Proper fork adjustments-
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  1. #1
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    Reputation: gemini9's Avatar
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    Mar 2011

    New question here. Proper fork adjustments

    I've been riding my bike since april and haven't really done anything to properly adjust the fork so I thought I'd start a thread about it. I've got a Dart 2 and it's got 3 different adjustments on it that I'm not sure how to use properly.

    A) The lockout feature: I know it's best to lock it out on hard pack, and I do. But I'm wondering, when I engage the lockout, do I need to dismount before locking the fork? Just to be safe, I usually do. Second part of the question, when I'm going off the hardpack and back into the dirt, to I have to dismount again to UNlock the fork?

    B) Preload: I've read some articles and watched a few videos but I still can't figure out how to properly adjust this thing. I'm about 140 pounds and I have it set to if I sit on the bike, it sags a little. But I'm wondering how much is too much? I've been riding it for a few months and I've never bottomed out the fork, so does that mean I need to decrease the preload a little bit more?

    C) Rabbit and Turtle: On the very bottom of my fork on the right hand side, there's a knob I can turn. One setting has a rabbit and the other setting has a turtle. From what I've read, I think it has something to do with the rebound? How fast the shock bounces back I think? I'm not sure... but I don't know where it should be set. Should I be using the rabbit or turtle setting? Or would it be satisfactory to put it somewhere between? I'm clueless on this one.

    One final question about the fork. Sorry for the long post, but do I have to lube the shaft? er.... not to be taken the wrong way lol

  2. #2
    Fat-tired Roadie
    Reputation: AndrwSwitch's Avatar
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    Nov 2007
    A. Lockout use depends on the type of damper. Some of them are safe to have locked out all the time, some aren't. You can turn it on and off while riding.

    B. You can actually measure the amount of sag you have - most people use 15% to 25%, depending on how they use the fork. Put a zip tie or something on the stanchion, right above the seal. Carefully get on the bike - you're trying not to mash the fork into its travel. I've always just put my weight on the saddle while balancing against a wall or something and if the zip tie travels about 20% of the way up the stanchion tube, it's close enough. If you leave the zip tie on or there's an o-ring, you can also use it to keep an eye on how much fork travel you're using on your rides. If you're riding technical terrain and never use your full travel, you'd probably benefit from a lighter spring kit. Note that no forks travel all the way up the stanchion tube, and many forks sit a little bit into their travel even at rest. So it's okay if your o-ring never gets all the way to the crown. It's not okay if it only ever gets, say, 50mm above the seals on an 80mm or 100mm fork, at least if you're doing the occasional fast descent or drop.

    C. Try it all the way on the rabbit. Try it all the way on the turtle. Most likely, you won't like either of those settings. Somewhere in between is going to be a happy medium. In general, it's desirable to have the fastest rebound that doesn't have negative effects. The rabbit represents faster rebound, the turtle represents slower rebound. Negative effects would be the fork bouncing back hard. If your rebound is too slow, the fork will start to sink into its travel over successive bumps.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  3. #3
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    Reputation: gemini9's Avatar
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    Mar 2011
    Thanks for the reply. I'll try the zip tie thing and see what happens. You said the o-ring never reaches the top of the crown, that the stachion never goes down all the way and that's good to hear because I've been expecting the stachion to go all the way in the tube. So it's possible I have the preload set way too low. I had no idea it didnt' go all the way to the crown, so I'll definitely have to take another look at my fork tomorrow. Good advice. Plus reps for the post. You've always been a great help.

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