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noMAD man
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Alright...today I finally got to try out that $25 V10 5th E from the SC store clearance. The shock bolted up easily with no issues. I set up the SPV air pressure at 125psi with the chamber totally opened...full volume. It came with a 350lb. spring that I ran at minimum preload. I tried the beginning and ending stroke compression adjusters at 1/2 turn in from full open. I still have the 5th E tuning booklet and an SC setup guide for the Bullit and V10 5th E's from this time frame. It looks like the 350lb. spring indicates a 5th E for a medium V10 from that era. With this shock going on a Nomad, I wasn't sure how this would all translate. On my Nomad, I was getting an inch of sag. That's about 36%, so well in the ballpark to start with.

A little background on my Nomad. It's a large with an '08 Nixon 160 20mm TA fork that is fitted with a 650B wheel/tire combo. I've run this front fork and wheel/tire setup for nearly a year. The rear is a conventional 26" setup. I was actually looking forward to raising the rear of the bike a bit to see if it made a better match to the taller front wheel and to help with pedal strikes. I come from years of riding previous generation Bullits, so a bike has to get a fairly tall BB height for me before I notice negative handling traits. I've had two prior 5th E shocks on my Bullits, so I'm somewhat familiar with tuning them on a simple single pivot. It's been awhile, however, so I'm a little rusty.

The first thing I noticed was how slow the rebound was even with the adjuster wide open. After just a mile down the trail, the shock seemed become more lively and the rebound got a little faster. The damping felt fairly good overall, but then there would be an odd spike at an odd time occasionally. The bigger stuff I hit at higher speed, the better the shock felt.

I noticed an odd sensation when climbing in looser terrain of spinning the rear tire. This was not normal. I ride this trail all the time and know every rock on it. I even helped build it. I'm running the same rear wheel and tire, so no variation there. Something in the shock action or a change in axle position is probably causing this. It's not dramatic...just noticeable. I'm guessing the "pushed down" swingarm position from the extra 1/4" length may be inducing this...or there's a lack of compliance in the shock. The shock feels quite compliant, so I'm thinking that's not it. This may be a sag issue with the VPP and the longer shock.

This trail is 11 miles long with rocks, technical features, and even some short man-made wooden drops. The harsher parts of the trail were handled quite well with the shock. The easier parts would occasionally get that odd spike...nothing big...just there. I tried dropping air in the piggyback, but the shock seemed to get downright mushy...nothing less than 90psi. I tried upping and lowering the compression adjustment, but anything over a full turn in from wide-open would produce noticeable harshness. The shock has that somewhat tradiitonal "dead" feeling that the 5th E is known for...not too bad, but there.

The good news. The Nomad...already an efficient pedaler...is noticeably better pedaling with the SPV in this shock. I'm not sure that's what one wants, as it may be causing that odd occasional spike in easier terrain. The bike also pedaled over rocky terrain and rock gardens very nicely. The back end doesn't want to hangup at all...perhaps a byproduct of the axle position.

The other really nice aspect of this experiment was the handling. The front wheel bites even better while cornering...not rocket science I guess, due to slightly steepening the head angle. This length shock is a good match to the 650B on the front...or any taller fork. The bike is taller overall, but it's a balanced feel to the overall geometry. The bike wasn't tippy or front heavy. It was still very stable in rocky decents either slow or fast. I even nailed a rock face on a slow, rocky drop-down that brought the bike to a halt, but the bike didn't feel prone to OTB.

Well, this is only one ride. From experience it will take a few more rides and fiddling to really sort out this shock and see if it will be suitable to use as is. I'm strongly considering that Avalanche mod to the 5th E which really sounds like the way to go. I'm more optimistic now that my Nomad's geometry won't be jacked up, and in fact may be improved because of the 650B front setup. The shock never bottomed. I really thought I'd absolutely need a stiffer spring, but I'll keep running this one for a bit to see. I remember that 5th E's are somewhat heavily damped, and the addition of the SPV usually requires a lighter spring.

Any others tried one of these yet on a Nomad?
 

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noMAD man
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12,227 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The older generation Nomad has a 2.6 suspension rate which is a fairly normal design rate. You get about 7.1" of rear travel with this shock. I don't think I'm getting full travel at this point, as it takes a pretty big hit to compress that bumper the designed amount. Don't have any pics with the 5th E mounted, but I've posted pleny of this bike before here on this forum. I may get a pic tomorrow.
 

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noMAD man
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12,227 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
BTW...anyone seen any reports on the forums about the Avalanche 5th E mod?...and I mean an actual riding test after the mod. If there were any on the suspension forum, I missed it.
 

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noMAD man
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12,227 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Here's a pic from today.

Nothing unusual looking about the pic as such. That's a 650B setup in front, and you can see the difference a bit by looking at the lines on the metal building. The geometry with this setup feels great...still not sure about the shock at this point.
 

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Just another FOC'er
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2,222 Posts
I've been running 5th Elements on my Bullit since 02 and my DH bike since 03. I actually think they're pretty good shocks, but they tend to be very overdamped, especially rebound. They're also sticky (stictiony? ;)) due to the main seal o-ring. The Bullit's the same average 2.6 ratio as the Nomad, so the damping reqirement should be somewhat similar.

V10 shock high speed rebound shim stack (on the piston):
8mm X 18mm X 0.1mm (lots of damping from all these 18mm shims)
8mm X 18mm X 0.1mm
8mm X 18mm X 0.1mm
8mm X 18mm X 0.1mm
8mm X 12mm X 0.1mm
8mm X 12mm X 0.1mm
8mm X 12mm X 0.1mm
8mm X 12mm X 0.1mm

For the Bullit I shimmed it:
8mm X 12mm X 0.1mm (removes some preload)
8mm X 12mm X 0.1mm (only one real oil blocking shim)
8mm X 12mm X 0.25mm
8mm X 12mm X 0.25mm

V10 low speed rebound:
6mm X 10mm X 0.1mm
6mm X 15mm X 0.1mm
6mm X 8mm X 0.8mm

Bullit version
6mm X 10mm X 0.1mm (I removed preload, the dish on the valve face is 0.25mm)
6mm X 10mm X 0.1mm
6mm X 15mm X 0.1mm
6mm X 8mm X 0.8mm

There's also one rebound shim and one compression shim at the base of the reservoir. I didn't change these, but they do add to overall damping.

I also changed the main seal from a very sticky 90 durometer to a way smoother Viton 75 durometer (112 Type O-Ring).

I use Golden Spectro Ultra Light (HVI SSF) oil, and set the BSC all the way out and the ESC 3/4 turn in from all the way out. I also run the bottom out 2 turns in from all the way out to compensate for the falling rate at the end of the Bullit's travel. I run 70 psi and have about 30% sag.

Higher pressure gives me more compression damping and 'platform' than I like. With 70 psi I get zero bob unless I stand and hammer.

My Bullit really feels nice with the lighter shims, whereas the stock V10 setup didn't work at all for me. Of course the V10 has a very high leverage ratio, but even on the V10 those shocks were pretty heavily damped. With this setup the bike feels 'lively' and I can easily pop it off jumps, bunny hop it, have it not pack down, etc. With the stock setup it doesn't easily do any of that. I kind of like the 'control valve' compression damper for its ability to ramp up compression damping at end stroke. It's very smooth in handling bigger hits.

Taking these things apart isn't something everybody's gonna want to try, but these changes do make a huge difference in how the shock works. The Manitou Swinger Shock Service Manual is a pretty good step by step guide though because it's basically identical to the 5th Element. But be warned -- Progressive used a lot of red loctite putting them together though, so you've really got to lay into it to get it apart the first time. :p
 

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noMAD man
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12,227 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hey Danno...good info. I'm not surprised you've buggered into one of these...LOL! On the suspension rate and leverage between the Nomad and Bullit, on my DHXA and Fox RC, there's a dramatic difference in spring requirements. The RC used a 400 spring on the Bullit and a 550 on the Nomad. The DHXA was 180 main/160 piggyback on the Bullit and 220 main/120 piggyback on the Nomad. I have a complete printout of the all the Manitou piggyback air and coil shocks and have already rebuilt my 4-Way Air and changed the oil in my ISX-6. I may get jiggy and try it. I sure am tempted by the quality looking parts and setup that Avy is sticking in their modded version. Thanks for the info.
 

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I dig trails!
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5,611 Posts
TNC,

Do the shock mod yourself. :)

Kyle from The Broke Bike wrote up these instructions and can provide you with a $50 rebuild kit including shims:
http://www.mtbshock.com/swinger_5th_shim_mod.htm
or Have Kyle do for something like $115.

I was going to go this route, but (thought!) I needed some platform and went Roco.

I'll Xpost this to the other thread.

My 5th experience was pretty good too. After months of tuning, riding and note taking I settled on 90psi, LSC full open, HSC 1turn, and Volume full in. I did not feel I had a super slow rebound - but that might be my inexperience - or the volume being full in? Big hits were amazing, and I found I could cycle the suspension through boneyards to keep the platform threshold open = more supple. The downside was slow tech climbing, the platform would hold going over rocks, then compress after being over, so not so good. This is on an 06 Enduro.

P
 

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Just another FOC'er
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2,222 Posts
Mr.P said:
TNC,

Do the shock mod yourself. :)
I'm still thinking about making one of mine into a fully shimmed damper, but I haven't come across a good place to buy a single 25mm diameter shim. It should cost about $1. You need at least one that size to match the control valve diameter. It seems you should have some amount of platform like effect if the shims are somewhat preloaded.

It would be a fun experiement, but I honestly don't think I'd like it as much as the 5th I'm running on the bike now.
 

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noMAD man
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12,227 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Stumpy_Steve said:
TNC, nice saddle. I've got one on my commuter, and the damn thing is comfortable! And at only $40, it can't be beat...
We're a Specialized dealer, so it was exceptionally cheap.:D Yeah, I like the fatter nose for aggressive climbing situations.

Mr.P and Danno, thanks for the detailed info on that alternative. I'd still like to hear from anyone who's done the Avy mod. The Avy deal looks a little more extensive...doesn't it?
 

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Just another FOC'er
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2,222 Posts
TNC said:
We're a Specialized dealer, so it was exceptionally cheap.:D Yeah, I like the fatter nose for aggressive climbing situations.

Mr.P and Danno, thanks for the detailed info on that alternative. I'd still like to hear from anyone who's done the Avy mod. The Avy deal looks a little more extensive...doesn't it?
I'm curious too! ;)

Unlike something Push would do they still use the same piston valve, and just replace the control valve with shims. The other big change is that they somehow put a hole in the low speed rebound shim stack at the end of the piston which gets rid of any platform. That'll work on a Nomad, but not be so good on a Bullit.

Well, I'm off for a nice fun 34 mile ride with 7700 feet climbing on the Bullit today. It's only about 41 lbs though so it should be cake! :D I'd ride a lighter bike, but there's some serious tech on one of the trails. The Bullit will be perfect.
 

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127 Posts
Good stuff - I'm running a 5th but don't have a clue what I'm doing. I have compression and rebound backed almost all the way out. What are you guys doing with the other settings?
BTW ... stupid question ... how do you determine how much travel you are using on a rear shock. I guess you would feel bottoming.
 

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noMAD man
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12,227 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
WildJackal said:
Good stuff - I'm running a 5th but don't have a clue what I'm doing. I have compression and rebound backed almost all the way out. What are you guys doing with the other settings?
BTW ... stupid question ... how do you determine how much travel you are using on a rear shock. I guess you would feel bottoming.
No kidding...the 5th has a freakin' 3/4" bottomout bumper down there, so it's darned hard to see or feel exactly what's happening at end of stroke. If you notice, I have mine mounted with the shaft pointing up toward me. Now obviously one can't watch exactly what's happening while you pound off of something big, but I've been trying to hit some bigger stuff that I can take a glance on, and it's still hard to tell. I get the impression that I'd have to have a 100 pound spring on there to get an honest, hard bottomout.:D
 

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I dig trails!
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5,611 Posts
.Danno. said:
I'm still thinking about making one of mine into a fully shimmed damper, but I haven't come across a good place to buy a single 25mm diameter shim. It should cost about $1. You need at least one that size to match the control valve diameter. It seems you should have some amount of platform like effect if the shims are somewhat preloaded.
Danno,
Buy your single shim here:
http://www.mx-tech.com/?id=products&cat=12

Also, I originally bought my 5th from Santa Cruz with a 200# spring. I wonder if the rebound shims have been matched to the spring (lighter damping) - I ran a 400# spring. On another side note, the roco wide open had the same bob as the 5th, but the Roco is more sensitive to small bumps.

P
 

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Just another FOC'er
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2,222 Posts
Mr.P said:
Danno,
Buy your single shim here:
http://www.mx-tech.com/?id=products&cat=12

Also, I originally bought my 5th from Santa Cruz with a 200# spring. I wonder if the rebound shims have been matched to the spring (lighter damping) - I ran a 400# spring. On another side note, the roco wide open had the same bob as the 5th, but the Roco is more sensitive to small bumps.

P
Sweet, thanks for the link to the shims!

Wow, a 200# spring? What bike was that meant to go on? I run a 325# spring on my Bullit and the rebound damping would completely overwhelm it.

There are certainly different tunes for 5th Elements, but most of them except a 2002 Bullit shock had about the same shim stacks. The older Bullit shocks didn't have the additional valve with compression and rebound shims which located at the bottom of the reservoir on the VPFree and V10 shocks.

BTW, if you take apart a IH 7point 5th Element you'll see how lightly DW had them shim the rebound. That's more or less what I'm running on my Bullit. The Bullit has about the same leverage ratio as a 7point, at least the older ones do.
 

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I dig trails!
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5,611 Posts
.Danno. said:
Sweet, thanks for the link to the shims!

Wow, a 200# spring? What bike was that meant to go on? I run a 325# spring on my Bullit and the rebound damping would completely overwhelm it.

There are certainly different tunes for 5th Elements, but most of them except a 2002 Bullit shock had about the same shim stacks. The older Bullit shocks didn't have the additional valve with compression and rebound shims which located at the bottom of the reservoir on the VPFree and V10 shocks.
I bought the 5th from Santa Cruz during one of their clearances. It is an 8.5x2.5, and if I remember correctly it was specced for a Bullit. It is also a 6way. I specifically bought the 200# spring version (they were selling with springs) hoping it would have a lighter tune.

I don't know if it actually does have a lighter tune, but I never had an issue with rebound. I like to run it fast (clipped in) and ran it 1 or 2 turns in.

I do notice my Roco can easily be faster. Like it was the first ride this weekend :eek:

Again, it could be a personal preference thing, what feels good for me, will be another's bad setting? I think I was 75-50# over sprung too (no SPV compensation)

P
 

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err, 27.5+
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4,928 Posts
TNC said:
I'd still like to hear from anyone who's done the Avy mod. The Avy deal looks a little more extensive...doesn't it?
I exchanged a few e-mails with Craig on this before picking up a cheap Swinger off e-bay. It is fairly extensive. Sounds like they try to tune it like their shocks. He claimed a more sensitive compression adjustment. I ended up with a 4wy, so that is moot anyhow. I actually dig the platform of spv. I had just forgotten how overdamped these shocks feel (I had a 5th on one of my hecklers and bullits back in the day). It would be nice to get the speed sensitive hookup without losing the spv.

Did you ever locate any info on the AVY tune? Anyone riding it?
 
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