Commuting - Shocks in cold weather
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I am starting to use my MTB more and more these days for commuting to work, about 12 kms one way. I plan on riding as long as weather permits, not a big fan of riding in the snow. Question is how to shocks hold up in cold weather? I have Fox Float 100 RL shocks. Do i have to worry about the internals freezing up on me?
Great forum by the way...
08-22-05, 11:26 PM
I personally wouldn't commute with shocks on my bike at all...they tend to "squish" and make the ride feel sluggish. On the other hand, I have used shocks on my MTB in the winter for mountain biking with no problem...I'd be suprised if the cold made any difference at all.
08-23-05, 12:15 PM
As long as the shock damping has a decent range of adjustment, it should be fine at pretty much any temperature.
The coldest weather I have used my freeride bike in was -27C (about -17F) and by cranking the rebound in the Fox vanilla R almost all the way back, and this offset the thickening of the oil enough that the stroke felt normal. Same with the marzocchi fork in front.
If possible allow the bike to cool outside before riding, so the temperature of the shock oil doesn't change much during the ride. Since I keep my bike indoors both at home and at work, I need to stop and adjust it once I get going.
If you ever do get into riding snow, footprint-packed trails are pretty rough going, and you'll be glad to have the FS bike.
I have the front shock of my hybrid all the way firm (it has no lockout). In temps down to 0F I never noticed a difference in ride due to the shock. It would still compress over big bumps and provided some dampening over road-ruts and through the soft-pack. I wouldn't worry about it at all (for commuting...ice biking on mtn bike trails is not something I can comment on).
I thought I read over on the winter/snow forum that the rubber in shock absorbers can become brittle and crack in extreme cold. Also, the diminished "road feel" becomes more of a disadvantage when you need to use that front wheel to detect and steer away from slick patches. They tend to advise mountain bikes without shocks over there. But I could be remembering incorrectly.
08-24-05, 07:38 AM
I have noticed that the Cane Creek air shock on my recumbent will lose air pressure when riding in cold conditions. I can ride all summer with out adding air, but a couple of days of riding below freezing and the shock is very soft. My guess is that the rubber seals are not as flexible in the cold and allow more air to escape during a shock movement.
08-24-05, 01:34 PM
My moutain bike is my regular commuter in the dead of winter. It's the only bike I have that will fit my Nokian studded tires. My Rockshox Judy has held up just fine through two Iowa winters with many stretches of subzero commutes.
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