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Old 08-03-07, 04:08 PM   #1
Yen
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Locking suspension fork

I have a 2006 Giant Cypress SX (hybrid). It has a suspension fork. I've read suggestions to others to lock down their suspension fork, if possible, as one way to gain a little speed. I tried doing that by turning the little dial on top of the fork, but nothing changes. The users manual doesn't even mention the suspension.

How can I determine whether my fork can be locked down? And if it can be, how do I do that?

Thanks,
Jen
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Old 08-03-07, 04:15 PM   #2
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On the fork leg opposite the one with the dial, there will be one of two things if you have a lockout. Either it'll be a lever, with a sticker on the leg beneath it indicating which direction is "locked out", or it'll be a button you press to lock or unlock. If it doesn't have one, hold the front brake while you turn the dial all the way to one side or the other, and leave it on the side that gives you the least bounce. That's the closest to lockout you'll be able to get without a true lockout.
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Old 08-03-07, 04:51 PM   #3
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Well, I have neither. Guess I'd need to get a different fork, or wait for the next bike.

Thanks for your help...
Jen
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Old 08-04-07, 10:38 PM   #4
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I read elsewhere that if the suspension fork cannot be locked down, to "set the preload to max".

How do I do that?
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Old 08-04-07, 11:36 PM   #5
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Usually by turning it clockwise til it stops. Check the owner's manual for your fork.
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Old 08-05-07, 12:02 PM   #6
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Thanks. The owner's manual says nothing at all about adjusting the fork.

Now, I'm assuming that "set preload to max" means to turn it clockwise until it stops before I get on the bike.... correct?
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Old 08-05-07, 12:10 PM   #7
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It's called pre-load for a reason .
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Old 08-05-07, 12:54 PM   #8
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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.
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