Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Pagosa Springs, CO, USA
Bikes: Road, MTB, Cruiser, Chopper, BMX
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I didn't want to get into a huge dissertation about suspension pre-load...but here goes:
Pre-load is a somewhat useless function. Only forks and shocks with mechanical springs have it (metal coil or elastomers), and all it does is mechanically compress the spring, moving it further up the rising rate of the spring's compression curve, making it break away (begin moving from a static position) at a higher compression force. This may make the spring feel stiffer, but at the loss of overall travel. If the point of suspension is to absorb the shock of striking irregularities in the surface ridden over, allowing the vehicle to maintain forward momentum, then how can having less overall travel make it faster?
The suggestion you were given is essentially to lock out the fork of most its travel. If the performance-robbing issue is compression bobbing of the fork from pedaling forces (which does expend energy) and not rolling resistance due to surface irregularities, then that point is valid and you'd be better off to swap your fork for a rigid one.
If the surface is the issue, the real answer is to match the spring rate with the suspended weight, and have a proper damping control of the shock's movement speed. Air springs allow more pressure to be added to compensate for rider and bike weight while still allowing the full range of travel, but mechanical springs must be changed out entirely for another with a higher or lower load rating to maintain the same travel. Since your hybrid fork most likely does not allow the springs to be changed, nor will it likely have any damping control other than friction...then yes, you may have to wait til the next bike.
If all you wish to do is lock out your present fork, essentially making it a rigid, then look at removing the pre-load cap, add spacers on top of the spring, then replace the cap. This will give even more pre-load and less travel. I know that is too simplistic an answer, but without knowing what fork it is, at least it explains the theory.
Originally Posted by ahsposo
Ski, bike and wish I was gay.