Fork lockouts..... do you even use it?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    Chubby Chaser
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    Fork lockouts..... do you even use it?

    So the other day my friend and I had this debate about the usefulness of a fork lockout. He is extremely insistent that everybody needs one and it does wonders for his climbing. So much so he tried to convince my friend who just recently bought a bike to return his to get one that has a lockout.

    I personally don't even use mine as I don't have an issue with my front end bobbing during climbs. I have a marzocchi bomber 44 ts2 air and it has quite a long travel (130) and set to be on the soft side.

    I usually climb mostly seated and just spin and I am able to get up the hill much faster than him as he's mashing and I see his handlebars and bike tracking left/right/left/right.

    So how important do you think the lockout is?

  2. #2
    Afric Pepperbird
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    I only use mine on nut-busting climbs of very steep grade, mainly so I can stay seated. I'd say I use it about 10 times a year.

  3. #3
    Nickel Havr
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    Don't have a fork with a lock out (RS Sektor R 130) and don't need it!
    I climb seated so it's not much of an issue...
    Quote Originally Posted by William Blake
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  4. #4
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    I use the lockout all the time. I don't like being inefficient or waste energy when I'm climbing, and my RockShox Sid has a remote on the handlebar so its convenient. I guess its personal preference whether you do or don't. It is one more thing to think about when riding, but bobbing up and down is not for me.

  5. #5
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    Most of my time is spent on asphalt and cement so I use mine every ride. In fact I rarely have it open unless I see something up ahead I'd like to have fun with like a ditch or steep embankment.
    The mountain bike god frowned upon Florida It seems such a waste considering it was $500-600 part. I know I'll get full use of it when vacationing up north though.

    I use it mostly as a safety device. I don't know if it's all in my head but I feel like it has saved me going over the bar a couple times. Sometimes if I'm feeling frisky and driving in the dark with no light,
    I have it open so in case I hit any potholes. That plan has saved me twice since I've got this new bike. My older bike with crap for a fork would have been OTB for sure those times. The only time I've gone
    over lately was hitting a 6" curb diagonally going about 15 mph....in the dark of course.

  6. #6
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    My bike has a platform damper. So in a sense, I use my lockout full-time. In another sense, I don't have one at all.

    I'm very glad not to have yet another piece of silliness on my handlebars to fiddle around with. I dialed in my suspension settings a long time ago, wrote them down, and only ever change them if my weight fluctuates. Mine's tuned so I can climb out of the saddle, as long as my form's halfway decent, and sprint out of the saddle, ditto, without making the fork bob, but it still tracks well.

    On the list of features I think a suspension fork really needs to be an improvement over a rigid fork, though, meh. Mountain bikers can be way too impressed by the toys. Not me, of course.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  7. #7
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    My last rl and last rlc had lockout- never used it- now that I think about it idk if my lyrik has a lock out or not- never use it-

  8. #8
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    I have a remote lockout and I engage it on climbs.
    - Ed

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  9. #9
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    I've tried locking out my fork a couple of times, but didn't really notice the difference, except possibly on some really steep bits. I could live without it for the time being.

  10. #10
    DynoDon
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    My fork has a gate that has notches (clicks on the blue knob) I've been messing with the settings and it seems to help, I just set it in the parking lot and go from there, other then that I never use them, I have a Specialized Epic with the Brain in the rear, I'm sending the fork in to have a Brain put in this winter during downtime.. the Brain in the rear is great, (set it in the parking lot and ride) so the fork Brain should be also..
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  11. #11
    Rollin' a fatty Moderator
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    Never used it on the fork or shock.

  12. #12
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    i have a marzocchi bomber fork with the ETA lockout at the top of the left stanchion. I used the lockout briefly, but found myself forgetting to unlock after i topped the hill. i only had to wreck once to figure out to stop using the lockout. If i had a remote trigger for it, i might actually use it...but having to lean forward to flip the switch is a hassle and really not worth any benefit that it gives. it changes the geometry of the bike such that doing an endo is way more likely on any descent.

  13. #13
    Just ride.
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    My 29er SS Rockhopper has a RockShox Tora with "lockout". I bought the bike used and the lockout was broke...I've never even considered getting it fixed.

    Oh, and I climb hills standing up...

  14. #14
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    Yep, it is nice to have a lockout. I use it all the time.
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  15. #15
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    I use my lockout only when traveling to/from the trails. Once on the trails I leave it off.

    There are no long, steep climbs where I'm at. Just technical, root laden, twisty climbs. I tried to use my lockout a couple of times but I'd hit a root and it would send my front end high enough to cause me to loose balance. I leave it off now and have no issues...

  16. #16
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    There are times I use it and times I don't. There are sections of the trails I ride where I don't need to use it and times where I do and I've gotten pretty good to know where I need it, and on new trails I'm pretty good a guessing where it'l be needed.

    Still, I use it enough that I think I'm going to add the remote poploc. Would make life a lot easier for me.

  17. #17
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    I find when I lock out my fork that the bumps usually knock me around and mess me up more than the extra efficency is worth. Only on long steep single speed fireroad climbs do I ever bother with my lockout. And I hate doing that, so I don't lockout much. My newest bike doesn't have lockout at all and I've never wished for it.
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  18. #18
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    Use it all the time, but I ride where its either uphill or downhill. If I lived in rolling terrain I'd probably use it a lot less.

  19. #19
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    i only use it when i need it, but with the tsts2 i just tap it down a few clicks for too and from work and throw it all the way on a couple of long as climbs on the local trails.

    its handy, but if your bike is light enough you would never need it even for steep climbs.
    2012 Giant Reign 1

  20. #20
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    My lockout is on all the time except for steep, technical downhills, rooty trails and rock gardens.

  21. #21
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    I use it on road sections. Then I forget to disengage it when I jump back on the trail.

  22. #22
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    I leave it on if I'm on pavement or smooth stuff or during really steep climbs. Otherwise, It's mostly left off. It's nice to have, but not essential.
    -Eric
    Keeping the hardtail dream alive, one ride at a time.

  23. #23
    Hi.
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    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum View Post
    I find when I lock out my fork that the bumps usually knock me around and mess me up more than the extra efficency is worth. Only on long steep single speed fireroad climbs do I ever bother with my lockout. And I hate doing that, so I don't lockout much. My newest bike doesn't have lockout at all and I've never wished for it.
    Same here. I ditched my SID WC with remote lockout for a Magura Durin SL (no lockout). I don't miss the lockout at all.

  24. #24
    Hazardous to your health!
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    only on the road do i use it.
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  25. #25
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    I use mine all the time. I probably have it locked out more than not. But I am a single speeder so that might factor into it. But I use it on technical downhills too so I don't get fork bob when I use the front brake.

  26. #26
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    I use it on every ride, but I ride a 1 X 9....I don't have a granny.....so on the steep climbs I stand and mash .....if you are a strong rider and you have a granny, the lockout is not as important you can just sit and spin....

  27. #27
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    On my full suspension 26" I never use the lockout. On my hardtail 29er I use it all the time.

  28. #28
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    Its nice to have when riding on blacktop

  29. #29
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    Regardless of personal preference, suspension forks are designed to suspend. In the realm of the absurd, if one was to run with the lockout on all of the time it would most likely groove or damage the coating on the sanctions due to the contact at the bushing being restricted to a very small area. Similarly, it is good to hit full travel every now and then to push the oil up to where it can replenish the foam rings found on many forks. This also applies to rear suspension lockouts, not necessarily for sanction wear but for the pivots (they will get very notchy if the force is only hitting in one place), if you paid for that travel you should use all of it, imho.

  30. #30
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    [push the oil up to where it can replenish the foam rings found on many forks
    Can you elaborate on that. You mean turn the fork upside down?

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Surfacecreations View Post
    Can you elaborate on that. You mean turn the fork upside down?
    Fox recommends that you do turn the fork upside down to lubricate the oil rings but the other poster was talking about reaching full travel to splash the oil up into the rings. Of course, most forks don't work that way, but I agree with the sentiment that riding locked out all the time can cause damage to the fork.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  32. #32
    IPA tester
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    On my Spec FS I had to use both lock outs on climbs since I had big time pedal bob
    but with my Pivot I have never used them once
    "We'll ride it until they pave it."

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  33. #33
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    Well i dont know if im doing somthing wrong but i can stand up and give it all i can with out bobbing. It wasnt always like this, in the begining i used lockout all the time. I thought my forks had sezied up because there was no bob. I guess my riding style has evolved.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by s0ckeyeus View Post
    I use it on road sections. Then I forget to disengage it when I jump back on the trail.
    Ditto.

    The trails around here can easily be ridden with the shock locked out or on a rigid fork. HOWEVER, I don't recommend riding them while thinking you have a shock but actually don't.

  35. #35
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    I have a Specialized Stumpy FSR, with pre-propedal Fox Float fork/shock. Both have lockouts. I tried them out when I first got the bike, but quickly decided that I do want my suspension to be active while climbing so I've never used them since. It was the whole reason I bought the bike!

    I mostly sit and spin on the climbs, but I will get out of the saddle when I need more power, and I do not feel like my suspension takes away from that. In fact, I feel that I have better traction and my tires stay in contact with the ground better when my suspension is on and active. I don't even use the lockouts when I'm on the road on my way to the trail. When I do that, the bike feels even MORE stiff than my steel road bike, and I don't like it.

  36. #36
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    The fork may be more stiff than the one on your road bike. I notice that my road fork has more torsional flex than any of my others. I don't notice it riding, so I'm not about to start whining about it - more of an interesting bit of trivia. Come to think of it, maybe I do notice it riding in the sense that the bike doesn't beat me up.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaKn View Post
    I use the lockout all the time. I don't like being inefficient or waste energy when I'm climbing, and my RockShox Sid has a remote on the handlebar so its convenient. I guess its personal preference whether you do or don't. It is one more thing to think about when riding, but bobbing up and down is not for me.
    Ditto.

    Especially if it is a trail I know well. When I know whats around the corner I feel it's a big advantage, to "be ready" for it.

    My Recon has a Poplock, I'm pretty sure I'll be getting the pushlock system next time though.

  38. #38
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    I used it all the time when I had it (Stumpjumper hardtail w/ zocchi bomber), although the change in geometry was as nice as the stiffness. My full suspender doesn't have lockouts, it has an air-supported platform. I haven't missed the lockout much, but it was nice to have on steep grinds.

    For my next bike, a fork lockout will be in the "nice to have" category, but isn't a requirement by any means. A rear shock lockout will be higher on my list, probably.
    '11 Specialized Enduro Expert for the trails
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  39. #39
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    I use mine all the time on the road but seldom use it on the trails.

  40. #40
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    I use my lockout often, because I stand a lot on my singlespeed.

  41. #41
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    I have 3 bikes. 5, 6 & 7 inch duallies
    All are top spec, all with lock outs - I never use any of them ever.
    I have played with them, sure, but I tend to sit and spin and rarely mash. This combined with the efficient suspension sytems these days seems to make lock outs increasingly redundant.

    However my 7 inch AM bike has a Fox TALAS 36.
    The TALAS I use all the time - find its is excellent for climbs

  42. #42
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    I used the other day will clibing he way back on our local 4 mile xc trail-seemed to help. If the trail was really rough I would use it.

  43. #43
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    I never use mine on the trail but I usually lockout on the road. I'm not sure if it helps but the idea it's there makes me feel less wasteful of my energy.
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  44. #44
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    only on the roads. It makes the ride just a little more energyefficient.

  45. #45
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    Yup ... got one, and I use it often ... so much so that I just picked up a steel Kona to convert into a rigid.

    ... well that's my excuse to get a steel rigid. As well as a second bike.

  46. #46
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    hardly ever use PP or lock-out. The exception is the deceivingly long gradual climbs.

  47. #47
    Just Ride
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    I don't use my lockout either. I just look at it as cheating for climbs. But staying seated, I don't have much issue with the front bobbing. And the bike is HT so no issue with rear bob obviously!
    SS ==> Nut up or Shut up!

  48. #48
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    Mine actually stopped working the other day-im thinking about taking it into the LBS, is this a sign for anything?

  49. #49
    Ride da mOOn Moderator
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    Wink

    Yes, I ride rigid...

    ... so it's always locked out

    LOL

  50. #50
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    Mostly on roads or for climbing out of the saddle, sometimes for steep and smooth climbs. It's also handy when you're trying to get restarted on a steep section, because you can put more of your weight on the handlebars without sinking into the travel when you first kick off.

  51. #51
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    Apparently I'm in the minority My bike came with a remote lockout so I pop it on and off at least 5x/ride. Every time I come up on pavement and on long climbs.

    Hell, the remote lockout was what pushed me from buying a Kona Caldera to getting a Kula instead

    It's useful when it's accessible on the fly:

  52. #52
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    The only time I ever use mine is on extremely steep, low speed descents when I need to keep the front end from "diving"

  53. #53
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    I used mine the other day just to see if it worked. Cant say I will ever use it on the trail though.

  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by P-Tron View Post
    Apparently I'm in the minority My bike came with a remote lockout so I pop it on and off at least 5x/ride. Every time I come up on pavement and on long climbs.
    You have absolutely enormous bar-ends

  55. #55
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    Judging from this thread I'd say the split is pretty close to 50/50 people who do and don't use their lockouts. Add me to the list of people who do use it. On the rare occasion I'm on pavement trying to keep up with a roadie, that lock out makes a big difference. With it open I top out around 22-23 mph on flat road, locked I can hit 32, so there's no question about it improving efficiency.

    On long smooth uphills I'll lock it in too, more for comfort than efficiency. Bobbing up & down drives me nuts. But for technical climbs I leave it open so the roots & rocks don't take away control, and for faster speeds I leave it open & stand on the pedals like a single speed. "Sit & spin" has got to be the slowest most exhausting way to get up a hill if you ask me.

  56. #56
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    People here must be inefficient riders. While climbing fire roads, I don't bob up and down, because it's exerting energy that I don't want to waste.


    Try riding smoothly...you'd be surprised that how your suspension doesn't bob up and down. Don't bounce, just pedal.

  57. #57
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    Live and ride in new england. I cut the remotes off when possible, never use em. Just a gimmick for the kids and westerners to play with.
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  58. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtmartino View Post
    You have absolutely enormous bar-ends
    Easy there, cowboy.

  59. #59
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    Lock outs are great. I use mine when riding to trails along even roads. Or on less intense trails I may dial the knob to about half way or 3/4 to sort of reduce the impact but get the benefits of a rigid fork.

  60. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by s0ckeyeus View Post
    Easy there, cowboy.
    That's what she said?

  61. #61
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    I use ProPedal occasionally. When I flick it on, something in my mind also clicks and I motor up the hill crazy fast. On my big travel bike, I can leave it on full time (Fox DHX Air 5.0 shock on a Yeti ASR7 7" AM bike).

    For forks, I never bother locking out Fox forks since they don't need it. For Rock Shox with Dual Air, I will lock it out on the road, but that's about it.

    I tried locking out my fox fork and turning on pro pedal on a 3 mile moderately steep 6-7% average grade climb and I think that beat me up more than if I had gone with no lock out. My lower back felt it at least. I normally climb it without lock out without such issues.

    For short hills that I want to attack, I just let the suspension bob. Rock Shox forks really have it bad for this type of riding and I'd probably welcome a remote lockout, since I dislike holding back my power to be "more efficient". I wonder if people who promote smooth pedaling know that they're simply smoothing out the pedal induced suspension activation and you are still losing efficiency? Instead of bobbing, it just settles deeper in travel beyond sag or, if you have an pro-anti-squat bike, higher in travel. Efficiency should be measured by how far you go with the same amount of effort (in terms of sweat, heart rate, watts, air consumption, etc.), rather than basing how little your bike bobs as efficiency. The time it takes to go that distance should be considered too. Attacking hills seems to be the most efficient way to go, in my experience, even if it bobs.

  62. #62
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    the only time i used lockout was when i went on road i didnt need it climbing p.s. where i live it is flat so no real hills

  63. #63
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    I just use one or two clicks from the lock on my abs+ damper, works great on rocky up hills, for road I fully lock out.

  64. #64
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    I'm new to biking, can someone explain exactly what it does and what situations it is intended for? Thanks.

  65. #65
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    xycose, a lockout locks the suspension out so that it's not wasting energy when it's not needed. The purpose of suspension is to absorb the energy of a bump to give you better control & a more comfortable ride. When you're on a rocky rough bumpy trail or landing from a big jump, you really appreciate the ability of your suspension to soak up that bump & not rattle your bones.

    But when you're climbing a hill or riding all out on a smooth road, you don't want the suspension bouncing up & down on you, it absorbs the energy from your pedals the same as it would absorb bumps from a rocky trail. You don't want that energy absorbed though, you want every bit of that energy transferred through your drive train & contribute to making you go forward. The solution is a lockout. You flip the lockout and your suspension stops absorbing energy, it stays more stiff & lets your energy go toward propelling the bike like you want it.

  66. #66
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    Locking the shock out definitely helps me on climbs. On loose stuff the difference in how often the tire spins is noticeable.

    For the fork, locking out isn't really as useful for me on climbs. Rapid fork rebound was freaking me out while trying to do slow technical descents, and locking out the fork helped on some of those. There's one trail around here that has 15 switchbacks in a row!

    However I recently got the rebound on the fork turned up much higher so that the forks don't pop up sharply if you drag the brake a little bit, and that feels better than not letting the forks compress (using lockout).

    But it is still a tool I'm glad I have. Especially since it is within easy reach and is right there in front of you. The propedal lever on the shock is hidden under the frame and leads to some interesting moments when you fish around for it on the fly...

  67. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by Night Rider AZ View Post
    the only time i used lockout was when i went on road i didnt need it climbing p.s. where i live it is flat so no real hills
    If you have no hills to contend with, maybe you should consider just getting a rigid fork.

  68. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by xycose View Post
    I'm new to biking, can someone explain exactly what it does and what situations it is intended for? Thanks.
    While locked out, it makes the fork more like a rigid fork. I do a good bit of city/paved bike path riding on my mountain bike (for instance riding my bike to work). There's really no need to have the suspension "working" while riding in those situations so I often lock it out under those circumstances. When doing a long uphill climb, I also lock it out then, as you may get a little 'pedal bob' while climbing (the bike 'nose diving' a bit as your pedaling).

  69. #69
    I4NI
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    I use the LO every ride. It makes for a longer ride.
    There....Are... Four...Lights!

  70. #70
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    I don't like the "fork lock-out makes a fork more like a rigid fork" comparison. It makes it sound like rigid forks perform like a cheap suspension fork that has its compression locked out. Which isn't true. Rigid forks are a lot lighter than all but the most expensive suspension forks, and those too if they're also expensive, and the tracking kicks the crap out of a cheap suspension fork.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  71. #71
    Jason
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    I used my lockout so often that I eventually switched to a rigid fork. I'm not really a fan of suspension.
    Jason
    ____________________________________________
    The bicycle; the noble invention that saves my health, inside...and out.

  72. #72
    Bicyclochondriac.
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    On forks that have it, I do occasionally use it on the trail, mainly when mashing out of the saddle. Not a deal breaker if it does not have one, though.

    Most rear suspensions I have had are efficient enough that I don't bother, plus the loss of traction hurts more than the slight increase in efficiency might help.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  73. #73
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    If i was using my bike on a big out of saddle climb up the road I would probally set my rear to propedal and my fork to lockout.

    However up a steep slipry rocky climb having the suspension movement makes it so much easier to ride. What i find with my Rockshox Sektor forks at 20% sag and Low Speed compression on the firmer side I competly don't miss having a lockout and i never really fiddle with my fork.

    However on my 2008 Recon 351 coils on my old bike i used the Lockout quite a lot because they were a bit pogo stick like in comparison to the 2011 Sektors.

  74. #74
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    I used my lockout until I bought a road bike. Now the MTB is only for trail duty and the trails I ride don't require it. Matter of fact, I took off the Poplock remote.

  75. #75
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    I am a pretty big guy, and I am sure don't have the best climbing technique, but I really do feel a great benifit from locking out on a climb. Not nearly as much pedal bob, and climbing is much easier.

  76. #76
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    I love my lock out forks. Where I live I am constantly transitioning from pavement to trail. In fact, I think I use my forks on lock-out more often than not. It's a good point though about having the forks bottom out on occasion to distribute the oils to protect the seals, I'll have to remember that.

  77. #77
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    My Fox 32 Float has one, but I never ever use it. Such a pain in the butthole to have to reach down and flip the lever. F that. I just ride.
    You in Oklahoma City? If yes, come ride with us.

  78. #78
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    i like realy stiff forks, and i almost never take the lockout off,

  79. #79
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    Rarely use it.

  80. #80
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    I have a remote lockout so its easy to engage/disengage which leads me to use it more. I find it useful on climbs and flat smooth sections. If I only had the switch on the fork I probably wouldn't ever touch it

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