Tuning suspension balance by percentage of travel used.
Today I went for an 11 mile out and back ride. That means an equal amount of ascending and descending. It wasn't anything very technical or rough, mostly fire roads and some single track. I'm riding a SC Nickel with a 150mm fork and about 142mm out back. I've been working on adjusting the front and rear pressures to get a balanced setup. When I got back, I decided to measure and see how much travel I'm using in the front and rear. Not because I'm worried about using full travel, I could care a less about that. But, because I wanted to see how much I was using in the front compared to the rear. After checking my travel indicators and doing some measurements and calculations, I found that I was using 2/3 of the travel front and rear, right down to the mm. I have always wondered if this is a good way to tune suspension balance? What do you guys think?
'96 San Andreas
'12 Santa Cruz Nickel LT
'08 KTM 530
'12 Toyota FJ TT
'05 MiniCooper S
'95 Honda HB Si
'71 Dino 246 GT
I would say go with what feels right for your terrain and riding style. I like the way hardtails ride and try to emulate that in my fs bike, ie. Plush in front with just enough suspension in the rear to take some of the edge of. This might seem weird for you, go with what FEELS best.
Waiting for peace
Yea, that is exactly what I do.... a balanced suspension preforms more predictably too!!!
I try to get close to 100% travel out of both ends, but try to avoid bottoming out the rear. The front I don't mind if I bottom out, but in the rear that often means a pinch flat where I ride. I dial down the pressure in the front until it's about 30% sag and adjust from there. For some forks, that produces too much brake dive, for some it's still too much pressure.
As a general rule, I tune my suspension for the fast downhill sections. For the uphill I'll use the lockout/platform levers to adjust for pedaling. But I find that going downhill is where I want my bike to be the most supple, yet also the most responsive (aka not mushy). It's a tough balance, but one worth fiddling over!
"Got everything you need?"
Balanced is always good, but how much travel you use is not the only indicator of well balanced suspension. How much travel you use on a particular hit is more about how you hit an object rather then how well balanced your set up is. think of lifting the front end up to go over a log, of landing a jump tail heavy, you would likely use more travel in the rear then the front on those hits. What is more important is that the rebound speeds are the same and the compression settings are similar. Doing so allows for the front and rear to work together regardless of how much travel each side is using.
That said, on any given ride, a properly set up ride will use similar amounts of travel. So while its not the only indicator, it is part of it.
I tune the front and rear independently - independent suspension. If both the front and rear are tuned properly (sag / spring rate) balance shouldn't be an issue, no ? I don't know of any tuners compromising one to balance another.
I would think that if set up properly, there wouldnt be a compromise. Even if set up independently, there is no reason to have slow rebound on a fork and fast rebound in the rear(as an example) They should end up with very similar set ups if done properly. How you arrive at the conclusion would be irrelevant.
Originally Posted by keen