Pinkbike Poll: How Many Suspension Adjustments Do You Actually Need?

Aug 25, 2016 at 16:02
by Richard Cunningham  
ELEVENSIX shock 2015
Push's ElevenSix shock is custom-tuned to each customer, and also features an external pedaling switch, and high- and low-speed circuits for both compression and rebound damping.


Do you use and understand all of your suspension dials? Are you riding with all of the dials in the middle? What level of adjustment do you truly need? Do you feel that your bike maker's pre-selected tune is good enough to deliver the suspension performance you want? Fair questions all, because most factory suspension tuners - the people who work on a hundred or so bikes each day at an event like Crankworx, will tell you that most riders they come across could achieve a better ride using the factory default settings. I occasionally go online to check my preferred setups against the factory recommended tunes (most brands make them available if you are willing to search long enough) and about fifty percent of the time, my tunes match theirs. I am right and wrong - but which fifty percent?

n a
RockShox "Bottomless Tokens" are plastic spacers that thread into the fork's top cap, and to each other, to reduce the volume of the air-spring chamber. Thick plastic bands are used for the same purpose inside the air-cans of popular shocks. The topic dominates suspension forums.


Top brands work closely with their suspension suppliers to arrive at a base tune for each of their models that matches the style and amplitude that best represents how the bike will be ridden. They use sponsored riders to provide the high range and their demo fleets to provide an average baseline, then tune for the middle ground - which should be pretty darn close to every rider's optimum settings. Considering that, most bikes should ride well as-delivered, providing that the customer knows how to arrive at the proper spring sag and low-speed rebound values - so their fork and shock should not need a separate adjustment for every damping function.

But, we love all those dials. Human DNA is a near-perfect match to that of a chimpanzee and like them, we are notorious knob twisters. A long-time motocross tuner told me once that his suspension had 32 clicks of high and low-speed rebound and a threaded collar with two inches of preload available at the spring - but only one of those adjustments was the correct one. So, give your tuning skills a fair assessment and answer the following question:




How Many Suspension Adjustments do You Actually Need?

Choose all that apply








225 Comments

  • 144 1
 Well, if you look at the knobs on my custom suspension, they go to 11. Most people only have 10...
  • 31 2
 why don't you just make 10 louder.
  • 36 0
 @brendangauthier: ..... "These go to 11"
  • 12 2
 Ohhhhh.....the coveted 11th indent! ....and lets not forget the Braaap Adjuster (low end uses baseball cards...high end uses hockey cards...hehe ; )
  • 74 8
 I set it hard as fk and then ride faster and faster until it feels right!
  • 45 1
 also..it's like, how much more black can stanchions be? the answer is none. none more black.
  • 5 3
 I've got 22 on mine front n rear..
  • 2 1
 @brendangauthier: Because there will always be one more...
  • 14 3
 what the hell kind of poll is this? judging by the poll, all the average needs is sag. next month we are going to see a new Pike and Lyrik with sag adjust only? a charger plus damper that is perfect for everyone and saves weight with no adjustments on the one side for compression or rebound and an air spring? reminds me of my old 888 vf from 2005.....
  • 3 0
 @makripper: agreed...
  • 5 0
 Need moar knobs and shimz.
  • 4 3
 @drtyboy: that was just a populist response
  • 5 2
 @makripper: making a comment like this before the poll has hit a reasonable number of total respondents is like calling an election after the first 100 votes have been cast. Maybe when you made your comment that's what the results looked like but check again; it's quite clear that the majority of riders need and understand the 6 principle adjustments, and that a considerable amount of the remainder don't even know what/how to adjust.

Don't freak out man; the riders have spoken and we like to fiddle with knobs because it makes us feel faster Smile
  • 8 0
 @zsandstrom: one thing is filling in the poll and the other is reality of how people actually set up their suspension.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: you forgot to say your quoting Fairclough
  • 4 0
 @EnduroManiac: I'm glad I had MIPS edition of Trump wig on my head when reading that, otherwise the face-palm would cause a serious concussion... ouch...
  • 2 0
 Yeah there must have been loads of (wanna be) tough guys who repeated that.
  • 1 0
 Well, I heard Eagle suspension go to 12...
  • 114 1
 I need five suspension adjustments. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
  • 60 7
 If you're a good rider, you need all of them as your speed increases and your terrain gets more varied, it's that simple. If you're Joe blow with the bike off the showroom floor, you just need sag adjustment.
  • 18 9
 This! The thing is that a lot of Joe Blow think they're good riders
  • 11 2
 Adam Brayton used to ride shocks that were tuned so bad that everybody, even himself, were making fun of it. He was like 50th or 60th on WC back then. Maybe something has changed and it has something to see with the fact that he just had the season of his life!!??!
  • 29 2
 I pump my fork/shock up until it feels right, and go. I've yet to touch anything else and it hasn't had a negative effect because I'm a terrible rider
  • 9 1
 So true. I had only ridden rebound/lockout or rigid forks for over 20 yrs, then I bought my 2012 Marz 55 Micro Ti. I wanted it because it was burly. Pro reviews seemed okay, but half of the consumer reviews said,"Can't really fell the Micro setting... just a lock out and rebound fork, mostly..." Rode it for a few weeks in the spring, muddy, wet, never got a head of steam, never once felt the HSC. When it dried out, I got the rebound, sag, air pressure and volume adjust perfect. On mostly flat, bumpy trails. The second I aimed the thing downhill and hit 20mph and hit my first 5" root, (I braced myself for the bottom out) "HELLO!! I'm high speed compression, how can I help you today?". Didn't even completely bottom out. That fork has spoiled the hell out of me. Just wish I could stretch it into a 650b or 29er fork.
  • 9 1
 @t1000: Maybe because he got on Öhlins?
  • 27 0
 If you're a crap rider, you should buy the best suspension you can afford and get someone who knows what they're on about to set it up for you. You'll have more fun riding your bike when it's working properly.
  • 2 0
 Couldn't have said it better.
  • 12 0
 @lanka: my track pump is Topeak Joe Blow does that mean it thinks it is a good rider
  • 6 3
 The only adjustment I can honestly say has ever had a noticeable affect for me is tokens in the pike, as far as fiddling with red or blue knobs, that's just makes me feel important.
  • 2 1
 @t1000: i'd say its the pro tuning, better training and better head for racing lately. I'm sure theres a few privateers who would move up the ranks faster with more help with suspension tunes alone.
  • 9 0
 @Fix-the-Spade: if I wanted to ride better id spend money on a skills clinic and coaching. Plenty of folks can buy a sports car, and a handful can actually drive it to its limit.
  • 3 0
 @bmoore34: Been there done that and I agree wholeheartedly, it certainly makes a big difference. But three hours into a ride going at ohmygodthisistoofast having your bike properly set up makes a big difference too. It's not an either or equation, even people on low-mid end OE dampers could benefit from having someone set them up properly.
  • 3 0
 @bmoore34: don't most skills clinics go over basic suspension setup anyways? I mean it does solve a lot of problems beforehand.
  • 16 1
 I know a lot of really good riders - they only set pressure and maybe rebound and ride it for years - they are good riders even on child tricycle without wheels.

I know lot of intermediate riders, they do not ride much because they turn with their knobs all day long and blame suspension for their lack of skillsSmile It is that simple.
  • 1 0
 @Fix-the-Spade: Three hours into a ride is many peoples max. Not them going ohmygodthisistoofast. And that is after straddling their top tube with both feet firmly planted on the ground, arms draped over the handlebars, shooting the shit with their riding mates.
  • 2 0
 I'm all on board with high and low speed compression adjusters.

High and low speed rebound, on the other hand, has me flummoxed. Since the rebound is controlled by the spring, not by hitting bumps, how is it possible to have high or low speed rebound movements?

Can anyone shed light?
  • 1 0
 A bit unique but the millyard ohlio strut design says only a nitro charge for the weight of the rider, self adjusting on the fly. Really stoked to see if the nitroshock is any good when it comes out in November.
  • 4 3
 @jaame: think of it like this, rebound is there to keep your tyre in contact with the ground. So when the suspension is compressed a small amount, generally after a square edge hit, it doesn't need to travel as fast to rebound back. When the suspension is compressed a lot and is deep in its travel, such as after a big landing and other g-outs, it has to move faster to rebound back.

So it's sort of reversed, for the suspension to recover from high speed compression you need low speed rebound, and for the suspension to recover from low speed compression you need high speed rebound.

And, obviously, when we are talking about high and low speeds we mean the speed of the shock shaft and not the speed the bike is travelling. The high speed compressions are caused by a really fast whack from a rock or root that only compresses the suspension a little bit. The low speed compressions are caused by the riders weight, these cause the suspension to be squashed deep into the travel but get there slowly.

Hope that makes sense and helps.
  • 2 0
 @jaame: I forgot to add, the Spring is doesn't control the rebound rate, that is controlled by oil being forced through oil passages with varying amounts of resistance (changed by the adjuster knobs), exactly the same as with compression rates. If you wind your LSC all the way in and push the bike down and then do the same with the LSC wound all the way out you will notice a difference even though you are pushing down with the same weight. The same thing happens when the spring "pushes up".
  • 6 2
 Totally wish I never made a joke comment now. Nobody comes to the pinkbike comments section to read paragraphs upon paragraphs. If your getting suspension tips from the pinkbike comments section then your in the pinkbike comments section for all the wrong reasons.
  • 3 0
 @riderseventy7: so without over simplifying, low speed rebound controls the first part of the travel, close to top out, whereas high speed rebound is concerned with the deeper travel area?
  • 1 0
 @bmoore34: Adjusting dial make you ride like jackrabbit; Grasshopper.
  • 1 0
 @jaame: exactly right
  • 1 0
 I don't know why everyone is afraid of the complexity. If it's more complex than you want to dive into, just take it to someone who does, rather than limit the performance. Suspension is inherently complicated, but the sooner all high end bikes are complicated to adjust, the sooner MTB becomes a mature sport like moto where being a suspension tuner is a legit job.
  • 2 0
 @jaame: with sram suspension it's valved like that. Sort of. Beginning and end stroke rebound. With Fox dhx2 and ccdb it is actually high speed and low speed rebound and it's achieved through different independent circuits and valving I thought. I'd look up the internals for the vivid coil, dhx2 and ccdb for see for yourself.
  • 2 1
 @jaame: High speed rebound movement is when the fork is rebounding from deep in its stroke. When your fork is deep in its stroke there is a lot of spring force pushing the fork lowers back into extension. That spring force pushes the fork to extend at high speed, so it is high speed rebound.

When the fork is rebounding from only a couple inches into its fork's travel, there isn't much spring force pushing the fork lowers into extension. Because there isn't much force the fork lowers rebound slowly, so it is slow speed rebound.

Put simply (and unlike the compression circuit) high speed rebound is ending stroke rebound, and slow speed rebound is beginning stroke rebound.
  • 1 1
 Thank you all for your input. The reason I ask is because I've had a brand new dhx2 for three days and it is the first time I've ever had two rebound adjusters. Going end to end on the high speed rebound makes no discernible difference when just bouncing up and down. Going end to end on low speed rebound feels like a traditional single rebound adjuster. A big difference can be felt. HOPEfully I can get on top of it.
  • 1 1
 @jaame: in reality it's beginning and stroke rebound. As in it depends how far the shock goes into its travel. So low speed is say the first third of traval. So that's all the small hits and is what controls traction in corners etc. The high speed is deep in the travel,this controls the built up force from fast,hard hits coming back from near bottom out. So you want the low speed as fast as you can get it without it being skittish. Too fast and it'll drift around too slow and it'll pack in after repeated hits and feel hard. Same goes for compression.
  • 2 1
 @jaame: One thing to keep in mind is that slow speed rebound affects high speed rebound, but high speed rebound does not affect low speed rebound (the same is true on the compression side). Tune low speed rebound first, high speed rebound second. Getting the suspension to balance with the fork is the most important thing. Assuming your fork only has slow speed rebound adjustment, tune the fork rebound to where you like it, then tune the low speed rebound on your shock to match the fork. To tune only the slow speed rebound on the shock, pay attention to how it feel compared to the fork on things like pedaling movement, body weight shifts, and light compressions. Once the slow speed rebound is tuned on the shock, make the high speed rebound on the shock as fast as possible without feeling any kick/bucking on big compressions.
  • 2 1
 @oldschool43: looks like you are a candidate for a lovely dvo diamond fork!
  • 2 1
 @t1000: probably the marzocchistas wont like it - but the MS Mondraker Team switched from Zocchis to Fox start of this season...I remember an pre-season interview with Danny stating that this is quite a change for him...and what a change it was!
  • 2 1
 @patmcc: thanks again, and Mike Lee. I'm getting my head around it. With riding time and fiddling I'm sure I'll get it.
  • 2 1
 @HairyLegs: I actually bought a DVO Diamond on Tuesday.
  • 2 1
 @oldschool43: excellent.... just built up a Banshee Spitfire with a DVO Diamond, just 3 rides in on mine.......but really enjoying it, still lot's of playing to do. This is a really nice fork with nice features.

Enjoy the DVO!
  • 1 2
 @jaame: my thoughts exactly. But when you think about it, high speed rebound is 'bump rebound', low speed rebound is 'handling' rebound that will most likely be most felt when pedalling. More LSR damping, less bobbing. That'd be usefull on bikes with more than 100 % antisquat (since they will extend first, not squat first), but in my opinion, this should be handled by the suspension geometry, not by the damper.
  • 1 0
 @gonecoastal: Ah well, that's their prerogative. I like my long arse rides and good suspension helps stop them becoming sore arse rides.
  • 1 0
 @Fix-the-Spade: I ride a hardtail...
  • 1 2
 @gonecoastal: Well that explains why you can't keep it up very long!
  • 44 0
 rather have it and not need it vs need it and not have it
  • 28 0
 Just like a condom
  • 43 2
 @Damo6-6-6: Bet your dad wishes he had a rebound dial.
  • 7 0
 @Damo6-6-6: My pull out game is strong!
  • 5 0
 Bareback FTW
  • 8 0
 Raw dogging (not to be confused with R-Dawg) leads to one selling off many of their bikes...
  • 23 0
 low price adjustment
  • 13 0
 Cant find the clip now but in one of the Syndicate's videos Minaar was all excited about some new setting available on his suspension, they asked Ratboy what he thought and he said "oh yeah they put some new rocker valve on the f*ck-a-majig". I'll miss Ratboy
  • 2 0
 love ratboy but it's hard to argue with the GOAT
  • 12 1
 Cane Creek has it dialed. ESPECIALLY when they work with a manufacture to dial in a base setting. I have deviated very little or not at all from what Banshee and Cane Creek recommend on the Legend and Spitfire respectively. More is better as long as there is an easy(ish) breakdown or a base setting to revert to from the manufacture.
  • 3 0
 I don't have a CC shock, but I've been on their site a bunch and am really impressed with their support for how they recommend to set up their products. I have a mix of Rockshox and Fox suspension and have found that Fox has recently upped their game to help with initial setups with good recommendations for the dials. I haven't been impressed with Rockshox, though. What you get with the shock doesn't say anything about how to set it up beyond sag. They produce a "user manual" that says nothing about how to use the shock other than installation, safety, and service, which comprise a tiny fraction of actual "use." I actually called RS once to ask some questions and basically what I told was, 'well setups are personal...'' Kudos to CC. I hope they continue to lead the way. People want to ride, not waste their time with setups that are way off.
  • 4 2
 I have had two CC shocks - air and coil. Dislike them both so I guess its all personal preference.
  • 6 1
 Pfft whatevs.... CC is way too much for normal humans to deal with. 1 rebound, 1 compression, Marz roco was the best shock I ever ran... set it, forget it!
  • 2 1
 I have the problem of being a very light person (10.5 stone) which I would consider being on the limits of what most shocks and forks preset adjustment/range is set to (same if you are at the other send of the scale). I'm happy to admit I don't go BIG on jumps and drops but do go hard and fast on technical trails. Haveing as much adjustment is a god send for me to get the set up right but it still comes back dealing with an expect to help set it up right
  • 1 0
 Have had CC shocks and they rock. Just gotta know what youre doing and take the time to set them up. Been on numerous shocks including custom units tuned for me. Nothing beats the CCDB for control. Really want to try the new X2 shocks as they are basically ccdb rip offs. Only fault to the cc line is potential reliability. Anyone who claims the performance is at fault clearly didnt set it up correctly and needs less dials.....
  • 14 0
 Does n+1 apply here too?
  • 4 0
 Nob +1?
  • 8 3
 At a minimum, you need preload adjustment. Realistically speaking though, you should have preload as well as high and low speed compression, high and low speed rebound, and volume adjustment. Too many people don't understand what they're doing and are more likely to ruin suspension preformance with the wrong setup than to improve performance so companies lean towards fewer adjustments on a lot of their equipment. It's been a big advantage over the last handful of years that companies have really started offering more adjustability.
  • 12 1
 Yup, minimum is SAG and rebound damping and the quality of todays suspension, with just those adjustments, is enough for a lot of riders. But once you understand what all the adjustments can do for you, especially once you are going faster&bigger....gotta have it! haha
  • 2 1
 I really think that a shock with only a preload adjustment would be fine for 70%+ of riders.
To fine tune your shock and get better performances, you really need knowledges that most riders don't have. The ones who think they know often are the ones who know less. You also need to be able to notice correctly the slight differences when you turn the knobs. Which is far from easy.
Also, plenty of factors that will vary over time will affect the ideal settings. Like weather, trail type, trail condition, tire pressure, tire wear, temperature. If you ride more intense, the shock will heat up, affecting oil viscosity and so the dampening.
  • 3 1
 @t1000: Damping. Wink

I agree with your first sentence. A strong majority of people just want to get out there and ride their bikes.
I ride with people who drop their lowers and oil change a few times a riding season plus damper servicing; and people that have had a bike two plus years and never had their suspension opened up. Doesn't seem to be any middle ground, just those two extremes.

I'll take an RC2 fork over any type of climbing switch fork. I've been burnt by ill preforming Lyrics, 36s and 34s with travel adjust or lockout doohickeys in the past. Not saying I have any idea what I'm doing with those dials, but one can pretend...
  • 2 1
 It's funny that you say preload is important, because most trail forks are air now, which don't really have preload. Negative-spring rate adjustment can result in similar changes to preload adjustment, but only a couple of manufacturers offer that.
  • 4 1
 @dthomp325: Preload isn't necessary on air forks... preload is a compensation mechanism for the less precise spring rates of coils. A person who would ideally need a 515 pound coil spring rides a 500 pound coil spring and then adjusts preload to compensate for the difference and to correctly set the sag. On an air spring, you can dial in the exact amount of air pressure you need.
  • 2 0
 @badbadleroybrown:

"Preload isn't necessary on air forks..."

That's what he's saying...
  • 1 0
 @KeithReeder: it's really not... he's talking about the negative spring which has nothing to do with preload. Preload adjusts the coil spring to correct your sag, this is done with the air pressure on an air shock. You precisely set the air spring so you don't need a Preload to adjust an imprecise spring to get the correct sag. The negative air spring overcomes stiction and controls extension... doesn't do anything for Preload.
  • 1 0
 @gonecoastal: Lyrik????
  • 2 1
 @badbadleroybrown: preload and negative-spring are very similar adjustments. They both adjust the initial force required to compress the spring and they both change sag without changing the spring rate.
  • 3 2
 @dthomp325: No... they aren't... and no... they don't.

Preload compresses a coil spring, because a coil spring compresses 1 inch per unit of rated weight. So, a coil spring will compress 1" for every 500lbs applied to it if it's a 500lb spring. By precompressing the spring, or preloading it, you are applying "weight" to the spring in order to cause it to sit higher in its travel than it otherwise would in order to accomodate the load of the rider. A negative spring does two things... first, it counteracts the significantly higher degree of stiction caused by the heavier seals necessary to contain the air spring which are not present on a coil spring. Second, it counters the force of the air spring at full extension... since a coil spring has a finite length at rest it naturally reduces the rate at which it releases energy as it expands to it's full length but an air spring is under pressure even at full extension, so they used to require a ton of rebound to control them... which combined with the stiction to make them feel generally like shit. The negative air spring reduces the amount of energy needed to break stiction and initiate travel and controls the spring as it reaches full expansion. It has literally nothing to do with setting sag and is in no way, shape, or form similar to preload.
  • 3 1
 @badbadleroybrown:

Negative spring adjustment may not work the same way that preload does with a coil, but the end result of the adjustment is analogous. Adjusting the negative spring rate on an air shock will change the ride height/sag independently of spring rate, just like adjusting preload on a coil does.

You can see for yourself on a fork with an adjustable negative spring like a DVO or RS Dual Air. The sag will change as the negative spring is adjusted, even though positive spring rate remains exactly the same. Just like how coil preload adjusts sag without changing the spring, the negative spring changes sag without changing the psi of the positive air spring.

Both adjustments alter the suspension in the same way by shifting the compression curve up or down without changing the slope of the curve. That's why negative springs "reduce stiction" in air forks. The negative spring shifts the compression curve down to a lower point where it takes less force to initiate movement, which is the same effect that reducing preload on a coil fork has.
  • 2 1
 @badbadleroybrown:

A less verbose way to describe it:

Your spring curve is y=mx+b (actual air spring curve would be more complicated).

psi/spring rate both change m.

negative spring and preload both change b.
  • 2 3
 @dthomp325: A less verbose way to describe it:

You're wrong and know shit about suspension. Now shut the f*ck up please.
  • 3 1
 @badbadleroybrown:

Well, if you don't believe me, I'll link the explanation from RockShox.

This spring curve chart shows that negative spring causes the compression curve to move up or down (b) while the spring rate/slope (m) remains static:

imgur.com/a/5JhIA

I pulled this chart directly from Rockshox's suspension doc, which further explains it:

www.sram.com.cn/sites/default/files/techdocs/rockshox_suspension_theory_10-replica.pdf

Here's a similar chart from the same doc showing that preload has the same effect on coils:

imgur.com/a/M2CqG

So are you going to tell Rockshox to shut the f*ck up too?

While the 2 adjustments aren't completely analogous, both can be used to adjust sag independently of spring rate, as shown in those 2 graphs. A fact that is quite obvious if you've ever actually adjusted a negative spring.
  • 2 3
 @dthomp325: Seeing as how everything you just links supports what I've said and none of it suggests the negative spring is analogous to preload or used to adjust sag... I think I'll agree with rock shox and just tell you to shut the f*ck up one more time.

Honestly, it's impressive how wrong you are and that you're stupid enough to keep trying.
  • 3 1
 @badbadleroybrown:

The Rockshox charts clearly show that adjusting negative spring and adjusting preload have a similar effect.
On both charts you can see that the lines follow the same slope but move up or down on the Y axis depending on the negative spring or preload adjust. Sag changes when the value of Y at the intersection of X=0 changes, so moving the line up or down via preload or negative spring both change sag without effecting the spring rate/slope.

If you don't understand how that works, well, I don't have time to explain 7th grade geometry for you.

How do you explain sag changing when you adjust the negative spring, something that very clearly happens IRL?
  • 1 4
 @dthomp325: No... they don't actually. The show that the negative spring has an effect on breakaway force. Which is precisely what I said... but it's cool, you've already thoroughly established the fact that you're too stupid to understand basic suspension function, there's no need for you to keep driving the point home.
  • 2 1
 @badbadleroybrown:

Yes, the Y axis at X=0 is break away force... On both charts. Negative spring and preload both change break away force, which changes sag, without changing the spring rate/slope. What do you think preload changes? It changes break away force just like the chart shows, and juat like negative spring does.

Ok, I'm going to stop feeding the trolls now...
  • 1 4
 @dthomp325: Still wrong... breakaway force has no bearing on sag. And preload has no bearing on breakaway force. I get it man, you're clueless and incapable of learning. Just shut up and move on... you're wrong and it's been explained already, if you aren't capable of understanding it by now you're not gonna get any smarter and suddenly understand it any time soon.
  • 2 1
 @badbadleroybrown:

Copy and pasted directly from Sram's technical documentation:

"
A coil spring at rest is not under pressure and creates no
breakaway force. Preloading a coil spring compresses the
spring without initiating stroke. This results in a breakaway
force and stiffer spring feel.
"

and

"
A negative spring can be used to help the
compression forces overcome the breakaway force at the
beginning of the stroke. Any amount of force created by the
negative spring reduces the amount of of breakaway force
by the same amount.
"

Both adjustments are used to alter breakaway force of the suspension (shift the curve up or down on the Y axis). Further, breakaway force is fundamental to setting sag. The only 2 properties of the spring that can effect sag are breakaway force and spring rate.

A 10lb linear spring will sag 1" when 10lb of force is applied. The same spring with 5lbs of breakaway will only sag 1/2", which is why changing preload or negative spring alters sag. The RS compression curve charts show this.

If you think "breakaway force has no bearing on sag" and "preload has no bearing on breakaway force", then how does adjusting preload change sag? What property is being altered if it's not breakaway force?
  • 2 2
 @dthomp325: It's almost impressive how bad your comprehension is... no, 5lbs of breakaway force means that 10lbs still compresses it 1"... it just means that 4.9lbs doesn't compress it at all.

You literally just dug up shit I already explained from the manual to illustrate how you don't understand what it means. Just sit the f*ck up already...
  • 3 1
 @badbadleroybrown:

> 5lbs of breakaway force means that 10lbs still compresses it 1"... it just means that 4.9lbs doesn't compress it at all

When 10 lbs of force are applied to the preloaded spring the first 5 lbs don't compress the spring at all (because that's the breakaway force), now you have 5 lbs of force left, which compresses the spring at 10 lbs/inch = 1/2" of compression. I'm sorry you suck so bad at elementary arithmetic.
  • 1 2
 @dthomp325: Holy shit you're f*cking stupid...

5lbs breakaway force means it takes 5lbs to begin motion. Once that breakaway force is met, there is not a perpetual 5lb of additional force... the breakaway force has been overcome. So, at 5.1lbs of force, there is 5.1lbs of force exerted on the spring not 0.1lbs.

Seriously, just shut the f*ck up already. You're an idiot, you don't get it and you won't get it. You've proven it over and over and now you're just digging yourself deeper into the hole of your own ignorance. f*ck off already, you're wrong... either accept it and deal with reality or stay in your little fantasy. Either is fine by me but just f*ck off and stop vomiting up your ignorance.
  • 5 0
 I know exactly what each does. But my problem is "time". I don't have the luxury to do test runs to do adjustments. I only have x amount of time to get my riding in before I have to go back to reality. So I try and set my bike up for a all around ride, if that's realistic, so I just set it and go. But if I had more time I would be a adjusting maniac.
  • 7 0
 Instead of climb,trail, descend I want roots, jumps an F'n big drop settings an a Shifter on the bar to select... Ah fk it. An intelligent system to do that for me
  • 6 0
 Or an "ah fk it" switch.
  • 5 1
 Factory base settings then adjust from there, maybe a lick or two either way then I leave it alone unless I go some where extremely savagely rough. I may not use them often but you need the options in the 1st place to get to the happy comprimise, even if you never touch the adjusters again after they were useful and worth it IMO.
  • 3 0
 I setup my suspension by feel, then I go ride my local trails and just the suspension until I have the air pressure dialed to have the most traction, control, and highest speed. After the air pressure is dialed, I will change the compression and rebound depending on the trail I'm riding. I don't look at sag, or factory settings at all. If I use more or less travel than I intended, then I'll ± 5.0 PSI at a time until dialed again.
  • 1 0
 @bigburd: bang on
  • 8 1
 except factory base settings assume everyone weights 160 pounds...
  • 1 0
 Well I only deal with springs so as long as you have the right weight you are golden, could see it maybe being an issue with air.
  • 12 5
 Danning-Kruger effect, here we go...
  • 2 0
 Throw in the "Athletic gene" !
  • 1 0
 Brilliant. Perfectly describes my ex-boss.
  • 1 0
 Another classic Waki! Beautiful...mind?!
  • 3 0
 I don't mind these surveys. I see being able to tell companies what we want is a good thing. However pinkbike is most likely an outlier as far as cycling consumers go. These survey will give good information as to what enthusiast want but that doesn't correlate to the to what is sold in shops. If you were to go to any LBS and ask the customers what low speed compression is and how its different from HSC you'd get more funny looks than anything. Companies like PUSH and Cane Creek who only really target enthusiasts should know that the common sense is more is better. Fox and RockShox for the most part have their entry level components and realize the scale. I do have complaints about the Pike and would think twice about getting another one since there isn't a lot of tune-ability on it.
  • 3 0
 It is helpful to have a friend who knows how a bike should handle in rowdy spots watch if the fork dives too much, or if rebound could use some adjustment. I like my fork a bit faster and stiffer than the rear shock.
  • 2 0
 For spring preload and volume, I'm mostly set and forget (although the initial settings are the most critical to my setup).

But am I the only one who changes damping settings in cold weather (say 40 deg F) vs hot weather (say, 100 deg F)? In the mountains, these temps are even encountered on the same ride and have a huge affect on ride feel. I'd like to see more effort put into dampers and fluids that aren't so affected by temps.
  • 3 2
 Same issues here, just decided to run coil shocks from now on !
  • 4 1
 @justincs: um.... a coil shock uses the same damping fluid as an air shock. Switching to coil doesn't eliminate @UtahBrent 's issue at all.

@UtahBrent that's a tough one... for damping you need a high viscosity fluid, and every high viscosity fluid I can think of has pretty drastic property changes from 40-100F. Realistically I think we're stuck with changing our settings for the foreseeable future.
  • 3 2
 @bkm303: But coil shocks run dramatically cooler. Air shocks with the big can/blanket around the damper shaft assembly hold heat in right where you don't want it.
  • 1 1
 After a a few cycles of the damper the the oil will heat up and external temps wont have much affect on the damping... Air springs would be maybe be the exception since rubber can be greatly affected by very low temps but it would have to be really cold... neg degrees F at least...
  • 1 0
 @bkm303: same fluid just much more of it, with less seals than air cans, generating less friction/heat under load.
  • 1 0
 @Cam86: right on the money!
  • 1 0
 Couple notes on oil viscosity vs temperature. Thinner oils are more temperature stable. Shocks are less effected since they run thin oils and heat up very quickly. Forks don't heat up like shocks do, even under heavy use, and they use thicker oils so they are much more affected by temperature. The only real solution for forks is to either have different setting for different temperatures, or use thinner oils at times of the year when the temperature is lower.
  • 2 0
 i love custom tuning, i personally have few Fox RC4 customised and old school 888 with Avalanche cartridge, also custom,
and i tune/service them manually and so on... i ve never seen any fork on the market better than mine Wink it's good to know
what actually all the settings do and how the suspension works, and that plays major role and improves riding and pleasure of it ....
  • 1 1
 888 + avey and custom avey shock Smile
  • 2 1
 Waiting for the day when we see some trail suspension without CTD settings, but still has HSC, LSC, HSR, and LSR. Sign. Me. Up. How often do any of you really even use CTD? It would probably save some weight (big assumption but I can't imagine it not)
  • 8 0
 I think that's called the CCDB air and it's been out since like 2012. In fact, I own one and rather wish it had the climb switch in later models.
  • 2 3
 @loulew: sure, cane creek. I'll be interested once Rockshox or Fox does this. And, the CCDB Air CS does have a climb switch.
  • 2 1
 I like the "CTD" though I prefer to think of them of preset 1,2, and 3. It would be awesome if you could actually set them yourself and toggle with the switch. Not that it's all that hard to dig out your phone, (paper, notebook, napkin, etc) that has your settings for the area and turn some knobs. Unless you have a CCDB Air or Fox X2 and then you also need to dig out a wrench... ah f*&^ it.... it's too much trouble.
  • 3 0
 I use the trail setting on my shock fairly often. Spartans are so compliant with full open compression that I tend to stall on rocks & stuff unless I have the compression set to middle, or a steep enough trail to keep momentum.

I set it to full stiff for fire road climbs.
  • 4 0
 X2, CCDBA CS, Elevensix
  • 1 0
 @gonecoastal: I use the three positions on my Monarch RT3 all the time.....I guess a lot of it also depends on individual bike characteristics. My bike is like yours - a little too compliant in full open for certain types of riding however, the other side of the coin is that for fast, rooty, rutty, blown out DH routes, it's great to have the shock full open. I use the trail/middle mode for exactly that - trails and climbing. As for the firmest compression setting - I use that for fireroad climbs. Sure - it'd be a nice bonus to be able to fettle with each individual setting to create three "personalised" settings but to be honest, the base settings are 95% where they need to be anyway. In short - it works just fine for me.
  • 1 0
 @arna86: I ride a Hardtail for 90% of my riding. A WC DH bike for the rest so...
  • 1 0
 @gonecoastal: Sorry - that was actually meant to be a reply to @groghunter
  • 6 2
 A climb switch is different to ctd. ctd is a poor attempt at a compression adjuster..
  • 4 0
 if by poor you mean pathetic, then yes. utterly pathetic compression control.
  • 9 0
 @atrokz: Doesn't CTD stand for Can't Tune Dick?
  • 2 0
 @Kiwiplague: I thought it was Crap Turd DooDoo. That said they've made it better for 2016 but my older CTD stuff was total junk.
  • 3 0
 @Kiwiplague: can't tell a difference
  • 1 0
 i need sag and rebound to have a half decent experience. I was happy with it for several year. as i got a better rider i got to know the merits of adjusting the springrate of my airshox. Currently i am running a monarch plus rct3 and wish i had a compression adjustment since it sometimes dives away, an issue i cant get a hold of with any combination of spring and springrate.

but in the end it took me a long time to actually make use of the options. mst of my mates would benefit more from a simple spring/rebound option cause so many run shox like the ccdb and are helplessly lost with the options
  • 1 0
 Unfortunately no ccdba base tune for my intense 5.5 so based it on a.n.other vpp tune and tweaked till it does what I want; whether or not it's actually well set up I don't know but I get zero pedal feedback, awesome small bump compliance and no wallow.

Forks wise I am modifying my 44 rc3ti to eliminate marzocchi's basic orifice and poppet valve damper, I've put a shim stack base valve in already and currently designing a shimmed rebound and mid valve. Essentially I'm turning the basic damper into a fully tuneable unit as per an avvy cartridge Smile
  • 1 1
 I'm only going to all the trouble to mess around with the forks because I can and I'm an engineer who likes fiddling with things. The more settings the better imho, I thrive on learning new stuff all the time so suspension theory and design is a great subject to learn!
  • 1 0
 I'm definitely not changing the settings of my suspension (only forks, usually) for different courses and course conditions. So if it would have no adjustments and it would have some perfect factory setting it would be just fine for me. Obviously this is never going to happen, so I need preload (air pressure) at the very least. And then of course rebound has to change along with that. So I'd say that'd be the bare minimum for a (non custom) shock or fork. Sure if it would have more adjustments I could probably make it work even better for me, but I don't mind compensating for the gear I'm riding. I do need much more pressure in the forks than recommended to maintain my ride height on the steeper stuff. 4.5 bar is recommended, I set it over 6 bar. I'm probably 80kg in gear (depending on how much water is in the camelbak). My tires are slightly over 1 bar, maybe 1.2 or so. Yes I don't bother with psi level accuracy. I could probably appreciate some more damping adjustments, but if it could be set properly by a suspension tuner (without any adjustment for me) I'd be fine with it too.
  • 1 0
 I'll admit that for the few first years that I've been riding, I definitely did not understand how to use most of the dials did on my suspension, even if I intellectually understood what they were supposed to do. Which I'm not entirely sure I did... But over the last two years I've become much more of a suspension tinkerer. In the parking lot before a ride, mid-ride to improve things, at the bike park, and whenever on different terrain. I would say that I adjust almost every setting before and during each ride at a different trail. Which is why I absolutely want as much adjustment as possible.
  • 2 0
 the result say we like everything we have (and probably want more) I think high speed rebound is the most important so surprised it was underrated - people seem fixated on LSC = the pedal platform
  • 1 0
 It's not about how many, it's about the right ones. I've been riding Pike and Lyrik and I'll never go back to a fork without a travel adjust, but I don't really use the 3 position compression lever at all. Similarly, I wish my Monarch Plus had a variable compression adjust instead of the 3 position lever.
  • 2 0
 I set my sag, go out and ride and if the o-rings are at 90%, I leave it all alone. Don't know what high speed and low speed differences would feel like anyway, just not that good a rider.
  • 1 0
 Chronic knob-fiddler here. Some of the best rides I've had ha been when doing my repeated runs down the same 4 minute trail, and making one small adjustment per run. I name the strava file according to the suspension settings I'm using, and at the end of the day I can scroll through a dozen lap times and the settings that went with it! It helped me really understand that a fork that feels great in the car park ain't necessarily good on trail!
  • 1 0
 The number of adjustments actually needed will vary from rider to rider and their type of riding. I've had basic Van R rear shocks all the way to the fox DHX 5.0 air. 888vf to Fox 40.The type of shock I use depends on my intended riding style.
When riding park lines, freeride drops and jumps I find a basic Van R was suitable for this purpose. Seek and destroy, and if destroy meant destroying the shock it was a much less expensive rebuild or replacement then if I had wrote off a DHX 5.0 Air.
During technical riding, racing and the pursuit of more speed, the more the merrier for the amount of adjustments.
Your average rider will be more then happy with an air spring (sag) and rebound control, but during the most technical descents every click makes a difference on the top end suspension. Leading to better control, more speed and in the end the possibility of seconds off the clock. So it's not a question of how many adjustments are needed, but a question of how many adjustments does my riding need!
  • 1 0
 Less adjustments at least make it easier to get in the ballpark. I found in the past having half a dozen adjustments made it more likely to ruin the ride characteristics. But that was in the day of the Manitou Swinger and 5th Element coil shocks..
  • 4 0
 Loaded question..... depends on the damper, depends on the rider.
  • 2 0
 Yes. Depends on the frame/linkage design too. A simple single pivot frame will usually benefit more from an adjustable shock than a more sophisticated linkage which reduces pedal bob.
  • 2 0
 the worst is knowing what adjustments do and not having them. Like buying a new bike and having to deal with a lacking shock before you can upgrade.
  • 4 0
 I only need two settings. Wide Fooking Open and Get Me Up This Hill
  • 1 1
 I have a FS bike with low and high speed compression, rebound for the fork and sag, rebound and bottom out resistance for the shock, it's very complicated to set it up properly, so I bought another steel HT frame, mounted a 160 domain with broken rebound knob and I started riding
  • 2 0
 Great decision. I've got a 1982 Tercel I'll trade you for your Lamborghini - those can be crazy complicated.
  • 1 0
 All the adjustments are important as we go up the learning curve hence this is another flawed survey that shove a certain answer into our mouth. It's probably misleading to the industry players too.
  • 1 0
 I need enough adjustments so that what-ever my style of riding and what-ever the trail conditions might be on a particular ride, I can always be certain that I've got my suspension set wrongly! ;-)
  • 4 0
 I'll have a beer, please.
  • 1 0
 I kind of want my bike to be a Mars space station with pedals now. Lol. "So many knobs, switches, and transponders, all made out of materials that weigh zero, and will never break, and electronic everything"
  • 1 0
 They've sure come a long ways since I was a kid.
  • 1 0
 In reality they put all the real technology into vehicles etcetera, if mountain biking was taken seriously there would be consumer level suspension technology that didn't suck up pedalling power by now, among other things.
  • 1 0
 Professionally tuned base shock and fork with sag and rebound adjustment, nothing more i do not have time and willingness to do that, preffer to ride We shouldn't overcomplicate
  • 1 1
 Choices and options for consumers. Isn't that what free market and capitalism and innovation are all about? Not sure what a question like this is trying to accomplish, underneath it all.
  • 1 0
 "Isn't that what free market and capitalism... are all about?"

Nope - they're about doing as little as humanly possible that might be of actually benefit, for any given financial return.
  • 1 0
 I find the more options the more it gets into my head. I want 15 knobs to turn but in reality rebound and Platform adjust would be enough for me.
  • 3 0
 Definitely checked all boxes. The more I have the better I feel !
  • 1 0
 What impact do volume spacers have on compression settings? If I add/remove spacers is there a process for changing compression settings?
  • 2 0
 Compression settings are damping (oil flow) adjustments, whereas volume spacers are a spring adjustment. Volume spacers will make your suspension stiffer as it moves through the travel, compression setting make the suspension stiffer as shaft velocity increases. In general, high speed hits make you go deeper in your travel so if you increase your spring progressiveness with volume spacers you may want to reduce your high speed compression damping slightly. The decreased high speed compression damping will better allow your wheel to move out of the way of small to medium sized square edge bumps, but your fork will still be able to resist bottoming on big hits because of the increased spring rate at the end of the travel.
  • 1 0
 @patmcc: Thanks for posting that up. I've been going back and forth with trial and error, and feel like I'm wasting time trying to get things dialed in. Will definitely use this next time I switch things up.
  • 2 0
 Aside from tech climbing, I don't have a feel for when LSR comes into play while I'm riding. Can anyone explain this to me?
  • 2 1
 Generally speaking, low speed is when the frame is moving up or down relative to the wheel (pedal bob, compressing in and out of corners, ground undulations etc) and high speed is the wheel moving up or down relative to the frame (wheel strikes, leaving takeoff lips etc). So whenever the frame is rising up away from the wheel will be LSR, suspension extending after corner compressions, pedalling, returning back to the sag height after a drop etc.
  • 2 1
 Rear low speed for me is meh. Fully open.

I use a few clicks of it on the front fork to combat brake dive / help keep my front end up.
  • 1 0
 Rebound forces,unlike compression forces, come entirely from your spring. So low speed rebound forces come from moderate to low impacts. High speed rebound forces come from deep compression of your suspension. This is not true with compression forces where speed and position are not necessarily linked.
  • 1 0
 Low speed rebound come in to play when your fork is rebounding from only a couple inches of travel. It will affect rebound on things like trail chatter, body movement and leaning, low compression berms, and pedaling.
  • 1 1
 I read that as low speed compression, not low speed rebound. I wouldn't need or use a low speed rebound.
  • 2 0
 Thanks guys. What I got out of this is that HSR and LSR maybe somewhat inappropriately named. They are dependent on the spring force only, and deep in the travel that is a higher force that is controlled by HSR, while LSR controls things near the sag point and further extension (low spring force). It's more like, 'high spring force rebound' and 'low spring force rebound.' What do you think? If that's right then I could take that and apply it to my riding more easily that high and low 'speed' rebound.
  • 1 0
 @jasdo: That's exactly right!
  • 2 0
 Does it scare anyone else that some people apparently need to adjust compression, but not rebound?
  • 3 0
 The average orangutan can grasp the concept of high and low speed compression. Giving a dollar to every person on this forum who understands the purpose of low speed rebound damping, versus high speed, would leave most of the cash in my wallet.
  • 3 0
 @ski-or-die: funny and a bit sad
  • 1 0
 In addition to LSR I want 8ish clicks of LSC in my fork, and 4ish clicks of LSC on my shock. Not platform, LSC. Looking at you Rockshox. Please make a Monarch RC3.
  • 1 0
 I would love high and low speed compression adjustments on my suspension, but I can see how it would just make things more confusing if you were fairly new to riding.
  • 1 0
 I need as many as I need to get it to work right then I don't usually mess with any of them other than to occasionally check my main chamber air pressure.
  • 3 0
 uhhh just play with the knobs till its pumping fast and hard.....
  • 2 0
 I went from MZ 888 RC3 to simple RS Boxxer RC with compression and rebound only and I cant be more happy
  • 1 1
 People who want less suspension adjustments and don't know how to set up their suspension are the kind of people who buy an automatic transmission in their BMW because they can't drive a stick.
  • 1 0
 Wrong comparison! It like adjusting your car sunspension after each lap, per each wheel - which is actually not so rear case, however mostly via preload,

Buy the way in Europe 90 % of the cars with "stick "
  • 1 1
 All of them but with WAY LESS clicks of adjustment... I believe a maximum of 7 clicks for compression and rebound adjustments of any kind would help riders truely get the best use out of their suspension..
  • 2 0
 Just to be clear... CTD = Pro Pedal 1,2,3. It's nothing new.
  • 7 1
 it's total crap is what it is.
  • 1 0
 Yup... CTD = Crappy Turdish Diarrhea
  • 1 0
 Let's say I don't know much about suspension, what would be the way to learn about it??
  • 8 0
 Step 1) Google "mountain bike suspension 101"
Step 2) Read a lot
Step 3) Ride and play with suspension adjustments until you feel what your adjusting
Step 4) Start to dial in your bike with your new knowledge and experience
Step 5) Ride more
Step 6) Keep riding
  • 4 0
 In the PB Forums you'll find the Mechanics' Lounge. There is a sticky in there called something like 'Suspension setup - a how to guide'. Don't be put off by there being a million pages, because you'll learn almost everything you'll need to know in the first page or two. Search in the thread for your type of shock/fork.
  • 1 0
 @patmcc: I bought this the other night, it is excellent with regards to damper design and operation.
  • 1 0
 @InsaNeil024: buy bike, set up sag - ride. Adjust rebound if needed.
Ride more
  • 2 0
 ALL OF THEM. AND MOAR SHIMS!
  • 2 0
 DVO has you covered on the easily accessible shims part! It's just too bad they don't have more external adjustments. Otherwise, killer products.
  • 1 0
 @wpplayer18: Have you tried the Emerald ? I am thinking I should get one.....hmmmm!
  • 1 0
 @justincs: yeah, I have one. I like it a ton
  • 3 0
 I want ones that work.
  • 2 0
 No clue WTF I'm doing, but you better believe I'm trying to learn
  • 1 0
 I have a M9 and there is not enough of adjustments so yes I need more and more.
  • 1 0
 I just need suspension components that do what they're marketed to do and are reliable.
  • 1 0
 This poll is secretly controlling the conversation. We need more travel adjustment, especially for rear shocks/linkages!
  • 1 0
 I just pound a pint or six and every thing always feels loose and flowy bra. It just fits my ridding style
  • 1 0
 I want an additional ENduro setting!
  • 1 0
 With good spring/air pressure, do you need low speed rebound?
  • 2 0
 Yes because you need to be able to balance the rebound on the front and back of the bike. Without rebound adjustment the chance your dampers would be balanced during rebound is super unlikely.
  • 1 0
 How many adjustments do I need??

How many you got?
  • 1 0
 The more knobs the better
  • 1 0
 I got a blue and red knob I can turn left and right. Big Grin
  • 1 0
 Set to middle I don't want to fiddle
  • 1 0
 Marzocchi its nice for me C2R2
  • 1 0
 all of them
  • 2 1
 Set and forget!!
  • 1 0
 ON > OFF
  • 1 0
 I need all of them Razz

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