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Bicycle suspension fork tuning

Old 04-20-16, 08:32 PM
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M_AND_STROKE
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Bicycle suspension fork tuning

So i got this new bike, and i have a suspension fork that is really quite basic, the only control on it is the preload. So i sat on the bike, got 0mm of sag. Ok fine, i took it to ride on a rather quite bumpy trail, and the suspension isn't really responsive and i got to hit a really quite big rock to even compress the suspension a little bit. The preload is set the minimal and there is still 0 sag. Is there a way to set the preload even beyond "minimal"?
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Old 04-20-16, 11:22 PM
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Nope -- according to my LBS. The preload knob has very little effect.

You might try dusting the fork pistons with some baking soda or flour to see how much the forks are compressing.

I weigh 165 lbs and adjusting the preload knob has no perceptible effect.

On the other hand, I'm nowhere near bottoming out. I left my bike uncleaned for a couple of weeks while riding gravel and can see from the dust marks I'm compressing the fork only halfway. But I'm not doing any extreme stuff. And I adjust my front tire pressure downward to suit rougher conditions.

On the plus side, the bike feels very stable with non-technical trail riding. Any problems are attributable more to tire pressure than the forks. So I stopped worrying about the forks and instead adjust the tire pressure to suit conditions.
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Old 04-20-16, 11:51 PM
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Originally Posted by M_AND_STROKE View Post
So i got this new bike, and i have a suspension fork that is really quite basic, the only control on it is the preload. So i sat on the bike, got 0mm of sag. Ok fine, i took it to ride on a rather quite bumpy trail, and the suspension isn't really responsive and i got to hit a really quite big rock to even compress the suspension a little bit. The preload is set the minimal and there is still 0 sag. Is there a way to set the preload even beyond "minimal"?
You'd have to change the spring to a lower spring rate. The problem with many cheap forks is that there are no spares to be found. Since you just got the bike, it'll worth a phone call to the dealer and ask them if they can order a softer spring. Good luck
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Old 04-21-16, 06:10 AM
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I agree with just changing the PSI of your front tire. I change mine depending on where/what I am riding on.
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Old 04-21-16, 06:18 AM
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Originally Posted by M_AND_STROKE View Post
...So i sat on the bike, got 0mm of sag. ...
Don't sit when setting sag. I like to be in what is termed the "attack position". Here's a brief explanation:

MTB Techniques - The Mountain Bike Skills and Technique Resource

Set your sag from the attack position, because that's how you should be whenever riding over anything that's rough and bumpy.

But in your case, what the others have said is true. The adjustment range from that preload knob will not be much. Some fork brands will make available replacement springs suited for different rider weights. You might prefer instead to save the money toward a future fork upgrade.

If your fork happens to be a Suntour brand, then Suntour offers a pretty nice upgrade program. Here's a link:

SR Suntour North America

Edit: Just read that page. Apparently Suntour will now upgrade competitor forks.
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Old 04-21-16, 06:22 AM
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0 sag means no settling of the fork, so does it ever move? If you bounce on the bike, does the fork compress and rebound? What do you weigh and are you riding at a slow and easy pace?
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Old 04-21-16, 09:27 AM
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NB: the kind of fork, included on a 400$ bike has none of the adjustments, that a $400 fork for a bike may..
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Old 04-21-16, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by NYMXer View Post
0 sag means no settling of the fork, so does it ever move? If you bounce on the bike, does the fork compress and rebound? What do you weigh and are you riding at a slow and easy pace?
Yeah, the fork does move. When i hit a bump at 20 mph that is the size of of my wheel, it does bottom out but its too stiff. I weigh 140 lb (cool) and i do XC.
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Old 04-22-16, 06:21 AM
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Originally Posted by M_AND_STROKE View Post
Yeah, the fork does move. When i hit a bump at 20 mph that is the size of of my wheel, it does bottom out but its too stiff. I weigh 140 lb (cool) and i do XC.

Are you saying that you're hitting bumps at 20 mph that are a 1/4 size of your wheel? You said that you're a XC rider, as in Mtb rider?

Those statements don't make sense to me.... If you bottom the fork, it's not too stiff. Maybe something is binding up or assembled wrong?
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Old 04-22-16, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by NYMXer View Post
Are you saying that you're hitting bumps at 20 mph that are a 1/4 size of your wheel? You said that you're a XC rider, as in Mtb rider?

Those statements don't make sense to me.... If you bottom the fork, it's not too stiff. Maybe something is binding up or assembled wrong?
:/ I don't really know.. I will just bring it to the shop and let them see the issue. Thanks for your help tho!
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Old 04-22-16, 05:53 PM
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Good idea IMHO M and Stroke. That's a good way to assure safe riding
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