Video: Jordi & Chris Kilmurray Talk Suspension vs. Posture in the Latest Episode of Dialed

Apr 18, 2020
by FOX Factory  


In episode eight, DIALED connects Jordi with world-class Athlete Coach, Chris Kilmurray of Point 1 Athletic Development, as they discuss the close relationship between suspension tunes and riding position.

bigquotesIt's cyclical, you make the bike work, then the rider adapts to the bike, then you need to make the bike work better, and then the rider needs to adapts to that. As you improve coordination or strength, you can change settings. -Jordi


Learn something new about the important dynamic between posture and suspension setup? What other topics or industry professionals would you like to see the DIALED team connect with? Comment below!


113 Comments

  • 49 2
 Oh look, more people who notice that wider handlebars are not necessarily better.
  • 84 15
 They are better, it's y'all's stubby arms that are the problem.
  • 9 7
 @jeremy3220: extra worse for those with stubby arms. But ignoring the outliers, most human's armspans match their height and 800+ bars are best suited for those with long arms (6' and up height) and wide shoulders.
  • 5 10
flag joshroppo (Apr 18, 2020 at 16:34) (Below Threshold)
 More importantly, *professionals* calling out that wider handlebars aren't always better. They were game changers for handling tire feedback in the 26" days, but we're long past that now.
  • 11 3
 I'm a big unit... 6'5" and broad shouldered... Running 820 handlebars and love the better control and comfort, but can definitely see that they aren't for everyone.
  • 12 0
 Is there a good ratio for shoulder width to bar width?
  • 18 2
 Best decision I made was going back to 760s on my DH and Trail bike! Handling is so much better and way more comfortable. Not believing in the wide tide at all.
  • 9 1
 @barefootdan: whatever you are comfortable with dude. There is no standard when it comes to what you feels good.
  • 26 0
 @ryankxf: tell that to my wife
  • 5 10
flag scary1 (Apr 18, 2020 at 21:11) (Below Threshold)
 I want to like Jordi, but i feel we'd get into lots of fights.
  • 9 1
 @bigtim: Same here. I am 6'4" and have some 825mm bars. They feel great. Hard to go back to the narrow ones. I can't see how short people run 800+ bars though. Seems painful.
  • 3 0
 @barefootdan: www.pinkbike.com/news/finding-your-sweet-spot-handlebar-width.html
In my case, it was off by 3.6 millimeters from my preferred width.
  • 9 1
 @ryankxf: same here, going to 760ish on the trail bike really helped. On the DH Bike however i'll go 780-790 for those big hits. 6'1 is the height. Or 185cm in real units.
  • 1 1
 I'm 5'6 and run 800 risebar on my only bike ( dh rig ) - maybe a mixture of frame size, and stem, and rise, and riding position, and background all comes into play when it comes to what feels comfortable

would love to have someone professionally access my posture and setup - i did a ton of different sports - and also been through bmx, street, enduro and now dh on two wheels - so i might have bad habits carried from other sports that I'd like to fix - for now, i run what's comfortable
  • 4 1
 Maybe not better for all the pro's, but then they have amazing bike skills. They can trade off the benefits of being able to skip through tight sections fast and not need the extra leverage or stability to ride the gnarly sections. My bike feels much easier to ride down challenging terrain with wide bars, and I'm willing to trade of tight section agility. Also i don't race, so fun and general survival is more important to me than getting through tight trees quickly.
  • 3 2
 bars should be as wide as your hands during a push up, it gives good control while also allowing max strength for big compressions. its silly when short riders have 800 bars it makes the bike harder to handle and makes you weaker in compressions. Im only 5'4" and i for sure notice if they are too wide, my ideal bar is 720mm
  • 5 0
 @ryankxf: 760 is still comparatively wide, or maybe you don't remember 680 and less?
  • 1 0
 @Tasso75: Going off his calculation I got 8mm narrower than my current setup, but I have broad shoulders for my height and i run dual-lockon grips so that'll bring it right in line. I've also been measured up by my LBS and his findings agreed too.
  • 7 0
 @Tasso75: that calculation ignores ape index. I'm just under 5'11" with a 6'1" arm span. 800mm are great for me, but probably not for everyone my height.

Using my height I get 790mm, using my arm span I get 815mm.

I've considered going down to 790, but only because it would make riding some singletrack easier. Trailforks needs to rate whether trails are 800mm friendly. There are a few local trails that are impossible to clean with an 800mm bar.
  • 2 0
 @eh-steve: Fair enough. I think that every formula is just a starting point to get into the ballpark, then it's just experimenting. As for the narrow trails, same issue this side of the world. I had some nasty crash where my 800mm bars clipped and sent me on a high side, moto-style wreck.
  • 1 0
 @gafoto: short lol
  • 3 1
 @Tasso75: oh god, I have never high sided though have had close calls on a motorcycle. Worst I can blame on my bars is smashed knuckles.

Wide bars have ruined me for narrow bars. Even on a steep ha, long stemmed bike I can't deal with narrow bars anymore.
  • 1 0
 @eh-steve: identical to me. 800 would make sense since it's right in between the two figures.
  • 1 0
 @ryankxf: What's your height? That's the important piece. People just can't say, "I run XXmm bars and they're great".
  • 3 0
 @Luis-Sc: Wow, 800mm sounds huge for a 5'6" person... What do you ride on the trail?
  • 2 0
 @eh-steve: yep, ape index as well as shoulder width all play into it. As does the reach, ETT, and stem length of your frame. And then riding skill and posture (which is also dictated by the type of riding you're doing, and how you're riding it). It's a 3D geometry problem to achieve an appropriate amount of bend in your elbows.

For me: I'm 6'0", 6'4" armspan (+4 ape), normal width shoulders, ride frames that aren't crazy long, and I prefer 780mm bars for typical PNW steep technical trails. 800mm bars are okay for me too, though they get a bit snug in the trees. I'd probably rock 800s all day long if I just rode bike parks or open DH courses.
  • 1 0
 @mybaben: i don't ride on the trail - only have a dh-rig so only ride park - not sure if broader shoulders than average, or because i rode street for a good while - i've considered cutting down the bars to 780 but i never even looked at trends or what the young kids are doing these days - that just feel comfortable to me so i stuck with it - might revisit the whole setup when ( and if ) this all rona thing goes away and i can get back on the lifts
  • 1 0
 @pnwpedal: Good point on the other aspects. My shoulders are maybe a bit wider than average (I need athletic fit dress shirts for my shoulders) and reach definitely factors in. 10mm longer stem and I'd probably want a bit narrower. Even stack height can affect the whole equation. High stack with 780mm feels like garbage to me, whereas lower with the same bar width feels fine. A Ripley with a 780mm bar feels fine to me, but it's more of an XC posture.

I'm also in the PNW (but other side of the border obviously) and the older trails can be really tight. I laugh at trail descriptions here which often are super old. One I like has a comment stating, "Best suited to modern trail bikes on the longer travel side." Yeah, modern a decade ago. There are trees less than 760mm apart. I've gotta get off and thread my bike through.
  • 1 0
 @pnwpedal: you forgot stack height! lol. There are a lot of things that go into cockpit setup however I would argue that bar width should be the starting point, and then stem length/bar height adjusted to get you in the right position.

I'm an outlier in that I'm 6'0 with ape of a tiny bit more than zero and wide shoulders but wide bars feel awful. I just bought a 780mm bar which I committed to riding 3 times before cutting (I also raised the stem by 5mm), and it has me noticeably off balance. I just cut it down to 770 and will go for a few rides with it like that but fully expect to cut it down to 760. FWIW my comfortable push-up position only measures out to 740mm and I'm coming from a 740mm bar riding black DH trails in BC.
  • 1 0
 @Tasso75: thanks for that link. I've been running 780 and felt like they were a bit wide at my 5'9"and this tells me I should be about 770. I don't know how others can go wider here as there are so many tight spots here I'm already catch.
  • 1 0
 @mybaben: I’m 6’ with a bmx and moto background. That might have something to do with it. It is all a balance though like someone said between bike geo/stem length/ how many spacers you under your stem (which creates a shorter reach) and bar height. Oh And bar sweep too.
  • 1 0
 @ColquhounerHooner: yea that’s before my time, almost 30 and just started riding 3 years ago! Lol
  • 1 0
 @pnwpedal: right. I'm 6'2" with a +4 ape index. I feel most comfortable at 795-810 depending on bike geo.
  • 3 2
 So many other interesting observations in the video but PB fixates on handle bars...
  • 1 1
 teh secont commandment protects my right to wide arms. You want muh 820's? COME TAKE UM!!!!
  • 2 0
 @headshot:
Pick a handlebar width and be a dick about it.

It kind of feels like people arguing that there should be a single bike size or a single spring rate on coil shocks. “Well Gwin runs a 900 lb spring on a 410mm reach bike, you should too!”
  • 2 0
 @ryankxf: True, it's a complicated equation.
  • 2 0
 @Luis-Sc: That makes sense for just park riding.
  • 9 0
 Loved the video as the best reminder of how I can Influence the ride more than anything else. Get strong. Reset position. Sleep. Eat better. Follow the advice from lots of gurus in suspension set up to start with the correct baseline. Get everything else good first. Got me watching body position for other riders who are way better than me. It’s hard because I don’t often ride with anyone that can really ride properly either.
  • 4 0
 COS over BOS , first time I’ve seen this in the context of mountain biking. I ski and snowboard and this concept is so important. This will change the way I look at my body position on the bike.
  • 4 0
 COM over BOS.....
  • 2 0
 @kingbike2: What does BOS refer to? I know COM is center of mass.
  • 2 0
 @LeoTProductions: Looks like Base of Support
  • 8 0
 It's interesting watching this as a 50 year old. No matter how fit I think I am my body isn't what it was at 23. Accordingly, I ride slower and my suspension settings have dropped.

So on a Fox Float 36 I am on the low side of my weight bracket at that is 67psi but I am running 62psi right at 30% sag and it is perfect.

Interestingly - it took a bad wreck to start to realize the reality because - as stated here - the wreck was not my bikes fault - I simply could not handle the bike at that speed and load. It's made me up my workout routine and realize I can't just pull stuff off anymore if I want to enjoy riding for another 20 years.
  • 6 0
 I too am 50 and find that this video is exactly right. You can only do so much bike setup, and then it's down to taking ownership of your fitness level, range of motion abilities, and skill level. All these thinds matter and we have to find a balance between all of it. Also, I have to remind myself that once I'm out riding, enjoy the ride and don't stress over all this stuff. Nobody is paying me to ride, lol.
  • 1 0
 Yes, setup is a dynamic system that is all working together. It's the pros strength/fitness, the technical demands of those tracks and especially the speed they ride. You have to set up super stiff to make that all work out. That's why us mortals can't and shouldn't set up that stiff. The trails we/I ride aren't WC or EWS level and obvs I'm no where near as fast. (I'm 56.)
  • 3 0
 Something to try: yank the volume spacer on that 36 and up the PSI to 25% sag. The fork holds onto that last inch or so of travel REAL hard and ramps up so much. You've drop PSI to try and get access to more travel (without the big hits of years past) but really you are just sagging the travel window into a more progressive zone and giving up the good stuff off the top. It'll be less mushy off the top, ride a bit higher, but also go deeper into the travel without bottoming out on hits that fit your style of riding. Should be easier on your body a bit too. Worth a shot and only takes 15mins if you have the socket (bike shop does). You can add a couple of clicks of HSC if you have it too.
  • 1 0
 @Svinyard: thanks - wasn’t even thinking that way but that makes perfect sense. Worth a try.
  • 13 7
 Loving this! Great podcast! Can Chris make a podcast on training once? Periodization, prehab, maintenance during season? How much to squat or bench is enough? How much should we focus on the numbers on plates? When lifting too heavy, too slow can slow you down on the bike? How to balance gym and riding during the season? How to incorporate plyometrics and what sort of plyometric exercises at which part of the training season. I want to learn! Teach me master Salute
  • 3 0
 @WAKIdesigns: there are I think two or three downtimepodcasts with chris to listen to! Great stuff
  • 2 0
 @WAKIdesigns You can learn, give the man some business?
  • 3 0
 Should be on a few new Podcasts soon; coming out over the next two months or so!
  • 3 0
 @Point1Athletic: please, speak about plyometrics and sprints. It’s easy to understand what deadlifts or squats are doing, but how to train plyo is a mystery. Talked to two elite BMX racers, it was interesting! Quality over quantitiy. What volumes, what percentage of 1RM max, what volume and when, what bar speeds should we look at? Can you give an example of some racers season training? Go through their periodization? Cheers!
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: Louie Simmons has a million articles about speed work for athletes that would be pretty useful. He’s trained enough world class athletes to figure out bar speed, intensity, jump volume, and band tension.
  • 1 0
 @Bmontgomery87: I'm mainly into specifics for MTB/ BMX. I am interested solely in sprint speed and hip hinge explosivity, I am satisfied with my both cardio and muscular endurance (arm pump/leg pump) for what I do. But I'll check him out!
  • 2 0
 @Bmontgomery87: i now listened to lots of his stuff on youtube. Huge thanks for the tip. Super awesome guy, exactly what I was into.
  • 7 0
 Great video. Lot of useful information about posture and bike setup. Interesting comments about wide bars too.
  • 3 0
 I always felt like people with a longer torso end up being more bent over and shorter torso more upright. Maybe that's wrong though and we should all be more upright? I actually raised my bars significantly (5mm) a few days ago and it feels amazing in some ways and horrible in others.
  • 7 2
 Interesting the dude says you should be in an upright position, but then says Bruni has the bike position, who is always an inch away from his rear tire his entire race run.
  • 3 1
 The differences in philosophies of bike settings (more preload, less compression or vice versa) as well as riders styles are many. Two completely riders on two bikes set up from two completely different perspectives, with different tires from different manufacturers, will come to the finish line within 2- 3 seconds. Consistently. Just take Sam Hill Vs Josh Bryceland. Sam doesn’t lookmlike he’s doing much on the bike, while Josh os moving around, winding like a snake.
  • 2 0
 Im just a noob but i figured riding as close as i can to blenkis style works the best, low flat and active. Body positions of thirion, m.hannah and pierron are also that way (to a degree). The upright-or as i call it "brannigan position" never worked for me. But there is obviously more than one way to skin a cat.
  • 3 5
 @chriskneeland: I totally agree, and he's dead wrong about having an upright position for downhill racing. You want to have your chest as low as possible whenever possible for the aerodynamic benefits, as Pieron does. The racing at the highest level is so tight that one of the biggest things that can save time.

On the steepest and most technical parts of the steepest tracks you are obviously going to be in an upright position and aerodynamics aren't as important there because of the lower speeds. But most world cup tracks are more fast and wide open and if you can stay low you will be faster.
  • 1 0
 @DoubleCrownAddict: then check out Sam Hill. He is not only upright he is also lean back mire than anybody.
  • 1 4
 @WAKIdesigns: Enduro tracks are slower and more pedally than World Cup DH tracks do aero isn't as much a factor.
  • 5 1
 @DoubleCrownAddict: aero... their position is low to give more range of motion for their arms. Holy sht...
  • 1 1
 @DoubleCrownAddict: also Sam is one of very few Enduro racers who rides rather up straight. Body position of downhillers mainly dictated by biomechanics, not aerodynamics. Sure they do a tuck once and then, but trust me if you ride at 70+ km/h through uneven grassfield you want to dampen as much of compressions as you can, and be able to adjust your pitch instantly if bounced up a bit. Roadies go aero because at their speeds on their long distancess, like 30km/h +, the aerodynamic drag is a bigger than biomechanics of pedaling.
  • 2 0
 @WAKIdesigns: I'm mainly referring to Pieron, who is in a class by himself when it comes to being aero. And it is clearly helping him. Few World Cup riders are able to do it and no offense but Sam hasn't raced World Cups in years. I honestly think alot of Sam's success in enduro is because he is able to corner faster with flat pedals but hard to prove that. But if you watch Pieron you can tell he is tucking wherever and whenever possible, much like a downhill ski racer. I would like to say his riding style is revolutionary but anybody who watched old school World Cups remembers the road sections where riders were getting as low as possible during extended sections on the tracks.
  • 1 0
 @DoubleCrownAddict: I am
not saying he is not aero tucking sometimes but it has mostly to do with increasing range of motion, using his body suspension to the max as well as using hip drive and pumping through terrain.
  • 4 0
 Such a good episode. Looking to the whole setup, including your body, is a great way to see how everything is connected.
I'd love to hear more about handlebar width, and how to find that "sweet spot"
  • 7 0
 So crazy reach numbers and super wide handlebars are nonsense. Check.
  • 1 0
 Its funny, i kept running bikes in large or even xlarge, now i would be on a medium on most bikes ( all 450 reach, 610 - 620 stack)
  • 1 0
 Interesting. Back in the days people told be to shift my weight back more when descending 'cause they thought my kind of forward position was scary, but I always felt the rearwards position gave me too little control. I've always been more confident like that. Maybe because I've been on hardtails most of the time and for a very good part with a hydraulic disc brake in the front and a v-brake in the rear (which I neglected because it felt pretty useless compared to the front brake). So for that to work, the more upright/forwards position was always best. Now I'm curious if other hardtail riders on here have the same experience, considering it is said here that "beginners" would lean back whereas "better stronger" riders would be more in that "ready" position. I would by no means compare myself to the top athletes, it just turned out that this more forwards position works better for me. And I suppose more than a few have different hobbies too. After all I'm not much of a snowboarder but I learned that I need to have my weight primarily over the front foot. And obviously when dropping into a quarter or anything, you can't lean back or... well you'll soon enough learn not to lean back.
  • 1 0
 Also, bikes are longer now, and some are really long (wheelbase). If you try leaning back you got nothing on the front tire and you'll wash in a second! You have to keep a more neutral position between the wheels, which these days is riding more forward.
  • 13 11
 Anyone else find listening to chris painful? Uses so many buzz words without actually explaining what he’s doing to help athletes.
  • 3 1
 Smart. Doesn’t want to give his game away.
  • 8 0
 The athlete's mainly pick up heavy stuff, put it down again, eat well, sleep a lot , carry out on and off the bike conditioning specific to their weaknesses and strengths in light of the demands of the discipline and of course ride a lot of DH or Enduro as and when needed to prepare for the tactical & technical demands of the races coming up!

I do try and avoid buzz-words and jargon! Sorry if I fail.
  • 5 2
 No one mentioned the elephant in the room, a $10k bike will improve your riding immediately!
  • 11 1
 It's been proven, and a $12k bike is 20% faster. Ask any dentist.
  • 1 0
 Hey PB, it would be super interesting to see a list/chart of the gravity pros, that lists their height and bar width they run! It has to have height otherwise there's no point! Wingspan would be even better. Cheers.
  • 3 0
 Let’s get a tour of this van !
  • 1 0
 Looks like the Howard Hughes pro model.
  • 1 0
 And please include a Tutorial on: How to keep an all white van clean as a mountainbiker.
That stuff is beyond me.
  • 1 2
 Funny how my hard tail hurts my back, but Jordi, can make riders faster by showing them how there suspension should work for going fast, for most of us having more comfortable suspension is better!
This is interesting, but would not see me ever racing again?
  • 2 0
 That's not funny at all.
  • 1 1
 @dingus: Co-codamol makes it seem funny, but so does riding a full suspension bike with comfortable set up shocks?
  • 9 8
 The stronger you are, the stiffer you can run your suspension. Look at Gwin's setup over the years.
  • 10 0
 Bruni's suspension doesn't look stiff and he's won everything
  • 26 6
 That’s just bullshit... a stiff setup might offer more support but you’ll lose traction. It has become the macho thing to do in recent times to brag about how stiff you run your suspension as if that magically turned you into some MTB riding god.
  • 7 1
 @philmtb99: they said can run, not should run. Gwin doesn’t dance around stuff, he’s much more of a pick a line and hold on type of rider. Different settings for different needs.
  • 1 3
 @philmtb99: Some places you can run a firm setup and ride the bike hard to where it generates grip, other places you cant do that. Gwin is definitely an exception to the rule.
  • 19 0
 Who tf sets his suspensions a certain way just because Aaron fcking Gwin does it?
  • 5 3
 @philmtb99: the matter of a fact is, suspension setup is a battle between eating bumps, grip and stability. I personally rarely have problems with grip, I rarely find myself in situations where my tires are bouncing too much on stuff. Sometimes on steeps with roots in wet. i am however finding myself in situations, where I am riding over a pile of rocks and big holes and the bike flies back and forth too much. I want to change direction but the bike flies out of the hole with rearward bias. Or understeers in most corners. And harder I set it up, the better it flies over bumps and easier it is for me to stay centered. Because those wheels aren’t falling into each damn hole and suspension doesn’t take more time to recover from a big compression. 15% SAG on fork and only 25% on the rear. With medium rebound.
  • 7 0
 @philmtb99: surely it depends on what you are riding and how you will ride it, no?

The demands of a dh wc race where they’ll practice for one perfect race is different to an ews series of races where they’ll have only limited practice age are very different.

Greg Callaghan highlighted this in his recent bike check and said he’s going softer these days for a more overall efficient setup.

For the rest of us it’s probably finding our own personal range.
  • 1 1
 @WAKIdesigns: sorry to disappoint but the way you run your setup is nothing like a pro racer runs theirs, especially in Dh world cups... and as a matter of fact all of our setups are very different to theirs. My point is that you can run a stiff setup but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a good rider or a fast one. Ride what you’re comfortable with and keep in mind that what you might like isn’t necessarily law.
  • 2 1
 @philmtb99: I didn’t say pros run it like this and I know for a fact from horses mouth that some run more preload and less damping (Gwin) while some run lots of SaG and lots of damping (Hart) so Unless you are a world cup mechanic who worked for a few folks you are in no position to criticize me as if you were. It’s been evens said in a few podcasts, like one with Jason Chamberlain that some pros run their bikes crazy hare because unlike us mortals they expose their bikes to much bigger forces. You may express your opinion on how it should be done for whom, be my guest. If Sam Hill mechanic came here and said what Sam runs, it would be virtually of zero use to me.
  • 1 0
 @philmtb99: after repeated bottom outs the suss gets tuned more and more firm. I adjust my shocks for faster park style riding, or fun flowy trails differently. Rebound also changes with higher pressure!
  • 2 0
 It's not just strength, it's the speed at which the pros ride. It all works together as a system. You can be as strong as Aaron, but if you ride half as fast, then you can't set up as stiff as he does, or any of the pros.
  • 1 1
 @WAKIdesigns:
Sorry to disappoint you but as a fellow Sam disciple i have to refer you to this review, where it is said he runs his setup fairly plush, very un-prolike by pinkbike standards.

enduro-mtb.com/en/sam-hill-day-of-the-dead-nukeproof-mega-275c

Said so himself in several ews interviews and privateer clips, does it to save his bike and body over a weekend of often blind racing. Quite different to an all stops pulled 3min DH run on memorized tracks.

Then again he had his reasons for leaving WC DH when tracks and bikes moved in a different direction
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: exactly my point bro!
  • 1 2
 pretty sure its stronger you are the softer you can run your spring rate and the firmer you can run your damping
  • 2 1
 @wildedge586: oh God, check what you are arguing. He runs 85 psi in his Lyrik At 180. just Like me. It’s just that he’s 10kg lighter than me. And he runs Enduro where speeds are lower. So he runs like 12%, max 15% SAG. Is that your idea of soft?
  • 1 2
 @Y12Sentinel: two schools. More preload - less damping, less preload - more damping. Although the latter seems to be more popular. Possibly everything in between is also the case. Whatever makes you faster mate. Not sure what strength has to do with it. Each scenario requires strength. Especially when it comes to us amateurs like us, one just can’t have too much strength. Never heard anyone complain about having too little arm pump. Oh if only I got a bit more fatigued...
  • 1 2
 @WAKIdesigns: strongest/fastest riders are focusing their max available strength output beyond bottom out not the 8" before, its far more efficient with fast twitch muscle fiber use
  • 1 0
 @Y12Sentinel: I have no idea what you mean. Please elaborate
  • 2 0
 IMO, Greenland has the best posture/body position!
  • 2 0
 I think Tahnee Seagrave has the best posture. It may look a little deep/low compared to what's suggested in the video but she still manages to get a great range of motion from there.
  • 3 0
 didn't he just revamp his form for this year? pretty sure he said that in a interview?
  • 1 0
 What is the reason for that seat angle on the bike behind Jordi ?
  • 1 0
 hardtail
  • 4 3
 Somebody missed the don't touch your face memo.
  • 6 0
 It's OK I've been on lockdown for 5 weeks now! ;-)
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