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  1. #1
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    I wish my Brain would lock more better

    I have a 2011 Epic Expert 29er. During the first few initial rides, I messed around with the Brain settings quite a bit and settled on 4 out for the rear and 1 out for the front. I really hate fork pump during all-out pedaling efforts and when out-of-the-saddle. That worked great for a while.

    Recently, I've noticed the fork pumping in hard pedaling and out-of-the-saddle efforts. I checked, the Brain is still at 1 out from all the way in. But now instead of sub-1-inch of travel when out-of-the-saddle, it is now pumping up and down 2 or 3 inches.

    I screwed the Brain adjuster all the way in and it is now working for anti-pumping, but is a much harsher ride.

    I had a Rockshox Revelation on my last bike. The lock-out didn't lock out like I wanted, so the LBS poured more oil in. Just popped the top and poured a random quantity of additional oil. That improved fork lock-out substantially, but it also made the fork much harsher.

    Is gradual degradation of the lock-out performance of the Brain on the fork normal? To be expected? I bought the bike for the Brain suspension and went from very happy to very disappointed in about 20 rides.

    Is there a remedy to return the Brain to the original performance? Pour in a slightly lower random volume of oil? Argh!
    '13 Spec Epic 29er, '09 Orbea CX, '12 Cannondale SuperSix, '08 Spec Transition, '06 Simtra Trials (sold), Yamaha YZ450 (sold)

  2. #2
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    Back to the shop mate that's not right! One thing is the air pressure still where you set it first ride out? I'd check that first off.

  3. #3
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    On my Specialized Futureshock E100 brain fork free play at the start of the travel when the brain is set to full firm is usually a sign that the fork is on the way out and needs a service or a warranty repair.

    Losing brain platform gradually on the Futureshock E100 fork isn't down to low oil. It's to do with the nitrogen charged brain cartridge.

    It might be the same problem on your Rockshox Reba brain fork too. It sounds exactly like the issues my E100 brain fork has had so it's possible.

  4. #4
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    WR304 +1

    I've seen a lot of forks in that condition or worse when they get here, usually it's lost oil and the nitro charge is weak (the oil loss seems to be from the main shaft seal).... they also don't have any micro bath in the bottom and have never been serviced from new... a sad state of things, really.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpecialWarr
    WR304 +1

    I've seen a lot of forks in that condition or worse when they get here, usually it's lost oil and the nitro charge is weak (the oil loss seems to be from the main shaft seal).... they also don't have any micro bath in the bottom and have never been serviced from new... a sad state of things, really.
    Thanks for the responses. Work was insane last week, no time to check mtbr or email. My bike is a 2011 Epic Expert 29er that is only a couple months old and only has a few hundred miles on it. I have not seen any signs of oil leakage. What is a "micro bath in the bottom"? What is the recommended service interval? Is this something that you've been seeing on the Reba Brain 29er forks?

    Is recharging the nitro in the Brain cartridge something my LBS can do? Or will it have to be sent to Specialized? If the latter, what is the current turnaround time?

    Thanks!
    '13 Spec Epic 29er, '09 Orbea CX, '12 Cannondale SuperSix, '08 Spec Transition, '06 Simtra Trials (sold), Yamaha YZ450 (sold)

  6. #6
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    My fork is doing the same thing...guess it's time to send it in I got my S-works used so I don't know the service history. I just hope it'll last for a 12 hour race this weekend.

    It's my understanding that service is every 50 hours in the LBS for basic service then has to be sent off to specialized every 150 hours or once a year for full service. Full service takes 2-3 weeks.

  7. #7
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    The Micro Bath is a cartridge lubricant that goes into the lowers before threading on the nuts that hold the uppers to the lowers..... if I recall the correct amount in each leg should be between 7 and 10cc.

    The recommended basic service is every 50 hours and that is supposed to be cartridge seals and stanchions seals changed..... major service intervals is 150 hours of off-road riding.

    I've heard that the early production Reba 29er has a leakage problem, but I suspect that it's because it's an early production, nothing else.

    As far as whether your LBS can do a nitro recharge you'll have to ask them if they are setup for that service level.... if they work on FOX then there is a good chance they'll be setup for it..... if NOT then it's going to have to head back to an Authorized Service Centre....

    Any further questions?






    Quote Originally Posted by MultiRider
    Thanks for the responses. Work was insane last week, no time to check mtbr or email. My bike is a 2011 Epic Expert 29er that is only a couple months old and only has a few hundred miles on it. I have not seen any signs of oil leakage. What is a "micro bath in the bottom"? What is the recommended service interval? Is this something that you've been seeing on the Reba Brain 29er forks?

    Is recharging the nitro in the Brain cartridge something my LBS can do? Or will it have to be sent to Specialized? If the latter, what is the current turnaround time?

    Thanks!

  8. #8
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    Would the Micro Bath be a possible cause of the Brain locking getting weaker and weaker? Sounds like the most likely cause is weak nitro charge, 2nd most likely is low oil possibly from a leak. I plan to take the bike in to the LBS and am wondering if I should ask them to investigate the Micro Bath as well.
    '13 Spec Epic 29er, '09 Orbea CX, '12 Cannondale SuperSix, '08 Spec Transition, '06 Simtra Trials (sold), Yamaha YZ450 (sold)

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpecialWarr
    I've heard that the early production Reba 29er has a leakage problem, but I suspect that it's because it's an early production, nothing else.
    Are you referring to oil leakage or nitro leakage? Thanks!
    '13 Spec Epic 29er, '09 Orbea CX, '12 Cannondale SuperSix, '08 Spec Transition, '06 Simtra Trials (sold), Yamaha YZ450 (sold)

  10. #10
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    Another question . . .

    When the rear Brain is at 4 or 5 clicks out from full in and I'm riding on a smooth surface, the rear shock is locked. I put the o-ring up to the shock body and pedal in and out of the saddle and there is virtually no movement.

    When the front Brain is at 2 clicks out and I pedal standing up, there is 1-2 inches of movement. If I put it on 1 click out, there is 1/2 to 1 inch of movement. If I screw it all the way in, there is virtually no movement (like the rear Brain on 4 or 5 clicks out).

    My expectation is that the fork would behave like the shock -- not move much if at all when riding on a smooth surface at 4 or 5 clicks out. To get the action I'm expecting (locked out on smooth surfaces), I have to screw the Brain adjuster almost all the way in. That results in frequent "clunking" where it distinctly engages and disengages.

    Does it sound like my fork is behaving normally?

    The Expert was $800 more than the Comp. I stepped up to the Expert primarily to get the Brain fork. It's not meeting my expectations so far. I really, really want to like it, but that is dependent on it locking out on smooth surfaces without constant clunking as it engages and disengages. The reviews I read (MBA and others) described it as "stunningly effective" and "seamless". That caused me to go for the Expert. I still want to like it!

    Thanks!
    '13 Spec Epic 29er, '09 Orbea CX, '12 Cannondale SuperSix, '08 Spec Transition, '06 Simtra Trials (sold), Yamaha YZ450 (sold)

  11. #11
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    I wish your brain would not allow you to say "more better". JK!

  12. #12
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    From what you describe, your Brain Fork and Shock are working as they are supposed to from the SBCUs that I've attended. Neither is supposed to lockout as Specialized doesn't have the patent on that technology.... That's a Fox. My fork also clunks when I crank it all the way to the firmest setting. I've been told that that is because of the pressure of the spring pushing upwards onto the ports and shim stack.... The actual 'clunk' is the sound of the brain being slammed open by the oil pressure in the upper part of the fork (it also does that on my shock).... I've been told not to ride the bike in full firm settings as it's going to kill the shims...... but I'm going to keep sending it in for its 150hr service every 150 hours..

    Did I actually answer the question??





    Quote Originally Posted by MultiRider
    Another question . . .

    When the rear Brain is at 4 or 5 clicks out from full in and I'm riding on a smooth surface, the rear shock is locked. I put the o-ring up to the shock body and pedal in and out of the saddle and there is virtually no movement.

    When the front Brain is at 2 clicks out and I pedal standing up, there is 1-2 inches of movement. If I put it on 1 click out, there is 1/2 to 1 inch of movement. If I screw it all the way in, there is virtually no movement (like the rear Brain on 4 or 5 clicks out).

    My expectation is that the fork would behave like the shock -- not move much if at all when riding on a smooth surface at 4 or 5 clicks out. To get the action I'm expecting (locked out on smooth surfaces), I have to screw the Brain adjuster almost all the way in. That results in frequent "clunking" where it distinctly engages and disengages.

    Does it sound like my fork is behaving normally?

    The Expert was $800 more than the Comp. I stepped up to the Expert primarily to get the Brain fork. It's not meeting my expectations so far. I really, really want to like it, but that is dependent on it locking out on smooth surfaces without constant clunking as it engages and disengages. The reviews I read (MBA and others) described it as "stunningly effective" and "seamless". That caused me to go for the Expert. I still want to like it!

    Thanks!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by MultiRider
    When the front Brain is at 2 clicks out and I pedal standing up, there is 1-2 inches of movement. If I put it on 1 click out, there is 1/2 to 1 inch of movement. If I screw it all the way in, there is virtually no movement (like the rear Brain on 4 or 5 clicks out).

    My expectation is that the fork would behave like the shock -- not move much if at all when riding on a smooth surface at 4 or 5 clicks out. To get the action I'm expecting (locked out on smooth surfaces), I have to screw the Brain adjuster almost all the way in. That results in frequent "clunking" where it distinctly engages and disengages.

    Does it sound like my fork is behaving normally?

    The Expert was $800 more than the Comp. I stepped up to the Expert primarily to get the Brain fork. It's not meeting my expectations so far. I really, really want to like it, but that is dependent on it locking out on smooth surfaces without constant clunking as it engages and disengages. The reviews I read (MBA and others) described it as "stunningly effective" and "seamless". That caused me to go for the Expert. I still want to like it!

    Thanks!
    If the fork platform is solid when you turn the brain dial to full firm then it's probably working normally. A broken brain fork is when you turn the brain dial to full firm and still get significant completely free play at the beginning of the travel. That doesn't seem to be what you're describing?

    In terms of feeling the fork clunking and suddenly breaking through its platform when the brain dial is at full firm, or within a few clicks of full firm, that's normal for a Specialized brain fork. I have my Specialized E100 fork at 4 clicks from full firm so that you don't feel the brain opening. The fork has a sticky feel and some platform rather than being completely solid. It avoids that nasty clunk and falling away sensation of the front end when the brain opens from a full firm setting.

    It sounds like the function of a 2011 Rock Shox Reba brain fork is very similar to the Futureshock brain forks. I'd suggest reading a few threads on here about Epics and Stumpjumpers which discuss the Specialized Futureshock E100 and S120 forks.

    My New S-work Epic impressions

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