How often do you bottom out your suspension?- Mtbr.com

Poll: How often do you bottom out (front or rear)?

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  1. #1
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    How often do you bottom out your suspension?

    Many tuning guides say that if you are not bottoming out every ride, your suspension isn't set up right.

    How often do you bottom out? Front or rear...either counts.
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  2. #2
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    I still take cues from my old 125 2-stroke MX days, you should bottom out on the gnarliest jump, that's your cue.
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  3. #3
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    Don't know with coil. Sometimes I'll check the dust ring left on the fork legs just to see but it isn't something that's felt.

    On the rear I know because the spring deflects enough to rub the shock body on full compression but that's in extreme cases. Yes the spring is the correct weight.

    I don't do drops to flat or session rocks. I just ride trail and seek out all day downhills.
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  4. #4
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    You shouldn't set your suspension up primarily around bottoming out. That's a secondary consideration. If for some reason you had a 180mm travel bike and your tires never left the ground, it would ride like wallowy soft garbage if you set it up to bottom out. You should set the spring based on having the proper support and compliance. For most people it's probably best to run the spring as linear as possible (IOW the least amount of volume reduction you can get away with).

    On my 130mm hardtail I bottom the fork out on any decent huck to flat. On my 160mm FS enduro bike, I softly bottom the shock out pretty often and very rarely bottom the fork out.

  5. #5
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    By bottom out do you mean suspension slammed to the stop? No reserve travel left what so ever? That should only happen once in a while. Ideally it never happens at all because it usually means you have made a big mistake.

    On a normal ride with no significant mistakes and on trails with big enough features I use about 95% of my travel.

    One of the trails I ride regularly has a feature that when hit at speed it is basically a 5ft drop to flat with a downward take off. My suspension has to be stiff enough to handle that hit and reset before entering the following rock garden.

    I find that when I am on my trails I run my suspension really stiff. I know the trails and ride them really hard. But that same suspension setting it too stiff when I am riding trails that are new to me and I am ride with a lot more cation.
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  6. #6
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    Almost never, the only time my suspension bottoms out is when I've messed up a jump or drop pretty badly and either cased it hard or completely overshot the landing. My suspension is setup firm enough to give me the support I need while having just enough compliance that it doesn't bounce all over the place. It's not the most comfortable, but it's the fastest & safest setup for the way I ride.

  7. #7
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    Since I got hydraulic bottom out, I can't remember ever bottoming out once it was setup right.

    I think many brands and setups are past bottoming frequently.

  8. #8
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    In my experience, as a big dude who hits jumps... if i can bottom the shock on a normal ride i'm going to break the seat tube or rear triangle prematurely.

    Not such a big deal with forks, but it can affect confidence when approaching new big stuff.
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  9. #9
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    I probably "could" do this, however my FS bike is still not fully assembled and on my non rigid hardtail I am still stuck towing the kid on the trail so can never ride fast enough or on rough enough terrain to warrant bottoming it out.
    Previously, I rarely bottomed out, but would consistently use 70%+- of the travel and I felt pretty good about that.
    So perhaps I am overbiked, but hey it is what I have.
    One day I'll bottom out my suspension.
    Silly bike things happening.

  10. #10
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    Never unless I've ****ed something up.

  11. #11
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    I bottom or get close to bottoming my shock fairly often although I don't feel it. Very rarely bottom my fork, most rides will use 130-140mm out of 160 up front
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  12. #12
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    I don't usally feel a harsh bottom out but it happens occasionally.

    That being said I often see the travel indicator maxed out. But I would focus on feel rather than where an o ring is at the end if the trail.

  13. #13
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    bottom out on a fork without extra bottom out bumper or hydraulic is ouch for wrist

  14. #14
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    Thanks everyone. This brings up another distinction...use all your travel (o rings pushed to the end) vs hard hit you feel. Feeling a bottom out Iíd say is definitely not what you want. I recall a shock or frame designer talk about modern bikes, they are remarkably durable until you start bottoming out. The frame isnít designed to take that kind of force and that leads to the few breaks you see. (Anyone see Singletrack Sampler break a Spot frame in Moab?)

    For me, it will use 90% at most but rarely. Itís usually 70%. When I was in SoCal I could use 90% + more often given the chunk and faster speeds. Iím my case Iím over biked for what I ride, but thatís fine. Iíd rather has some extra travel in reserve. My Canfield rides great for a 140 29er so feels like 120 when pedaling.

  15. #15
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    So far never... im 62kg R2R, and the closest i've ever been was after rough tech n' freeride lines at the park.

    My rear shock works perfect - smooth, plush and supportive, and the fork finally works as close as i can get it for my liking. So as long as it feels right, i dont care if i dont bottom out or using full travel all the time.

  16. #16
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    Never really hard enough to notice at the time, but every 1/2 dozen rides or so, based on the sag o-rings which I position at the beginning and sometimes during a ride.
    Do the math.

  17. #17
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    Almost never with my front fork, it has a hydraulic bottom-out cone, so I may get within half an inch. If I'm running air pressure too light, then maybe, but with normal air pressure and spacer, it seems to be around 1/2" or so of reserve, so if I accidentally nose-dive or take a big drop I wasn't expecting, I have a little buffer there. With the rear, rarely, on aggressive trails maybe a "soft" bottom once every few rides. You basically want to set it up to only bottom during the most extreme event you foresee encountering, maybe with a little buffer on the conservative side.

    There is validity to "not using travel", as far as you paid for it, why not reap the benefit of it? But it also makes no sense to be setting it up for full travel for real smooth/tame terrain where if you jump a little to high or hit something a little too hard, it'll bottom. You want a certain amount of stability and resistance to chassis movement, which you won't have if you go too low on the spring/pressure. Typically, the difference in pressure between more aggressive and less aggressive terrain is not that much and you STILL are not likely to use full travel on the less aggressive terrain.

    The progressive nature of air shocks sometimes lends itself to setting up too progressive with spacers, in that it blows through the travel and gets extremely progressive at the very end.
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  18. #18
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    before I added spacers all the time and it sucked, much better performance for me once I added spacers in them,

  19. #19
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    I can bottom out, but I almost never do.
    It has to be a pretty abrupt hit for it to occur, which is not what 98% of the ride consists of.
    If I set it to bottom on the majority of the trail it would be too soft to take a hit. I am not a jumper, but I do jump the jump line, laughable as viewed by a jumper I'm sure. I'll twist the fork dial to slighter stiffer than 'open' for the jump line when I remember. And make sure the rear isn't open either.
    There are occasional g-outs, creek/stream crossings that I dive into -that's where I use the most suspension. Or when on a really gnarly section I want to ensure it won't bottom if I take the 'wrong' line.

    I'd say set it up so your ride is comfortable. If you find yourself bottoming add 5psi. If you feel the suspension is stiff and you're barely using 50% travel, go 5psi less then you have. Trial and error.

    I'm not a tuner, just sharing my personal experiences as an average rider that isn't a know-it-all.

    I can't remember what mistake I made yesterday but I bottomed on the hard tail. Didn't feel very good. I think even the rear wheel took a hard hit, lets just say it was a solid landing. Extra firm. LOL.
    I switched up my line or speed or something dumb on a jump and flat landed more than I usually do.
    I won't change my suspension settings because of it -it was worst case scenario.

  20. #20
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    I picked every ride, but that is full travel use not a hard bottom. (big bike) I know I use full travel but do not feel a bottom out event except after a screw-up, but based on o-rings, it is all getting used. The last time I had a hard bottom out was at the end of a huge F*ck-up and I clanged both ends. Now with the Avy cartridge in the fork, I have not yet hard bottomed it, nor fully used all travel, like JM, I end up with a 1/2 inch of safety margin after a hard run.
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  21. #21
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    I come pretty close (less than 10mm travel left) on my gnarlier routes, but actual hard bottom outs? Last one was on Chuckanut in Bellingham in August. Launched off a fun looking drop without scouting it because I had a fairly good view of the runout, and landed on a root section. Bottomed hard enough to make my front rotor ring out like a bell and definitely felt the impact when the fork bottomed.

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  22. #22
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    I was about to say never, until Sunday through a brake rut mid berm. I'm getting fat and running my pressure too low

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by clintj View Post
    I come pretty close (less than 10mm travel left) on my gnarlier routes, but actual hard bottom outs? Last one was on Chuckanut in Bellingham in August. Launched off a fun looking drop without scouting it because I had a fairly good view of the runout, and landed on a root section. Bottomed hard enough to make my front rotor ring out like a bell and definitely felt the impact when the fork bottomed.

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    Ha! That's where I had my last hard bottom out too. Took the double black drop on Double Down a bit too fast, landed in the flat. CLACK said the front fork.
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  24. #24
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    I asked one of the sources of the "bottom out ever ride" approach (Lee MaCormack) and he says he now uses 80-90%. Looks like the bottom out approach is out the door along with elbows out which he also used to advocate for in his book.
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by eshew View Post
    Ha! That's where I had my last hard bottom out too. Took the double black drop on Double Down a bit too fast, landed in the flat. CLACK said the front fork.
    I know that one too. Good example of what you want to set up to avoid, but sometimes hard to foresee when you donít experience routinely.
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    I know that one too. Good example of what you want to set up to avoid, but sometimes hard to foresee when you donít experience routinely.
    Apparently that drop has a reputation! That was the first time I ever rode Double Down/Double Black, and once I got used to the overall steepness it was really fun. I don't think I've ever been poked in the ribs by my saddle so many times in one run. A friend and I were visiting from out of town and met up with a couple of local friends for that ride.

    One guy was less experienced, and not that comfortable with the trail. The other guy (an experienced, fast Galbraith rider) crashed on the entry to the lower half his first time (this was his second time down it). He crashed early in the lower half, then wrenched an ankle a few minutes later, and passed the lead off to me so I was leading the train by the time I flew off the drop.

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  27. #27
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    Generally use the whole travel on the shock...but it's never harsh. Fork..it has to be a overshot drop into a g out.

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