thinking it's defective and asking on mtbr) that's just how propedal is. It's not so obvious - it's "subtle" I'm told... Yeah... subtle would be an understatement of the year.

    So let me ask the experts in the Shocks and Suspension subforum of mtbr... does a rear shock exist with a *real* lockout? Something as good as my Reba or F120 forks? If not, why not?

    Why isn't there a rear shock you can completely lock out and make that rear as tight as a drum? It exist for a reason on forks, why not in the rear where you need it most when standing up and hammering the pedals? Hell, a remote triggered lockout would be just as useful if not more useful than a fork remote lockout!

    Please edjoomicate me.
    Float RL has a full lockout.

    I'm going to go against the flow here and say that there is really nothing wrong with a lockout (preferably with a blow-off threshold), and for some frames/applications/situations, actually a benefit. I've had several FS bikes that either benefited (or could have) from a lockout in certain situations. Did I use them often? No, but it is plain as day to me from riding HT and FS that there are some situations where a HT is the better climber and a lockout just allows you to tap into that on an FS bike.

    On the other hand, my old MKIII and my current 5-Spot really don't ever call for it. My Spot came with an RL, which has a full lockout, and I've never used it.

    I would disagree that a shock lockout is more useful than one on a fork, unless you are on some really crappy suspension design.

    In the case of Propedal switch , it is not a lockout, it is more subtle. How subtle depends on the tune of the shock. In some cases it is immediately apparent, in others it is REALLY subtle, to the point where you barely notice a difference (this was the case on my Marin Mt Vision with an RP2.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  19. #19
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    Keep both a hardtail and full suspension in the stable. When you ride them, enjoy them for their benefits, and it'll make you appreciate both of them even more.

  20. #20
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    KVM don't cheat yourself of learning and properly trasitioning from hardtail to FS. It takes a few weeks to a few months depending on how much you resist the process

    Your explaination of the "secret weapon" move is a very useful move for SS I do that all the time it works really well be cause a lower torque gearing. However doing the same on a HT and FS may cause the rear tire to slip more.

    I do what bad mechanic said, I ride both and enjoy both differently. Take your time to transition I wanna to say forget the lockout you don't need it once you get used to FS you won't feel like it's taxing you extra, you'd be happy later

  21. #21
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    Give it a while to get used to it. But if you can't then The RT3 with a large air can stiffens up the MV to give a nice pedalling platform. You'll get more travel and the Platform lever on the RT3 is pretty good. I've tried the L tune RT3 and it stiffened it up fine. M tune may lead to the bike skipping over the rough stuff.

  22. #22
    KVW
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    Have thought about it and per mimi1885 & bad mechanic suggestion, I'll be keeping my old Moto Ti Hardtail frame rather than selling it off. But will likey turn it in to a fully rigid so it can be sort of a CX bike/29er hybrid. It was always a fun bike - something tells me I may regret it if i sell it for cheap and want a change a year later.

    Thanks all who chimed in to help. Really appreciate all the suggestions and opinions on the subject. Gave rep where ever I could. kapusta experience with the same shock on the same bike at least puts me at ease that it's not defective or something. Trying to do my best not to replace things just on the hopes the replacement is that much better because often times, they really aren't. It's always most cost effective to upgrade when it's time to replace (I'm terrible at this though, lol).
    "Single track is for pansies!
    I blast down a mountain once, and in my wake, lies a new single track for the rest of you."-sm

  23. #23
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    I also have to "buck" the trend on this thread and confess that I have a bike that gives me excellent full suspension benefits AND full lockout features in one! The BMC Trailfox I ride is equipped with a X-Fusion Velvet RL front fork that has a wide range rebound knob and a lockout. In the rear I run a DT Swiss XM180 that has a semi-full lockout. I can easily reach down and flip the switch, which I always do, to more efficiently climb any type of hill here in New England. I really feel like I am old my old hardtail when I do this and the frame is already very light and compares to many hardtails. I have 130mm in the front and 120mm in the rear, which is perfect for my style and terrain around here. The semi-full lockout is great and still offers a stiff platform without that harsh hardtail felt on a full rigid bike. This bike is also capable of bombing down nasty trails at Highlands and I stay right up with my brothers new Jekyll most of the time. So, you can have it BOTH ways!
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  24. #24
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    A lockout on the rear is the best way to break a good FS bike.
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  25. #25
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    You can break any bike if it's used for something it is not designed for...like huckin off 6-8 foot jumps. A lockout feature on any bike is there to function as a stable platform ONLY when climbing and flats at slow speeds. Use it but don't abuse it and you will see all the benefits it can provide.
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