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Is it O.K. to bottom out suspension?

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Is it O.K. to bottom out suspension?

Old 08-19-17, 05:07 PM
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dirthurts
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Is it O.K. to bottom out suspension?

I'm new to air shocks, and I'm working on getting the maximum amount of travel out of my fork and rear suspension.
My question is: Is it O.K. to bottom out the suspension? I mostly do just single track, but I do the occasional small jump. Just wondering if it's likely to do any damage.
Monarch rear shock with a recon silver front.
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Old 08-19-17, 06:33 PM
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If you do it very occasionally, it shouldn't do anything (something like a few dozen moderate bottoms over the shock lifetime). The trick is can you survive it bottoming out? Generally, when the suspension bottoms out, you're going to get a very sharp rebound bounce, and that's a recipe for crashing ugly and at speed.

Generally, you want to use ~80% of suspension travel on your most aggressive ride. The remaining 10-20% is margin for when you mis-judge or try that new jump. That doesn't mean ~80% of the travel on a gentle lake loop, where you may only use 10-20%.
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Old 08-19-17, 06:44 PM
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+1,

Bottoming now and then, and especially "close" bottoming where it might only have traveled another cm or so are OK. A steady diet means you're not getting the fill benefit of suspension, where the ideal is to be within the working range, both bottom and top at all times.

If bottoming isn't the exception, you want to either increase the height, or resistance. I prefer to set suspensions based on how they top out on rebound, and raise them until they top out, then drop them until they just don't. If you get both bottoming and topping, then you need either more travel or a stiffer suspension.

BTW for diagnostic purposes I use a cable tie snugged on one stanchion, so it's stay put bur slide if pushed. this records the maximum, so allows me to do test rides rides over a distance and with various bumps or jumps, and see how much travel I used. Then I can adjust the fork accordingly.
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Old 08-19-17, 06:52 PM
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Thanks for the advice.
Any thoughts on how much suspension I should use up on a small bunny hop (3 inches or so). I'm trying to dial it in before I hit the trail again.
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Old 08-19-17, 07:46 PM
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For the rear: Set sag according to what your frame needs. For the fork: set sag according to for manufacturer directions. (Usually recommended sag is about 10-20% of the travel)

After setting the sag, if you find yourself bottoming out regularly, increase air pressure. If you find the bike rides harsh, decrease air pressure.
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Old 08-20-17, 03:29 AM
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For your rear shock you set air pressure to get the right sag. Then if you are bottoming out to easy you add volume spacers to the shock to make it more progressive(get stiffer the more travel it uses). Normally you would do the same thing for the fork but you can't with a Recon. There are usually hack ways to accomplish the same thing using thicker weight oil or just adding more oil but you would have to look into it
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Old 08-20-17, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by dirthurts View Post
I'm new to air shocks, and I'm working on getting the maximum amount of travel out of my fork and rear suspension.
My question is: Is it O.K. to bottom out the suspension? I mostly do just single track, but I do the occasional small jump. Just wondering if it's likely to do any damage.
Monarch rear shock with a recon silver front.
It is OK if it just bottoms on the biggest hits you encounter.

If there are o-rings on the fork and shock stanchions, use them to see if you are using all your travel. You can be bottoming the suspension without really noticing it.

Sag is a good STARTING point for front and rear suspension. From there things can work a little different for the front and rear.

Some rear suspension designs need for the sag to be in a specified range to work properly. So, at least at first, it is a good idea to try and stay in that range, and use other means to use more or less travel (such as adding/removing volume spacers, or using compression damping adjustments, if available).

For the front end, after the first time you set the sag, I see little reason to pay it any mind ever again. Go by what feels good.

I would also not obsess over getting full travel (front or back). Again, go by what FEELS good. Sometimes in order to use full travel you end up running the suspension so soft that you get too much brake dive (in front) or suspension wallowing (in the rear).
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Old 08-20-17, 02:56 PM
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What I would suggest is buy a shock pump and you can do all the adjustments yourself. I did not think I would use mine as much as I have been. Its a useful tool considering you will lose maybe a psi or two each ride. I am about 180 pounds so I ride my rear shock at around 175 psi, and my fork at 90 psi. As far as bottoming out, all of the new shocks are built pretty tough. I ride a Monarch as well, and I have given it a good test in Whistler as well as the stunt lines around here where I live. We can throw out a lot of suggestions to you, but its going to be a lot of personal preference.
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Old 08-20-17, 07:47 PM
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Originally Posted by WannaGetGood View Post
What I would suggest is buy a shock pump and you can do all the adjustments yourself. I did not think I would use mine as much as I have been. Its a useful tool considering you will lose maybe a psi or two each ride.
You shouldn't be losing that much pressure after a ride. You should lose basically nothing. Connecting the pump to measure it will cause a much large drop than loss from riding. So if you measure before every ride, it'll look like you're loosing a lot, but in reality, it's just the drop from measuring. Think of it like the Fox Uncertainty Principle.

Pump the fork/shock to desired pressure, when you measure you next you should get the same answer after one ride or a dozen rides. If there's a difference of more than 1-2 psi your suspension needs a rebuild.
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Old 08-20-17, 07:49 PM
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It is widely believed that if you are not bottoming your suspension occasionally, you paid for suspension that you are not using.

You should NOT be bottoming harshly. Ideally, when you finish an aggressive ride, your O-ring(s) are bottomed, yet you have no idea when/where it happened.

If your riding is not aggressive, and you just use 70-90%, that's fine. Probably more pedaling efficiency. Don't use it all just to say you did.

If you're bottoming out during successive hits, you probably need to speed up your rebound to prevent fork/shock from "packing down."
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Old 08-21-17, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by dirthurts View Post
I'm new to air shocks, and I'm working on getting the maximum amount of travel out of my fork and rear suspension.
My question is: Is it O.K. to bottom out the suspension? I mostly do just single track, but I do the occasional small jump. Just wondering if it's likely to do any damage.
Monarch rear shock with a recon silver front.
You should be bottoming out your suspension on the biggest hits you encounter on the trail.

Like suggested by some of the others, if you don't have a shock pump, it'd be a good idea to invest in a decent one. I'd suggest getting one that has a two stage connector, to minimize air loss when disconnecting the pump. E.g., I've got the Topeak DXG, which has Topeak's "Pressure-Rite" connector ... looks like this:



In terms of pressure, you should start with the recommended values given by the manufacturers. Most bike manufacturers will have a guide for air pressures depending on your weight. For your fork, Rock Shox usually has stickers on their fork legs to give you air pressures for rider weights. Start with those values, then tinker with more or less to fine tune it to feel how you want it to.

If you find that your suspension is bottoming out too harshly, you might want to look into getting volume reducers ... bottomless rings for your Monarch, and bottomless tokens for your Recon.

Plenty of videos on YouTube to help out dial in your suspension.
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Old 08-23-17, 07:20 PM
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Thanks for the info (and the detailed image). I ordered a Fox brand shock pump (looked good and it was cheap) so I am excited to give that a go.
I tried a Beto pump, but the pressure release valve didn't work for some reason.

Is there any regular maintenance I need to do to these types of shocks? Wiping them down, lubing the shafts, etc?
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Old 08-24-17, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by dirthurts View Post
Is there any regular maintenance I need to do to these types of shocks? Wiping them down, lubing the shafts, etc?
You can check with Rock Shox's User Manual for recommended maintenance and service intervals.
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Old 08-24-17, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by rasheed View Post
You can check with Rock Shox's User Manual for recommended maintenance and service intervals.
Full service on most RS forks is very easy. The only special tool you really need is a set of snap ring pliers. A 24mm socket is nice for the top caps, but a crecent wrench works fine.

One money saving tip: if it calls for 5 weight damper oil, use Maxima 5 weight Fork Oil. ( available at any motorcycle shop, or you can order it online) Much cheaper and just as good as the branded stuff. Also, synthetc motor oil works great for the lowers. I use 5w-40 at the recomendarion of Enduro Seals instructions, but you have some leaway on the oil weight. Just google it.

Be careful about lubing the shafts (stanchions). It can make them attract more dirt.

If I do lube the stanchions, I will use silicone spray on a rag, and make sure they are really dried off after. But honestly, I don't even think it's really that necessary.

Last edited by Kapusta; 08-24-17 at 02:30 PM.
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