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Ask Pinkbike: Tight Shock Bushings, Top-End or Tuned Shock, Spring Rate vs Force

Jan 13, 2022
by Seb Stott  

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.





Tight shock bushings?

Question: Sam asks (in real life): I have a 2015 Mondraker Foxy with a Fox DPS shock. Recently the shock was serviced and it came back with new shock bushings. Unfortunately, I noticed the sensitivity of the rear suspension wasn't great. When I took things apart to investigate, the frame bearings are running smoothly and the shock slides easily with the air removed, but the new bushings seem really tight. If I clamp one eyelet in the frame or vice, the force needed to rotate the shock on the bushing is really high. Is this normal? Is there anything that can be done?

bigquotes The Foxy's suspension design means the shock eyelets have to rotate a lot on the two short links at either end. That means any friction in the bushings will have an outsized effect on the suspension sensitivity. By removing the shock and feeling how tight the bushings are to rotate, I've noticed that different shocks and different bushings have very different amounts of friction. The bushing is a plane bearing that relies on a precise fit to work properly, so small manufacturing tolerances could create a noticeable difference.

One option would just be to wait it out. Riding will gradually wear down the bushing and this should reduce friction eventually. Just make sure the eyelet bolts are done up tight so the sliding surface is between the metal pin and the plastic bushing, and not between the pin and the frame.

My local suspension workshop told me they could ream the plastic part so it's ever so slightly looser-fitting. If that's not an option, you could try sanding down the pin with fine wet and dry paper to reduce its diameter slightly. I did this successfully once by putting the pin in the chuck of a drill and gently sanding as it spun to keep it even. Be warned though: I did this as an experiment on a particularly tight bushing, it will likely reduce the lifespan of the bushing and pin. If you do go down this route, make sure to remove material little by little, regularly checking the tightness in the plastic bushing. It needs to be a snug fit and should take some force to install; otherwise, it will soon develop play.

The bushing, which these days are usually plastic as on the right, will eventually wear down and loosen up.




Spring rate vs spring force

Question: @dreamlink87 asks in a previous Ask Pinkbike comments section: Preload doesn’t change spring rate [of a coil spring], right? It just changes where in the spring your starting point is. Which I guess changes your starting spring rate, but not the actual spring rate?

bigquotes You're partly right. The spring rate, also known as the spring stiffness, is the amount of additional force required to compress the spring an additional incremental distance. So, the number of pounds-force for every additional inch of travel, or in the correct metric system, Newtons per additional millimetre. In a graph of force against travel (like the one opposite), the spring force is the height of the line; the spring rate is the gradient of the line.

This graph represents the force (vertical axis) against travel for a 100 lb/in spring (blue line); a 100 lb/in spring with 100 lb of preload (red), and a stiffer 150 lb/in spring (orange). The red and orange curves provide the same force at 2" travel (so the same sag) but the springs they represent would feel very different to ride.
Ohlins RXF 36 COIL Ohlins RXF 36 27.5
Just because you can preload a coil spring, doesn't mean you should.

bigquotesThe spring rate is a function of the spring itself, so as you say, you can't change that by preloading it. Preloading the spring creates a force offset so if you had a 100 lb/in spring and you preloaded it by one inch (which would be crazy), it would require 100 lb of force to get it to move at all. So long as there's more than 100 lb of force on the spring, the spring rate/stiffness/gradient would be the same, but the fork would ride one inch higher in the travel for a given force. But when there's less than 100 lb of force acting on the spring, its stiffness is essentially infinite because (within that limit) the fork won't move at all with increasing load.

This isn't such a problem for road-going vehicles where the wheels are usually loaded more than the amount required to overcome the preload. In that case, preload can be a useful way of adjusting ride height without affecting the stiffness of the suspension. But on a mountain bike, the suspension is coming in and out of the first part of the travel regularly. In this case, the infinite spring rate is less than ideal because the preload force has to be overcome before the suspension can start to move at all. This causes the suspension to feel harsh, top-out and provide less traction. On a mountain bike, "preload adjusters" are really about allowing for different spring lengths without play. If you want your fork to ride higher but don't want a stiffer spring rate, try bumping up the travel or just raising the bar height. If you want the bike to sit higher at the rear, you could try fitting offset bushings to effectively lengthen your shock, or use the flip-chip if you have one. 





High-End Shock or Custom-Tune?

Question: Craig asks on Instagram: I'm thinking of getting coil shock for my enduro bike. Do I get one with all the adjustments like a Fox DHX2 or should I get a cheaper shock and get it custom-tuned for my bike, weight and riding style?

bigquotes Keeping in the Fox/Marzocchi catalogue for the sake of comparison, you could get a Marzocchi Bomber CR for $330 / £349, a Fox DHX for $549 / £629 or a DHX2 for $649 / £719. In all three cases, springs are sold separately. These cost £47 for a standard steel spring and $130 / £155 for the lighter SLS spring, which saves around 300g.

The first thing to note is that the Bomber doesn't have a climb switch. That may bother some, but plenty of people never use their lockout anyway. The DHX also gets detents on the preload collar and numbered dials, which the Bomber lacks, but these are nice-to-haves rather than essentials. The valving and bottom-out bumper are arguably more refined on the DHX too, but I can't say if this is a tangible benefit.

That aside, the Bomber and DHX both offer low-speed compression and rebound damping. I haven't ridden the DHX, but the Bomber is pretty much the same as the old Fox Vanilla RC, which was very impressive when fitted to the Saracen Ariel 80. Pinkbike's Mike Kazimer and Matt Wragg have both ridden the Bomber CR and came away impressed. "For 90% of folk it’ll be good without tuning," Wragg tells me. "When I took it to a DH track I could find situations where I wanted more HSC to handle the hits [this is on a YT Decoy ebike], but around the house, it just works. Very impressive wee bit of kit."

Meanwhile, the DHX2 adds high-speed compression and rebound adjustment, using Fox's clever VVC high-speed rebound system for more proportionate high-speed rebound adjustment.

Does that matter? It depends on how much time you're willing to spend setting it up. Suspension tuning is all about tradeoffs, so more adjustment doesn't automatically mean more performance, it just means there's more scope to fine-tune if you're willing to go down the rabbit hole. But in my view, it can take a lot of work to get a four-way adjustable shock in the right ballpark if there isn't a good starting point from the frame manufacturer, let alone making it work better for your needs than a two-way adjustable shock could. I often get asked to help set up friends' bikes and those with four-way adjustable shocks are most often overdamped or imbalanced relative to the fork.

That said, most shocks fitted to bikes from the factory are chosen and tuned to provide an appropriate range of adjustment for the bike, so buying one off the shelf is a bit more of a gamble especially if there's less adjustability to work with. This is particularly true if your bike has an unusual leverage ratio, so check with the frame manufacturer or a good suspension tuner first. As you say in the question, that's where custom tuning can come in.

The change from buying a Bomber instead of a DHX2 will pay for a custom tune (if you need it) plus a spare SLS spring or two. That means the two low-speed adjusters should be all you need for fine-tuning the damping and the spare springs will encourage you to focus on the most important parameter: the spring rate. 

A relatively basic shock is probably fine for most people. So long as the tune is in the right ballpark, putting in the work to find the ideal spring rate and (low-speed) damping settings is 90% of the battle.






151 Comments

  • 250 0
 Most consumers and bike shops (and apparently pinkbikes tech team) are unaware that Fox makes two different size poly DU's. One has a .598" OD/ .501" ID, the other has a .5925"OD/ .498" ID. This is most likely the root cause of what happened in the stiff DU post rebuild question. (Servicing suspension is my profession).
  • 8 0
 Outstanding point.
  • 5 0
 This needs to be voted to the top. Such a vital bit of info.
  • 3 0
 I have never seen different part numbers for them, do you have to go through Fox directly?
Makes sense due to tolerance/fit with shock eyelets.
  • 13 0
 You my friend are doing the lords work.
  • 5 1
 Seems crazy that there are almost two identical parts measuring within thousandths of an inch of each other. Is there a pragmatic reason for this, or just two differnet manufacturers? Is one designed as a replacement after eyelets have worn slightly?
  • 5 0
 @bikebasher: We generally get them from BTI, but even their listing for these is not clear (one part # has specs listed and the other does not... joys of the bike industry)


I dont know why this posted twice? I was replying to two comments at the same time, so maybe I made it bug out?
  • 10 0
 @rory: The short answer is manufacturing tolerances are not that tight in the bike industry. This is the root of many common problems people experience regarding suspension (creaky CSU's etc...). These slightly different DU's exist because of variance in eyelet sizing through the years even though on paper they should be the same... At least that is what I have been told by people who manufacture things for the bike industry over seas.
  • 1 0
 Thank you! Did not know that.
  • 17 1
 .501" and .498" options?! Sounds like there's an engineer on Fox's DU team whose soulmate is on SRAM's 28.99 DUB team.
  • 2 0
 @willdabeast410: to be clear, are you referring to DP bushings (steel-backed poly with a slit) vs. IGUS? Or are you are referring to two sizes of one type of bushing (and if so, which type)? Because DP bushings need to be measured installed in a gage, and the DP material compresses much easier than IGUS.
  • 3 0
 @FatSanch: that's why you have Huber, to make exactly the size you need for Igus without the shoulder.
  • 3 0
 @rory: My personal favorite is how boost and non boost RS forks used to.have different Schrader valve assemblies / top caps for the air spring. I guess there's some reason, but always seemed crazy to me.
  • 4 0
 Get out of here with your helpful knowledge and rational attitude.
  • 2 0
 What are the part numbers?
  • 2 0
 There’s a lot of stuff like that in the world too. I wish I knew the difference between a CN vs a C3 bearing years ago.
  • 1 0
 @FatSanch: I am referring to the flanged DU's fox has been using since they went to the 5 piece kits. Not IGUS.
  • 2 0
 @Canadmos: Fox #'s are 213-01-263 and 213-01-510
  • 1 0
 @dancingwithmyself: The reason is RS did not want you upgrading your old fork and wanted to sell their new stuff.
  • 1 0
 @rickybobby18: 0.003" is big, in the world of bearing fits. Note that the OD (bushing thickness) and housing size will also affect the installed ID.
  • 1 0
 @Tambo: For sure. As a machinist I generally work in the realm of 0.0005"
  • 1 0
 @willdabeast410: thanks. I believe that I've been purchasing the larger bushings and for the last year or two have been blowing through them. The rear one, which feels tight when first installed, also sees the most movement, but seems to get loose fairly quick.

I'm assuming the pin/bolt isn't wearing, so will try to source the tighter ones. Think that might help?
  • 69 0
 I like this kind of article
  • 4 0
 @swenzowski Ditto!

Funny however that the low end shock and the high end shock both end up making Fox more money!! Smile
  • 1 0
 @stiingya:
This is the way
  • 37 4
 To the person with the tight shock eyelet bushings:

Look at RWC needle bearings. They are very pricey, but make a big difference on suspension designs which require lots of shock eyelet bushing rotation.

www.enduroforkseals.com/products/rear-suspension/shock-eyelet-bearing-kits/6mm-8mm-thru-bolts/NEEDLE-BEARING-22.20.html
  • 23 9
 they also are know to fail quickly and have quality issues... so good luck as well. simple is often best.
  • 9 5
 Yeah, those things fall apart like crazy. They're not designed for the loads that the shock endures. It's a good concept with poor execution.
  • 9 1
 Fox 5 piece is the best, compatible with rockshox
  • 1 0
 @NorthEasternDownhiller: Interesting. I have been looking at the RWC bearings for a while, but haven't used them. IPerhaps a company just needs to make a system that both bushings and bearings. The bearings would just be on both sides were bushings contact the frame eliminating the main source of friction. All my frames have had issues with bushings being too tight, so I have thought about it a lot. Lol.
  • 2 0
 i've had the ones on giant's maestro system replaced several times (on more than one giant bike), always custom ordered to a "tornero", no idea how to say that in english, cheers
  • 11 0
 Hmm... Good to know. I bought one for my Yeti SB66 and it lasted for ~2 years (10 months longer than any of those crappy frames could last). After getting rid of that frame, I moved it to my RM Altitude for 18 months. Took it off a few months ago to try an offset bushing on it.

Maybe I just got lucky with a combination of good QC on mine and frames that are gentle on eyelet bushings.

Just goes to show you, don't trust random strangers on the internet. Unless they have candy...
  • 3 0
 If the FOX roller bearing kit fits, I think it's a better way to go than the RWX needle bearings. Only $30 USD too.
www.pinkbike.com/news/fox-announces-new-fit-fork-dampers-and-a-roller-bearing-kit-for-shocks.html
  • 8 1
 The RWC needle kits have worked great for me, some people bag on them but the ones I have seen that didn't hold up were installed poorly, not maintained or used inappropriately. They are fairly easy to install, easy to service, and really make a difference when needed. And that's the key, only use them where needed. My Ibis doesn't need them, my old Transition only needed one. On many bikes, there may be one end of the shock that sees significant bushing rotation and the other sees barely any. Or both ends see rotation, or neither sees much. Just look at how the linkage works. Putting a needle or roller bearing in a low rotation position is just asking for problems, that's where you want a snug bushing.
  • 5 0
 @OTBSteve: If it fits is right, the Fox kit is application limited and you have to get lucky for the bearing cups to be the correct fit in your shock because shock eyelets are not reliably sized to the precision needed for the bearing cups to have an ideal fit in many cases. Then it's an annoying click to listen to every ride. The RWS kit is designed to be adjustable for eyelet tolerances. And just like any needle or roller bearing, these should only be used in eyelets that see a fair bit of rotation, they are worse than useless in place of a bushing that sees little movement.
  • 3 0
 That picture to the right of the bushings is of a TFTuned heavy duty mount kit - www.tftuned.com/tech-help/71-mount-kits-and-bushings-for-rear-shocks - seems like they should get credit for the item in the photo there.

Have used RWC needle bearings with great results on several shocks and frames. If a frame has a design that benefits from one it is a good way to go in my experience.

The other path would be something like the TFTuned that might be built to a higher standard than what the OP may be using.
  • 4 0
 I've used RWC on two bikes with excellent results and no complaints on longevity. Take the time to clean and lube them periodically and they will run well.
  • 1 0
 @panchocampbell: Just guessing from context and my limited Spanish knowledge but would a 'tornero' be someone who operates a lathe? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lathe?wprov=sfla1
  • 2 0
 @OTBSteve: There are some serious drawbacks with those though. 1. I believe those are only available in 8x30mm and will require your frame to have the clearance. 2. On a coil shock the spring will not fit over the hardware so you have to be very committed to your spring size because they are very difficult to remove. Also they can be difficult to install correctly as well.
  • 7 0
 Bushing play makes my bike more playful
  • 1 0
 @nathanawebster: Was all primed to make a joke about it not being surprising they outlasted the frame, but you beat me to it!
  • 1 0
 Highly recommend the Push bushings. Should fix the issue and be more reliable than the needle bearings. Have asked suspension shops (not Push) about the needle bearings and been warned off because they develop play. Love RWC, so no agenda in passing this along.
  • 1 0
 @panchocampbell: machine shop, lathe operator Saludos Smile tambien he mandado a hacer los bushing a uno cuando no encuentro la medida hahaa
  • 3 0
 @tacklingdummy: Spherical bearings are a thing that I think should have been adopted long ago. Push industries does this now, but they have the ability to make their own proprietary eyelet diameter. The solution for the rest of us would be adapting them somehow to an outboard style bearing like the fox and RS eyelet bearings.

Unfortunately, I have the same experience with RWC - they felt good, but were short lived. Same with the RS and fox outboard eyelet bearings. Not worth the cost, relative to just replacing igus bushings more often, cheap and effective.
  • 1 0
 I have both the RWC on my Hightower for at least a year and the Fox roller brng. on my Status but it’s fairly new neither of which have I had any problems or complaints with. Seems like the RWC kit did feel a bit smoother off the top for lack of a better word kind of coil-ish but it wasn’t a night and day diff compared to normal bushings almost more of a luxury. The RWC kit came w/ 3-4 diff sized bushings to ensure a perfect fit. The Fox brng on the other bike was a litter bigger but wasn’t as noticeable as the shock doesn’t pivot very much during compression but they both seemed decent. @OTBSteve:
  • 1 0
 Needle bearings for the win. If you're wearing them out quickly, it's probably more of a flaw in the frame design. I've been running the same needle bearing in the top eyelet on my Evil insurgent for 2 years now. Zero issues. That frame rotates close to 90 degrees on that pivot through a full compression, so standard bushings flog out really fast and make the suspension feel horrible in comparison. As with all things, results vary depending on situation, but this has worked really well for me, and I wouldn't run that bike any other way. A friend with a Santa Cruz Hightower LT also had good results on the bottom shock bushing with a needle bearing.
  • 1 0
 I ran RWC bearings on both ends of a DPX2 attached to a Diamondback Release 5c. Only one end rotated much but the relatively stationary end bushing would develop a "click/knock" over time. You could put your hand on the top tube shock mount and feel it.

I ran the bearings for at least a year, only had to clean the bearings (twice?), and the bike was so smooth when I sold it. Only issue was the breakaway force was so low I felt the rebound damping needed a retune.
  • 1 0
 @dancingwithmyself: my push bushing only lasted 6 months and rwc needle bearing is still going strong after a year so experiences definitely vary
  • 2 0
 I guess I should have read the comments first I just recommended the same thing. The RWC needle bearing kit is night and day difference over normal bushings and well worth the investment. I did have to buy a couple specialty tools for them but in the end it was definitely worth it for the sensitivity gains alone.
  • 2 0
 @nickfranko: it's a bad idea anyway to replace the bushings with something that doesn't flex at all, like a solid metal needle bearing. Go watch Vorsprung Steve's latest Tuesday tune video. If the needle bearings are not falling apart due to the flex in the frame, it's the shock that slowly gets killed.

Spherical bearings would be a better solution.
  • 1 0
 @tobriks: go watch the video again because he said that with longer yoke designed frames it would benefit from spherical bearings not all bikes.
  • 3 0
 @Simzesun: huber bushings from germany also makes very nice ones
  • 2 0
 @panchocampbell: tornero = machinist
  • 1 0
 @Planetx888: Interesting. Did not know about the RS and Fox eyelet bearings. It looks like a good solution, but opens up a can of worms to covert it. For RS, you need a new Damper Body with IFP which means complete disassembly and reassembly of your shock. Not the most fun and easy to screw up. Wish there was an easy solution to just replace bushings with bearings. Right now I'm using the Fox Polymer bushings which are good and better than DU bushings, but still a little notchy.
  • 1 0
 @tacklingdummy: a bearing is a flawed technical design for such loads and such small rotations.
If you use a good bushing like fox or huber, you absolutely feel no difference in friction versus a bearing.
  • 2 0
 I hear someone is offering candy. What up?
  • 1 0
 @funkzander: yes it seems, but they are not flanged. I wonder if they have more friction because of this.
  • 2 0
 @chize: That's interesting. Thanks for the data point. Think so much of this probably depends on the linkage design in addition to manufacturing tolerances and luck.
  • 1 0
 @Crankhed: Is that a V1 or V2 Hightower on which you've had good luck with the RWC?
  • 1 0
 @ak-77: that's right!!! here in Chile is easier to order them like this, than get originals, when giant was here they didn't bring spares, only bikes, saludos
  • 1 0
 @VonFalkenhausen: About how many degrees rotation would you consider a lot vs a little? I have a GG (and I've noticed what sometimes feels like tighter bushings) and my rough estimate would be the rear shock bushing rotates maybe 60-70 degrees and the front maybe 15-20.
  • 1 0
 @Simzesun: I have recognized the shock friction issue on all the bikes I have owned over many years. In my opinion, the only bearings need to be present is between the bushing and frame where the main source of friction is. Then the majority of the loads could be absorbed by bushings that are through the shock eyelets. Personally, I am surprised that no company has really created a good simple solution to the issue.
  • 1 0
 Been riding RWC on my last 4 enduro bikes and everyone of them worked flawlessly. There's nothing like free-flowing, bind-less cycling rear suspension. Small-bump sensitivity was off the charts.
  • 1 0
 @VtVolk: Checking for bushing play sounds dirty.
  • 1 0
 @gtill9000: 60-70 is definitely a lot, 15-20 is enough that I might still go with the needle bearings, but it's less of a benefit. Basically there needs to be adequate rotation for the needles to roll far enough in their race to overlap and not leave dry spots where the grease doesn't get redistributed. With the needles small diameter I believe 15 degrees would achieve that, but it may be cutting it close and I'm not sure what the true lower limit is. It's the same situation as suspension pivot bearings, the rollers/balls and race take a beating in locations where they don't move much, and eventually end up with localized dry spots even if there is still plenty of grease in the bearing. For example, this is why Ibis runs bushings in the lower links of all their newer frame designs, those links move very little compared to the upper link that contains 4 bearings.
  • 2 0
 @tacklingdummy: Geometron has addressed this with the G1. They come standard with a bespoke EXT Storia that has spherical eyelets. Bushings/bearings only address friction around the rotational axis of the eyelet and do very little with regards to side loading. A bearing mount may actually be worse in this regard compared to more malleable options like an igus bushing. If the industry could make a decision to standardize shock mount widths to say 2 sizes like 8x20 and 8x30 it would be much easier for suspension companies to provide spherical bearings as a standard option.
  • 1 1
 @notsosikmik: But I bet they wouldn't need those spherical bearings if they reduced side loading by mounting the shock vertically so the frame would accommodate a water bottle. Wink Wink Wink .
  • 1 0
 I've been running RWC needle bearings in my bike for 3 years without issue.I don't see why they would fail. My Lefty also uses needle bearings. Since installing my suspension is noticeabley more sensitive to small hits.
  • 1 0
 @hammercycle88: But is it coil-like now? That is always the marketing description used for any suspension enhancement product. Wink
  • 13 0
 Please don't sand down the pin as suggested in the article. The bushing was either the wrong size or slightly out of tolerance. If you sand the pin you run the risk of it never properly fitting a new bush again, whereas if you sand the bush instead at worst you've wasted a bush.
  • 3 0
 Absolutely - always go with the cheapest/easiest/easily reversed option first when it comes to MacGyvering parts. It's a no-brainer and I was amazed they wrote it as a solution (at least not until some non-permanents changes were tried first).

And of course, if a system worked perfectly once, and then a part was changed and the system no longer works perfectly, it is the new part that is the source of the problem 99% of them time whether it be mechanics, computers, or even teams of people.
  • 9 0
 Regarding Rockshox custom tuning. If you buy a new rear shock it comes in a medium tune. Thankfully they publish all their standard shims stack tunes so you can retune the shock on your own.

www.sram.com/globalassets/document-hierarchy/tuning-manuals/rockshox-rear-shock-piston-tuning-guide.pdf

You can also buy the additional shims required to take the medium tune to any of the tunes listed .
  • 27 0
 TIP: Buy a used Bomber, send it to Craig at Avalanche Downhill Racing to tune the living piss out of it and you'll have yourself a fully custom-tuned shock at a damn good price.
  • 2 0
 @diggerandrider: If you can find a used one.
  • 3 0
 If you plan on having kids, your rider weight is going change haha. Having external adjustments is nice.
  • 1 0
 @jwizzler: Craig can modify a shock that’s the wrong size to create one that fits your frame. He was going to do one to fit a Tues that was a size zoc doesn’t even sell, but I sold the bike instead.
  • 1 0
 @diggerandrider: straight up! One of the best shocks there is after Craig is done with it. And all for the price of less than most all others. That shock will out perform most all of the shelf shocks of any price
Tuned is always the way to go and the way that shock is built, is sufficient for Craig to do his work on it the way he likes, and this the performance is absolute top notch
  • 1 0
 @diggerandrider: if I was to go that route I'd just buy a Risse Trixy or Bigfoot fork.
  • 1 0
 Well, thank you very much sir,
It’s been years since I opened up and played with shim stacks. I appreciate the link, and it’s saved for future reference on my new Spire!
  • 8 0
 To echo @diggerandrider Find a used Bomber CR and have Craig at Avalanche work his magic, and make it new inside.

You'll then have quite possibly the single best coil shock available, at a great price.

I found a new second hand CR here on PB for my Scott Ransom... it's magical
  • 1 0
 Craigs makes things happen!
  • 2 1
 If only his web design skills matched his tuning abilities.
  • 8 1
 Also to consider is how much you understand how the shock/fork works and how that relates to feel. This understanding I feel is key to know what to adjust and when and what effect they have on one another. Personally I think these 4 way adjustable dampers are way ott for most people, take fox x2 and 36/38/40 fork, between those front to rear you have in the region of 265million possible clicker combinations, and on top of that you can adjust your spring rate and curve. That is a huge amount of changes to 'guess'.

I feel (and have seen using telemetry) that most people have their spring rate wrong, meaning they set their spring curve wrong and that has an impact on the damper settings. I'd say around 90% of bikes I've helped set up with telemetry their rear is under sprung and rebound is way to slow because of this. If it's this hard to get the spring rate balance correct imagine throwing in a 4 way adjustable damper on top?!

I also feel if bike/suspension companies are going to supply this much adjustment they should do more testing and development with their shock set up in particular instead of giving the end user a huge amount of tuning potential and very little in the way of information for even a starting point.

Just a few of my thoughts.
  • 1 0
 With respect to the massive range of adjustments that a lot of shocks have. I remember in a podcast one of the development engineers for RockShox saying that they do not have high speed rebound adjustments on their dampers because in testing they noticed that ~90% of riders set their high speed rebound to the same place anyway.

Having this fixed he said gives the end user a simpler damper to setup that will still offer great results.
  • 1 0
 @CFR94: I think this is a good idea, surel'y high speed rebound just needs to be slightly more open than low speed to let the suspension recover quicker from large hits. I think this is basically what RockShox's Rapid Recovery is
  • 6 0
 For the shock question I highly recommend a marzocchi cr sent to avalanche suspension. Stay away from the twin tub shocks if you want to have a highly tunable system. Mono tube shim stack controlled circuits are king.
  • 10 2
 But is @notoutsideceo actually Robin?????
  • 16 7
 That's an easy one. No.
  • 16 0
 @mikekazimer: sheesh Mike, you could dampen the blow.
  • 20 0
 @flaflow, I prefer the Band-Aid approach. Get it over with quick, otherwise you end up with 16-year-olds that believe in Santa Claus.
  • 8 0
 @mikekazimer: wait…what are you trying to say???
  • 3 0
 @mikekazimer: wait... Santa isn't real?????
  • 12 0
 But is it WAS Robin, and he didn’t want any of the PB editors to reveal this, would Mike say ‘yes’… ??

Keep the mystery alive PB
  • 2 0
 @basic-ti-hardtail: Whatever happens...just don't tell my CTO about this...I told him I would stop stirring up trouble in the comments section.

Be safe be well,
Incognito Robin
  • 3 0
 Ho could someone advise coil shock without mentioning frame ? shock tune and frame progression should go hand in hand, even the best shock with wrong tune for the frame will be like a stick;

Honestly, I believe Vanilla R/Bomber are the best after custom tuning for the particular frame and rider
  • 3 0
 "you could try sanding down the pin with fine wet and dry paper to reduce its diameter slightly. I did this successfully once by putting the pin in the chuck of a drill and gently sanding as it spun to keep it even."

DO NOT DO THIS!

I don't mean to be a dick, but I am genuinely stunned that PB are dishing out advice like this. This is terrible advice for a number of reasons.

The advice re: basic/high end shocks is also wide of the mark. PB is normally really good. But I honestly think you should just take this article down. It is not good
  • 5 0
 After spending a lot of time on all sorts of high end off the shelf shocks, My Avy tuned bomber blows them all away.
  • 2 0
 Is it really that good?
  • 2 0
 Agreed - got a Fox and just couldn't get it to feel right, even w/ a shop tuning attempt ($200) so sold it and went w/ the Bomber...totally in love. I try to ride all the steepest, gnarliest insane stuff I find in western NC and finally this thing feels amazing - finally in the ground and in the bike. I'm sure a Fox coil and tuned properly must be good, but maybe more so if you're a pro - just couldn't get it to work for me and why bother when the CR is easily tunable and crushes.
  • 1 0
 @panaphonic: Without a doubt...
  • 1 0
 My Avy tuned Bomber feels amazing. Would recommend for DH riding for sure. Craig is very anti-climb switch however, even for enduro racing, and unfortunately I disagree. Crushes on DH like tracks, but also overly active on flat tracks that require a lot of out-of-saddle sprinting. For those that are shopping, just consider your needs.
  • 4 0
 Mountain bike world thinks spring loaded poppet on high speed circuit is better than custom valve stack tuned for rider and bike. Mountain bike world dumb.
  • 2 0
 Thanks Pinkbike, I have been looking for a coil for my 2021 Altitude and have been pondering which way to go. I think I might give the Bomber a try! Lol, also if anyone has a used 230x60 coil shock for sale hit me up!
  • 2 0
 No shock for sale but I can tell you the Bomber is totally (totally) worth it in my view. I actually bought the Fox coil 1st but even w/ tuning (cost me $200 to do this w/ a local shop) it just didn't feel right at all so I sold it and go the bomber - totally thrilled. So much easier to adjust & deal with. I'm 185 and have the 500lb (stock) and it seems perfectly set up for my style & weight...this is on a 2019 YT Capra. You can also fully damp and/or slow the rebound for long climbs which will help reduce the bob but - I rarely do now, I'm just used to and I could give 3 shits about uphill time, its just the downs I want. This is also great or normal trail riding (western North Carolina) where I seek the steepest / gnarliest / longest drops and parks (Windrock, e. Tennessee) . Maybe the shop didn't set the Fox up correctly, but it just seemed like way TF too much vs. the damping & rebound on the Bomber. Overall I'm stoked on the Bomber - feels like a new bike, and its so much nicer than the air shock, its nuts.
  • 1 0
 @Mtn-Goat-13: Awesome thanks for the reply. I to care little about the ups!
  • 1 0
 Beware that the coatings used on the cheaper bomber shocks are not the most durable. You will wear out a bomber faster than a similar layout but more expensive shock.
  • 1 0
 @gabriel-mission9: I'm curious about this - have ridden 4000 miles, maybe 1500 at bike parks (rugged & intense stuff) on Bomber #1 so scored #2 for my 2nd bike about 6 mos ago. Haven't had a single issue at all w/ #1 and starting year #4 on it in April. What happened with yours? My first one (4k miles) still looks practically new.
  • 1 0
 I see a lot of different suspension units at work. Low end bombers tend to come through with ano wear on the sliding parts more often than more expensive shocks. I'm not suggesting in any way that every single one will fail, just that they are cheap for a reason, and it's not as simple as just "less adjusters". They are built to lower specs, and the ano coating is just one of the ways money is saved during manufacture.
  • 1 0
 @gabriel-mission9: Heard on that - good to know and that makes sense. Guessing I'm just having good luck. I've never looked forward to riding a shock this much and maybe I'm just lucky, but its the first time in 30 yrs (27 at purchase) that I've finally thought "ah...that just hit the spot). But: word on all that. Something to consider - thx for the expertise. I guess $300 being "cheap" really is kinda funny, but I get how much lots of our parts really do cost, esp at the higher end.
  • 2 1
 There is still life in the range between an old Vanilla...eeehhh...Marzocchi Bomer and a DHX2 or EXT Storia like the DVO Jade, Jade-X and Cane Creek shocks, depending on the eye-to-eye (i.e. imperial vs. metric).
Those might be cheaper with a good enough damper out of the box compared to a tuned Bomber.
  • 1 0
 My second Jade X wasn’t very good, leaking oil after ~10 rides and the dvo spring was rubbing on the reservoir.
  • 2 1
 I would worry a little about just letting the bushings wear in if they are very tight because they might try to turn where they aren't supposed to. Like between the bushing and the shock rather than the bushing and the shaft, or between the shaft and the mounts. If it's just a bit tight, no problem, but if it's really bad I would try to increase the tolerances a bit to be safe. Also if it is really tight it could cause hardware to loosen slowly.
  • 1 0
 I have a 2021 float X2 performance(no high speed) on my Enduro and have been tuning the rebound to my liking with $10 shim stacks from fox. Pretty easy shock to take apart without the VVC stuff.

The shock came stock with a firm rebound tune, tired a medium, and now I'm onto a light tune. Really affordable and have proven great results so far.
  • 1 0
 ive used the rwc needle bearing kits ever since they debuted with hardly any issues. Occasionally had to put a new eyelet bearing in the eyelet- but thats true foe all bearings. Occasionally removing the shock and packing the bearing with thick grease-not slick honey- goes a long way. So worth it for no bushing stiction
  • 1 0
 I also have a bike with the same suspension design as the mondraker and have noticed my shock bushings are extremely tight. These are the factory bushings is it actually a good idea to induce play in a part that came on the bike without any?
  • 1 0
 Yeh, there is an Oliver's movement in this direction. Take a look.
www.mtbr.com/threads/tight-bushings-harshness.1129699/page-23
  • 1 0
 @GBlanco: just see talk on forks
  • 1 0
 @Garradmiller: yea, but they apply a device that round and quite open the fork and shock (trek caliber) bushings. The eyelet bushings i think could be replaced with bearings.
  • 1 0
 for the guy with bushing problems....Enduro Bearing Needle bearings could be the solution. i installed them on my Propain Spindrift and the sensitivity of the rear end suspension greatly increased. it´s 10 euros each so even if they last only one season it´s no big deal. the up defo make up for eventual decreased durability
  • 1 0
 “ High-End Shock or Custom-Tune?”
I once bought a mid level Fox shock for my old Tallboy and had it tuned by PUSH before I installed it. It worked just as requested- good work by PUSH.
Then I saw a Cane Creek DB Inline Air for half price, bolted that on and never looked back. The difference was indescribable, and the tuning options of the CC meant I could set up that bike for anything.
I spent $800 on an Ohlins shock for my new Tallboy because I will never go back to a single tube shock again. That’s the difference.
  • 1 0
 are you having enough room on the cave ? Im using a rockshox deluxe ultimate on my tallboy but would like to change for something better ( try the cane creek inline coil but was really close to the frame and I afraid to damage the frame
  • 1 0
 @Angel212: which version of tallboy?

So far on a Tallboy V4 absolutely zero coils don’t fit in the tunnel. They all do. But some are too close for comfort like Rockshock and EXT. Ohlins, Marz Bomber CR, DHX2, Any Cane Creek, Fast, all fit with no rub issues
  • 1 0
 Isn't preload used to fine tune sag? I doubt the majority of people have the exact spring rate they need to reach the frames recommended sag. Do people just deal with the sage they get? Very confused by the articles recommendation to never preload coil springs.
  • 4 1
 So, I ask (in real life) when an Ask Pinkbike is actually not real life? Are some of the questions bot generated?
  • 8 0
 Ha, not yet. Most come from the forums or social media, but sometimes a question gets asked in the real world, you know, that place that doesn't involve a computer screen.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: real world... real interactions??? ewhhhh Big Grin
  • 3 0
 I’m 45.8% certain I’m not a bot.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: meatspace
  • 3 0
 I have needle bearings on both eyelets. Almost no friction. Been using them for years.
  • 1 1
 Regarding the first question.. .

What type of bearing is it actually? A spherical plain bearing - ball that rotates in a race? Or a plain bearing/ journal / bushing. - straight bore that you can put a pin through?

Is it totally plastic or metal backed with a self lubricating liner (th?

If it's plastic, i think the author has sound advice. Make it fit.

If it is a self lubricating liner there could be two things causing the tightness. Poor quality or swelling.

Swelling
Many of these bearings are shipped in oil simply because the race or ball is Iow carbon steel and the oil prevents corrosion. However, the oil can actually swell the liner and create quite a bit or torque increase.
Wipe the oil off. Orient the ball 90 degrees and flush with solvent. Allow to dry (it should equilibrium in about 72 hours)
And the torque should come down significantly.

Poor quality.
I'm sure whatever is specified into the bike will suit the need fine. However, manufacturers are looking to find the best price point. Quality and consistency are often sacrificed. Replace it with another bearing. The torque may be just fine. Or you can find aerospace grande parts that will be a huge overkill, but I guarantee the torque will be good( expect to pay 10x to 20x for a part as well).

Hope this helps. If you have the specific bearing I would be more than willing to more about it.
  • 1 0
 Nice advice regarding swelling. I noticed this problem on my bike this evening when fitting an offset bushing. Goes in well at one end, tight as a dog at the other. I'll try the solvent and drying treatment. Do you recommend acetone for the solvent or another?
  • 2 0
 Not sure why Sam wasn't recommended getting the needle bearing kit from RWC it's night and day compared to bushings. I'll never go back to normal bushings again.
  • 1 2
 I ride a 'modernized' cannondale prophet. (27.5 conv. 1x11 etc) it's a regressive single pivot. The OG Manitou Radium was shot after 15 years. I got a NOS 2011 rs monarch rt3 for $100. I immediately sent it to dirtlabs for the full custom treatment. That cost me about $200. The old single pivot rides great now. It feels "bottomless" and i even took it to the (admittedly green) trails at Mt Creek. I only bottomed out once and had a blast. So the custom tune wins for me.
  • 3 0
 More of the style posts please! Dope article for all levels.
  • 1 0
 I have found a suspension tuner that always improves my bike's handling. I have never been fully satisfied by any OEM tune even on high zoot shocks and bikes
  • 1 1
 Ok random ask but to do with my forks 2002 marzocchi monster T what is the oil level for each leg that i should put in cheers guys
  • 2 0
 These are the questions worth answering!
  • 3 1
 That was lot of work, Pinkbike, to not write "RWC needle bearing.
Fail
  • 2 1
 Have the Christmas advent calendar prize winners been selected yet?
  • 2 1
 paywall. Every other year it was just a secret paywall
  • 1 0
 Some of them. You can see the list on the main advent page.

www.pinkbike.com/contest/advent

Maybe they are doing a little bit more due diligence to weed out bots this year and it is taking longer to confirm legitimate winners.
  • 1 0
 I have the bomber cr. It's a very overdamped shock for lighter riders.
  • 1 0
 Way oversampled. I have tried everything to get that rebound faster and eventually threw in the towel.
  • 2 0
 @ashmtb85: get it tuned for your weight, riding style/terrain and bike. Cheaper than replacing it. www.avalanchedownhillracing.com/Fox%20DHX/Fox%20Vanrc%20SSD%20Mods.htm
  • 2 0
 @DHhack: I had it lightened once. Still too stiff for high speed hits. I may eventually send it in again. I wish the shims weren't imperial otherwise I would work on it myself. Also need special tools to charge IFP. Rockshox stuff is easy to work on don't really need special tools.
  • 1 0
 it is heavily depend on the frame shock combination; depending on the frame progression same shock will perform differently
  • 1 0
 Congrats on ionizing guys!

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