Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner

2021 RockShox Pike Ultimate 130mm setup Bottomless Tokens: Anyone put more than 4?

6921 Views 13 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  sowestport
The specifications indicate that I can put 6 tokens in, but when I put 5 or 6 tokens in, the shock becomes stuck compressed.

At 4 tokens, the shock works fine.

Has anyone setup with more than 4 tokens?
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
I think your problem is that you are using a fork for a shock.

Seriously though, it getting stuck compresses indicates an issue with the air spring. Start with a service.
  • Like
Reactions: 2
I think your problem is that you are using a fork for a shock.

Seriously though, it getting stuck compresses indicates an issue with the air spring. Start with a service.
Yeah…I noticed that the space for the air spring is getting squeezed out lol

It works fine for 4 or less tokens though. The shock compresses and rebounds fine.
  • So you think it still needs service?

I’m trying to see how plush I can get my fork for high frequency bumps like roots and rocks.
  • Perhaps I’m going about it all wrong?
Yeah…I noticed that the space for the air spring is getting squeezed out lol

It works fine for 4 or less tokens though. The shock compresses and rebounds fine.
  • So you think it still needs service?

I’m trying to see how plush I can get my fork for high frequency bumps like roots and rocks.
  • Perhaps I’m going about it all wrong?
Yes, I still think you need a service. My guess is the air head seal is leaking under high pressure allowing bleed between the positive and negative chambers.

As to going about it wrong, probably. Many people lower pressure and add tokens trying to make suspension softer. This results in the suspension being in the steep part of the spring curve at sag, which gives a higher spring rate at sag and makes it harsher. The way to fix this is less tokens and a higher starting pressure. I would suggest you start by servicing the air spring. Start over with your settings in the following order:
  • Removal all tokens and set your pressure and rebound to the baseline recommended here: https://trailhead.rockshox.com/en/tuning/FS-PIKE-ULT-B4/130/DEBONAIR Assuming your pump is accurate, this should get you within +/- 10 psi and a +/- 2 clicks of where your pressure and rebound will be right for you.
  • Set your high speed compression fully open.
  • Set low speed compression as needed to control chassis movements (dive under braking, lessening bob when pedaling).
  • Go ride and see how it feels. Adjust rebound a few clicks each way to see how it feels (too much will lead to fork packing down and feeling harsh, not enough and the front will start losing traction).
  • If you are bottoming the fork frequently (occasional bottoms that are not harsh are fine), either add some pressure or add a token and keep same pressure.
Dougal also has a good setup guide based on using frequency for tuning:


Finally, it well worth watching Seb Stotts excellent videos on setup:


See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 2
Yes, I still think you need a service. My guess is the air head seal is leaking under high pressure allowing bleed between the positive and negative chambers.

As to going about it wrong, probably. Many people lower pressure and add tokens trying to make suspension softer. This results in the suspension being in the steep part of the spring curve at sag, which gives a higher spring rate at sag and makes it harsher. The way to fix this is less tokens and a higher starting pressure. I would suggest you start by servicing the air spring. Start over with your settings in the following order:
  • Removal all tokens and set your pressure and rebound to the baseline recommended here: https://trailhead.rockshox.com/en/tuning/FS-PIKE-ULT-B4/130/DEBONAIR Assuming your pump is accurate, this should get you within +/- 10 psi and a +/- 2 clicks of where your pressure and rebound will be right for you.
  • Set your high speed compression fully open.
  • Set low speed compression as needed to control chassis movements (dive under braking, lessening bob when pedaling).
  • Go ride and see how it feels. Adjust rebound a few clicks each way to see how it feels (too much will lead to fork packing down and feeling harsh, not enough and the front will start losing traction).
  • If you are bottoming the fork frequently (occasional bottoms that are not harsh are fine), either add some pressure or add a token and keep same pressure.
Dougal also has a good setup guide based on using frequency for tuning:


Finally, it well worth watching Seb Stotts excellent videos on setup:


But when you add more tokens, you put in less PSIs so that you allow more SAG. Then at SAG, the pressure is less and so proportionally, the little roots and rocks don’t feel so harsh. Since the pressure curve per fork travel at the more compressed end is steep, you end up with same amount of PSI at the more compressed section of the fork as you would with a standard setup (let’s say 2 tokens in the pike).

Anyway, that’s the theory I’m following. My fork is definitely less harsh and I don’t bottom out with the 4 vs 2 tokens.
But when you add more tokens, you put in less PSIs so that you allow more SAG. Then at SAG, the pressure is less and so proportionally, the little roots and rocks don’t feel so harsh. Since the pressure curve per fork travel at the more compressed end is steep, you end up with same amount of PSI at the more compressed section of the fork as you would with a standard setup (let’s say 2 tokens in the pike).

Anyway, that’s the theory I’m following. My fork is definitely less harsh and I don’t bottom out with the 4 vs 2 tokens.
Hmmm…now you got me thinking the other way. Since I’m allowing more SAG, I don’t have as much of the fork to play with, so maybe I’m making it equivalent to a 120mm vs 130mm fork.

Perhaps as you said, maybe I need to take out the standard setup of 2 tokens and got to 0 tokens take make it more plush for roots/rocks?
But when you add more tokens, you put in less PSIs so that you allow more SAG. Then at SAG, the pressure is less and so proportionally, the little roots and rocks don’t feel so harsh. Since the pressure curve per fork travel at the more compressed end is steep, you end up with same amount of PSI at the more compressed section of the fork as you would with a standard setup (let’s say 2 tokens in the pike).

Anyway, that’s the theory I’m following. My fork is definitely less harsh and I don’t bottom out with the 4 vs 2 tokens.
You are having a very common misunderstanding, one that many riders have and prevents them from getting their bikes properly sorted.

At sag, the pressure will always be the same, regardless of the number of volume spacers or starting pressure. It takes a certain spring pressure (air pressure in an air fork) to support a certain weight at certain position. Bikeco has an excellent spreadsheet showing the effect of volume spacers on pressure (i.e. total spring rate) normalized to 20% sag (about what most people run in forks). So if you take a look at it (I have attached it) you will see that as you increase the number of tokens, you are are also increasing the spring rate in the midstroke (where you are for repetitive hits). Keep in mind this spreadsheet ignores dampening, but it illustrates the issue for our needs. So lets compare:
  • Take the fork and start with no tokens and 20% sag and you hit a 5" rock that compresses for the fork to 80% of the travel (so a bump that uses 60% of total available travel). That bump will increase your air pressure to 122.49 psi (again air pressure and total spring pressure are the same for these purposes) .
  • Now say you add 6 spacers to that fork, same 20% sag, do the same run at the same speed, hit the same rock and the same way. Now what happens? Now the fork only compresses to 60% (40% of total available travel; see the column with 6 spacers, 119 psi equals 60% travel). The tokens have caused a 33% reduction in used travel because you have massively increased the spring rate from the sag point on.
The easiest way to think of it is you use air pressure to set the feel of the fork from topout to about 1/3-1/2 of avaialble travel. Tokens are used to control rampup and bottoming at 50-100% travel. Set the pressure first to where it is right, then use those tokens as needed to control ramp up (add if bottoming, take out if not using all the travel.). Try it, if it doesn't work, go back to where you are.

Rectangle Slope Font Line Parallel
See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 5
You are having a very common misunderstanding, one that many riders have and prevents them from getting their bikes properly sorted.

At sag, the pressure will always be the same, regardless of the number of volume spacers or starting pressure. It takes a certain spring pressure (air pressure in an air fork) to support a certain weight at certain position. Bikeco has an excellent spreadsheet showing the affect of volume spacers on pressure (i.e. total spring rate) normalized to 20% sag (about what most people run in forks). So if you take a look at it (I have attached it) you will see that as you increase the number of tokens, you are are also increasing the spring rate in the midstroke (where you are for repetitive hits). Keep in mind this spreadsheet ignores dampening, but it illustrates the issue for our needs. So lets compare:
  • Take the fork and start with no tokens and 20% sag and you hit a 5" rock that compresses for the fork to 80% of the travel (so a bump that uses 60% of total available travel). That bump will increase your air pressure to 122.49 psi (again air pressure and total spring pressure are the same for these purposes) .
  • Now say you add 6 spacers to that fork, same 20% sag, do the same run at the same speed, hit the same rock and the same way. Now what happens? Now the fork only compresses to 60% (40% of total available travel; see the column with 6 spacers, 119 psi equals 60% travel). The tokens have caused a 33% reduction in used travel because you have massively increased the spring rate from the sag point on.
The easiest way to think of it is you use air pressure to set the feel of the fork from topout to about 1/3-1/2 of avaialble travel. Tokens are used to control rampup and bottoming at 50-100% travel. Set the pressure first to where it is right, then use those tokens as needed to control ramp up (add if bottoming, take out if not using all the travel.). Try it, if it doesn't work, go back to where you are.

View attachment 1954537
But your graph supposes that you hold 65 psi constant for all token configurations.

Note if you use much less PSI’s for 6 tokens so that at 100%, you have the same PSI as the no spacers at 100%. Then the distance travel from 0 to 100% would yield a purple curve (6 tokens) that definitely would below the blue curve (no tokens) until you hit 100%.

So now your fork will not feel as harsh from the lower travel (< 80%). Thus the roots/rocks will not feel so harsh.
Using tokens to lower psi for better small bump while not bottoming out isn’t the right move imo. If you are jamming 6 tokens in just to get to correct sag at a low psi, your fork is always going to feel like trash. Like others have said, tokens should only be felt/changing things at the end of the stroke. If you are using them to prop up an under pressurized air spring, your fork will probably feel like jello at sag, then slam into basically a brick wall in the mid stroke.

Start by removing all tokens and set up your sag with correct pressure , run compression wide open and ride it that way. See how that feels. I have the same fork and it has great small bump compliance. I run 3 tokens in mine at 180lbs and an aggressive rider.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  • Like
Reactions: 4
But your graph supposes that you hold 65 psi constant for all token configurations.
So now your fork will not feel as harsh from the lower travel (< 80%). Thus the roots/rocks will not feel so harsh.
No it does not. It uses the same sag (again to get the same sag takes the same pressure at sag as in the case of a fork pressure and total spring rate are directly related), so the pressures at topout are different (see the pressures at topout). I suggest reading what I wrote carefully and spending some time actually looking at the numbers.

Let me put this another way. All of your logic and understanding has gotten you to a point where you are not happy with your setup. I have offered a potential solution and the explanation for the solution. You are free to disregard the advice and keep doing what is not working, or try something different. "Insanity it repeating the same action over and over and expecting a different result."
  • Like
Reactions: 2
No it does not. It uses the same sag (again to get the same sag takes the same pressure at sag as in the case of a fork pressure and total spring rate are directly related), so the pressures at topout are different (see the pressures at topout). I suggest reading what I wrote carefully and spending some time actually looking at the numbers.

Let me put this another way. All of your logic and understanding has gotten you to a point where you are not happy with your setup. I have offered a potential solution and the explanation for the solution. You are free to disregard the advice and keep doing what is not working, or try something different. "Insanity it repeating the same action over and over and expecting a different result."
Okay. I see it uses the same sag at 20%, which gives about 73.64 psi! So if it takes 73.64 psi for your fork to support your riding weight, then the curves all show that the more tokens you put in, the more tokens gives you more psi’s (will feel harsh) If compress your fork beyond 20%, which is the riding condition. Unweighted, it will be less but that means you fell off.

In general, given constant SAG for any rider weight, all the curves go through the same PSI point and 20%. And the more tokens means the curves with more tokens will be more steep (slope) with psi vs travel beyond the 20%.

My bad for not noticing the 20% constant SAG!
  • Like
Reactions: 1
Okay. I see it uses the same sag at 20%, which gives about 73.64 psi! So if it takes 73.64 psi for your fork to support your riding weight, then the curves all show that the more tokens you put in, the more tokens gives you more psi’s (will feel harsh) If compress your fork beyond 20%, which is the riding condition. Unweighted, it will be less but that means you fell off.

In general, given constant SAG for any rider weight, all the curves go through the same PSI point and 20%. And the more tokens means the curves with more tokens will be more steep (slope) with psi vs travel beyond the 20%.

My bad for not noticing the 20% constant SAG!
You got it. Thanks for looking at it again. I still think you may have a bad seal between the positive and negative chamber, which complicates it further. Could be an oring (or x ring) failing or contamination (i.e. a hair or piece of thread).
The only riders out there adding full tokens can be found at Rampage!
The only riders out there adding full tokens can be found at Rampage!
Turns out that i had a misconception about the tokens. Looks like I want to go the other way. I’m about to post how people setup for rocks/roots with minimal drops in a new thread.
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top