Ask PB - Rear Shock Upgrades, Water in Frame, and Fixing Stanchion Scratches

May 26, 2015
by Pinkbike Staff  
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Here at Pinkbike we get inundated with all kinds of questions, ranging from the basic "Can I have stickers" to more in-depth, soul searching types of queries like if you should pop the question or what to name your first child. Ask Pinkbike is an occasional column where we'll be hand picking and answering questions that have been keeping readers up at night, although we'll likely steer clear of those last two and keep it more tech oriented.

Less Travel, Better Action

Question: Pinkbike user Evo360 asked this question in the all-mountain, enduro and cross-country forum: I recently bought a Whyte T-129 Works SCR with 120mm of travel and 29'' wheels, and I'm finding the rear suspension is a bit harsh and far from being plush. Can I upgrade the bike's shock to something that provides a plusher, deeper feeling? I was thinking of something like a Float X or Monarch Plus to replace the Float CTD shock that's currently on the bike. I'd like to retain the bike's playfulness, but I could do with a more planted feel when things get rough. Then again, I've just come off of a 160mm travel Lapierre Spicy, so I guess the Whyte is never going to feel the same as that, but more stability would be nice.

bigquotesIt is true that your 120mm Whyte is never going to feel as stable and planted on rough ground as the bigger Spicy did, and that the smaller travel bike is going to get knocked around a bit more, but there should be a few things that you can to improve your situation. Going to a piggyback shock isn't one of them, however, as the use of a piggyback is to provide more damping oil for a more consistent feel during long descents, not to make for a more active ride, which is a common misconception.

If I were you the very first thing that I would do is to try and optimize my current setup before spending any additional money. I would consider how often I'm using full travel, and if the bottoming incidents are hard or more inconsequential - you're not locked into an exact sag figure like 25% or 30%, so try running a bit less air until you find yourself using too much travel too often, or bottoming too hard. Add 5 PSI at a time until you're only bottoming hard on the biggest impacts. Your Float shock's CTD lever can also be used as a crutch that allows you to run less air pressure for a more forgiving ride when set to Descend mode, but then you can flip it to Trail when you're looking for a firmer feel. The other option that I'd consider is to try a different air can that utilizes a longer negative spring to provide a much more active, coil-like feel at the top of the stroke. FOX's new EVOL air can does exactly that, as does Vorsprung's Corset air sleeves that are an easy add-on. The feel between the stock and aftermarket air sleeves is night and day, so it's well worth considering if you're happy with your Whyte otherwise.
- Mike Levy

Vorsprung Corset air sleeve for Fox shocks - coil feel air weight Far less initial resistance more mid-stroke support for better bump absorption increased traction and greatly improved support
Vorsprung's Corset air sleeve for FOX shocks proves a much more active and coil-like feel.

Water Accumulates in My Frame

Question: Biking4speed asks in the comment thread of PB's Commencal V4 review: I have a Commencal Meta V4 and I'm very pleased with it. However, I've found one problem: there is an opening at the bottom of the seat tube, where the cables enter the down tube, and it is right in the firing line for mud. And, with no drainage hole by the bottom bracket, the water collects in the bottom after washing it. I've emailed Commencal and they said they are working on something, but I was wondering if anyone else is having this problem?

bigquotesInternally-routed cable housings and hoses are the trend, and you are not the only rider who has discovered that the entry ports give easy access to moisture - and that standing water can accumulate in the frame's bottom bracket area and secretly destroy the bearings from the inside. Many years ago, when I was building bicycles, we ran into the same problem. The solution is an easy one: determine the lowest point of the underside of the bottom bracket and carefully drill a 1.5-millimeter hole in the center of the shell (1/16" will work if you have an inch-sized drill index). Water will find its way out and your frame will stay dry inside. Don't worry about water entering through the same hole. Even if you pass through a number of stream crossings, only a drop or two will be able to enter the frame, because water's surface tension dramatically slows the flow rate through such a tiny orifice. - RC

Niner RIP 9 bottom bracket vent holes 2015
Niner's R.I.P. 9 has vent holes at the low points in the frame to allow water to exit. Some bike makers know this trick, but unfortunately, most don't, and when moisture is allowed to accumulate in the bottom bracket area, even if the bearings are sealed, premature failure is almost guaranteed. Should you decide to add vent holes to your BB, use a stop on the drill so you won't damage internal hoses and the BB assembly by plunging the spinning drill bit into the unknown.

Fixing Stanchion Scratches?

Question: dlalor asks in the Mechanic's Lounge forum: I am wondering if it is possible to repair your fork stanchion for cheap. I heard rumours that nail polish and special lube may fix it but I'm not to sure if this is true.

bigquotesThe sound of a stanchion scraping across a rock is mountain biking's equivalent to nails on a chalkboard, and it often means that a bit of maintenance will be necessary to avoid causing damage to your fork's oil seal. Depending on how deep the scratch is, and assuming that the stanchion isn't dented, the nail polish trick is a quick and relatively easy way to repair a scratch. First, get a bottle of clear nail polish and some high grit (1500+) sandpaper. Next, make sure that the stanchion is clean and free of any dirt or oil. Evenly coat the scratch with the nail polish, and then let it dry. Once the polish is dry, carefully sand the area you polished until its height is even with the rest of the stanchion. It may take a few coats of polish and sessions with the sandpaper, but with patience you should be able to take care of small to medium size scratches this way. Keep an eye on your repair every few rides to make sure the polish is remaining in place, but in most cases this should be a relatively long-lived fix. - Mike Kazimer

RockShox RS-1 Photo by Amy McDermid
Luckily, most stanchions have a coating that helps ward off scratches, but accidents do happen.

Have some unresolved tech questions? Jump in the Pinkbike Forum and we'll look to answer it for next time.


  • 115 2
 Does this mean I'm famous now?
  • 23 0
 Yep, have a beer on me.
  • 12 0
 PB royalty, good on ya mate
  • 6 0
 Go ahead and have two beers.
  • 32 0
 Have nine beers- people are drilling holes in their frames all over the world now because of you, wait , is that good?
  • 27 1
 Speed holes!
  • 43 0
 wait you drill holes in your bike for moisture flow? i do it for weight. it works best on carbon Wink
  • 37 0
 Drink 15 beers, miss read and use a 7/16" bit, destroy new carbon frame, kick the family dog....switch to whiskey.
  • 62 0
 I drilled holes in my frame, fork, shock and my tires just to be safe.
  • 7 4
 Yo, don't drill a hole in your Frame. Just like LeDuke says below, the Bottom Bracket is enclosed on the Meta. I have a V4 Frame too. Just put some Moto Foam in the Hole and after washing just leave it upside down for 2 minutes...RC go home, you're drunk!
  • 1 0
 @ecrider what about the rims and hubs?
  • 1 0
 for serious weight saving use a hacksaw
  • 35 2
 Do you think drilling a hole, however small, in a frame could be a reason to not honor the warranty in the event of a frame failure?
  • 17 16
 That sounded a bit sketchy to me as well. Why not just cover up the hole with a piece of tape?
  • 29 13
 Cover the hole with tape.... yes, the warranty department of any brand will definitely be flumoxed, bamboozled and hoodwinked into sending you probably an upgraded frame with that cunning ruse.
  • 6 0
 If the hole cracks, yes. If you tear the headtube off, probably not.
  • 28 0
 Pretty sure @kdstones means cover the internal cable routing holes with tape to stop water getting in and NOT drill a hole and then cover it with tape...
  • 4 0
 Haha yes thank you! Glad somebody took my idea the right way!
  • 1 0
 has to be a way to seal it up. Gromets plus a little silicone, done
  • 4 0
 Some BBs are walled off from the rest of the frame, so no need to fuss with those. Most are not. Built a few thousand frames and the trick has proven to work quite well. Wash and ride, no worries. It's just metal or carbon in a no-stress area.
  • 28 3
 Gotta admit drilling a hole in the frame, however small, makes me pretty damn nervous.
  • 16 4
 Why? Drilling a small hole of 2mm or a 1/16th or so basically isn't going to do anything to decrease the structural integrity,
  • 40 2
 it will void warranty though.
  • 6 13
flag carfreak2000 (May 26, 2015 at 19:05) (Below Threshold)
 @adsjabo You know cracks can appear sooner on or later if you drill holes on your frame,
  • 8 15
flag bogey (May 26, 2015 at 20:06) (Below Threshold)
 @zman, it will only void the warranty if the frame cracks at the hole. Common sense.
  • 24 2
 @bogey you clearly haven't dealt with making a warranty's like insurance. They will blame anything but themselves. That hole will be an easy scapegoat for them
  • 10 2
 Common sense is not an option under warranty considerations. Some manufactures will find anything not to cover a warranty. No mater if it's in a different part of a frame. You modify you void. It's worth checking warranty info before you drill. Drill at own risk or out of warranty period.
  • 7 2
 I've asked 3 of the manufacturers that I deal with and all of them said that a bib hole will only void the warranty if the frame cracks at the hole Not sure who you're dealing with but they don't have a leg to stand on legally if they deny a valid warranty claim because of a completely unrelated modification. Total BS and speculation.
  • 20 0
 @carfreak2000 Round small holes in the bottombracket won´t crack your frame. Standard practice if cracks do appear in metals is to drill a small hole in the tip of the crack to prevent further cracking.
  • 9 2
 @bogey You might be right with some brands but..

Commencal Bikes
-If modifications have been made to the bike,

Whyte Bike
-This warranty will not apply to frames which have been improperly assembled; or modified; or have had parts or accessories fitted which are not compatible with the frame.

Trek Bikes
-This warranty is void in its entirety by any modification of the frame, fork, or components.

A bib hole is a modification.

Its on there web sites and its not hard to find. Its only good customer sevice if they warrentie the frame with a bib hole.
Your choice, you run the risk.
  • 5 4
 These are blanket statements that will not stand up if there is any pressure put on the company. I'll state it again - if the failure is not caused by the modification then they cannot legally refuse the warranty claim. Feel free to check with them directly on this instead of pulling blanket statements off of their website. From these blanket statements I'm not even allowed to change any parts!

They will absolutely recommend that you do not drill a hole (can't blame them for this) but will not be able to deny a warranty claim that has nothing to do with the modification.
  • 2 1
 exactly... they will replace your failed subaru engine even if you have bigger mags, a full exhaust line and some mud guards... wait was that related

also: feeblesmith thanks for being full of knowledgeable
  • 20 0
 All of these questions were actually relevant and helpful / understandable to a beginner. Good work Smile
  • 1 1
 dammit! got a scratch on my 5 ride old pike stanchion Frown
  • 14 1
 Do the Vorsprung Corset air can upgrade. Possibly the best $150 I have ever spent on a bike part...
How good was it? Good enough I don't hate my Fox 2012 CTD Triad anymore. I quite like it, but I did have to order the volume reducer kit as a follow up. Thing was so plush, I needed to make it a little more progressive at the end.
  • 4 1
 I can also recommend the Vorsprung Corset air can upgrade. Its like night and day between the standard air can on my Float X. The bike is so much more playful and plush after I made the change.
  • 4 0
 Running a Corset on my '12 Covert. Possibly best upgrade I've ever made.
  • 7 2
 I would like to recommend Avalanche Downhill Racing's service on the Fox transformed the performance of that shock on my Turner Flux v3.0.
  • 3 0
 Probably worth mentioning you won't get the most out of your corset if you haven't had your shock serviced, it's not just a magic fix to an unserviced shock. If the shock is 6-12 months old, the corset will work best if you get your shock serviced at the same time.
  • 2 0
 I can back this up. Put a corset on the float x on my sb6c and the difference was immediate and amazing. My bike is so plush now. Just like the article says the difference is like night and day. I'd been thinking about putting a coil shock on and I reckon the float x with the corset is almost as sensitive as coil.
  • 1 0
 @Jono-wade is correcto. The difference between a serviced shock is night and day. That is the FIRST thing he should do before moving on to upgrades. It takes 30 minutes, costs $10 and you should do it at least once a year.
  • 1 0
 I agree about the servicing part. It takes no time at all on a Float shock, and inexpensive to boot. The sweet thing about the Corset is that it comes with new seals already installed, so servicing and installation is simple. If you run a single pivot suspension, the Corset will completely change your ride for the better. You'll have to play around with air pressure as it requires more to acheive the same sag, but once dialed in, it rocks. I weigh 165ish with gear and installed a small volume reducer for my Covert. Perfect is all I can say.
  • 17 2
 "...surface tension dramatically slows the flow rate through such a tiny orifice.".....the 15 year old in me says i had to do it guys.
  • 14 0
 I wonder how many idiots are going to drill holes in their COMPLETELY ENCLOSED bottom bracket shells as a result of this post. My guess? Quite a few.
  • 11 2
 I have a fork with a good sized scratch in the stanchion and its filled in with cocking and it works great
  • 26 0
  • 9 1
  • 40 0
 When you scratch her up a bit, fill her with some good old fashioned cocking.
  • 9 0
 wtf? like for your bathtub?
  • 42 0
 i tried cocking my bike and it just ended up with white stuff all over it
  • 6 1
 Hahaha wow, Mr. Gonzo for the win!
  • 5 2
 @elikat715 I think you cocked your comment

Hahaha and all the funny comments above..made my day..Smile
  • 2 1
 I've always been a fan of the JB weld method. I find it is longer lasting and makes the surface more even than nail polish.
  • 12 2
 C'mon Mike, say it, it's not that hard: "Send the CTD to Avalanche"......
  • 3 0
 That's what I did and it completely transformed the bike (Intense Tracer 2), very plush and linear yet supportive in long travel mode, super supportive and progressive in short travel mode....changing air pressure actually does something now and I feel like I have suspension whereas before it felt pretty sluggish and stuck in the middle of the travel.
  • 1 0
 What did that go for all said and done @bikeorski4me?
  • 12 1
 Nah, I don't think I will say it. The average consumer can order the sleeve from Vorsprung and install it themselves in five minutes. The result is a much more sensitive and supple stroke, and more ability to tune with volume spacers. It's a simpler solution to the original question that I featured for this article. I'm sure Avalanche does great work, but I don't think it's required in this example.
  • 2 0
 Cost of the Ava with shipping was about $225, I'd like to try it now with the Corset for the real small and chatter bumps for giggles but very happy with the Ava update as U.S.
  • 1 0
 Correction...$275.00 all in.
  • 4 1
 In the US it's $179 plus shipping. Custom tuned/valved for your weight and riding style. Not much more than a corset. That's an easy choice for me. The one thing I've noticed that an Avalanche shock does best is composure in the rough while keeping it playful and poppy, exactly what Evo360 was asking. If you haven't ridden one you need to. I would love to see a Pinkbike review.
  • 1 0
 Heh the original air can was basically not a good design since this air can makes it so much better AND Fox redesigned it that way for the new GPS series
  • 3 0
 @mikelevy do you like a more sensitive and supple stroke ?
  • 3 0
 In regards to drilling a hole into the bottom of the frame, how would you do this with a carbon frame? Another option would be to get rubber stoppers to fit the routing holes, but how effective are they actually? Especially if they aren't built for the frame?
  • 9 22
flag vikb (May 26, 2015 at 16:27) (Below Threshold)
 Drilling a hole in a carbon frame is the same as in a metal frame. A 1.5mm hole isn't going to affect anything.
  • 12 2
 You don't. That's like cutting a link in a chain.
  • 6 0
 You can get rubber grommets for the cable holes. They will lock into place as they have a small channel on the outter surface. If your feeling fancy you could even place a light silicon film on them to really seal. And silicon just peels away effortlessly when you're done with it.
  • 5 4
 drilling a small whole in a carbon bb shouldnt matter, its not a high stress spot, theres a lot of material there.
  • 5 1
 Put masking tape over the drilling location (inside and out), use a very new, VERY sharp bit. If you can, get a tight fit wooden dowel through the bottom bracket before drilling as a backing, this will reduce the risk of delamination while drilling. Let the drill do the work, do NOT push hard or you WILL delaminate and splinter your carbon.

For such a small hole, you can just go for at one shot.

The bottom center of the BB is a very low stress area, but taking steps to protect the surrounding carbon will prevent any problems.
  • 10 7
 1) Coil Shocks Rule because maintenance free. 2)*sparkle automotive touch up paint.* 3) un-epoxied holes in carbon are great starting points for the gradual process of delamination that happens to all carbon eventually.
  • 10 1
 1)The damper on every coil shock needs the same amount of maintence the damper on every air shock does. Even the coil spring itself needs replacing sooner than you'd think. Nothing is maintence free. 2) razor and a steel spoon. 3) something like that.
  • 7 1
 not enduro.
  • 4 0
 Yes. Clearly he should put a coil shock on his 120mm-travel bike.
  • 4 1
 Circa 1999-2000 fox vanilla R's are perfect for XC bikes. That was before vanillas got beefed up to handle more serious riding. That era of vanilla coil was light and about as set and forget as you can get.
  • 4 0
 I have a meta also, all you have to do after washing is hold the bike vertical bounce a few times. Waters gone. The bottom bracket is enclosed.
  • 3 2
 Evo360, I totally disagree with Mike Levy's answer. Well, not totally. The Float CTD, in my experience, can make decent bikes feel bad. Different shocks have very different characteristics. The Float CTD is very 'efficient'. It pedals well but always feels harsh. Monarchs do a much better job with the negative spring and feel much more supple off the top. I have had much better success removing customers CTD rear shocks and replacing them with Monarchs as a 1st choice and Cane Creeks as a distant 2nd than I have had trying to tune a fox rear shock.
  • 4 0
 I'm going to stick with the ctd and I was already exploring the corset option. This could be the answer
  • 5 2
 I don't have internal routing on my bike but I would gladly replace bottom brackets every couple months as opposed to putting a drill bit anywhere near my carbon frame.
  • 4 0
 I prefer epoxy more than nail polish as nail polish tends to peel off easily.
  • 5 0
 I have a friend who helped me fix a deep gouge in my Brand new Fox 36 stanction which happened during practice for the Megavalanche race. The gouge was deep and very low down, so deep that the seal was chewed up by the time I got down the remaining 10 minute descent. He used 'Superglue' (Cyanoacrylate glue) on the scratch and sanded with 1000 grade wet and dry sandpaper. Two years later when I sold the fork the repair was still perfect. I would definitely recommend this method!
  • 2 0
 i know that feel bro.i use 2000grit
  • 4 0
 Might have to take you up on that loooooong overdue Stanchion repair
  • 4 1
 Warrenty voided for drilling holes in frame no?
  • 3 0
 Sweet, thanks pinkbike! Great info
  • 5 7
 Again, thanks Mike for deleting my comment.
You may not want to admit you've supplied some incorect advice, but you have. I have been working solely with suspension for 5 years and I have seen the long term results and down sides of using nail polish on stanchions. It is not a fix and may lead to further issues. (The nail polish flaking off in your fork and blocking orifices). Now I don't expect you to change your post, but deleting mine, which was based off of far more experience than yours was completely unprofessional.
  • 8 1
 Mike Kazimer did not delete your comment, just so you know. It was down propped by other users enough that it was automatically moved to the 'below threshold' section at the bottom of the comment feed. Anyone can still see it by clicking the link at the bottom of this page. Other users didn't like what you said, not Kazimer.
  • 1 1
 @z-man, like Levy said, your post wasn't deleted. In any case, I still stand by my response. I'm sure it's possible, but the chances that the paint will flake off and block an orifice are pretty slim.
  • 4 0
 Blocked orifices are never a good thing......
  • 1 0
 v4 water collection. V4 review... Coincidence In think not?
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