Technical Tuesday - Adjusting The Fox DHX 5.0

Oct 19, 2010
by Mike Levy  
Fox Racing Shox may have released their new RC4 rear shock, but the DHX 5.0 has been around long enough that it will continue to be one of the most common shocks that you'll see up on the hill. For that reason, today's Tech Tuesday takes a closer look at the 5.0's adjustments and how each one will affect your bike's performance. Video inside!

Read on,Fox's DHX 5.0 is one of the most widely used shocks and can be found on many different makes and models of bikes. Although this versatile shock features a number of adjustments that let you tune its performance, it's easy to be either overwhelmed by the number of dials or simply be too intimidated to start making changes. That is a shame because spending a bit of time to dial the ride in to your liking is well worth it, especially considering the wide range of adjustments available. You may be just fine with the settings that your bike rolled out of the shop with, but you should know that there is a good chance that it can get even better. Watch the video below and start experimenting!

Tools needed: Shock pump, 4 mm allen key

Watch the video to learn more about the Fox DHX 5.0

Views: 75,715    Faves: 397    Comments: 21

Now that you know how each dial will effect how your bike rides, grab the tools that you need and hit the dirt. To aid in setup I recommend finding a short section of trail representative of the type of terrain that you spend most of your time on. Start by mostly dialing out an adjustment and riding the section, then dial it mostly in and have another go. Doing this will give you a clear understanding of how each adjustment changes your bike, as well as the changes you have to make in your riding style to compensate. You may discover that even though you've always been happy with very little rebound damping, you have more control and confidence with a slower setup. I like to have a small notepad with me and make notes of the changes that I make. Not only can this be helpful as a guide when you get on a different bike, but you'll also know where to put the dials back to if you end up with a setup that you don't like.

Did you find this Tech Tuesday helpful? Have some of your own hints that you'd like to share? Put them down below!

Past Tech Tuesdays:

Technical Tuesday #1 - How to change a tube.
Technical Tuesday #2 - How to set up your SRAM rear derailleur
Technical Tuesday #3 - How to remove and install pedals
Technical Tuesday #4 - How To Bleed Your Avid Elixir Brakes
Technical Tuesday #5 - How To Check And Adjust Your Headset
Technical Tuesday #6 - How To Fix A Broken Chain
Technical Tuesday #7 - Tubeless Conversion
Technical Tuesday #8 - Chain Wear
Technical Tuesday #9 - SRAM Shift Cable Replacement
Technical Tuesday #10 - Removing And Installing a Headset
Technical Tuesday #11 - Chain Lube Explained
Technical Tuesday #12 - RockShox Totem and Lyric Mission Control Damper Mod
Technical Tuesday #13 - Shimano XT Crank and Bottom Bracket Installation
Technical Tuesday #14 - Straightening Your Derailleur Hanger
Technical Tuesday #15 - Setting Up Your Front Derailleur
Technical Tuesday #16 - Setting Up Your Cockpit
Technical Tuesday #17 - Suspension Basics

Have you found this tutorial helpful? Share any of your hints or tips below!

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  • 14 0
 I love that Tech Tuesday have moved on to what most riders in here actually wants to see and learn more about. I see soo many posts of "can i turn this knob or will it ruin my fork/shock" kinda stuff. Again, keep that really good stuff comin'!
  • 10 1
 I just got an RC4... next Tech Tues if poss please.
  • 6 1
 Second that. One on the RC4 would be great.
  • 4 1
 Third that.
  • 3 0
  • 10 0
 The RC4 is pretty hard to learn but its butter once you get it. Just think of it this way: Low speed(RC4) is similar to propedal(DHX). It controls rider input such as pedal bob and g-outs in corners, as well as small bump plushness. I generally run my low speed in the middle of the adjustment.

High speed controls impacts encountered at high speeds such as rocks, deep brake bumps, or landing a large jump/drop. Generally the faster you ride the harder you want to run your high speed compression. A way to figure this out is to start with no High speed compression and ride a section of trail similar to what you normally ride, then add a click and try again. Continue adding one click of compression at a time until you stop bottoming out or it gets to rough. Then you'll have an idea of were to set it, usually one or two clicks below that point.

Other than that the adjustments are basically the same as a DHX. This is how I adjust the RC4 if you dont agree dont talk crap just add your own opinions.
  • 2 0
 Cheers for making it simple, will give it a try.
  • 4 0
 That was a good explanation dude. Thanks
  • 5 0
 One thing that wasn't explained was if your shock moves through it's travel to quickly or uses too much travel how do you decide to either go up a spring or just dial in more bottom out? That's maybe the toughest thing to figure out.
  • 7 1
 anyone else notice that he wrote down "awsomeness" as 100? LOL

great vid.. makes me wanna ride a dually
  • 2 0
 cavitation is far more serious that what the guy is saying. cavitation is the imploding of the air bubbles in the oil of the shock. So if you don't put enough pressure in your boostvalve, you can seriously damage the internals of your shock. but none the less a good vid with great explenation
  • 2 0
 Check your boost valve pressure before changing the bottom out. This is only a check to make sure the pressure is not to high before screwing in the bottom out. To much air in and bottom out all the way out, crank it all the way in and you could damage things.
  • 1 0
 please explain more what u mean?
  • 1 0
 If the bottom out adjuster is all the way out; making the air chamber as big as it can get.
Then you pump it up to the maximum pressure....
Then you screw in the bottom out adjuster, making the chamber smaller (but still with the same amount of air in it).
Then you will be increasing the pressure, possibly beyond what the shock is capable of.
I hope that makes sense.
  • 1 0
 oh ok sooo im trying to fine tune my dhx 5.0 coil its a 9.5 eye 2 eye (has 350x3.25) im a heavier(5'8"240lbs)set rider and my current sag is about .85" w gears on and i have my bottom out 1 full turn in from all the way out, is this too much bottom out for a casual rider 2-3x/week nothing crazy extreme i cant seem to find the "right" feeling for it and generally err on the side of bottom out all the way closed for heavier riders and vice versa?
  • 1 0
 What bike are you on and what feel do you want?
  • 1 0
 Probably is a stupid question but the air pressure makes the shock stiffer right?
  • 1 0
 The boost valve sets where the compression damper changes over from what is effectively (but not quite), low speed to high speed damping. It also doubles as an anti-cavitation device for the damper oil (as it always applies a force to it).
The greater the air pressure, the more force acting on the oil and the harder it is for the the piston in the boost valve to move when loaded. This will make for what might feel stiffer (harsher) in a car park test.
The thing with the Dhx, is that no setting is independent of the others.
  • 1 0
 Ok thanks for explaining that, I was a little bit confused on why a coil shock needs air.. ( my first piggy back shock)
  • 3 0
 i wish i saw this 5 years ago, when i got my first dhx 5 and had no clue how it worked... i've now had 5 years to figure it out, would've been a lot easier if this was made a little earlier
  • 1 0
 Sometimes it is better to get someone else to change the settings without the rider knowing what they are changing (obviously they would have to know what they are doing).

This way, there is no psychological effect on feeling something because the rider knows that, say, rebound damping is slower. The rider only rides and gives the mechanic feedback. If the rider says "I'm getting bucked". I then dial in heaps of rebound. Now the rider says "well the rebound is definitely slower, but now it seems to be packing down" so I then go back but half-way between the previous setting. I go over and under until I narrow in on the perfect setting. I keep the notes and the rider just keeps riding and telling me what feels different.

And every now and then you don't change anything and see if the rider describes changes that were never there.
  • 1 0
 sooo if im trying to set the correct sag i measured my e2e and it was 9.5inches then i put all my riding gears on and i sit on the bike i mesured it and it went down a little below 8.5 inches is this the correct sag for me? help please,,,,,
  • 5 0
 Nice video there!
  • 2 0
 it is really helpful Razz
  • 3 0
 Yeah it is. The Fox DHX 5.0 is very complex. This video made clear for what the dials are.
  • 8 1
 Maaaan! These guys have so many awesome bikes! I swear each week they have a new top of the range bike to work on... Jealous...
  • 3 0
 The first two comments by me and SonOfBel13 was ironic, they posted the wrong video at first: Big Grin
  • 3 2
 Need a DHX 4.0 one!
  • 8 0
 its pretty much the same mate. u just dont have bottom out adustment. so just ignor the part about the bottom out adjustment and off u go Big Grin
  • 1 0
 Vivid 5.1 in the future?
  • 4 0
 What about a 5.0 air. My brothers been trying to dial his air shock in since like forever. It either runs to firm or bottoms out everywhere!!! We cant seem to get a middle ground out of the damn thing.
  • 1 0
 replace the "big can" with a smaller float can. Or fill the larger external chamber with grease or plastic shim(s) or pellets. Something to take up the extra volume. There are a few how-tos out there, should be easy to mod so you can lower the main chamber pressure while not blowing through the travel.
  • 1 0
 Hey great video, I Have a Question.
What about filling Nitrogen instead of filling air in the Piggi, those it really make any difference, does it make the shock working better?
  • 1 0
 the nitrogen wont heat up and increase the boost pressure on long rides like air can do
  • 1 0
 does fox shox allow this "mod" ? I mean, can it deteriorate the shock internals somehow?
  • 4 0
 no, nitrogen is an inert gas that can fill the role of air in pretty much any application. Benafits are that it does not heat up the same and that it has a thicker molecule so it doesnt seep through rubber seals as easilly.. people that fill their tires with nitrogen dont have the same fluctuations in pressure because of this.. though i'm sure fox would poo poo on the idea as they like to make all this stuff seem like its more complex then it actually is.
  • 1 0
 alot of pros use nitrogen in the shock
  • 1 0
 I have a dhx 5.0 on my glory and i never understand how to adjust the shock for the rigth settings,very helpful tech tuesdayBig Grin .
  • 1 0
 do you need to take the spring off for those adjustments? also could you make a video about figuring chain length for a dh bike?
  • 2 1
 can you go over the vivid, cause it aint got no air pressure adjustments, its all sealed.
  • 2 0
 Well done! Is it possible to do the RC4 next?
  • 1 0
 yer one for the RC4 would be good aswell as ive just got one! helpful vid though
  • 1 0
 ok that was part 3 but i cant find part 2 like how to set sag.
can annyone help me out here ?
  • 2 1
 Please make one for RC4 too! =)
  • 1 0
 god ive been waiting for this!
  • 1 0
 Very helpful. In-depth and correct.
  • 2 1
 "Pop"??? Don't you mean "Soda"?
  • 5 0
 No he doesn't.
  • 1 0
 how bout the marzoccie roco tst?
  • 8 2
 i'll tell ya how to adjust it! throw it out the fucking window and buy a dhx rc4.... fixed!
  • 1 0
 why the hell should I chuck out a perfect working shock?
  • 1 0
 so that you seem a cool guy to z-man Smile
  • 1 0
 hahahaha if parts make you cool.. I suck with marzocchi sus all the way... just need soms oldskool mosters to finish
  • 1 0
 if people wouldn't believe that parts make them cool, the industry wouldn't be even the half of the size it is now... I'm not one of them but I thank these people for fueling R&D departments of all companies: thanks to pimps & snobs I have better components on my bike Smile
  • 1 0
 haha point takenBig Grin
  • 1 0
 Ok, next Tuesday tell us how to adjust the CCDB!
  • 1 0
 Great videos. Thanks Pinkbike
  • 1 0
 Did he skip a week or what, I missed the vid on sag adjustment.
  • 1 0
 very informative!
  • 1 3
 nice vid... but nowadays it could be more useful if it was about the RC4
  • 5 0
 I think you missed the part where he wrote why this particular shock is being looked at for Tech Teusday. Go read from the start again, theirs 50 times more DHX 5.0's out there then the new RC4 with people who still don't understand it.
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