Ask Pinkbike: Shock Tuning, Flat Pedals, Ride Tracking & More

Nov 6, 2018
by Pinkbike Staff  

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.




I Can't Get My Float X2 Set Up the Way ShockWiz Wants

Question: @dingle485 asks in the Bikes, Parts, and Gear forum: I recently purchased a 2019 Fox Float X2 and put it on my 2016 Giant Reign. I also attached a ShockWiz to help me dial in all the adjustments. I chose to go with the "Softest - Planted" setting on the ShockWiz app to match my riding preference, and just to see what it was like.

After fiddling a bunch, this is the best I could get.

I had no spacers installed, yet it told me to remove a spacer. Similarly with the LSC, it was fully out at its minimum, yet the ShockWiz suggested less.Has anyone seen this before? I'm kinda disappointed that I can't get such an expensive shock the way I would like. Any suggestions? For reference, the shock tune is DHGC.


bigquotesYou say you're disappointed that you can't get your X2 set up the way you would like, but do you feel that way because of what the ShockWiz app says, or because of how the shock feels out on the trail? A ShockWiz can be a very useful tool, but it's important to avoid getting so locked into trying to achieve a 100% tuning score that you end up with a bike that's not really set up for you.

I'd recommend heading out to a relatively short section of trail, one that's easy to repeat, and that represents the type of terrain you typically ride. After all, there's no point in setting your shock up to handle massive drops and endless rock gardens if you're usually riding smooth, flowy trails. Record your base settings – air pressure, amount of sag, and the number of clicks for each adjustment from fully closed before you drop in. At the end of the run, you can see what the ShockWiz app says, but you should also think about what you experienced. Did the shock behave in a way that you're not happy with? Did it feel too firm over smaller bumps? Was it bottoming out too easily, or ramping up too suddenly at the end of its stroke?

Try to focus on one issue at a time – if you start going wild with the clickers you'll just end up confused, and with settings that are probably less than ideal. I'd recommend some bracket testing as well. Choose the setting you want to work on, whether that's HSC, LSC, HSR or LSR, then add two clicks in one direction and do another lap. Next, go two clicks in the other direction from your base setting (if you have the range), and take another lap. Notice a difference? Take your time, and keep experimenting. All those adjustments are there for a reason, and they do make a difference.

It can also help to bring someone with a good working knowledge of suspension setup with you – of course, that's not always possible, which is one of the reasons ShockWiz was invented – but if you can, you'll be able to discuss what you're experiencing with someone who can talk back to you and provide more insight than an app ever could.

There's a chance that you may need a lighter compression tune on that shock (it currently has a medium tune), especially if you're a lighter rider, but I bet that with a little more experimentation you'll be able to get things feeling the way you'd like. Oh, and one more thing - you might want to go through the ShockWiz calibration process again, just to be sure that it's recording everything correctly. 
Mike Kazimer

ShockWiz
Quarq's Shockwiz device can be helpful, but it's important to pay attention to more than just the images on a screen when determining your ideal setup.




30-Tooth Chainring Too Small?

Question: Slomoto asks in the All-Mountain/Cross-Country Forum: I'm using a 32t chainring on my Intense Tracer 27.5 and thinking about going to a 30t. What are you guys running? What do you think about switching to a 30t?


bigquotesIf that is your Tracer featured on your home page, then definitely switch from the 32 to a 30-tooth chainring. Your SRAM 11-speed cassette's 10 by 42-tooth range will give you enough top speed for just about anything you'll see on dirt, and you'll have a better climbing gear. When I was reviewing that bike, I switched it to a 30-tooth ring as well. (my test loop had a three-mile grind before the fun began). The new Tracer's suspension kinematics are more efficient when you pedal smoothly and climb in lower gears, so you'll probably get to the summits a few seconds faster, in addition to arriving fresher.RC

2018 Intense Tracer SL
The Intense Tracer was designed for the downs. There's no honor lost if you choose a low gear and cruise the climbs.Slomoto photo




Bike GPS or Use a Phone?

Question: @Mikehorn05 asks in the All-Mountain/Cross-Country Forum: Right now I only use Strava on my phone to track speed and distance and elevation got my rides. I ride mostly all-mountain style trails and usually 15 miles per ride. Why would I want to use a bike computer or GPS instead of just having my phone in my pack? Or just keep using the phone?


bigquotesI've asked myself this a few times. It really boils down to what you are looking to get out of your ride as far as numbers go. I have used both my phone and a GPS. The GPS offers the benefit of being able to be mounted on the bike and with it, you can probably get a lot more data than your phone can provide depending on the device you use. You can also have all of that data right there on your bars so you can see it during your ride. There are GPS units that can even show you when you're coming up on a Strava segment and whether you're ahead or behind your best and average times.

Many GPS devices can track your heart rate if you have the appropriate monitor, and they link up to training platforms online as well as your phone, so that uploading a ride is seamless and you can see texts and emails while you're riding. A GPS can also help with turn-by-turn directions if you have uploaded a route. This can be great if you're in an unknown area, but in reality, is far more useful for those on road bikes than on the trails.

While your phone can do a lot of this too, its ability to be safely mounted on the bars and then its battery life are, in my mind, its biggest limiting factors when comparing it to the GPS. The phone can help you out if you get hurt and help you find your way out if you're lost by using an app such as Trailforks.

Personally, while I have a couple of GPS units I could use, many times I opt for just using the phone. I find that it is a little less intrusive - I turn Strava on and put it in my pocket. Disconnecting can help me actually enjoy the ride rather than constantly looking down at numbers because if they're there, I usually do. However, if it's data and numbers you're after, or if you have a coach and are following a training program, the GPS may better serve you.
Daniel Sapp

Strava
Choose your poison. The GPS can be nice to have the data in front of you but really, unless you're training, shouldn't you just pocket the numbers and enjoy the ride?




Love flat pedals, but...

Question: @Arierep asks in the All Mountain, Enduro & Cross-Country: Hi all,

Just for context, I was a clipless user for 10 years, my current bike is a Bird Aeris AM9 enduro 29er (long wheelbase, 500mm reach at size L). I decided to try flat pedals one or two months ago: Nukeproof Horizons Sam Hill edition with Shimano GR7 shoes.

Had lots of trouble at first with my feet coming off in jumps and drops. Then ended up improving midfoot pedal, heels down thing, along with better weight distribution and learning to work with the bike Vs fighting it. So, right now, have no problems with jumps, drops or corners or flow style trails in general. In fact, one month of flat pedals made me a much better rider in these conditions. But, a big but, I still struggle at high-speed rough sections. I used to be the absolute king of charging through stuff in my group, but with flat pedals, I slow down considerably on rock gardens or generally fast rough sections. I'm speaking about proper enduro and DH tracks.

It seems no matter how hard I try to move rearwards to put weight in my feet they are still not loaded enough to stay put. Also, by then I start to have too little weight in the front end, causing traction and stability issues.I have a race in two weeks so need to sort this out. Did anyone experience the same? Any tips regarding suspension setup? Mind my bikes very long geometry proposes a "weight forward" riding style. Can this be a source of the issues?


bigquotes
Firstly, congratulations on getting back on flat pedals, many riders will never go back to flats because it feels more difficult to ride initially. I am a big flat pedal proponent and I think all riders should spend at least 40 to 60 percent of their time riding flats. I ride flats all the time now, but I think the best performance can be gained by riding flats most of the time to keep your skill and technique dialled, then put the clips on for racing or rides when you need the benefits of clips – similar to the way sprinters run in trainers and then put their spikes on for challenging their PBs or for race day. If you've got a race coming up, going back to clips for a ride or two and then using them for the race might be the best way to get the most from both types of pedal.

There is no definitive answer to solve the issue, but here are my thoughts:

• 'Rider forward' or more modern geometry bikes do make it slightly more difficult to keep your heels down and planted behind the pedals. Stretching and foam rolling around the calves and ankles can help with the flexibility to get your heels down more.

• I haven't tried the latest Shimano flat shoes with their Michelin sole, but to date, I haven't found anything that can beat 5.10's S1 or M16 Stealth Rubber. Five Ten has multiple Stealth compounds, the softest, grippiest, and least durable are found on the more aggressive shoes like the Impact Pro and Freerider Pro. A switch to some super sticky soles normally fixes most riders flat pedal problems in an instant.

• Suspension setup can also make a difference. Without going into too much detail you want the compression and rebound set as light and fast as you can ride. Sam Hill took this approach to win the EWS overall and is one of the few in the field to race flats – maybe he's on to something? Reducing compression will make the suspension absorb bumps more efficiently, meaning less force going through your cranks and pedals. Faster rebound will push the bike back towards you quicker, so you don't have the feeling of the pedals dropping away from your feet. This should be taken with a pinch of salt, though, and actual settings will depend on your riding style and weight. Try removing a couple of clicks of rebound (faster) and compression (if your shock has these adjustments) and see what happens. But don't do a car park 'test', wait until you're riding those fast rough sections you struggle with before casting an opinion.

• Technique could also be an issue. You said you had a problem with your feet coming off in all scenarios when you changed to flats, but with time that has mostly been solved. Maybe the fast and rough sections are simply making you tense up? This happens to me when the amount of information your brain is trying to process coupled with simultaneously dealing with crapping yourself overloads you. This can make your legs lock out and cause you to hold your breath. Working with the bike, as you mentioned, helps to keep your feet planted, and in rough sections this needs to be focused on too. Pumping the bike down into compressions means you can go light and smooth over the next section. It's not always possible, but you still want the sensation of riding a pump track regardless of how gnarly the terrain is.
Paul Aston

Mid-stroke and bottom out support are present and correct but this seems to be at the sacrifice of beginning stoke suppleness. PIC Andy Lloyd www.andylloyd.photography
Here's some textbook riding from Alex Evans, flat pedal hero and content manager and reviewer at Pinkbike. In this case, he is loading the pedals so hard his bike is near-bottomed out and even his shoes are flexing. Coming out of this corner he will be super light, barely touching the ground and ready to load everything again to conquer the next obstacle.





Must Read This Week

175 Comments

  • + 139
 Your phone is only the most accurate if it gives you a KOM, if not then it must be wrong and thus the Bike computer gps is more accurate.
  • + 135
 The GPS will probably survive better if you throw it the last 10 meters to beat the KOM
  • + 64
 What I love is when my Strava says 15mi, my Garmin says 12mi and my Fitbit says 13.5mi.
  • + 12
 @yupstate: surly you can add a Cateye and a power meter into the mix too
  • + 82
 @Grmasterd: You can. And don't call him Shirley.
  • + 10
 might as well add a bento box, feed bag and a bell
  • + 2
 A GPS is a device, apparently... Now I don't have a smartphone so the choice is easy for me. When I want to track my rides I prefer a watch with built in GPS. I'm using a Suunto Ambit. Especially if you need to have it in sight because you're following an unknown gps track it needs to be tough. And considering the number of broken cellphone screens I've seen, those phones aren't quite that. I also prefer to leave the watch on my wrist. No need to constantly look at it, but it is there when I need to check whether I'm still on track or where to head next. Obviously there are other models and brands out there who make a watch that does something similar.
  • + 9
 @Tmackstab Throw both down the hill, take two QOMs in one day. Then go ride peacefully device free.
  • + 3
 @Grmasterd: Was thinking bout Fox LiveValve, Di2 and maybe a bluetooth dropper.
  • + 1
 @MTBrent: ahahaha
  • + 1
 @toad321: why have I never thought of this?!? Brilliant.
  • + 1
 @yupstate: You add them all up and that gives you the true figure!
  • + 4
 @yupstate: That explains what each is there for. Strava = inflated distance to make you go harder after it; Fitbit = lower distance to make people think it's not that far after all; Garmin = the Volvo of GPS, no emotion, it is what it is.
  • + 1
 @yupstate: what i love is when i go out with my mate, android vs apple, we do the same route/speed,stops etc and both get totally different results
  • + 2
 @pigman65: on a wet day around Cwmcarn I had a waterproof and a mate didn't. Half way up the climb he says can you put my phone in your pocket to keep it dry.

Yeah, no worries mate. Get to the bottom, he has the latest Iphone and mines a couple of gens old, his Strava had recorded faster times in each section. I had both phones!
  • + 2
 @pigman65: Yes, and your mate probably insisted how his apple HAD to be the right one. lol, gotta love apple fan-boys.
  • + 1
 @yupstate: and this is how skynet is born...
  • + 61
 5 comments in and no a-hole is going on about how weak you are for needing anything less than a 36 tooth chain ring? I am disappointed in the PB commenters.
  • - 8
flag Kramz (Nov 6, 2018 at 12:23) (Below Threshold)
 I run a 32, I would prefer a 36 for proper gear ratios, but would rather the ground clearance of a 32. I pedal really slow, at low RPM.
  • + 37
 I’m an a-hole and have nothing to say about people riding small chainrings. Today I rag on Jerrys using Garmin.
  • + 19
 If you don't have a 40 tooth chain ring are you even peddling? Wink
  • + 62
 @vtracer: Probably not peddling, but possibly pedaling.
  • - 1
 Or run a FD. 38-24T.
  • + 9
 @MtbSince84: Paddling
  • + 11
 28T is where it's at
  • + 1
 @arphia: my double was a 28-36 and I was always in my 28.
  • + 8
 I have a counter to RC’s low gear = smooth pedalling argument. I think taller gears (to a point) aid smoother pedalling. I’m like @Kramz, pedal taller gears, slowly and smoothly. If I have to use a smaller gear (somebody else’s bike, demo bike, etc) I’m bobbing about all over the place trying to keep my cadence and speed up. Which is what I often observe in other riders using small gears.
So here’s your dick comment - learn to pedal properly, get your pedalling position set right and you can use taller gears more effectively than smaller ones on the same terrainz. I’m certain I use less energy than my mates on climbs because of this. Now feel free to burn me alive until I can no longer offend your eyes.
  • + 2
 I ride 40/30/22 11-36 on 29x2.25". I use 40t on asphalt, 30t on unsurfaced roads, and 22t when I'm about to die from over-exertion. But then I'm not really a MTBer, just that MTB is the most practical form of transport around these parts.

I think there is a 44/32/22 Altus/Acera crankset, not sure how well that would shift though. Not sure I'd want a 'Trekking/Touring' 48/36/26 crankset though.
  • + 3
 Have Shimano not released a 31.55 tooth chainring yet?
  • + 2
 A quick question, if I may. I have just bought an 11-46 cassette to replace my existing 11-40. This means I will need to add a couple of links of chain. My chain is about six weeks old and I don't want to antique it just yet. The options are just to join a couple of links using a chain tool, old school style, or to use another missing link making for a total of two (2) missing links on the chain. It's a KMC X11EL with the drilled inner plates. Right now I am leaning towards just splicing a couple of links on. Thoughts?
  • + 6
 @jaame: pfff I had a chain with 3 KMC chain links on it. Do that. I also added links to a chain that was 2 months old. No fks given.
  • + 0
 @WAKIdesigns: basically because I'm a tight c*nt, I don't want to use another link that I have to buy if I can use a bit of chain that I already have. I'm just dubious about if the extra bit will be up to the job using the original pin because the internet is full of people saying you can't do that with ten and 11 speed chains. You must use a missing link. I'm not sure if it's a real must, or a must like you must service your coil shock every year. Know what I mean? Have you ever joined one with the original pin, pushed out part way and pushed in again?
  • + 6
 @jaame: using pins on anything narrower than 9speed is tricky. And can make you either angry c*nt or whiny c*nt as you push the bike home with chain dingling from you back pack
  • + 5
 @jaame: every single time I’ve added links to any modern chain I’ve regretted it. And I’m pretty careful with shit. Don’t risk it, just stick another split link in there.
  • + 8
 I run a 24T with 10-42T in back and I dont GAF what anybody thinks.
  • - 1
 @hirschmj: congrats on f*cking up your whole kinematics there Joey!
  • + 2
 @iqbal-achieve: That is what I am saying... it doesn't matter if you use a big or small front chain ring just as long as you are a dick about it online I am good with your choice.
  • - 1
 @hirschmj: you forgot the hashtag #nodelusions
  • + 1
 Its just the opposite. The people riding big chainrings are weak because they jump off and walk as soon as things get nasty and steep.
  • + 0
 @preston67: you just entered the area where being fat is considered beneficial.
  • + 1
 @LOLWTF: technically I am also f*cking that shit. I also give zero f*cks.
  • + 3
 @jaame: I've removed and added links to 10 speed chains in the past only to have them snap after a few weeks.
  • + 1
 @jaame: use a second master link and unbroken chain in between. that way you don't have to push the pins put and there's nothing wrong with a second master link
  • + 1
 @hirschmj: Nice setup, esp on 26". Never saw the need for 22t.
  • + 48
 "You say you're disappointed that you can't get your X2 set up the way you would like, but do you feel that way because of what the ShockWiz app says, or because of how the shock feels out on the trail?"

Thanks for saying it out loud, @mikekazimer

Take a step back from the technology, get it as close as you can, and go pop some sweet wheelies!
  • + 6
 It’s a good tool, but feel is most important.
  • + 100
 @Travel66: that's what she said
  • + 6
 I recently bought a new Bronson in the S build kit. It has rebound on the fork and shock. The rear shock doesn’t even have a “lockout”. Nothing I really can tweak. No one or two clicks on LSC or HSC. Set that rebound and it’s all good. Going to basic stuff sure has helped my ocd.
  • + 0
 Need lesser spacer and LSC. He needs DHX2.
  • + 40
 The moment you realize you have to set up your shock the exact same way you did before buying the $300 shock setup device: priceless.
  • + 5
 @Rubberelli: The moment you realize that shock setup device doesn't tell you what feels good, or what will make you faster...
  • + 18
 Step 1. Buy Shokwhizz for retrofitted whizbang new shock. 2. If Shockwhizz recommended settings are not possible, throw away frame. 3. Buy new frame that fits shock. 4. Repeat until all shock settings can match Shokwhizz. 5. Sleep at night
  • + 2
 1- ditch the shock wizz
2- watch every episode of Steve's shock tune videos (vorsprung)
3- understand exactly how it all works
4- appreciate that:
A- there is no perfect tune
B- you will spend uneccessary time
and money trying to find it
5- ride by feel now you know what your bike is and should be doing.
  • + 0
 I dunno, I can not set up my CC DB Air CS how I like it .
The most ridden and loved trail by me is a short 250m,15% avg. Gradient only rooooots , some smaller Drops and jumps.
Now I can't focus on LSC or HSC for this trail. It is way to much different types
of stuff/surface/ground here to cover.
This kind of a trail are common around here. So the new RS super deluxe is doing a better job , a way better job is the DVO Topaz doing . The CC is even total garbage with factory settings for the frame.
  • + 3
 @wcjrush: & images of tortoise and hare help to minus the confusion stemming from fact that in terms of setup, rebound should be labeled rebound damping. Same for L/HSCD. Too bad there's no knob for OCD.
  • + 5
 @ceecee: Seriously! It drives me nuts when they say, "more rebound." Does that mean more rebound damping, or faster rebound (less damping)???
  • + 2
 @skelldify: I hope they mean more damping. Using flats on a 5010.2 I've got Float DPS circuit fully closed for chunk smoothing--seems to be the opposite of what Aston is suggesting for our 150mm/29 rider. Go figure. Still, righty tighty more squeezy more dampedy
  • + 1
 @Serpentras: For CCDB on Spitfire.I run few clicks lesser than base tune. HSC is open, uses volume spacer to compensate the bottom out. LSR HSR, curb test. HSR follows LSR ratio.
  • + 25
 I understand number crunching and comparing times can be fun (like racing), but I vote get rid of your strava and shock wiz and find your inner child! He will help you go faster.
  • + 16
 Set suspension hard as fuq and ride faster until it feels good. Two birds.
  • + 24
 Shock settings: I agree with Mike on adjusting out on the trail, but I recommend taking a MTB buddy with you. They will make all the adjustments and record them and AND NOT TELL YOU. You give feedback on how the bike feels. That way you have no biases on the adjustments.
  • + 11
 Good idea.

Would probably work better than my "try some new setting at the beginning of the season, not notice the difference because it's the first ride, get used to it and never change it until next year" methodology.
  • + 1
 Genius... thanks for that Big Grin
  • + 2
 @Dethphist: hahaha Sounds like me
  • + 16
 Articles like this leave me questioning "do I just not care enough, or do some just care too much?"
  • + 8
 To the flat pedal guy: ditch the GR7s and try some Five Tens.

I rode my FiveTens for about 3 yrs, to the point the rubber is almost gone in some places, and decided to try a new brand. Got the GR7s...and returned them after one ride. I couldn't believe how much more my feet were slipping off the pedals, even compared to my Five Tens which are basically destroyed at this point. Luckily, Chain Reaction Cycles has Five Tens half off right now so I just ordered myself a new set of Freeriders.

Honestly, I feel like Five Tens are almost too grippy sometime, which is why I decided to try a new brand, but the GR7s were just terrible. It feels like the soles are made of hard plastic, plus they have poor padding which, weirdly, made my feet go numb.
  • + 5
 Agreed - FiveTens with a properly sized pedal (bigger platforms tend to help not just by giving more contact patch for grip, but also support your feet in a way that keeps them from getting overly sore/fatigued). Keep hoping for someone else to do a shoe with rubber as grippy as what FiveTen uses; keep being disappointed. If you can find a FiveTen that fits your foot reasonably well, that'll be the ticket.

Incidentally - FiveTen/Adidas don't have monopoly on sticky rubber - there are lots of makers of very sticky rubbered climbing shoes, with lots of suppliers for said rubber. It's just that FiveTen seems to be the only one out there willing to put out a product that emphasizes grip despite the drawbacks that implies for things like longevity and such. To me, that's the right approach - grip is a necessary condition, and I'd rather have to replace them more frequently than dealing with shitty grip and what that does to my riding.
  • + 1
 @g-42: Well said. I agree with all of this.
  • + 5
 Regarding flat pedals- I'll add 2 things here that I found out. One, there is definitely a sweet spot when it comes to good pedal/shoe combinations. Some shoes don't line up well with some pedals. And vice versa. Pedals with more concave tend to suck the foot in and create a better chance of grip. In some MTB circles that's hotly debated. Not sure why. And Two, riding style does factor in for sure. When I switched from riding hardtail bikes to full sus bikes, it took a while to really get dialed (more than a year??). So it may be that you'll just need more than 6 months in flats to feel totally comfortable Smile
  • + 3
 When I had my hardtail I really needed to adjusty riding style so that I wont slip off the pedal everytime. But 510 und Chromag Scarab are my holy grail... You can play around a whole day with the pin layout..my feet are normally a bit pointed out so Ive put the inner pin as far outside.. with normal pedals you simply dont grab onto the pin... Makes a mayor difference
  • + 1
 When I was riding with the ball of my foot over the axle, I preferred very concave pedals (Wellgo B-52, I think). A couple of years ago I switched to big Catalyst pedals designed to have your midfoot over the axle, so I did. In that position I think concave matters less because it is actually the shoe hanging over the front and the rear. Not sure which brand it was, but I think there is one which actually designs their pedals around that (so their pedal is convex). So yeah, there can be a debate but at the end of the day it just depends on what you like and how you ride (and where you place your foot on the pedal).

Now personally I never needed anything to get comfortable riding platform pedals. I actually never got along with riding clipped in. But if you like some guidance, I think Ryan Leech has a free course on making the transition to flat pedals. Haven't looked into it. But his courses typically are very clear, doable and guidance and feedback are inspiring, positive and fun. Worth a try for anyone not instantly comfortable with platform pedals (but is aiming to be).
  • + 0
 I found that in the rough it is best to push yourself into the pedals by exerting some upward force on the handlebars. It is practically the same thing as with jumping, you just need to steer at the same time.
  • + 6
 I threw away the clipless pedals about 15 years ago, I rode with a racer that could throw his Stinky Deluxe over a 24"plus high log with flats. After he taught me how I rode flats from then on.

I have this technique to keep speed over rough sections. I keep in the attach crouch, and put my front heel down and my back heel up, then force your legs apart front to back and use the "V" shape of your feet to keep extra tension on the pedals. A 5/10 sole with the rubber circles is mandatory, when you twist your feet slightly on the pedals this allows the small disc shapes to grip the spikes laterally and almost "lock" on.

I have only come off on one drop in 15 years and that was user error, my knee was jimmied for a couple of weeks as I straight legged the ground on a 4 foot drop.
  • + 5
 Coming from BMX in the 80's I always rode a little "daffy" (skiers will get it) when I wasn't pedaling to make sure my feet were stuck to the pedals. Front foot pointed up a few degrees and back foot pointed down a bit then you can push with your legs to lock into the pedals. This is how I learned to get the back end up on a bunny hop with flats and still works today on fast, rough trails.
  • + 3
 @Bomadics: I ditched my clipless 18 years ago, tried them again for the first time this summer, on a rough DH race track I can get light on my feet and just sail over rocks and roots, then my legs go longer without feeling jacked up from forcing them to the pedals, and my body stays looser. WTH haven’t I been riding both all these years...
  • + 2
 You need to have a decent length dropper and keep the low squat going through chunky sections. This way your feet have the push and range of movement needed to stay pinned on the pedals. If your legs are too straight/dropper isn't low enough your feet will get bucked off the pedals. The squat is exhausting, but thats how you're supposed to ride.
  • + 2
 Fully agree with the pedal/shoe combination sweet spot. I've been riding with Nukeproof Neutron EVO pedals and Vans Old Skools for years now! The 'waffle' sole design is perfect for grip with the pedal spikes fitting perfectly.
  • + 1
 ok...question for you all: flat pedals on rough AND pedally sections. All your suggestions seem to make sense so long as you're not pedaling, but I can't figure out how they apply when you are. I don't have trouble on flats (never really ride clipless) on most trails/obstacles, but we've got a few sections of trail that are quite rough but not steep enough to coast, one that starts slightly uphill actually, and I cannot figure out how to pedal through these sections at pace and keep my feet on. I either slow down or feet come off. Suggestions here? I tried my cross bike pedals/shoes once just to see how I'd like clipless on trail and was blown away at how hard I could hammer through these sections and how much faster I rode those particular trails, so much that I'm considering getting mtb clipless and shoes next season. Have Five-Ten Freerider (VXI?) and Saint.
  • + 1
 @Bomadics: THIS. is great. same technique as dirt jumping / bunny hopping. nice.
  • + 2
 @wildcatwilly: Yea for racing, for sure go clipless!
  • + 1
 @vinay: Yeah a convex pedal is cray: so they want your foot to sit way far forward -> which doesn't allow us to practice the foot technique needed to create grip for ourselves -> which makes us need more grip -> which makes us reliant on sharp pins/ tearing soft rubber shoes. Which means we buy more stuff. #followthe$$$
  • + 1
 I run the Five Ten Spitfires, which are the BMX/Dirtjump style shoes. I ride XC and enduro with em. Clips are disgusting. But my coaches and my team makes me wear em when I race XC. But if you practice with flats enough, you barely need grip to be at your maximum efficiency. Not saying you should buy the Spitfires for mountain biking, because after a month I have giant grooves cut in the bottom. Try the freeriders.Those are great.
And flats look good as hell. And you have mad style on the downhill if you know what your doing.
  • + 1
 @filmdrew: I've been with the ball of my foot over the axle with concave pedals until the Catalyst pedals came out. Got them right away (preordered) and shifted my midfoot over the axle. I'm running six pairs of them now. I don't think grip got any worse. Instead I eventually moved from Impact to Freerider shoes and still have enough. The technique doesn't change really. I wouldn't get anything else anymore. Axle under the ball feels awkward but with small pedals, having the midfoot over the axle of a small pedal is uncomfortable.
  • + 1
 @ecologist: It's just like BMX, you combine a bit of strategical unweighting and tweaking the bike with your arms through your handlebars.
  • + 1
 @ecologist: That is a challenge. Trying to maintain speed to keep momentum. We have 2 long, very rocky sections that flatten out before dropping again in stages. The bike is barely in control. Going in as fast as possible and turning the cranks when possible is key. Also pumping rocks isn't ideal but does work to keep things moving. These sections are totally exhausting. This is the only time I wished I was clipped.
  • + 1
 Yeah in these sections I don't think in full circles, but rather give it a few punches when I can. Heavy gear, stand up, pick your spots and indeed move with the bike. Chris Akrigg released a video of him riding some rocky terrain. May be interesting to observe. Other than that, as I mentioned. If you're struggling with any part of flat pedal riding, just subscribe to Ryan Leech's free course and get some friendly and useful responses to your questions. Even WAKI will be there for you, so you'll feel right at home Smile .
  • + 4
 I exclusively rise flats these days (including racing) but even with 510s I didn't get on with the horizons. I went back to DMR vaults and had far more grip. Recently I've been running the oneup aluminium pedals and they are also excellent.
  • + 7
 Dmr vaults with 510s offfer an insane amount of grip
  • + 1
 Same here. DMR and then oneup. I like the oneups even better, even they are low in concavity.
  • + 1
 @mkotowski1: Same setup as me, honestly though i sometimes have trouble getting my foot back in position.... i have to try shortening the pins or something. who would have thought to much grip may be a problem
  • + 4
 The question about flat pedals being slower in rocky areas is exactly why clipless has taken over UCI DH. Going slower in gnar than you are on clipless is something a flat pedal rider has to accept. You're doing it for a reason, right? Maybe you have bad knees, maybe you want to enjoy confidence in slow techy riding, maybe you're just really casual about riding and want to have comfy shoes on for getting groceries afterwards. Either way, you switched to flats for a reason that is specific to you and makes flats a better choice for you. You have to take the bad with the good, however.
  • + 9
 Whoa whoa whoa easy there with the reason and logic. Pick a pedal style and be a dick about it!
  • - 2
 right. that guys advice to ride flats 60% of the time if you also ride clips is borderline irresponsible. Clips are proven to simply be faster, so telling someone that they should alternate their pedal systems is simply setting them up for a gnarly crash at some point. Kind of like saying, well dropper posts do make it faster and safer to navigate steep and technical sections, you should really high post it 60% of the time so you keep good technique. absolute madness. lol
  • + 3
 On the topic of high speed rough sections on flat pedals: I rode clipped in for almost a decade and have switched to flats in the last year or so. Can confirm that I experienced the same issues that were described by @Arierep. IMHO it just takes time to get used to - you will see results when you step back and consider where your riding was 3 months ago. Can also confirm that it has improved my riding ability in a positive way.

I find that in rough sections, I try to focus on choosing lines which force weight onto the pedals. I look for things to pump and backsides to catch when coming back to earth. Generally, this is also the smoothest line.

As long as you're having fun and challenging yourself, you're doing it right!
  • + 2
 With the Shockwiz, if the shock is telling you to take out a spacer on a X2 whilst running a soft set up either, or a combination of;

1. The shockwiz has the wrong compression ratio set up and so thinks you're not ever reaching the bottom out when you are.
2. The Giant Reign was designed with a very significant ramp up in the progression from mid travel, the shockwiz is designed around more average progression rates.
3. Your under riding the bike.

The Low Speed Compression will appear too hard to the ShockWiz if the frame has a lot of anti squat and/or you have a smooth pedaling style.

So if you really want to get the results at 100%, mash the pedals and hit things harder.
I'd actually recommend you try as many of the set ups on the ShockWiz and ride them all for a couple of runs and find out if you really like "Soft" the most. Then sell the ShockWiz as you'll start setting up by feel.
  • + 2
 I'm certainly no authority on the subject, but I found my feet coming off a little this summer on fast, rocky sections due to me not bending my legs enough. Once I kept them bent and got low over the rocks, my body-suspension was working much better. And like @Arierep stated, keeping the body low and centered, instead of low and back, makes for better control.
  • + 5
 ShockWiz told me to get a new fork. Head scratcher. I have the top of the line Rock Shox Mag21.
  • + 2
 GPS in the enduro-ass-pack or the top pocket of hydration pack. Or with masking tape on the screen.
Ain't nobody got time for distracting numbers on the trail!
But killing your phone's battery for Strava is silly.

GPS with data visible is for roadbike times only!!! (ok maybe when racing XC or gravel too)
  • + 10
 How dare you insult my enduro-ass-pack! It makes me look like a graceful and magnificent camel while I'm slaying downhill KOMs.

Actually, besides the fact that I'm a sucker for technology, there are two reasons I like having a GPS on my bars.

First, I like seeing my heart rate on climbs. There are times when I think I'm dying, look down, and realize I just need to suck it up and push harder. There are other times when I look down and think "oh yes, I am about to actually die".

Second, mine will tell me when I'm coming up to a favorited segment, and pick someone whose time it thinks I have a chance of beating. Then, during the segment, it'll tell me if I'm ahead of behind their pace. It's super motivating. That part really only happens on climbs, since looking down during a descent is going to result in death or slowness (a fate worse than death).

No-one needs a GPS on their bars, but I'm ok looking like a dork in exchange for what mine does for my riding experience.
  • + 1
 @atourgates: I am most certainly NOT insulting your enduro-ass-pack....I'm saying I put my GPS in my own, very fine, top of the line enduro-ass-pack, and I'm proud of it!

HR on climbs? That's XC/Gravel/Road training/racing stuff for me. (granted I don't race Enduro, I could see that being useful)...when I'm on a squishy bike playing in the woods, I don't wanna see HR.

Strava climb segment hunting? Totally! But IMO also qualifies as XC/Gravel/roadie mentality "racing".

So really, we mostly agree Smile
  • + 3
 I prefer to ride with my Garmin, I have specific screens to limit the data I can see while I ride. Then when I stop to take a break, I can flip to another screen and check out all the data I want!
  • + 2
 I find my GPS helpful for keeping my heart rate in range on longer rides, knowing when sunset is, how much I've climbed, etc. Bonus for not draining my phone when I'm out for long periods and able to use it in case of emergency. I had too many long rides that I wanted to record but put me in the precarious situation of possibly not being able to call for help in the event of an emergency.
  • + 2
 I've found that when I use Strava on my phone the elevation can be inconsistent and incorrect. Now I use a Garmin Vivoactive HR to track rides. Since the watch has an altimeter I'm able to adjust the elevation if Strava reports the incorrect elevation. Which has happened more than once, and on higher elevation rides. There were also numerous times when using Strava on my phone that the ride didn't record. After using a GPS watch for a while I trust the watch much more than my phone.
  • + 3
 I really think it depends on the phone. My friends with iPhones see there numbers all over the place. Newer samsungs seem more consistent
  • + 1
 @gnarnaimo: that may be true, but any device that relies on cell/gps triangulation as opposed to a real altimeter will do a relatively poor job recording elevation change.
  • + 1
 For my GPS, I love my Garmin Vivoactive(original). I bought the watch when it first came out and wear it every day. I've put it through hell(construction worker) and it's never given me an issue. Battery lasts about 2 weeks when not using GPS. On a full charge, can go for about 8 hours with the GPS on. Love it.
  • + 3
 Cant remember where, but i can recall Sam Hill said that he uses a bit slower rebound then a lot of other racers out there...
  • + 1
 Shoxkwiz is a great tool, BUT you still need to know what the knobs do and a know how of how the shock works.
and how adjusting one thing could/can effect another.
You have to really bare this in mind with fork with basic adjustments. (no HSC, LSR etc)

For the set up above,
Baseline air pres has a wide range that keeps it "green" 5 to 10 psi ish (depending on shock/fork)
I would look to see if you getting full compression or "deep compression events"

If you not getting any or v few (off BIG drops or bad landing) I would drop the air pressure a bit, do a few PSI at a time, (can always put more in if you go to far) but by lowing the air pess will effect the other 2 (less air less ramp, less press making it softer for LSC)

Don't be scared of adjusting things to see what will happen.
  • + 1
 I am a flat-pedals-forever dude (coming from BMX when clipless were forbidden).

I also consider myself as a decent rider. Just sayin' that when I ride really rough sections I usually end up with cramps in my foot arch because of charging a lot... does anyone experience that too?

Oh and as mentioned in the article, I also run a really low rebound setting compared to my riding mates...
  • + 1
 What shoes? In chunk my free riders don’t support enough so arches cramp. I bought some impacts this year for downhill and those shoes don’t cramp my feet - stiffer sole but more cushion it seems to me.
  • + 1
 @dingle485, Mike has covered it really well. When using ShockWiz, the ultimate goal is not to hit a 100% tuning score every ride but to give a well balanced suspension feel that suits your style and terrain. ShockWiz is great at quickly weeding out bad tunes and getting your suspension to a good place that you can then experiment with and tweak if you feel it needs it. By having only two 'yellow' suggestions, that is by no means a bad tune and is totally adequate. I'd also encourage you to try different tuning modes to see how the suggestions change, and if they could be more appropriate for you. The 'softest' mode if quite soft (and could be contributing to the spacer removal suggestion), so perhaps at least try 'soft - planted'.

This article also has more information: shockwiz.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/235719267-An-adjustment-is-at-limit-and-ShockWiz-is-still-Suggesting-change
  • + 1
 First thing that @dingle485 could test is to set little bit lower pressure... or much lower pressure and then adding some compression. It could change things... you have to try combinations. Results will be then different. I guess you could even on 100% tune on the end.

But we don't know any another variables: type of track which @dingle485 is riding, his riding style, current setting and pressure etc...
  • + 1
 Catalyst Pedals from Pedaling Dynamics made an enormous difference in my feet staying planted on the pedals. First tried them on my hardtail, and it was like gaining a few inches of suspension. Properly dialed by ShockWiz, of course.
  • + 4
 I am loving the suggestions for flat pedals. I love that the bike world is recognizing there benefits.
  • + 3
 Flats for life (no hate for clips, used to ride them). But everybody should try flats for month or two.
  • - 1
 Flat pedals, aka the origin of bike pedals
  • + 1
 In question: @dingle485 says: "I had no spacers installed, yet it told me to remove a spacer. Similarly with the LSC, it was fully out at its minimum, yet the ShockWiz suggested less."

But if I look at Shockwiz picture recommendation, it says opposite "Add spacer" and "Make LSC firmer".
  • + 1
 "'Rider forward' or more modern geometry bikes do make it slightly more difficult to keep your heels down and planted behind the pedals." -- THIS is exactly my experience. Can't properly ride heels down on flats on a modern bike with a super long geo. My hips are just too far forward. Look at the current pros riding flats, they're all on 'normal' lenght bikes.
  • + 2
 Yes, that's my fear. I'm loving the flat pedal experience everywhere except fast rough sections, as much as I'm loving the long geometry. Kind of a bummer if those two are not completely compatible
  • + 1
 Hi all, been riding clips due to security and style of shoes. I want to get back to riding flats, but I dont like shoes with flat insole. I have an 'arc-ky' foot so I want one with mid support like what you find in good running shoes. I only tried few 510s and I do t like them. Anybody knows what brand and model has this kind of insole(not flat). Cheers
  • + 1
 Shimano GR7's insoles have a reasonable arch in them
  • + 3
 Buy insoles for the 5.10 no shoe like this will fit everyone’s feet stock.
  • + 1
 I cut up inner tubes and tape them under my insoles for all of my shoes. Really. Custom arch support.
  • + 1
 Replace the stock insole with Sofsole Arch insoles, or something similar.
  • + 1
 come on!!!! let´s be serious a second!!!
First.... apps like shickwiz are just a reference, your feelings and your knowledge about suspension will give you the best suspension setup.
Second GPS eyes closed specially if you ride on zones without signal.
Third, flat pedals are the best!!! I also came back to flats, not gonna come back never to clipless!!!
  • + 3
 Shockwiz sounds like a waste of money. Get out there, experiment and enjoy the ride. To many gadgets will just confuse you!!!
  • + 1
 @Arierep, did you ever have clips on the AM9? I demo'd one and found it had a very progressive linkage with quite a lot of pedal kickback/anti squat. So I found it quite hard going (on flats) on rough sections. It's a very efficient bike, but I didn't like it over rocks and roots.
  • + 1
 Hi Most of my AM9 ownership has been on clipless pedals, having absolutely no problems with the rear end. But then again, I'm not good enough of a rider to precisely identify pedal feedback, I guess
  • + 1
 @Arierep: may be worth (depending on your shock) backing off the compression or pulling out volume spacers to see if that helps. I'm also a fairly recent flats convert and initially got Teva shoes and never felt truly confident in the situations your talking about. Changed to 5:10 freeriders and they're not far off being clipped in. The ELC version is great for typical British splashy riding.
  • + 1
 I originally switched to a GPS watch because Strava drained my phone battery and I didn't want to be worried about having power issues if I ever needed to make a 911 call.

Strava has gotten MUCH better about that (or the phone has, whichever), but now that I have the watch I just turn it on and forget about it. I do find that its GPS is a great deal more accurate than my phone's, and it's good for 8 hours or something even on the highest resolution setting. I still like being able to tuck my phone away and not worry about it/its battery on remote or dangerous rides.

Is it worth the initial investment these days though? Maybe not. They're still expensive as hell.
  • + 0
 My background is mainly road-I raced road (and a little track) for a decade as well as XC off-road, always clipped in. Switched over this spring to flats......and it's amazing!! Grippy shoes (I just deal with quick wear and rock 5.10s) and well shaped pedals (started on Chesters, wore out the bearings & cracked the bodies and got some Scarabs) are vital. You'll likely need to move feet forward a bit, and I went to an oval ring to get a little more grunt on techy up-moves.

If feet are coming off, try to lower your hips and shoulders; you might just be sitting too high on the bike. Flats allow for more aggressive and/or creative lines in the chunder but body position is more important.

Stick with it and you'll be railing the chunk like a boss!!!!!
  • + 4
 @paulaston that's some good counsel sir.
  • + 2
 I use my smartwatch... It track everything like a handle bar mount, but then it is also a watch as well for the other 22 hrs in the day you are not riding..
  • + 3
 I switched to a 30t from a 32t chainring and it made every gear 2t easier! Physics is cool.
  • + 1
 On my droid phone, the accuracy of GPS trace compared to strava segments is pretty crappy, and my iPhone seems even worse. Would a dedicated GPS be more accurate?
  • + 1
 I didnt even notice my lockout was still on when riding my x2, let alone individual clicks of adjustment. I Did wonder why I has so many crashes that day though.
  • + 3
 I just gaffer tape my 5:10s to my Horizons.
  • + 5
 And leave your laces really lose so you can get a foot down?
  • + 3
 What the difference between a $50 flat pedal and $150 flat pedal....$100!
  • + 1
 I have the phone on the handlebars in a topeak soft case. Never had an issue, also the phone is protected in crashes - it won't get crushed in the pocket.
  • + 1
 When I put the shockwiz on my x2 I found it was pretty spot on to the settings Fox had in their literature , I assume they know a thing or two about suspension!
  • + 1
 I have used the Shock wiz with similar result, unable to dial out compression any more. ( Balanced tune setting on shockwiz). However when I started to look at other factors I was only using about 80% of my travel, so a "balanced" tune was not what I needed, so I choose a custom setting (i believe planted soft) and was able to start getting better Wiz scores using my full travel and not needing less compression but a little more with the now softer airspring.
  • + 2
 @RustyRake: The question is what does 80 mean. Does it mean 80 landing a 5ft drop while seated? Or 80 while riding your average trail?
  • + 1
 @IluvRIDING: the max compression on any given trail. That's why ideally you should tweak your settings for each trail but ain't nobody got time for that!
  • + 2
 Orrrrr, get a coil, get rid of the wiz, and spend some time learning to tune your specific ride to your specific taste.
  • + 1
 On the topic of flat pedals/shoes...any Canadian riders have any luck finding 5.10's above US size 13? I've been searching all over and can't seem to find a source anywhere!
  • + 1
 Nothing new, every shock tuning gadget has been over hyped. Just another expensive paper weight!
  • + 0
 Fixed my smartphones to the handlebar with the Austrian "Finn" mount. Survives even rougher sections without rattle or worse. Sufficient for everyday trail riding.
  • + 1
 Anyone know of a place which rents the Shockwiz in Vancouver, Whistler or Squamish? Thanks in advance.
  • - 9
flag mhoshal (Nov 6, 2018 at 15:54) (Below Threshold)
 If you can't tell by feel how your shock should be set up then just stop riding you nancy's.
  • + 1
 John henry in north van rents them out.
  • + 2
 @mhoshal: Seriously? Every UCI DH racer uses data capture. Next time you see Danny Hart be sure to call him a Nancy. I'd love to see that.
  • + 1
 @bret56: Awesome. Thanks for the tip!
  • + 0
 @Super7: Next time any of us is going anywhere near UCI DH fast, we should absolutely look into data capture. Tim then, I think maybe I'll spend the 300 bucks on tires . . .or beer . . .
  • + 1
 @NorcalJones: Or....give that you just dropped $1000 on that new fork you could spend $25 to rent a shockwiz and help you get the most out of it. Smart no?
  • + 1
 Garmin 520 series vs Wahoo Elemnt Bolt vs Lezyne Super. Discuss:
  • + 2
 520 only because they are trailfork compatible. If you don't care about trail fork, the wahoo is better and cheaper
  • + 1
 Great advice paul, I agree 100%
  • + 2
 shockwiz, meh
  • + 2
 Flat Pedals Win Medals.
  • + 0
 @arierep. Try Catalyst pedals. Full 3 years on them. I’ll never go back to clipless.
  • + 1
 Try SCg shoes for better gripping with flats
  • + 0
 The best thing about flat pedals... it's such a fun bike part to buy.
  • - 1
 When riding flats the best thing to remember is that you are in control of the bike and it is floating with you!
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