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For those who started out fully rigid and went to suspension fork...

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For those who started out fully rigid and went to suspension fork...

Old 05-05-11, 05:53 PM
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3speed
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For those who started out fully rigid and went to suspension fork...

Did you have to change the way you rode a lot? This suspension fork thing has almost gotten me really hurt twice now. The issue is when the fork squishes while I'm not going straight. One time I landed my front wheel while leaned and because the bars kept squishing lower after the bike had hit the ground, it's like the bike just kept squishing it's way out from under me. I felt like I came really close to eating pavement. The other time was a large angled rock that I used to kind of jump off of kind of like a little wall ride. This time, when I hit it, rather than riding it like usual, the front end kept squishing into it, and then rebounded pushing the front of the bike out of whack.

Is it normal to have to relearn to ride when switching to a suspension fork? I'm not even quite sure what I could do differently to change these situations.
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Old 05-05-11, 09:13 PM
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jediphobic
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I don't know that I've had to relearn anything when switching to a suspension fork. Maybe just a healthy respect for landing rear wheel first. If the bike really is throwing you for a loop, it may not be you, it may be the fork. Make sure it's set up right, the air pressure or spring pre-load is right for your weight. When you sit on the bike, the fork should sag slightly. Usually about a third of the travel is what you are looking for, so you have 1/3 to push it down into depressions, and 2/3 to go up over bumps. If your fork has a rebound control (it might not) you can play with that until you find a setting that you like. If it's still unpredictable, there may be something mechanically wrong with it, and you should take it back to the shop to get checked out.
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Old 05-05-11, 10:40 PM
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I did and the suspension fork bails me out of trouble almost every ride. Learn to love the squish grasshopper...
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Old 05-06-11, 12:45 AM
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OP - sounds like you need to adjust the new fork to your weight and riding style. Start off with the correct sag, then if you have compression and rebound adjustment knobs do those to. Suspension forks are great, but you have to take the time to adjust it for best performance.

My first bike was a rigid chromoly steel Giant back in the day. You tend to pick smoother lines on a rigid, not so with a bike with suspension. Suspension smooths out lines that you would otherwise avoid on a rigid. My riding style is different when riding rigid and bike with suspension.
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Old 05-06-11, 01:33 AM
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Don't get me wrong. The fork is great in some aspects. I can now just ride right through stuff that would have jarred me or been a little sketchy before (not sure if this is actually a good thing). When I first put it on and went for an urban test ride, I was amazed that I can just ride right off of a 5 stair gap and land like it's Nothing even if I don't hit the landing right and it's perfectly smooth and plush.

But in other ways, like when it rebounds off of something, or when I go to bunny-hop up onto something, it's totally different with a suspension fork. Before I would push down slightly on the bars when approaching something to bunny-hop, and then pull up to hop. Now it totally ruins my hops because when I go to push down to gain that push upward, the bike just squishes down when I go to push up and I don't hop nearly as well. That part I totally understand, but I'm just wondering if these are things that I'll just have to learn new techniques for and if it's normal, or if there are just some things a suspension fork won't do as well.

My fork does have rebound adjustment. I've got the compression dampening set to the stiffest setting and the rebound about 3/4 stiffest setting. I do know I don't want it to be all squishy like a noodle so that's why I have it stiffer on those adjustments. The sag is set pretty low since I only weigh ~150lbs.

Maybe I'll just ride it more and see how it goes. It is amazing how much it smooths everything out. I can already tell I'm going to be able to do a lot of things on the trail I couldn't before. Just that there seems to be a few things that I'm going to need to adapt to with the fork.

Thanks for the advice.
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Old 05-08-11, 02:08 AM
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Originally Posted by 3speed View Post
...

But in other ways, like when it rebounds off of something, or when I go to bunny-hop up onto something, it's totally different with a suspension fork. Before I would push down slightly on the bars when approaching something to bunny-hop, and then pull up to hop. Now it totally ruins my hops because when I go to push down to gain that push upward, the bike just squishes down when I go to push up and I don't hop nearly as well. That part I totally understand, but I'm just wondering if these are things that I'll just have to learn new techniques for and if it's normal, or if there are just some things a suspension fork won't do as well.
...

Maybe I'll just ride it more and see how it goes. It is amazing how much it smooths everything out. I can already tell I'm going to be able to do a lot of things on the trail I couldn't before. Just that there seems to be a few things that I'm going to need to adapt to with the fork.

Thanks for the advice.
There's no denying the trade-offs you mention here. Some things are a lot easier with suspension, some are a lot easier without. Once your brain gets used to the shock and how it performs the front end will be as predictable as it used to be, just different. The fork length varies but varies in a way that the mind learns to anticipate unconsciously. Should only take a few good rides. Most people think the shock is more fun overall, but then, most people have never really rocked the rigid fork so don't appreciate the trade-offs.
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