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  1. #1
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    How to guide: Reshim your ABS+ HSC shim stack

    Seems like there has been a lot of talk on here about Manitous ABS+ damper and how good it is. I have been playing around with the HSC shim stack over the last few months and figured i would make a "how to" guide so others can do the same. It only takes 15-20 minutes and once you get a shim stack set up for your weight, The ABS+ damper is even better!


    Use a 2.5mm allen wrench to take the top cap off. Take it off carefully!

    Be careful not to loose the little ball bearings and springs, They are very tiny and easy to loose track of.When you reassemble, it doesnt matter where they springs and bearings go as long as they are across from each other.

    Once the top cap is off, unscrew the damper from the leg and pull it out. Pull is out slowly and you wont loose very much oil. Keep a rag near by because you will loose a little no matter what.
    Damper after being pulled out.

    At the very top of the damper, there is a place for a 10mm wrench to hold the damper while you use a 13mm socket to unscrew the nut on the bottom of the piston.

    One shim that is used as a check valve and a spring are under the piston. This just allows oil to flow freely back into the leg after the fork is compressed and re-extended. When reassembling, The spring goes back with the wider end toward the piston and the skinnier end toward the nut.



    Close up of bottom of piston

    Close up of top of piston

    Shim stack installed


    My 2010 drake has 6 compression shims stock. 3 the same size, and 3 that get progressively smaller in a pyramid shape. Lighter rider can remove shims to allow the HSC to open with less force, while heavier riders will want to add shims. Endless possibilities for shim configurations, So if you try this, post your weight and shim stack.


    Reassemble same way you take it apart. Make sure the LSC is all the way open(counter clockwise) when you put the damper back in the leg. Oil height should be 87mm from the crown when fully assembled. If your careful taking it apart you shouldn't loose a significant amount of oil, but always check to make sure.


    <b>Key points from that this thread has turned up:</b>

    1. Thanks to Solitone, we have the Manitou ABS+ tuning guide which includes dyno charts and many different shim stack combinations. Its probably the single best find this thread has produced (thanks Solitone)

    This link should work:
    <a href="http://goo.gl/JaqWO">http://goo.gl/JaqWO</a>

    2. Spring rate needs to be set up correctly. I get PM's and hear of people trying to get their fork to feel right when it is way under/over sprung. Spring rate trumps damping and should always be set up correctly prior to trying different shim stack configurations.

    3. A good place to order shims is MX tech.
    MX-Tech Suspensions
    Last edited by mullen119; 01-17-2014 at 01:06 PM.

  2. #2
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    Is that a dished piston? With the outer ring protruding slightly more than the inner seat which the centre of the shims are compressed against?
    Owner of www.shockcraft.co.nz and NZ Manitou Agent.
    www.dougal.co.nz Suspension setup & tuning.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dougal
    Is that a dished piston? With the outer ring protruding slightly more than the inner seat which the centre of the shims are compressed against?
    yes, there is a small lip that the shims sit on top of. From memory I would say is about half a mm tall

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by mullen119
    yes, there is a small lip that the shims sit on top of. From memory I would say is about half a mm tall
    Cool, there's another tuning dimension manitou have given you. By relocating small shims to under the largest one you can reduce the preload on the shim stack and have it opening sooner.

    Basically now you've got platform starting point on top of all the usual shim stack options. By closing the freebleed it's a total platform.
    Owner of www.shockcraft.co.nz and NZ Manitou Agent.
    www.dougal.co.nz Suspension setup & tuning.
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  5. #5
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    that's a great point dougal. I never thought about it, but that would open up even more options.

  6. #6
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    So, for a total shim newb here, do you remove one of the largest diameter shim to decrease HSC? Conversely, do you add a shim equal to the largest diameter shims to increase HSC?

    What do you torque the nut to?

    Is there some place I can read about the underlying mechanics of how this shim system works?

  7. #7
    PMK
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    Yes the stack preload can be a good tuning option for those that understand it.

    Currently Race Tech has this option with their G2 series Gold Valves.

    Race Tech takes it a step further by allowing the preload shim the ability to run different diameters that alter the port area.

    Those wanting to understand more should do some searching about Penske dampers. There should still be tech articles about the various piston or valve body designs.

    Also, remember, that as you unload the stack, you almost always must firm the stack. The downside of running a non preloaded stack is in most instances you will increase HS damping and often create deflection issues.

    PK
    Last edited by PMK; 02-21-2011 at 07:53 AM.

  8. #8
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    Subscribed. (great thread!)

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  9. #9
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    I have the Drake '10.

    I am not a suspension engineer.

    How does rider weight affect the purpose of the shim stack?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by JLantz
    I have the Drake '10.

    I am not a suspension engineer.

    How does rider weight affect the purpose of the shim stack?
    The purpose of the HSC shim stack is to open as a "blow off" when oil pressure builds up because it cant get through LSC circuit fast enough. Heavy riders are going to create more pressure then lighter riders, causing the shim stack to open on smaller hits that a heavier rider may not want it to open on. On the other side, lighter riders will have to hit a much bigger hit to get the same shim stack to open. Think of it as a 250lbs person is going to be much harder on a fork then a 150lbs person, So them same shim stack on the same fork will feel a lot different to those two people.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by half_man_half_scab
    So, for a total shim newb here, do you remove one of the largest diameter shim to decrease HSC? Conversely, do you add a shim equal to the largest diameter shims to increase HSC?

    What do you torque the nut to?

    Is there some place I can read about the underlying mechanics of how this shim system works?

    You can add and remove any size shim, you will get the biggest effect by adding or removing the biggest shims, but for fine tuning, you can change any of them. There is also different shim thicknesses that you can use for more tuning options.

    I couldnt find a torque number for the nut. I just snug it down fairly lightly and have not had any problems, But if anyone find a torque number it would be good to know.

    use google to find information on shim stacks, Lots of good information out there

  12. #12
    PMK
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    Took a moment and found a link to the Penske site info.

    http://www.penskeshocks.com/files/Adjustable_Manual.pdf

    Later pages discuss the various piston design formats.

    Pretty technical but should be more than enough information to make your brain hurt.

    Granted it is not bicycle specific in title but is applicable.

    PK

  13. #13
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    Good link PMK

  14. #14
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    I've got an introduction to shim stacks on the www.dougal.co.nz website below, because it's frames (yeah it needs updated), but follow this path
    www.dougal.co.nz
    -> click to enter
    -> Suspension
    -> Advanced tuning tab will turn up below. Read the basic tuning one first

    The Penske one is a gold mine once you've got a handle on it.
    Owner of www.shockcraft.co.nz and NZ Manitou Agent.
    www.dougal.co.nz Suspension setup & tuning.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dougal
    I've got an introduction to shim stacks on the www.dougal.co.nz website below, because it's frames (yeah it needs updated), but follow this path
    www.dougal.co.nz
    -> click to enter
    -> Suspension
    -> Advanced tuning tab will turn up below. Read the basic tuning one first

    The Penske one is a gold mine once you've got a handle on it.
    Thats a great link dougal. It explains shim stacks in detail and it written in a way that I would think a noob would understand pretty easily.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by mullen119
    Thats a great link dougal. It explains shim stacks in detail and it written in a way that I would think a noob would understand pretty easily.
    Thanks, I always appreciate good feedback.
    Owner of www.shockcraft.co.nz and NZ Manitou Agent.
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  17. #17
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    here is a good place to buy shims. I still need to measure the shims ID and max OD. I will do so and post them when I get a chance.
    Last edited by mullen119; 03-06-2011 at 11:38 AM.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dougal
    Thanks, I always appreciate good feedback.
    Dougal, did the quake affect your area?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by derby
    Dougal, did the quake affect your area?
    Hi Ray

    I live about 450km away so that quake and the aftershocks were just able to be felt here. But I do have a lot of friends and also family in Christchurch. So far every report I've heard from people I know is good, but it is still early days and there are a lot of people still to get news from.
    It will be some time before the extent of the casaulties are known.
    Owner of www.shockcraft.co.nz and NZ Manitou Agent.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dougal
    Hi Ray

    I live about 450km away so that quake and the aftershocks were just able to be felt here. But I do have a lot of friends and also family in Christchurch. So far every report I've heard from people I know is good, but it is still early days and there are a lot of people still to get news from.
    It will be some time before the extent of the casaulties are known.

    Good to hear you are ok dougal, Hopefully all your friends and family are as well.

  21. #21
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    Subscribed!!!
    As I have a 2009 Minute modified with the ABS+ damper.
    It's a great setup BTW.
    Look, whatever happens, don't fight the mountain.

  22. #22
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    Hello everyone. I own a Manitou Minute Expert 100 mm.
    Weight around 158 pounds, maybe 165 equipped.

    Have been riding the fork for about 10-15 hours already and still feel it kinda stiff on its travel.

    One click from fully open is what i usually use when going downhill, on very rocky terrain. Im running the fork at around 10 psi.
    Im getting maybe 70 or 75 mms of travel from it, even from big, soccer sized football rocks.
    So i was thinking about getting rid of one of the medium shims.

  23. #23
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    Take the 10 psi out and go for a ride. Taking a shim out would allow you to run the 2-3, maybe even 4 clicks of low speed compression to dial out brake dive and some pedal bob and still maintain small bump sensitivity, But not change the amount of travel you use. Since your fork is a coil fork with air preload, you may need to change to a softer coil spring. That being said though, hitting a soccer sized rock should not bottom your fork, It should only use close full travel on a 2-3 ft drop or a pretty hard hit. What does the fork give you for sag?

  24. #24
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    Thought this would help out: Find your fork and your forks travel. The first number after is is stock oil height, Second set of numbers is acceptable range of oil height.

    Circus Comp/Match 80mm 83 80-85
    Circus Comp/Match 100mm 83 80-85
    Match 130mm 83 80-85
    Circus Expert/Drake 80mm 87 85-90
    Circus Expert/Drake 100mm 87 85-90
    Circus Expert/Drake 130mm 87 85-90
    R7 80mm 83 80-85
    R7 100mm 83 80-85
    Minute 100mm 87 85-90
    Minute 120mm 87 85-90
    Minute 140mm 87 85-90
    Drake 29er 80mm 87 85-90
    Drake 29er 100mm 87 85-90
    Drake 29er 120mm 87 85-90
    Minute 29er 80mm 87 85-90
    Minute 29er 100mm 87 85-90
    Minute 29er 120mm 87 85-90
    R7 MRD 80mm 103 100-105
    R7 MRD 100mm 108 105-110
    Minute MRD 100mm 108 105-110
    Minute MRD 130mm 113 110-115

  25. #25
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    Bob

    Just switched out my old 100mm minute absolute air (with ABS+) for a 120mm Tower Pro. I had the 100 dialed so that about 2-4 clicks, I had no bob on the climbs, but had the action that I wanted for travel. On my 120, the only way to control the bob on climbs is full lock out. Would you say adding about 1-2 big shims would put my "happy" range somewhere between full lock out and 0? I weigh 165 and have no idea which springs were in each of those forks, they had what ever was "stock".
    Thanks!

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by slip20
    Just switched out my old 100mm minute absolute air (with ABS+) for a 120mm Tower Pro. I had the 100 dialed so that about 2-4 clicks, I had no bob on the climbs, but had the action that I wanted for travel. On my 120, the only way to control the bob on climbs is full lock out. Would you say adding about 1-2 big shims would put my "happy" range somewhere between full lock out and 0? I weigh 165 and have no idea which springs were in each of those forks, they had what ever was "stock".
    Thanks!

    You would actually want to remove shims. The Dial on the outside of your fork is low speed compression. The Shims are the high speed compression blow off. If you remove shims, the fork will open the shim stack with less force. So if you remove one or two shims, you will be able to have your low speed one or two clicks from closed(or completely closed if needed) and have the fork still move on impacts.

    Your situation is a good situation for experimentation as well. It sounds to me like a dual stage shim stack would work perfect for you.

    That would look something like this:


    if you put a single shim or a one big and one small shim on the bottom, a few of the smallest shims on top of those to create a gap,( you would have to buy a few shims) followed by a big shim(stack) again, You would have something that would help you out tremendously. This would allow you to run the ABS almost closed to stop pedal bob and brake dive. But when you hit a small bump, open the 1st stage enough to give you some decent small bump sesitivity, but keep you from blowing through travel, and the second stage would allow for good feel on bigger hits.

    I would experiment with different shim configurations. You will be able to find something you like after a few tries. But you defenitly are going to want to remove shims, not add( unless you try the two stage stack)

  27. #27
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    Shims are 8mm ID with a max OD of 19mm

  28. #28
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    I tried the dual and triple stage shim stacks a few years ago and gave up on them.

    Basically the more stages you put in, the more your shim stack damper imitates an orifice damper. Not enough low speed damping and too much at higher shaft speed. This means the suspension both wallows and spikes. No good at all for the places I like to ride which are littered with sharp rocks and roots.

    If you spend a lot of time at either end of the damping spectrum it could work okay (i.e. small bumps followed by a cliff drop), but I've found between a single stage conical stack and a more digressive flat stack to work best. The digressive stacks with more low speed damping seem to be able to extract more bump energy without transferring it to the rider, holding the bike up better between hits and sucking up the fast hits much better.
    Owner of www.shockcraft.co.nz and NZ Manitou Agent.
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dougal
    I tried the dual and triple stage shim stacks a few years ago and gave up on them.

    Basically the more stages you put in, the more your shim stack damper imitates an orifice damper. Not enough low speed damping and too much at higher shaft speed. This means the suspension both wallows and spikes. No good at all for the places I like to ride which are littered with sharp rocks and roots.

    If you spend a lot of time at either end of the damping spectrum it could work okay (i.e. small bumps followed by a cliff drop), but I've found between a single stage conical stack and a more digressive flat stack to work best. The digressive stacks with more low speed damping seem to be able to extract more bump energy without transferring it to the rider, holding the bike up better between hits and sucking up the fast hits much better.
    Thats good to know dougal, I have been experimenting with dual stage myself. I found decent results that seem promising, But nothing spectacular yet. But the places I ride are like you said, Smaller bumps and some medium sized drops, not much in between. Maybe If I dont find something that I really like soon, I will go back to experimenting with different single stage stacks. I have yet to try taking some of the preload off the shim stack yet, Maybe I will try that.

  30. #30
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    Hey dougal, Did you get affected by the tsunami?

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by mullen119
    Hey dougal, Did you get affected by the tsunami?
    Not here, I'm in the south island and almost as far inland as you can be. It sounds like the north island got big enough waves to measure (40cm or so) but not enough to cause any problems.

    From a scientific point of view, this is the best recorded Tsunami of modern times and we will learn a lot from it's movements. My deepest sympathies to those affected in Japan.
    Owner of www.shockcraft.co.nz and NZ Manitou Agent.
    www.dougal.co.nz Suspension setup & tuning.
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  32. #32
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    I saw that Hawaii and the west coast of the United States had some minor damage from the Tsunami and heard some stuff about New Zealand as well. Good to hear nothing in your area.

  33. #33
    Master of Disaster
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    Whoa - so Mullen119 is the Manitou Man! Great info.
    I'm gonna miss me when I'm gone.
    IMBA member #234701

  34. #34
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    The real Manitou man is dougal, He pretty much knows everything there is to know about Manitou.

  35. #35
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    I read Manitous also have Rebound shim stacks?

    How would that work?

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by assas1n
    I read Manitous also have Rebound shim stacks?

    How would that work?
    Yes oil damped manitous have had shimmed rebound since 1996. The rebound knob is your low-speed rebound dial, it controls oil through the centre of the shaft. The shims are for high speed rebound and open up to allow the fork to extend faster and stick to the ground better (giving more traction and better ride) while keeping low speed movements well controlled and the bike stable.

    If your rebound is too slow even with the knob full open then softening up the rebound shim stack will help a lot. On my bikes I like a fast rebound and shoot for the rebound knob mostly closed with the shims doing the majority of the work.
    Owner of www.shockcraft.co.nz and NZ Manitou Agent.
    www.dougal.co.nz Suspension setup & tuning.
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  37. #37
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    Oh i see, so i need no manipulating on that matter hehe.
    I run more less at the middle of the rebound knobb.

    Whats weird is, if i run the fork with a really slow rebound, actually the compression gets harder and stiction rises alot !

    I own a Minute Expert 2011 - 100mm

  38. #38
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    Ok here's a couple question's for you Manitou guru's.

    I've been looking at the Minute Expert, and on their site it says:
    Travel: 80, 100 (Internally Adj), 130

    So what does this mean exactly? If I had a 130mm fork could it be tuned down to 100? And if so how involved of a job is it?

    Also I imagine I'll need some kind of air pump. Recommendation?

    Sorry for the newb questions!
    Last edited by dundundata; 04-09-2011 at 08:31 PM.

  39. #39
    MattSavage
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    Quote Originally Posted by dundundata
    Ok here's a couple question's for you Manitou guru's.

    I've been looking at the Minute Expert, and on their site it says:
    Travel: 80, 100 (Internally Adj), 130

    So what does this mean exactly? If I had a 130mm fork could it be tuned down to 100? And if so how involved of a job is it?

    Also I imagine I'll need some kind of air pump. Recommendation?

    Sorry for the newb questions!
    No, the 130 is fixed travel. The 100 is adjustable down to 80 internally. Almost all the Manitou "Expert" and "comp" models do that.
    "I wrote a hit play! What have you ever done?!"

    Have Ashtray, Will Travel....

  40. #40
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    You can shorten any fork if you are into real modifications. I've never let the factory recommendations or intentions bother me too much.
    Owner of www.shockcraft.co.nz and NZ Manitou Agent.
    www.dougal.co.nz Suspension setup & tuning.
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  41. #41
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    The reason i asked was because the best deal I could find for the 100mm has those darn v-brake bosses and the 130mm for the same price has none.

  42. #42
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    Can a 2007 Minute Platinum SPV 140 be converted to ABS+? I found the thread regarding converting to TPC but haven't found anything about ABS.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by aaronka970
    Can a 2007 Minute Platinum SPV 140 be converted to ABS+? I found the thread regarding converting to TPC but haven't found anything about ABS.
    I don't know about ABS but TPC is great and you can shim it to give the ride you want.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by aaronka970
    Can a 2007 Minute Platinum SPV 140 be converted to ABS+? I found the thread regarding converting to TPC but haven't found anything about ABS.
    Possibly, by swapping dampers, but Manitou says the ABS+ damper won't fit in an SPV fork, others on here say they have successfully fitted it.

    Buy one, try it out, let us know. I think the non MRD versions for Minutes are about 45 bucks at CRC. You'd have to get a TPC rebound damper while you're at it, another 40 bucks or so.
    "I wrote a hit play! What have you ever done?!"

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  45. #45
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    Great, thanks!

    End of hijack. Could have started another thread, just noticed a lot of Manitou guys active on this one and I like the idea of fine tuning through shim stacks. Not to mention it sounds like ABS+ is the way to go.

  46. #46
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    Would it be ok if i take out one of the big shims? (manitou minute expert)
    Maybe get 2 of the smaller ones off? Dont know.

    I feel the fork is damping the compression too much and not getting enough travel.


    Thanks

  47. #47
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    The biggest shim is needed to cover the ports. If you feel you have too much compression damping, take out the smaller shims first.
    Owner of www.shockcraft.co.nz and NZ Manitou Agent.
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  48. #48
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    All of them?

    What i believe is that the fork is too progressive, and i would want it to feel more linear.

  49. #49
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    Jan 2004
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    Quote Originally Posted by assas1n
    All of them?

    What i believe is that the fork is too progressive, and i would want it to feel more linear.
    Progression is the spring, not the damper. Feel free to drain the oil from the damper and go for a ride to see how much travel you can get with no damping. Just beware it'll be quite bouncey.
    Owner of www.shockcraft.co.nz and NZ Manitou Agent.
    www.dougal.co.nz Suspension setup & tuning.
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  50. #50
    What?
    Reputation: mullen119's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by assas1n
    Would it be ok if i take out one of the big shims? (manitou minute expert)
    Maybe get 2 of the smaller ones off? Dont know.

    I feel the fork is damping the compression too much and not getting enough travel.


    Thanks

    There should be 3 of the largest shims stack on top of each other on your fork. You need to leave at least one to cover the oil ports. But removing one(or two) should will be fine. Experiment with removing different shims and see how it effects the ride, and the LSC (ABS+ dial). It will allow you to better understand what you are changing.

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