Ask Pinkbike: Setting Sag, New Fork or Shock, and More Wheel Size Trash

Nov 14, 2017
by Pinkbike Staff  
Ask Pinkbike Header

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.





Not Enough Sag?

Question: Pinkbike user Andrew818 asked this question in the downhill forum: I own a Rocky Mountain Maiden Park with an X Fusion RV1 HLR fork. The chart on the fork says that at 150lb, I'm as heavy as I can be while using the stock spring, but I'm only getting about 17-percent sag. Will my rear shock affect how much sag I run on the fork? Can I take oil out of the sprung-side like on a motocross bike?

bigquotesWhile I'm surprised to hear that you're on the heavy side for the stock spring, 17-percent sag isn't out of line at all, with many riders running less or more depending on where and how they're riding. Instead of zoning in on the exact number, think about how the fork feels when you're riding. Are you feeling a hard bottom too often? Or do you never bottom the fork? Adjust accordingly from there rather than assuming that you need a certain amount of sag. Don't forget to use the air bleed buttons on the lowers, too.

As for your other questions, yes, your shock's spring rate can affect how your fork feels - if it's too stiff it'll tend to drive the fork into its travel, whereas the front of your bike can feel unweighted if you're running excessive amounts of sag that shift your weight bias towards the rear axle. That said, it will have minimal affect on the fork's static sag. Also, the oil on the spring-side of the RV1 is for lubrication purposes. Yes, adding your subtracting oil will alter how the fork ramps up because you're effectively adjusting the volume, but it won't change how much the fork is sagging into its travel.- Mike Levy


X-Fusion RV1





29ers are Trash

Question: Pinkbike user @kalebfecho14 asked this question in the 29er forum: 29ers are trash, so now tell me why they are not?

bigquotes
Some 29ers are trash, like Greg Minnaar's frame from Val Di Sole this year, and many of the original 29er bikes that were created when designers thought, "These big wheels give us an advantage, let's change everything we learned over the last few years and squeeze the big wheels in, reduce the travel and mess up the geometry to so we can market things like the wheelbase being the same as our other bikes." There are many contemporary wagon-wheelers that are well designed and are fast, stable and predictable and even look normal.
Paul Aston



29ers are trash:

• They're heavier and take more energy to accelerate
• Becuz #264Lyf
• Some of the early big-wheelers and components really sucked
Why they are not:

• They roll faster, carry speed better and are more stable
• Greg GOAT Minnaar had one of his best seasons ever on one
• Modern big-wheelers are killer machines



This 29er is now officially "trash". Actually, it might escape the can and take pride of place above somebody's fireplace.






Fork or Shock?

Question: Drummerwearshorts says in the All Mountain, Enduro & Cross-Country forum: I am currently on the fence about spending my hard earned cash between a Fox 36 RC2 fork and a Fox DHX2 shock. Both would be coming from Fox performance air suspension with very limited adjustability. I haven't spent enough time contrasting high end and low end suspension to know which upgrade will be more beneficial and noticeable. So, if you had the choice, which would you take: fork upgrade or shock upgrade?


bigquotesI'd go with the fork. I assume by the sum you are posting for custom tuned suspension from Fox that your bike came stock with a pretty decent fork and shock. My reasoning is that a well-tuned fork will make your front tire grip better and also stabilize the bike's ride height, which will boost handling and cornering through the entire performance envelope. It's the front wheel that sets up the turns and determines cornering pressure, and it's the front of the bike that is going to bail you out when you miss your line on technical section. When your plan goes wrong on a downhill, you can assist the action of the shock with body English with relative ease. The fork - not so much.

One tip worth noting is that a harsh shock setup can overdrive the fork and kill its small-bump suppleness. If you use your shock's compression lever to boost its mid-stroke performance (many do), instead, consider adding air-volume spacers to add that mid-stroke and bottom-out support, and you will not be compromising your new fork's performance with a with a bunch of unnecessary low-speed shock compression.
RC



After losing big on stage 1 Jesse Melamed went on a tear to win the next 3 stages.
Good front suspension can work wonders when roots and rocks limit available line choices to bad or worse. Jesse Melamed machs through the roots on his way to winning the Whistler round of the 2017 EWS series.



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

Must Read This Week

93 Comments

  • + 118
 found this a few days ago and had to share it:
"ex engineer leaks how marketing works n the bike industry".
youtu.be/Jj0uBQ7j5c4
  • + 9
 Oh man that had me in tears, brilliant!
  • + 4
 The best of the bests,man it’s an amazing piece of art well done ,really the best in a long time ,simply a laugher,there are phew like this ones
  • + 3
 This is f*cking GOLD!
  • + 5
 Oh man! I'm still in tears. Thank you so much for that!
  • + 4
 F#cking hysterical.

Face hurts from laughing like an idiot for 4 minutes straight.
  • + 2
 Hahaha, brilliant
  • + 0
 Quality ????????
  • + 2
 #NotFakeNews
  • + 7
 OMG! I was crying watching that. thanks for sharing that. The best part: The birth of E-bikes... watching my fat cat trying to F*ck the neighbors cat.
  • + 4
 joder pero si es el risitas.... contando verdades como puños
never knew what he was saying till now
thanks
  • + 2
 Oh man, this is amazing.
  • + 83
 Pick a wheelsize and be a dick about it Smile
  • + 7
 Step 23!
  • + 22
 You’re welcome to think 29ers are trash, tell me why it’s worth my time trying to explain it to you.
  • + 4
 26
  • + 6
 When will this die? Played out!
  • + 5
 Anyone not riding 26plus is just a sucker for marketing...
  • + 1
 @scvkurt03: Shut your mouth with that talk!
  • + 2
 @Altron: Im riding a 26 plus on the front. A little lighter on the rear.
  • + 24
 Hello why isn´t there a standard for the handlebar+stem to be always correctly aligned to the front wheel ?
  • + 10
 mass storage, it's way more space-efficient to turn the bars 90 degrees to store bikes.
  • + 23
 @YouHadMeAtDrugs: just make it a square so you can turn it 90 degrees
  • + 11
 @maxjdewaele: people would get confused and put their bars on sideways, then complain to everyone they meet. Also, that could make forks bike-specific, each with different headtube lengths. Unless we make a new standard, a 'square taper' headset...
  • + 3
 been wondering this too, especially with short stems its hard to get aligned!
  • + 10
 Put a level or straight-edge across the fork stantions and line it up with your grips.
  • + 8
 I dont get why the 1 1/8" part of the fork tube doesnt have a like dented troft that hits the stem. And the stem would have a small metal chip that just fits in the troft to line up the bars to wheel perfectly. If that makes sense? So everytime you slide the stem on, it can only go one way and its the correct way?
  • + 12
 @chillrider199: Would still make turning the bar for storage/shipping a pain in the ass.
Also - this would likely become a failure point during a hard crash - the slip of the handlebar could actually be saving some single crown steer tubes during hard crashes.

A reference marking on the inside of the steerer to line up with a reference mark on the stem before putting the top cap on could work, but then we would be relying on the fork manufacturers to properly line up the steer tube when it is inserted in the fork - which they could likely do with a keyed interface. But that would be asking a lot.

Just lock everyone in a room until they agree to put a centre reference mark on the fork crown, which could line up with a reference mark on the head tube, which would line up with a reference mark on the headset, which could line up with a reference mark on the spacers, which could line up with a reference mark on the stem.

It just seems like too much convincing.... and then everyone would have lines down the front of their bikes, which would be a recipe for OCD disaster on the trails.
  • + 5
 @maxjdewaele: The corners of a square cause a stress concentration, plus you couldn't put a square steerer in a headtube and turn it on a bearing. you can get away with far less material and fewer failures using a round shape on highly stressed components.
  • + 2
 @chillrider199: Higher machining and assembly costs for almost no value added, and more broken bars or trashed steerer tubes after a hard crash. It would be super nice to not have to give er the ol' one eyed squint though...
  • + 1
 @tkrug: Holy damn you lost me hard. Okay yeah it wouldnt budge when you crash hard. But what if the notch in the fork steer tube was made all the way through it to the crown so the crown was aligned too? And it wouldnt affect steering within the frame. The bearings wouldnt hold this notch for the steer tube. The stem would. Like if rockshox did this and it worked with non studded stems and their studded stems, Id buy it. Even though I love Fox's stuff. Or what if it was a chip that could be removed around the 2 stem bolts. So its only used when mounting the stem.
  • + 23
 Jesus just look down the bars at the fork crown and make sure it’s even on both sides it’s not rocket science.
  • + 4
 cos you'd really mash it up in a crash, that or your guts or something.
  • + 2
 @maxlombardy: Yeah I do that. But when its slightly off I still feel it in my muscles and it bothers me a lot. I dont know, maybe Im just a big bitch.
  • + 1
 If we are being a bit (actually quite a lot) futuristic, stem manufactures could put a little laser on the bottom of the stem that would point on the arch of the fork so you would be able to perfectly align the bars.
  • + 0
 It's not so difficult to make a mark on your fork tube that is perpendicular to your fork legs, take a rectangular or square block, lay your fork on it and mark your tube with a square. Then you can align your stem to that mark.
  • + 1
 @tkrug: reference mark is the way to go. I don't know why you need a reference mark on anything other than the stem and steerer tube. Spacers and headtube do not really have an orientation.

That or a little notch, and I mean a small rounded bump that wouldn't prevent you from turning the stem if you loosen the bolts on the stem a bit. In my head, removing the clamping force would expand the stem a little bit leaving more storage between it and the steerer. In practice, I don't know.

Also I don't see how having the stem prevented from rotating around the steerer tube can cause more damage to the steerer tube other than it potentially getting gouged / scored. The likelyhood of that depends of course on materials and design more than the fact that it is keyed.
  • + 1
 Some people have different length arms and want the fine tuning. For reals...
  • + 17
 29er counter argument: Sam Hill won EWS on 27.5 wheels
  • + 49
 Counter-counter argument: Sam Hill is fast on anything.
  • + 27
 Gwin won the DH tour on the 27.5 also.
  • + 2
 because one wheel size has advantages/disadvantages doesn't mean other wheel sizes are trash. 29ers can be more fun, and are more appropriate for the type of riding many people do
  • + 4
 @hamncheez: I just don't want to crash any worse than I already do on the 27.5
  • + 7
 Put any of those people on a 16" wheel tricycle and they will still be faster than me
  • - 8
flag ColquhounerHooner (Nov 14, 2017 at 18:15) (Below Threshold)
 29er are dead.
  • + 3
 @ColquhounerHooner: Keep telling yourself that
  • + 8
 @iantmcg:

- Bruni won DH world champs on 27.5 also
- Second place EWS was also on 27.5
- EWS team winner Ibis was also on 27.5
- Second place EWS team was also on 27.5

Schurter was even winning XC championships on 27.5 until last year. I don't think anyone really doubts the 29er advantage for competitive XC anymore. That said, the difference doesn't seem to be as big as people go on about. Bike geometry/design, linkage, and fit seem more important.
  • + 2
 @iantmcg: counter Gwin argument: YT don't have a Tues 29er
  • + 7
 This is mtb, not F1. The rider is more important than the bike
  • + 1
 Any content and bad jokes about wheel size should be banned from pinkbike
  • + 3
 and Rampage was won on 26 Big Grin
  • + 11
 Im gonna get an ebike 29er to really see the tears flow.
  • + 8
 *e-bike 29er fat bike*
  • + 2
 Better ride clipless too
  • + 12
 Don't feed the trolls
  • + 7
 dude seriously. these are actually kinda fun to read, bummer when one of the questions is a dumb scooter riding troll...
  • + 6
 Had an early 29er. Can confirm - was crap.
  • + 5
 Dunno about setting sag, I'm that age, just look down and shake me head....
  • + 2
 I don't know if Minaar's bike was one of them, but it seems like there was a short period where companies were just churning out 29ers for their riders on the WC for the sake of keeping up with the Joneses. It was kind of like, "Uh-oh, Brand X has a 29er! We better get one for our guy so he's not left in the dust..." (assuming he would be left in the dust). The result was some rushed jobs kind of cobbled together -- 27.5 frames with 29er forks and rear triangles, stuff like that. I got the impression a lot of these guys were getting some prototypes, for sure. Like I said, I don't remember if Minaar's was one of those, or if SC planned it better than most (I think they might have been the first???), but it could account for the bike snapping in half.
  • + 1
 Santa Cruz did a new rear end and an angleset with the 27.5 front end, but it appears to work pretty well. Minnaar's breakage had nothing to do with wheel size. He slammed that post good!
Intense did a whole new bike design and went through a bunch of protos during the season ending up with the carbon one Jack got at the end of the season. Jack and Dean had the seasons of their careers so far.
Commencal made a 29" version of the Supreme and their team went back and forth. Same with Trek, but their 29er tried to kill everyone that go on it!
Other teams all kinds of bodges to fit 29" wheels in their existing frames and ended up going back to 27.5.
I suspect in the end it will be tall guys only on 29ers. If there is an advantage for DH, it's not huge.
  • + 1
 maybe it broke because it hit a tree at 30mph
  • + 1
 @Sladey: nah its a conspiracy
  • + 1
 @Sladey: Didn't get to see that part in that video above.
  • + 1
 One of my mate, who is a very good to tune suspension in motocross, and who is one of the best in MX suspension tuning, told me this story, all the mtb suspension are 10 years late behind the MX suspension. All the rock shocks parts, which are in plastic, after 10 minutes of work, are useless, the tune on the low end suspension at Fox suspension, are the same that the high performance suspension. He just said that, for the moment, what he believes to be the best are Ohlins and BOS. He is waiting to test the formula fork. He has all the material to test the shocks and fork. And he believes that all the suspension industry need to upgrade fast their suspension. For example, he prepared a Fox 36 performance, tuned it, and it work far better than the Fox Kashima Fit4myballs RC2 Blablabla. So, before changing your suspension, tune them, you will feel the difference.
  • + 1
 Definitely get the new fork. After a full strip down, it transpired my RP2 shock had been using gravy instead of oil in the damper for probably a year. Riding with a new and carefully setup Pike on the front it actually worked kinda ok...
  • + 5
 Will Brexit make me faster or slower?
  • + 8
 Slower, when you gave to sell your bikes to pay the rent Wink
  • + 1
 Don't know, but your speed will have its sovereignty back (no, me neither...)
  • + 1
 @BenPea: Oddly enough, the queeeeen is pro remain
  • + 4
 @nojzilla: Of course she is, she's bloomin' German!
  • + 5
 Slow news day again or what?
  • + 2
 Not going to lie I talked a lot of trash about 29ers until a couple of days ago. My LBS had a demo day and I checked out a Cannondale Scalpel SE. It changed my religion.
  • + 2
 hanging on to my 26er until it becomes the new standard....(nothing against other wheelsizes though...)
  • + 2
 Its about that time the industry changed to 28” and 115/156mm super boost.
  • + 1
 hey, if you're too short / weak to handle a 29er, that ain't my problem. ride a smaller bike Smile
  • + 1
 Y'all know you want the right sag for those...
  • + 1
 ' Are you feeling a hard bottom to often' !!! got my attention!
  • + 0
 Minnaar's 2-Piecer is going up on his bike shop wall of fame with his other works of art.
  • - 3
 Absolutely f*cking retarded to suggest that 29er's are trash based on the fact that Minaar's FRAME broke in half in a freak accident. What did the wheel size have to do with that?
I seriously wonder about the lack of critical, non-judgmental thinking within the mtb community.
  • + 5
 Santa Cruz are trash.
  • + 7
 It is literally trash because it's broken.
  • - 1
 What the fork qbout the sag thing??? Didnt we learn ealier that this isnt an issue anymore? Big Grin
  • + 0
 One of Minnar best ever seasons........?
Debateble
  • + 0
 Check out todays Tuesday tune on shock sag, an
  • - 2
 #29aintDead
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