My forks suck, How do you guys tune your clickers?



25 replies to this topic
  • Dodger

Posted October 21, 2002 - 09:30 AM

#1

I'll admit up front a few things..........

1st) I'm an idiot when it comes to adjusting clickers (the right way).

2nd) No, I haven't changed my fork oil yet, or ever!

So, with that being said. I've been all over the charts with my fork clickers, but still haven't found anything that tracks well, in fact, don't even know if I'm complimenting one adjustment with another (compression vs. rebound).

First and formost............Trail rider, 165 lbs with gear, looking for something a bit more plush for the trail. Sag set to 95mm. Front tire pressure at 15psi. Clickers are right around stock right now, 8 out compression, 9 out rebound. Fork height is level with upper triple.....I may raise them just a bit to help turning, but turning is least of problems.

What's going on..........real harsh ride, deflects off of everything (scary :D), square edges feel like I'm hitting cinder blocks. I've controlled the push I was getting with standing a bit more over the bars for cornering, but it still washes pretty bad. Just gives me no confidence in turning.

Am trying to get my arms around "rising rate" vs. "falling rate" suspension. I've done a bunch of reading on here about suspension, and am still confused as to where to go with the clickers. At one time (the best it's ever felt), I was out stupid numbers like 14 out compression, and 16 out rebound. It at least tracked over everything and was sorta plush, but bottomed real easy.

I'm planning on changing my fork oil here soon, and may play with oil height............any suggestions. When you go softer on compression (to soften the ride), do you go with more rebound, do you go with less...........just confused :D.

Ideas welcome......man I feel dumb............

Dodger :) :D

  • Chaindrive

Posted October 21, 2002 - 10:27 AM

#2

I know less than you, Dodger: you at least know what it does/doesn't do well...
With those specific problems and your specific info, I'll bet one of the suspension gurus around here can really help.

Until I can afford RaceTech and expert setup, I have simply raised my oil level and played with clickers and tried to set preload as best I can according to more-or-less universal instructions.

Eventually, a Zip-Ty link could help your tracking according to those knowledgable in that recent post. When you win the lottery, you could go with a steering dampner, too.

All of that stuff is on my wish list AFTER a pro-built suspension and AFTER I find out if I can keep my bike and use it for the purposes I intended... :)

Thanks for the support, too! By the way...I haven't read the story behind the "footpeg wanted" post... :D Is this a whole new chapter in "Lord Help Me..."? :D :D

  • Chaindrive

Posted October 21, 2002 - 10:41 AM

#3

OOPS! :) worked my way down the posts... sorry about your foot, dude! I agree, there are some amazing people hanging out here! Glad you're back in action!

  • cnacc

Posted October 21, 2002 - 10:58 AM

#4

Dodger it is really not that hard, in theory.
I have been racing downhill on MTN bikes for years so this is where my suspension knowledge comes from.

First for the front or rear you need to set your sag. Typically for a downhill bike you would want your fork to sag 25-30% of its travel. For the rear 30-35%. This lets the suspension take up negative bumps, dips or potholes. The suspension drops into the hole or what ever, also it helps when jumping by allowing the suspension to drop out. Sag really just helps the wheel follow the terrain up or down.

The next thing is proper spring rate, your stock springs are for a person up to 190, they might be to stiff for trail ridding? This could be part of what's causing some of the harsh feeling? You might want to check into some springs designed for your weight and trail riding specifically.

Now for compression. Your compression this controls how hard it is to compress the suspension. If your springs are correct it shouldn't be that hard to do. One of the biggest mistakes I have seen is people trying to compensate for improper spring rate with compression. Each click makes it stiffer, so just turn them until you like them. Try testing it on washboards, curbs, or anything bigger. That's happening, are you bottoming out, or are you even getting into the travel? You can use a zip-tie to see how far the shock/fork is moving. Once you feel like you like it mark down the settings. On to rebound. To give you an example on my downhill bike my fork is sprung perfectly for my weight so I only use 2 clicks, but I run my rebound at 8. Remember the compression and rebound work the tighter but are completely separate suspension functions.

Rebound controls how fast you like the shock/fort to return after being compressed. You cannot set the rebound until you are comfortable with your compression. Like everything else with suspension it is your preference. I personally like a medium speed rebound. It is also going to depend on what you are riding. Your comment" What's going on..........real harsh ride, deflects off of everything (scary ), square edges feel like I'm hitting cinder blocks." to me it would seem that you don't have enough rebound and it's probably your compression's force that is deflecting you. Remember that your rebound is countering the effects of the springs and not the number of clicks of compression. To give you a better Idea I weigh 245 for trails with the stock springs I run my compression at 10 but my rebound at 14. The best way I can tell you to test it is to go to a section of nasty washboard road and ride it with no rebound. Turn around and ride back with full rebound. Did you feel a difference, if so what? Now start at either full or no rebound and click up/down 2 clicks after each pass through the washboards. When you are where you think you might like to be adjust back and forth one click at a time until you are where you like it. This test can also be done on a rocky piece of trail. Now write it down so you don't forget.

There is a ton of aftermarket things that you can do to your valving which will definitely help, but I don't think you will neen to unless you really want to. Just remember that all of the different functions of your suspension are separate functions that all have to work togther. Take your time and it will work out.

If this didn't help send me a PM and I will give you a call I may be able to explain it better in person, or if I am in the area I would help you out for a beer.

  • Chaindrive

Posted October 21, 2002 - 11:28 AM

#5

Good explanation, cnacc! I actually understood it! Going to try it , too. But what about the horrible fork bottoming I raised my oil level to eliminate? I weigh 180 lbs. and don't always land properly from jumps.

I played with spring rate and preload on the rear and oil viscocity in the forks on my boy's King Cobra. Took awhile, partly 'cause he wouldn't stop growing for week, but I finally got his suspension working real smooth for him. Made a huge difference. No clickers or even suggested preloads to play with on that bike, either. It should be easier for me and my bike, I would think. What about changing oil viscosity in my forks instead of oil level?

  • Dodger

Posted October 21, 2002 - 12:01 PM

#6

Ahhh, comming through in a pinch, thanks cnacc. Going to hold onto, and peform based upon your explenation........very well done!!

Ok, so I've got a question......

Each click makes it stiffer, so just turn them until you like them.



Let me make sure I'm straight on this, could be my problem. I'm adjusting my clickers, based upon clicks out. What I mean, is I start by turning clickers all the way in (clockwise), and then adjusting out. My thinking is turning the compression clickers all the way in, that makes the forks as ridged as possible, right. And, on the same token, turning the rebound clickers all the way in (clockwise) make the fork rebound as slow as possible, right? Geeez, I hope I have that right.

And springs, I had thought that stock rates would work for my weight...........sounds like maybe not. Oh, and I got my bike just barely used, who knows maybe they had differnet springs put in...............wouldn't that just be peachy!!

Ok, I've got some work to do, I'm sure I can get "Miss Piggy" up and sailing smooth over everything in my way..........

Oh, and this is an open invetation to anyone who comes into the Boulder area.........I'm always up for buying someone, especially a fellow ride, a BEER, goes for anyone!!

Peace

Dodger :D :)

  • cnacc

Posted October 21, 2002 - 12:06 PM

#7

Again I am no MX suspension expert, but with down hill bikes just a couple CC more oil in a fork will help with bittoming, especially if you are at the upper weight range of your springs. I don't know how much to use in a 426 to make a difference. Some one else chime in.

Oil viscosity also makes a difference. If you want to slow things down put a heavier weight oil in, and lighter to speed it up. Think of it like pushing vegetable oil or syrup through a syringe. It will be allot easier to push the veg oil than the syrup. Again for my downhill bike I run, I believe, 7.5-weight oil in the warmer months and 5 weight in the winter.

I am still learning about the suspension on these bikes, but so far it is very similar to a modern DH bike. My DHI has 7" marazzochi monster T, a fork originally designed for trials motorcycles, with preload (how you set sag), compression and rebound. The rear is equipped with a fox vanilla RC that gets 9". The shock has nitrogen filled piggyback reservoir, compression and rebound. :)

  • FedEx250F

Posted October 21, 2002 - 12:07 PM

#8

Here's a great article on how to tune your suspension!!
http://www.off-road..../tootechp1.html

Enjoy!

  • cnacc

Posted October 21, 2002 - 12:32 PM

#9

Dodger, first off the stock springs may work just fine for you it all depends on how picky you are. For MTN bikes proper spring rate is vital.

Secondly you can adjust clickers from all the way out or in just be consistent.
"I'm adjusting my clickers, based upon clicks out. What I mean is I start by turning clickers all the way in (clockwise), and then adjusting out. My thinking is turning the compression clickers all the way in, that makes the forks as ridged as possible, right And, on the same token, turning the rebound clickers all the way in (clockwise) make the fork rebound as slow as possible, right? ." Right! I personally like to go softer to stiffer, but is just my preference. Turning the clicker clockwise should make the compression stiffer, and the rebound slower. Counter clock wise on compression = softer, and faster rebound.

I am just going to guess but you might like some thing like C6 with R9 or C8 with R10. From your first post I think you definitely need more rebound.
www.racetech.com has a cool little chart you fill out a bunch of boxes and I think it starts as a valving search. The end result is they will try and sell you a bunch of stuff but they tell you that they think your sag, comp, and rebound should. I just used it as a base line.
I was also experiencing a harsh hop off of flat/square edged rocks upped the rebound and I am very happy. I am currently saving up for proper springs for my weight, After I install them I will see how it feels and go from there.

If you start to over analize things walk away for a while, some times I can't feel a difference and a little break helps. You will figure it out. :)

  • Stefe9999

Posted October 21, 2002 - 01:39 PM

#10

Dodger,
I have been through this already. I weigh 215 and had .42 springs. No matter what I did with the clickers or oil height, I could not get rid of the harsheness. I thought the forks were fine for MX, but not on trails. So I went to .46's thinking I could reduce the compression clickers and relieve the harshness. This did not help either, but now I had the proper springs.

Since all that, I've re-valved and had shim stacks changed. That was the key. It is now great on trails, don't know about on the MX track yet. The shim stacks played the biggest role. Contact me if you want to discuss this further. Hey, you can come up here and check it out sometime if you want. Lots of good trail riding up her.

Visit the ThumperTalk Store for the lowest prices on motorcycle / ATV parts and accessories - Guaranteed
  • BlueDragon

Posted October 21, 2002 - 01:44 PM

#11

Steffe9999- Where is up here? I live in westminster and am always looking for new places to ride. :) :D

  • banffboy

Posted October 21, 2002 - 02:40 PM

#12

Hey Dodger

You mentioned that your front "deflects". Have you tried running lower tire pressure? I ride a lot of rocky single track and run my front tire pressure at 8-9 psi. I slime the tube and use heavy duty tubes. I weigh 210 and still have the stock springs. I'm a couple clicks softer than stock. I like this setup alot. The front end really tracks well. Just my 2 cents, which is 1 cent american :)

Peace out Brother

  • Mr_Toyz

Posted October 21, 2002 - 02:59 PM

#13

My 2 cents;

I'd try and see if you can make the stock springs work

I'd run Sectro 125/150 oil (7.5wt) at 95-100mm.

I'd run your forks at C12 and R14 or 15.

I'd run your shock at C13 and R15 or 16.

I'd try running your COLD tire pressure 13 or 14 psi.

As funny as it sounds, make sure that you are releasing any air from your bleeder screws on the top of your forks after each ride.

Good Luck!

Mr Toyz

  • roostmanwr400f

Posted October 21, 2002 - 03:47 PM

#14

There is a shop in Pittsburgh called DEK performance they are real good and reasonable. Send your tubes they will revalve them set the sag and reseal and re spring if needed. My 99 works great. Phone number is 800-833-2625 They are fast also.

  • Stefe9999

Posted October 21, 2002 - 04:09 PM

#15

Dodger,
I'm About 40 miles North of you, there is some pretty good riding up here. Just PM me if you want to come up, I am riding this weekend, Somewhere! I may just ride at Berthoud to see how well the front works for MX.

All of your comments about the front end fit what I was experiencing and it is much better now.

  • moto498

Posted October 21, 2002 - 04:24 PM

#16

Hey running 12psi in your front tire is a good start. Next have you had the front tire off? If the axle and forks are not lined up right the forks wont work right. Find the bigest jump or obstica and your bike should bottom a little not bad but a little this will help you absorb the bumps better.

  • WRMike250f

Posted October 21, 2002 - 05:47 PM

#17

So does my vacuume cleaner... :)

  • skthom2320

Posted October 21, 2002 - 07:56 PM

#18

The single best mod you can do to your bike is to have the suspension setup/revalved by a tuner.

WIth that said, it is very important to have gone through the program of adjusting your clickers, oil height, etc. so that you really appreciate the difference a good revalving will bring you. And also know if you got your money's worth.

So, I encourage you to spend as much time as possible learning how the clicker adjustments and oil heights affect your boingers.

Then when you get them back from the tuner and don't even have to adjust them, you will appreciate them that much more!

  • blue_beast_wins

Posted October 21, 2002 - 08:40 PM

#19

I agree the best way is to learn yourself, nobody rides the same as you do, the only one that will ever get it spot on is you, by experience, so what if others are waighting for you to adjust your clickers for a couple of rides, you will soon be waighting for them. :)

  • Merfman

Posted October 22, 2002 - 04:54 AM

#20

Dodger,

The A#1 thing you need to do is get your fork oil changed. If you're riding a lot, it'll
get dirty and fade quite quickly.

For your weight, I think you're probably OK on springs.

You mention that you're running 8 "out" on the forks. I'd put the rebound back
at the stock settings, go ride a section of trail that gives you trouble and then
back out 2 more clicks, re-ride the section, and TAKE NOTES on what it's doing
between rides. Don't trust feel or memory, take notes. Trust me here.

If you can't adjust your problems away, then start with a lower visc fluid, or lower
fluid level. You mentioned that it was "even with the top of the triple clamps" ...
The correct way to measure your fluid height is with the forks off, spring out, forks
compressed, measured from the top of the tubes. There's a real simple way to
make a fluid removal tool that will put your fluid EXACTLY where you want it.
PM me if you're interested. There's about $5 in materials for a widget that Race
Tech sells for $80.

Anyway, you'll want to take more notes of fluid height, fluid visc, type, etc. Don't
trust your memory. :D

Now, if you want the easy answer, call Jeff Slavens in Colo Spgs at 719-475-2624
and have him revalve/setup your bike for you.

OBTW, I'm no suspension specialist but mine works just fine. :)

Merf




 
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