Queenstown, New Zealand: Home to ProFlow Suspension and some of the most challenging riding in the world.
A suspension tech is aiming to tune the suspension to the rider, making them feel more confident, comfortable and thinking less about the bike and more about tackling that challenging terrain. We’ve heard that all before, but what about the person behind that experience.
The suspension tech has an innate affinity to the mechanical world: a desire to optimise, perfect, tinker. Attention to detail that some might call OCD. Practice and experience hone the skills necessary to excel in this realm. And tools of course, they love nice tools. It’s almost a fetish. Most importantly though, they love riding. But not just love it - understand it. Interpret what a rider desires and mechanically manifest it. Describe an obscure feeling in the bike or a vague movement over terrain and a tech will revel in the challenge of translating that feeling into a mechanical equation.
Tuning is a tricky game, it's a fine balance between the right feel and the wrong one. Getting it right comes down to experience, patience, testing and attention to detail. Blending together a fine selection of shims oil and obstacles for the oil to pass through. Reading graphs, calculating force over velocity and rider weight are among the tangible elements. But you add in the more mysterious factors of rider style and bike feel, the way each system co-operates with the materials inside of it, and you start to realise that in the end suspension tech is a dark art.