Posts in the category Feature

Suspension Setup Series #5: Is Your Suspension Humming the Right Tune?

bikerumor-suspension-setup-series-tune-markers

Many shocks have tune markers on the outside to show how the frame manufacturer spec’d them. It’s Greek to most of us, but suspension tuners will use that info as a starting point.

Like a song stuck in your head, the internal damping tune of your suspension is what makes it sing. So far, we’ve covered everything you can do yourself: Setting Sag (Part 1), dialing your compression (Part 2) and rebound (Part 3) damping, and adjusting air volume (Part 4). For the vast majority of riders, these user-friendly adjustments are going to get your mountain bike tackling the terrain like a champ.

But, as with anything made to work as well as possible across as broad a spectrum as possible, there’s always a chance it’s not going to work right for you. And if none of the other tricks worked, you could look at a new suspension fork or shock that has more adjustability built in. Or you could just order a new shock with a softer or firmer tune directly from Fox, Rockshox, Manitou, DT Swiss, Magura or whomever. That might be an easier solution then sending it off for custom tuning, but it would be missing the point.

“For a custom tune, we consider rider weight, riding style and, for rear shocks, the leverage ratio curve,” says Kevin Booth, founder of Suspension Experts. “The manufacturers don’t always have all of this information available to them, so it’s not possible to offer the perfect fork or shock out of the box. So while stock suspension comes out of a factory designed around an “average” sized rider, it has to be able to function for a rider that is anywhere from 100 lbs. to 300 lbs. It’s easy to see the opportunity to make it work better. To accommodate this broad range of potential riders, the external knobs tend to offer very coarse adjustments …swinging wildly from one extreme end of the adjustment range to the other. A suspension tuner’s job is to narrow that range of adjustment to work well for a particular bike (leverage ratio curve) and rider (weight).”

That means even a different stock tune is still going to be made to fit a very wide range of riders rather than you, specifically. So, how do you know when it’s time to look at a custom tune?

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Bike Check: Cedric Gracia’s Crankworx Enduro Santa Cruz Nomad Race Bike

Cedric Gracia Santa Cruz Nomad Bike Check_007

The Enduro World Series race held in Whistler last last weekend was considered by many to be one of the most rugged races of the entire season. Consisting of 8,000 feet of climbing, over some forty odd miles (of mostly single track), many riders chose to ride their biggest, baddest, burliest, set up.

For Cedric Gracia, this meant turning to the recently released Santa Cruz Nomad.  READ MORE ->

Wolf Tooth Components Introduces New Asymmetric Tooth Design, Plus New Line of High End Tools!

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If you’re planning on ditching the front derailleur soon, you are not alone. Seemingly overnight, the concept of a 1x drivetrain exploded in popularity after SRAM introduced XX1. While XX1 proved 1x drivetrains were viable options, it was other chainring manufacturers making 11 and 10 speed compatible chainrings that didn’t require a complete new drivetrain that really helped the trend along.

No one knows that better than Wolf Tooth Components whose entire business started off with 1x chainrings and has quickly expanded to other components, accessories, and now – tools. Wolf Tooth is also introducing a new patent pending asymmetric tooth design, details next…

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First Look: The Trek Slash Goes Carbon for 2015, Plus Actual Weights

2015 Trek Slash Carbon_0

The Slash has been in the Trek lineup for many years and throughout that period the platform has seen significant changes in order to keep current with trends. At times its tilted towards the trail spectrum, or been a mini-DH bruiser, but last year it was redesigned for the Enduro race circuit.

Originally only available as an aluminum model, after a year of EWS podiums, Trek has finally launched a carbon version. Head past the break for glamour shots and actual weights. READ MORE ->

Suspension Setup Series #4: Fix Your Ride by Adjusting Air Volume

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Rockshox Bottomless Tokens take up space in the positive air chamber, letting you adjust air volume in about five minutes.

In Part One, we discussed the most basic of starting points to get your suspension set up properly: Sag. In Part Two, we covered most of the compression damping settings, followed by rebound in Part Three. Those were the low hanging fruit and, for most riders, should put you in a pretty happy place on your bike. After all, most bike manufacturers work very closely with suspension brands to develop a shock tune specific to the bike it’s going on. But, shocks and forks are tuned to work best for a broad range of riders, and sometimes your size, weight or riding style put you on the fringes (or beyond) of that range, letting the standard external controls getting you only part of the way there.

“We always use sag as a starting point, but it’s not an absolute for everyone,” says Darren Murphy, owner of PUSH Industries, a suspension tuner out of Loveland, CO. “A lot of people lock into that, though, and running more or less sag than is recommended is not a bad thing. Don’t feel like you have to lock into a certain number. Everyone’s riding style and size are different.

“But when you’ve gone through the compression and rebound settings and the ride quality is good but you’re either not getting through all the travel or your bottoming out all the time, that’s when you should start looking at your air volume.”

Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to adjust air volume…

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Where to Ride: Beech Mountain, NC – Mountain Bike Park, Killer Road Riding & More

beech mountain resort mountain bike park and area riding and attractions

Looking for the perfect riding getaway that easily blends first class road and mountain biking with plenty more family friendly activities worthy of a week in the Blue Ridge Mountains? Beech Mountain, located in northwestern North Carolina, has just that, with a pro-level DH course mixed among beginner-to-advanced lift-served bike park, world-class road riding and everything from hiking to caverns to zip lines to keep everyone entertained.

Beech Mountain Resort serves as a nice center to it all, surrounded by plenty of restaurants, lodging and non-riding activities. Roll through for details on the riding options, recommendations for where to stay and eat and things to do off the bike…

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First Look: Meet The New Asymmetric & Concentric Specialized Demo Carbon

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Between a paradigm shift in mountain bike wheel sizes, and a gradual evolution in geometry, the landscape of the modern downhill bike is dramatically different than when the last iteration of Specialized’s Demo was introduced.

Working with recently acquired team rider Aaron Gwin and rising star Troy Brosnan, Specialized has created an all new Demo that pays homage to the free hucking and World Cup winning ways of the old 26″ model, but introduces a series of innovations.

Drop past the break for the full run down.

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First Look: New Carbon Devinci Spartan Enduro Bike- Plus Actual Weight

2014 Devinci Carbon Spartan_00

Built long, slack and low, the Spartan is an everyday trail weapon bringing 160mm of split pivot powered travel to the battle. The 27.5″ version of Halo’s Master Chief has proven itself, being raced with great success at everything from the elite levels of Enduro racing, to Crankworx, and the occasional World Cup round.

After having been finally released last year as an aluminum model, the podium charting formula has now been transferred to carbon. Learn more about the transformation after the break… READ MORE ->

Suspension Setup Series #3: Set Compression & Rebound to Maximize Traction

Bikerumor how to set up your mountain bike suspension guide for maximum performance - rebound and compression damping tips

In Part One, we discussed sag, which puts your suspension in the right position, setting the stage for good performance. In Part Two, we talked about low speed compression and the various “platform” settings available on modern forks and shocks, recommending you try them wide open to fully utilize all that R&D that went into them in the first place.

For Part Three, we’ve once again turned to Duncan Riffle (Rockshox PR manager & 2x U.S. DH Champ), Mark Fitzsimmons (Fox’s pro athlete suspension tuner), Eric Porter (veteran pro mountain biker, Manitou test athlete) and Josh Coaplen (Cane Creek’s VP of engineering).

As a quick primer, your compression and rebound circuits control the motion of the suspension by controlling the rate of movement. Without it, you’d basically be riding a pogo stick. They do this by forcing oil through an orifice, and the size of that hole controls the speed at which the oil flows through it. Smaller holes mean slower oil flow, which means more damping. Bigger holes mean less damping, which equals faster movement. There are two types of control over hole size. Usually for low speed, you have a fixed port size with a needle or some other barrel that opens or closes access to that port in steps. High speed compression is typically handled with a spring or shim stack holding a seal over larger ports. With enough force, the shims flex or the spring is compressed and the ports are opened, letting more oil flow through to handle big hits. The strength of the shims/spring dictates the amount of force required to flex them. Your particular fork or shock may operate differently, but the principle is the same: Control oil flow and you control the rate of compression or rebound.

Here’s how to use that to your advantage and help keep the rubber on the trail…

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