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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone, just looking for some sage advice on where to go with my suspension settings? Finally got my Megatower build done and I've ridden 3 times now and not quite sure I am getting the most out of my suspension and have questions about how to set it up best.

THE DEETS
  • 6'8", 230lbs naked, 235lbs with gear
  • 2020 XXL Megatower
  • Manitou Mezzer Pro fork at 160mm travel (main chamber set at 70psi, IRT at 110psi which is supposed to help with the mid stroke and keep the progression high in the last 1/3 of the travel. Hence why I have it set a little higher than the norm)
  • RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate Coil Shock with Vorsprung Tractive Tune, 650lb EXT spring (tuning and coil spring done by Suspension Syndicate to my weight, height, bike, riding style, etc)
  • Schwalbe Magic Mary up front and Hans Dampf in back, Tire pressure is for now at 23psi front, 26psi rear
  • DT Swiss EX 511 30mm rims with i9 1/1 hubs
  • Even though I'm "new" to a FS bike and this bike, I used to bike and MTB all the time from ages 8-22 on my old Specialized Stumpjumper with it's little RS 1-2" travel crap fork or my BMX bike. I've always been a pretty good bike rider/handler and could get away with some pretty sketchy stuff compared to most. But I wouldn't say I'm expert or anything like that. I also ride my road bike often. I'm a good bike rider/handler and it won't take me long to start getting much better once I get used to riding again and this FS beast of a bike.

The two main trails I'll ride locally are pretty different. One is more classic XC or flowy trail type riding. Lots of pedaling with some fast downs, then some short punchy steep climbs. LOTS of tree roots in the worst spots on climbs or when coming down a hill to a tight turn. Then the flowy parts that are a bit better. You usually have to pedal about half the time, has some good fast sections with some small drops, and has less tree roots and small rocks than the climbs or flat sections. If you keep your momentum up you can get . Makes it rough and hard to feel like you're really flowing through the trail. Lots of stupid odd large tree roots in the WORST spots, that just kill your momentum and flow.

The other trail is a more classic DH trail system with a fireroad and/or shuttle to get back to the top. Is fast, somewhat bumpy, medium burms (but nothing amazing to really push into at speed), and some really good jumps at speed. Plus a HUGE jump line trail that is smooth and machine made.

So far, I've just been to the regular trails and noticing some issues. So first of all, I'm not even 100% sure what I need to adjust with the suspension since I've never had suspension. And sometimes what I think I could be feeling could be the opposite of what I need to change it too. Like for ex. I might think the ride is too harsh. So I change the air pressure, rebound or compression to get rid of that perceived harshness. When in fact, it might already be pretty plush. And I just make it worse by changing it to the wrong way? I don't know, since I've never had a FS bike and just have perceived notions of what it "should" feel like. But so far, I feel like I'm getting bounced around a lot more than I should on the roots and rocks and stuff like that. Like the suspension isn't tracking the ground really well and absorbing the bumps really well. But then again, I have no frame of reference as I've never been on a FS bike.

I started out with the rebound and compression all in the middle and rode once. It was alright, not great, not bad though. My fork and shock weren't bottoming out or diving. But they also weren't really smoothing out the bumps and roots really well, or like I thought they should. So I messed around with the rebound and compression in my neighborhood the following day (dropped off some curbs, rode into/over curbs, etc) to try and find some settings that felt better and more damped, more like I'm not getting bucked around as much when hitting bumps and dropping off stuff. Letting the suspension take the hit, and not me. And what I found was that more rebound felt good/more damped. But that's just riding around in the neighborhood. Also, I can't feel any changes when I mess with the compression settings at home or on the trail. Which is strange, but I read I might not feel those changes till I actually go riding? But even messing with compression a bit while on the trail, I can't tell the difference.

And.... I've read from Pro tuners and articles (that tune the pros bikes) that having too much rebound/too closed is bad and can cause packing and a harsh feeling? They say to run as little rebound as possible so that the bike doesn't pogo or cycle more than once. And to run as little compression as possible, but not too little as the fork will then dive and bob when pedaling, cornering, and braking. And to make sure you always have 1-2 clicks more rebound on the shock compared to the fork, so you don't get thrown over the bars. So I've been adjusting the shock rebound accordingly when I change the fork. The Mezzer Pro fork has rebound, LSC and HSC, while the shock just has rebound and LSC. I'm just looking to get this things setup for a somewhat plush/comfortable, supportive ride, then I can adjust from there for different trail systems. Like I know when I go to the DH trails, I'll slow down the rebound and open the compression. Since they are smoother trails overall and medium to large jumps.

One thing I noticed yesterday on the more advanced trail that has more downs and steep ups, was that when I let go a bit more and let the bike get up to faster speeds going down, it feels a little more out of control. And when I modulate my brakes to just slow down a tad when going super fast, the bike (mostly the rear end) starts chattering and bouncing around a bit and feeling a bit out of control. Also, like it's not sticking to the ground like glue, like it should. Which is weird, because I've read TONS of reviews of the Megatower and everyone says the same thing: this bike isn't as great as others when at slow to medium speeds, but once the terrain gets gnarly and fast, this thing comes into it's own and is a racers delight! SUPER stable and just inspires you to push your limits and speed, all while feeling very supportive and in control. PLUS I have a coil shock, which is supposed to make the rear end stick to the ground like glue and feel super supportive. Yet, so far, I'm not feeling that. So what could be causing it to NOT feel like it should at speed? What settings should I change on my fork/shock and why?

And yesterday when I went for my ride, I turned the rebound down to about 2-4 clicks from closed/all the way on, and tried that and really it didn't feel a whole lot different than right in the middle. It's very strange. If I turn the rebound almost all the way up, so that it's super slow and damped feeling, it feels amazing dropping off a really tall curb or a 2-3' drop. Same thing when I ram the bike straight into a curb or large object, it feels amazing and very damped and smooth. But then out on the trail, it doesn't matter if I put the rebound almost all the way closed, or more in the middle, it feels about the same. Same goes for compression. I can put it in the middle or wide open and can't really feel a difference.

The fork feels pretty good when I bounce on it after going through the setup videos and articles, it's not stiff, and it's not mushy. And when riding, I never bottom out the O-ring, but it's in the final 80-90%ish range when I check it at the end of the ride. And I can't tell about the shock. I just know I've never felt the shock bottom out, which makes sense as I'm not jumping much or going off any huge drops on this trail I've been on 3 times now. That might change once I get over to the DH trail system though, haha. I'll probably run it in the Low chip setting when I go over there, and maybe even the long chain stay position as well.

So I'm just confused about all these settings and how to get the bike to feel better. I decided on this build to spend the most money on the suspension, and not rims, fancy carbon parts, expensive cranks, etc. Fluff. I wanted to put the money into the most important part, the frame and the suspension. And so far, I'm not really feeling like it's working like it should. Plus the shock got tuned by Vorsprung Tractive Tuning! Which should make a HUGE difference. So I'm just really not understanding what is going on, and why it's not performing like I thought it would. It's not bad per say, I just feel like it was supposed to make the ride comfortable, supportive and get rid of most of the bumps and chatter at high speed. Stay super locked to the ground and feel super safe and supportive at high speeds? And yet, I still feel a lot of the bumps and chatter and don't feel super safe and supported at high speeds. Wondering if I just have high expectations and a FS isn't going to smooth out the hits as much as I thought it should? Or should such a high end bike and suspension really smooth out the trail really well, and also feel really supportive?

I've tried the fork and shock with rebound almost all the way closed, and then in the middle. And I've tried the compression on both all the way open, and then in the middle. And none of those changes feels much different to me. So just wondering where to go from here? Sorry this is so long, just wanted to make sure I answer all the questions that I know will come up before you ask them. Thanks
 

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First off, slow down and address things one at a time.

In order of importance and attention, you need to focus on and check the following:
-Suspension Sag and Spring Rate: Measure your sag both front and rear and make sure that you're at 30% rear and 20-25% front. Record those settings and then use the MFG charts for your fork to set your rebound. For your rear shock, you should have information from the 3rd party tuning company on what rate and rebound settings you have. This should get you within 1-3 clicks on rebound and give you a starting point.

-check your tire pressure, every time, before you ride... especially when trying to dial in suspension settings. It's important that you do not miss-interpret a lack of traction in front and back as suspension settings when it could be tire pressure.

-Keep compression settings largely in the middle until you have your spring rate (sag) and rebound settings correct.

It gets much more complicated from here, but the most important things to dial in are spring rate, rebound and then compression settings last. You jumped way too far into the deep end going for a full custom build as your first full suspension bike, and then going a level further chosing a fork that requires some intimate knowledge of air springs and seat of the pants abilities to tune them. You also jumped to having your shock tuned before you even had an idea what you were after in terms of feel. The tractive tunes are going to be pretty heavily damped for an in-experienced rider whom isn't generating tons of energy into the frame. This is really going to complicate things for you, but water under the bridge... just use this as a lesson to start with more straight forward parts next time.

TLDR? Set sag, don't use the amount of travel used (bottom out) as your barometer for how to setup the suspension. Play around with 28-33% rear sag and 20-25% front sag and figure out the static/dynamic balance you want on the bike. Once that's done, slowly work through bracketing the suspension. rebound first, then compression. the short story is if the bike is kicking up and down, it's likely rebound, if it's kicking left and right, it's compression.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
First off, slow down and address things one at a time.

In order of importance and attention, you need to focus on and check the following:
-Suspension Sag and Spring Rate: Measure your sag both front and rear and make sure that you're at 30% rear and 20-25% front. Record those settings and then use the MFG charts for your fork to set your rebound. For your rear shock, you should have information from the 3rd party tuning company on what rate and rebound settings you have. This should get you within 1-3 clicks on rebound and give you a starting point.

-check your tire pressure, every time, before you ride... especially when trying to dial in suspension settings. It's important that you do not miss-interpret a lack of traction in front and back as suspension settings when it could be tire pressure.

-Keep compression settings largely in the middle until you have your spring rate (sag) and rebound settings correct.

It gets much more complicated from here, but the most important things to dial in are spring rate, rebound and then compression settings last. You jumped way too far into the deep end going for a full custom build as your first full suspension bike, and then going a level further chosing a fork that requires some intimate knowledge of air springs and seat of the pants abilities to tune them. You also jumped to having your shock tuned before you even had an idea what you were after in terms of feel. The tractive tunes are going to be pretty heavily damped for an in-experienced rider whom isn't generating tons of energy into the frame. This is really going to complicate things for you, but water under the bridge... just use this as a lesson to start with more straight forward parts next time.

TLDR? Set sag, don't use the amount of travel used (bottom out) as your barometer for how to setup the suspension. Play around with 28-33% rear sag and 20-25% front sag and figure out the static/dynamic balance you want on the bike. Once that's done, slowly work through bracketing the suspension. rebound first, then compression. the short story is if the bike is kicking up and down, it's likely rebound, if it's kicking left and right, it's compression.
So as far as those things go:

- Sag in rear is right on the button 30% with like 1-1.5 turns of preload. Sag on the fork is around 20%. I then set the fork to the MFGs chart for rebound and compression. The 3rd party did not send me any instructions on how to set the shock up. Which now that I think about it, is surprising. I need to get in touch with them and have them send me that info!

- Tire pressure has been at or within 1psi every time I've gone out to ride so far. 23psi front, 26psi rear

- So if my sag is already correct, should I still keep my compression settings in the middle, or try some different settings?

And all of that sounds like good info. And hindsight is 20/20. I just wanted to make sure I spent my money on the most important part, and everyone said suspension will give you the best ride for the money.

I've read a lot of that stuff you mentioned in the articles I've read. But that's why Im confused. I've got my sag where it needs to be. I used the Manitou Mezzer forum help to get me to the right main chamber psi and IRT pressure settings for my weight. And I put the rebound and compression at settings that the MFG or everyone has suggested. I then just messed with them a little bit either way and still not much change is happening. I think you might be right about the tune though. It may have been tuned a bit more tight and and heavily damped than what I needed as a beginner. I may be a really good bike rider, but I am new to FS bikes and a bike like this. I probably need it to be a bit softer and open until my skills are much better. I think they tuned it for someone who is putting a lot more force and speed into the bike, than I currently am doing. Not sure if they'll fix that for free or a nominal charge, but I should ask them that. I'll ride with it a bit longer and if it just isn't getting any better, I'll definitely need to talk to their manager to see if they will remedy this for me.

And when you say "if the bike is kicking left and right, it's the compression." Does that mean I have TOO much compression? Or not enough if it's kicking left and right? I noticed it getting a bit wonky left and right out of control feeling when going really fast down some hills and having to modulate the brakes a bit. But Not when I let go completely. When I let go, it just goes and feels like it could go even faster with no problems. It's only when I have to slow down around a shallow bend or turn when descending does it start to chatter and feel a bit wonky. And that's BEFORE I turn, not while I'm turning. I know enough about braking in all biking or motor sports in general that you scrub speed before the corner, then carry a medium speed through, so you can get out quick. Instead of wasting flow and energy braking late into the corner.

Also have another question about suspension setup or possibly riding technique. So one thing I've noticed is usually the fork is really good in almost all situations. It's pretty soft off the top, good and somewhat firm in the mid stroke and then ramps up smooth but quick near the end and has never bottomed out. But one thing I'm wondering about that I get a bit sketched out on, is when I'm descending at a fast speed down a hill and then the trail instantly goes right back up at the bottom. So if you were looking at the trail profile from the side, it would look like a V. So steep and fast down, the INSTANTLY hitting hard back up. So in those situations, I'm always afraid I'm going to endo, so I slow down right at the end and lean back a bit and just hope I don't go flying over the bars. And so far I'm fine, but just wondering if I COULD go even faster and keep my momentum up the hill with a certain technique or suspension setup? I'm sure there is a proper technique or suspension setup for my fork to make these abrupt transitions smoother? I know I've read that I can add more LSC to the fork, to keep it riding higher in it's travel and not dive on steep terrain, slightly firming up the mid stroke. So is that what you would suggest? Or is it a combo of some technique AND suspension setup? I really want my bike to be balanced, but more so to have the back be a bit softer and the front riding a bit higher. I'm 6'8" and even with a HUGE bike, riser bars, and a really tall stack of steerer tube spacers, it still doesn't fit like a bike should fit. I'm pretty high above the bike compared to the avg 5'9" to 6' rider. So I'd like to set the bike up to be a little higher and slightly stiffer/more supportive in the front and sitting down a little more in the rear. So just wondering how to achieve that type of setup?

Thanks for the help, I appreciate it
 

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All things in mtb are a combo of rider input and suspension. I know that seems like a no-duh response, but what's important is how that simple fact effects everything down stream. For example, you could very well be pretty close to the right setup where you ultimately will end up when more comfortable on the bike. However, maybe you're riding with your weight too far off the back of the bike because you're used to more classic geometry. This might mean that your front fork feels a bit too stiff, and your rear shock feels a bit too soft... but once you transition to 40F/60R weight balance... the rates shift back to being bang on. Mountain bikes are one of the only high performance, full suspension vehicles on earth where the pilot and payload, vastly out weighs the vehicle. Because of this, rider technique plays a massive part in the setup of the vehicle. This is mostly true for example, on a dirt bike (but not even close to as extreme as it is on a mtb) and barely true on a trophy truck.
Now... getting back to discussing suspension setup on the actual bike. It's clear you've done a ton of research, which is awesome. All too often people do the opposite and end up with a very complicated bike that never ends up feeling good. You won't be one of those people. What you do however have going on, is a ton of information you've gathered floating around and not being able to connect it to make your suspension setup match what you want. This is fixable, and you're on the right path.

Very good news that you've set sag. Can you give some feedback on how the bike feels from a dynamic sag/resting point perspective?
1) Does it feel difficult to transition your weight from the back of the bike, to the front. For example, downhill switchbacks, can you enter the corner standing tall, heals back, and then transition your weight to your hands and keep front end traction through mid/corner exit?
2) Does the bike feel balanced with rebound front to rear? When you bounce on it with most of your weight in your feet (bottom bracket) and maybe 30-40% in your hands... does it rebound evenly front to back?
3) Are there any sensations of dive/wallow with small rider inputs, or braking inputs. Does it feel like the fork is diving at all when you're in a neutral position, approaching a corner, hitting the brakes?

Regarding compression and the side to side kicking. Generally, this could be either too much or too little, but far more likely to be too much if it's kicking side to side. Oversimplifying what I'm saying here, is that if there is too much compression, you'll have a hard time holding a line, and you'll find that you're getting kicked side to side off line. You mentioned the bike harshening up when you hit the brakes, and that's some what the nature of the beast when it comes to FS bikes. Grabbing the rear brake causes the rear wheel to fight the suspension a bit. Some bikes are worse then others, and the megatower is pretty good in this regard, but the back end will firm up as you grab the brakes.

Regarding G-outs and Large, low speed compression events... that's a mixture of riding technique and setup. You just want to make sure that the bike is giving you some support through the compression event, so that you can stand up through the bottom of the hole or G-out. You definitely can influence the bike's ability to maintain momentum on the uphill side of the exit, but that's a function of kinetic engergy etc.
 

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I own a Mezzer Pro and have spent a lot of time reading through the two Mezzer pages here on MTBR. What I have noticed, and what seems to be the consensus of most riders is that the air pressures that Manitou recommends are much higher than what the fork actually needs to feel the best. For example, I am 170 lbs, Manitou recommends 57 main/87 IRT. I actually run 36 main/56 IRT which gives me a plush fork. So don’t be afraid to experiment with lower pressures. I would recommend trying 65 main/95 IRT. Open HSC all the way, some people like LSC open all the way, I prefer right in the middle at 5 from closed. Open rebound either all the way, or 1 from full open (which is where I’m at). With these rebound, LSC, and HSC settings, if the fork still feels harsh, then lower the main 1-2 PSI until you like the feel. If it feels like it dives too much, then add 1-2 PSI to the main until you like the feel. If you bottom out the fork too easily, add 1-2 PSI to the IRT at a time. If you still have a lot of travel to spare on your biggest hits, reduce IRT 1-2 PSI at a time.

I run the Manitou Mara Pro shock, so I don’t have any advice on your shock for you.
 

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Well sounds like your having fun and learning.

set your sag at both ends. This is for mechanical action of your suspension linkages.

Bounce the bike and make sure front and rear move together. All settings open.

If not together you would normally balance spring rates w air pressure.
So i guess balance the front then

Hit a single section of trail over and over and adjust only one thing at a time from max to min and feel the diff. Then choose the best setting

eg heavy rebound feels spikey in the hands as the fork will hit the next bump before it can recover into a lighter areea of the spring curve.

Tires make a huge diff on the suspension feel. Set your tires so that you can see just a little sidewall movement when getting on/off the bike. Measure and keep that setting theough all your testing.

as others have said. Compression adjustments last.

imo lsc is mostly for out of the seat pedalling. I set mine to take out some of that bob but not all of it.

my two cents.
 

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Start with Dougal's guide and then watch these:



Remember, be methodical and only change one setting at a time. The order is spring rate/sag, then rebound, then compression. Repeat as needed as you get your settings close.
 

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So one thing I've noticed is usually the fork is really good in almost all situations. It's pretty soft off the top, good and somewhat firm in the mid stroke and then ramps up smooth but quick near the end and has never bottomed out.
From the description above, I would argue your air spring is pretty dialed. The next one is rebound. Tune it as fast as not bucking you off on fast, small but sharp takeoff.

For compression, start trying with LSC fully closed and tune HSC first. Treat HSC as the coarse step, and LSC as the fine one afterwards. A trail with rough and fast repetitive hit is the place to test this.

I am just an okay rider, and went OTB on the V-shaped scenario a few times until I adjusted my technique. I now keep relative straight elbows (instead of low ready position) with leg driving hard when front wheel is about to hit the deepest spot. The handle bar kinda feels like a monkey bar with leg drives forward. Around the deeper spot, the bar is almost not moving but the wheel moves a lot. So pulling on bar while driving the legs matches the V-shape better.
 

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Not much to add here as the answers above were pretty amazing.

So just the input from another giant:

The megatower isn't that big of a bike.
It might be compared to a normal bike, but not compared to the likes of us.

I'm rocking a geometron g1 xx1 which is a few inches longer, and frankly for my 6'7 could use being an inch longer still.

I've got 75mm more wheelbase too.

Normal people are going to look at the mega and think it's going to be a monster truck to plow through everything. At your size it's going to be a twitchy nimble bike.

That makes it more fun in some circumstances, but the skill floor to ride a small bike is high!

If money is no object, flipping the frame and getting a geometron xxl or custom size xxxl might be a better option. If it's not, then the mega will be a lot of fun, just have a steep learning curve.

One of the most fun bikes I've ridden had 460 reach.

Super nimble and agile, just would otb frequently =)

It might be worth considering a head angle adjust headset. Slackening that head angle by a couple of degrees will make cornering better and importantly lengthen the wheelbase and steepen the seat tube (because it lowers the front too).

You'd need to increase the rise on your bars too.

The further that front wheel is ahead of you the more stable that bike will be.

You are spot on, you should be wanting to look proportionality the same on your bike as a small person (like someone who is only 6').

Pic to confirm giant.

Bicycle Bicycle helmet Cloud Wheel Sky
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
All things in mtb are a combo of rider input and suspension. I know that seems like a no-duh response, but what's important is how that simple fact effects everything down stream. For example, you could very well be pretty close to the right setup where you ultimately will end up when more comfortable on the bike. However, maybe you're riding with your weight too far off the back of the bike because you're used to more classic geometry. This might mean that your front fork feels a bit too stiff, and your rear shock feels a bit too soft... but once you transition to 40F/60R weight balance... the rates shift back to being bang on. Mountain bikes are one of the only high performance, full suspension vehicles on earth where the pilot and payload, vastly out weighs the vehicle. Because of this, rider technique plays a massive part in the setup of the vehicle. This is mostly true for example, on a dirt bike (but not even close to as extreme as it is on a mtb) and barely true on a trophy truck.
Now... getting back to discussing suspension setup on the actual bike. It's clear you've done a ton of research, which is awesome. All too often people do the opposite and end up with a very complicated bike that never ends up feeling good. You won't be one of those people. What you do however have going on, is a ton of information you've gathered floating around and not being able to connect it to make your suspension setup match what you want. This is fixable, and you're on the right path.

Very good news that you've set sag. Can you give some feedback on how the bike feels from a dynamic sag/resting point perspective?
1) Does it feel difficult to transition your weight from the back of the bike, to the front. For example, downhill switchbacks, can you enter the corner standing tall, heals back, and then transition your weight to your hands and keep front end traction through mid/corner exit?
2) Does the bike feel balanced with rebound front to rear? When you bounce on it with most of your weight in your feet (bottom bracket) and maybe 30-40% in your hands... does it rebound evenly front to back?
3) Are there any sensations of dive/wallow with small rider inputs, or braking inputs. Does it feel like the fork is diving at all when you're in a neutral position, approaching a corner, hitting the brakes?

Regarding compression and the side to side kicking. Generally, this could be either too much or too little, but far more likely to be too much if it's kicking side to side. Oversimplifying what I'm saying here, is that if there is too much compression, you'll have a hard time holding a line, and you'll find that you're getting kicked side to side off line. You mentioned the bike harshening up when you hit the brakes, and that's some what the nature of the beast when it comes to FS bikes. Grabbing the rear brake causes the rear wheel to fight the suspension a bit. Some bikes are worse then others, and the megatower is pretty good in this regard, but the back end will firm up as you grab the brakes.

Regarding G-outs and Large, low speed compression events... that's a mixture of riding technique and setup. You just want to make sure that the bike is giving you some support through the compression event, so that you can stand up through the bottom of the hole or G-out. You definitely can influence the bike's ability to maintain momentum on the uphill side of the exit, but that's a function of kinetic engergy etc.
Man! This is SUCH an excellent, well thought out, thorough response. Also very helpful and respectful. You hit the nail on the head with a lot of this.

For example, talking about me riding the bike and trying to get used to it, but coming from more "classic" geo. That is probably true to a certain degree and something I didn't even think about. So thank you for mentioning that! Although I already noticed on this third time out on this new bike, that I was getting more forward on the bike more often, standing up a little taller, heels down and letting the back AND the front suspension do it's job. But I can totally see how my old habits of leaning back farther, because of old Geo and not having a dropper post could be causing some issues. I'm definitely aware of that now that you mentioned it, and did realize a few times on the trail that I got more forward (about 60R/40F or 50/50) on the bike and it did seem to feel more alive and like the suspension was "working" better. And you're also probably right about the rider vs the suspension. It's probably more my skill and ability that is hampering the feel and ride, than the actual suspension. Great great tips there, and something I'll have to keep working on and get used to.

And to your second point, yes, haha, I did a TON of research and reading loads of articles, reviews, forum posts, etc before buying any of this stuff. This bike cost a pretty penny (it's been a life long dream to own such a high performance machine), and I wanted to make sure I did all my research and then some before pulling the trigger. I've even read and watched lots of suspension set articles and videos in order to try and get this thing close to perfect. But I think a big part of this, is just realizing... this is going to take time. No way around that. I'm not used to such a long bike, to such a slack HTA, full suspension, a dropper post and lots of other stuff. So just getting used to that is going to take months or years maybe. And like you said, I might already be at the perfect suspension setup, but wont' realize it until later on, when I've gotten used to the bike and how to ride it well. So great tips there again! Very insightful and realistic help. It's less the bike and more me.

1. This is tough to answer right now, as I don't really know for sure. But I would say, no, I don't feel like it's hard to transition my weight from the back of the bike to the front because of the suspension. If I'm riding in the middle and need to get back, the suspension doesn't feel weird. Same for if I'm already back and need to get more forward or centered. Feels fine. And yes, I can feel the bike gripping fairly well front or rear compared to what I'm used to. Which is an ancient Specialized RockHopper hardtail, with 1-2" of shitty fork travel, haha. On my Mega, the front end doesn't "dive" much when I come in at speed to a sharp switchback or turn. It stays pretty high in it's travel and makes me feel pretty safe. It's just the HTA is SO slack compared to what I'm sued to, so it feels kind of slow and sluggish in that regard. Like the slower I'm going, the harder it is to steer the bike and the faster I go, the better this bike feels. Which is exactly what all the reviews said. But I wouldn't say the suspension is causing me any problems on turns coming down hills. That's not where I feel the bike has any major issues right now. It's more the HTA and steering and just trying to get used to the much wider steering radius and how it feels. Over time, I'll get used to it more and more, and eventually it will feel natural.

It's more of a learning curve to this TYPE of bike issue. This bike is CRAZY long and has a super slack HTA compared to what I used to ride as a kid/teen/young adult. My old RockHopper bike was probably around 70-72* HTA and is SO small compared to my body size!!! This Megatower has a 65* HTA and a 1300mm wheelbase!!! It's just SOOOOO different than any bike I've ever ridden. Even my road bike that fits me. And even though this Megatower still doesn't fit me well per say, and might eventually feel small (hahaha), it does, as of right now, feel HUGE and like a monster truck, haha. It's SO slow turning and climbing compared to what I am used to. And it's just going to take time to get used to this new Geo and having FS and a dropper post. It's all just so overwhelming and yet amazing. When I point this thing DOWN and let go, and just try and trust that the bike and suspension won't kill me, it's exhilarating and feels SO amazing! Can't wait to get it to the other trail system that is all DH trails and the giant jump trail eventually. I'm literally learning at an exponential speed right now, and having a blast figuring it out. Every few mins, I feel something new and figure out how to go about that section next time. It's so fun learning this new type of bike and how much you can roll over almost anything at speed.

2. Once again, not sure. I think so, haha? I don't really notice either end have more bounce or damped feeling. If it is off, it has to be such a small amount that I can't even tell right now. But I'll have to take note of that, just like a lot of this stuff you're mentioning, get out on the trail and ride around the neighborhood and report back to you with more definitive answers, once I have more data to provide you with.

3. The fork feels much better overall than the shock. Not perfect obviously, but good. I haven't felt at any time really that the fork is wrong or too stiff or too plush. When I brake hard into a corner, the front end really doesn't dive much or anything like that. Maybe just a little on steeper faster sections. But It always feels pretty good and glued to the ground, at least as much as possible.

I know one specific example of when I do feel a bit sketched out and like the front end is a little divey, is there are a few parts on the harder trail, where you are cruising on a slight decline for a few hundred feet with a nice rolling down and up roller coaster type feel. And you can pedal a bit and get some really good speed and then pump the little ups to keep your speed going. Then right near the end of this section, there are a bunch of gnarly tree roots that make these shelf like things you have to navigate through/over/down. And they come out of nowhere when you're going pretty fast. So the first set of roots create a ledge drop, and it drops down about 1-2' to a little ledge, then 2-ish ft past that, another set of parallel roots that create another drop down ledge. And it has about 3-4 of these. So your front tire drops down quickly and pretty hard, while the rear of the bike is still up. Then the front drops down again quickly, and for a split second, your rear is still up, before it then drops down to that first ledge. And so on. So your getting bucked around and feel like you could easily Endo if you're not coming in at a medium speed and really controlling your bike. I have to drop the seat real quick when I see that part coming up, get low, but stay in the middle of the bike. And every time, it feels like the fork is using a lot of it's travel and sinking the front end of the bike too low, compared to the rear. But... it might just be because of the odd ledges and how the whole bike isn't on the same level the entire time going down those ledges. So I always scrub a lot of speed, that I wish I could keep, because I don't want to fly over the bars. So that is the only time the fork feels like it's "diving". But like I said, could just be that specific situation. It happens 2 other times on the trail, but not as bad as the main one. I mean, if I was a baller ass rider, I could just compress the bike right before the first ledge and try to gap the whole thing, haha. But my legs aren't in that great of shape yet and can't produce that much speed to try and clear the whole thing, haha.

I'd say the biggest issue I'm having right now with the suspension is how much the chatter, tree roots and rocks transmit through to my hands and arms and butt. I feel like the fork and shock are not bottoming out at all, and I'm not using all of the travel. I feel pretty confident in high speed situations so far and like they are supporting me pretty well. No large amounts of diving or bottoming out. But that the bike could possibly be softer in the first 1-3" of travel to make those smaller 1-6" bumps, roots, rocks, etc feel softer? I always thought a FS bike would get rid of most of that and make for a plush ride. But maybe it's just me not knowing much about what a FS bike can and can not do? Maybe the suspension is already pretty close to amazing and I just don't know it? Hopefully I can bro down with some local riders sooner or later and let them take it for a quick spin and see what they say? Maybe it's already amazing?

As far as compression goes, the rear and braking, I didn't know that. And it makes sense. If I just let go of the brakes, I might be going crazy fast and feel like I could crash at any moment, but I haven't yet ;) It does feel a bit firm and bouncing a bit when descending down chunky lines, but it does firm up even more and get squirrelly when modulating the brakes. I'm already running the rear shock at fully open or just 2-4 clicks of LSC. And it really doesn't feel any different either way. I need to possibly try opening up the rebound a bit more and experimenting with that. Maybe I have too much rebound on, and it's getting packed down in those repeated high speed hits when descending? But good info to know, thank you. I still think the place that did my shock may have tuned it too firm and/or put too high weight of a spring on the bike. I emailed them to ask them what they think might be happening and to send me some MFG recommended settings for the shock now that it's tuned. And if after a few more rides, it still doesn't feel right, that they may need to fix this for me.

Once again, thank you SO much for taking the time to actually explain all this stuff to me, and be patient. You have been VERY helpful and I'll get back with you/here in a few weeks once I've ridden more and tried these suggestions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I own a Mezzer Pro and have spent a lot of time reading through the two Mezzer pages here on MTBR. What I have noticed, and what seems to be the consensus of most riders is that the air pressures that Manitou recommends are much higher than what the fork actually needs to feel the best. For example, I am 170 lbs, Manitou recommends 57 main/87 IRT. I actually run 36 main/56 IRT which gives me a plush fork. So don't be afraid to experiment with lower pressures. I would recommend trying 65 main/95 IRT. Open HSC all the way, some people like LSC open all the way, I prefer right in the middle at 5 from closed. Open rebound either all the way, or 1 from full open (which is where I'm at). With these rebound, LSC, and HSC settings, if the fork still feels harsh, then lower the main 1-2 PSI until you like the feel. If it feels like it dives too much, then add 1-2 PSI to the main until you like the feel. If you bottom out the fork too easily, add 1-2 PSI to the IRT at a time. If you still have a lot of travel to spare on your biggest hits, reduce IRT 1-2 PSI at a time.

I run the Manitou Mara Pro shock, so I don't have any advice on your shock for you.
Yeah, I've noticed that as well about the recommended psi's being too much for the Mezzer pro. I have that excel spread sheet page up (that gets posted all the time in the Mezzer Pro forum) and almost everyone that has entered their info into the spread sheet is running lower or much lower Main and IRT pressures. Which I have done right off the bat as well. But maybe I need to try even lower? I'm running 70 Main and around 110 IRT. Suggested was 76-77 for Main and 109 IRT. So maybe I should try dropping 10 psi in both, try that out, see how it goes? Maybe even drop another 10 on each and see how that goes? Could also maybe drop the Main to around 55-75, but keep the IRT around 90-100 so that it still has that good bottom out resistance and mid stroke support? Maybe then I could actually use the HSC and use that to help with high speed hits or bottom outs? I knew this fork would not be easy to get right, but that's what I wanted. I wanted to find the best fork, and one that would allow ME to experiment with different settings to dial it in for specific trails. I'm keeping track of EVERY setting every time I ride, so that I can see what works and what doesn't. That way once I find good settings for certain trails, I'll just be able to go back to those notes and quickly dial it in for that trail on that day.

So quick question for you and anyone else that knows. Does the Main chamber or IRT chamber going up in psi result in less dive? I know for sure that the IRT prevents bottoming out and makes the end of the travel feel more progressive. I think I've also read that the IRT being slightly higher can help firm up the mid stroke a bit more and help the fork not blow through that mid travel so quickly? But not sure if the Main or IRT affects the fork diving when braking and coming into corners downhill? Also, what would make the fork feel like it's diving less in repeated large drops? Like 2' deep shelves that drop down 1-2' back to back to back to back? Keeping my front end higher in the travel and not getting bogged down and staying in it's travel? I'm going to guess having the rebound set a bit faster would help with this? But not sure what other setting would help?

And I definitely have travel to spare so far on these more Trail type rides. On the biggest hits, I'm only using about 80% of the full travel. But It will be a different story when I go to the other trail system. It's all fast, DH trails with some medium to large jumps, and it also has a HUGE smooth machine built jump line. Giant gaps, huge faces, not something I'll be getting on any time soon, but eventually I will. And I know I'll have to change my whole setup and bike when I start riding there and that jump line, as well as vacations to ski resorts for lift access bike park trails.

Thanks for you helpful info and I'll give that stuff a try and report back here in a week or two. Can't thank you guys enough. I'm not used to getting so much helpful polite people on here helping. I usually just see a bunch of people barking at me to just "shut up and ride", or "just do this and quite being a b*tch, you're over thinking it." So it's much appreciated that you guys are being so patient and and taking the time to explain to me. Which I hope I can pay back down the road in a few years when I have a lot more experience and knowledge to share with beginners. Best
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well sounds like your having fun and learning.

set your sag at both ends. This is for mechanical action of your suspension linkages.

Bounce the bike and make sure front and rear move together. All settings open.

If not together you would normally balance spring rates w air pressure.
So i guess balance the front then

Hit a single section of trail over and over and adjust only one thing at a time from max to min and feel the diff. Then choose the best setting

eg heavy rebound feels spikey in the hands as the fork will hit the next bump before it can recover into a lighter areea of the spring curve.

Tires make a huge diff on the suspension feel. Set your tires so that you can see just a little sidewall movement when getting on/off the bike. Measure and keep that setting theough all your testing.

as others have said. Compression adjustments last.

imo lsc is mostly for out of the seat pedalling. I set mine to take out some of that bob but not all of it.

my two cents.
All of that sounds great and I'll give it a try. Thank you very much for your help and input (y)

And yes, I'm having a lot of fun not only riding this insane bike, but learning about how to set it up, and adjust things to make it ride even better. I'm a tinkerer for sure, so messing with suspension, tire pressure, etc is fun and right up my alley
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Start with Dougal's guide and then watch these:



Remember, be methodical and only change one setting at a time. The order is spring rate/sag, then rebound, then compression. Repeat as needed as you get your settings close.
Yeah, I watched those videos you sent me. Good stuff. But after doing that, it's still not working as I thought it would. Guess its just going to take time and lots of experimenting to find the best settings for me and my skill for right now. Thanks again for your help!
 

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For going through the V-shaped valleys try to compress the suspension before the end of descent and then pull up the handlebars right before the front wheel hits the bottom. You are like pushing the bike into the ditch and then pull it out. The center of gravity of your body is then moving higher and the path of CG has wider curvature, so the acceleration and forces are smaller.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Not much to add here as the answers above were pretty amazing.

So just the input from another giant:

The megatower isn't that big of a bike.
It might be compared to a normal bike, but not compared to the likes of us.

I'm rocking a geometron g1 xx1 which is a few inches longer, and frankly for my 6'7 could use being an inch longer still.

I've got 75mm more wheelbase too.

Normal people are going to look at the mega and think it's going to be a monster truck to plow through everything. At your size it's going to be a twitchy nimble bike.

That makes it more fun in some circumstances, but the skill floor to ride a small bike is high!

If money is no object, flipping the frame and getting a geometron xxl or custom size xxxl might be a better option. If it's not, then the mega will be a lot of fun, just have a steep learning curve.

One of the most fun bikes I've ridden had 460 reach.

Super nimble and agile, just would otb frequently =)

It might be worth considering a head angle adjust headset. Slackening that head angle by a couple of degrees will make cornering better and importantly lengthen the wheelbase and steepen the seat tube (because it lowers the front too).

You'd need to increase the rise on your bars too.

The further that front wheel is ahead of you the more stable that bike will be.

You are spot on, you should be wanting to look proportionality the same on your bike as a small person (like someone who is only 6').

Pic to confirm giant.
Thanks for all your advice on the Geometron bikes. But I'm very happy with the Megatower for a BUNCH of reasons. Without going into a ton of detail about my long and thoroughly thought out decision to go with the Megatower, I can say the 3 most important reasons were the warranty, country of origin and size. The only two bikes that are even close in overall large geo are the Geometron G1 and the RAAW Madonna V2.2. But ultimately neither was a serious contender because of their lack or warranty and country of origin. The Megatower is just as big in a lot of ways, larger in some others, and slightly smaller in others than the G1. It may not be what I actually need as a super tall rider, but nobody makes anything for us. We'd not only need stacks of 650-750 and reaches of 510-570, but also wheels in the 32" or larger size, for us to be on a bike that fits like how a bike fits a normal person, haha. So the Megatower was the best option for those reasons and a more.

But thanks for sharing your experience with the G1 and offering your opinion. I bet that thing RIPS downhill! I appreciate it as a fellow tall rider, we need to look out for each other ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Just thought of something else I wanted to ask. I know that setting the SAG to aprox 30% is what everyone says is best. But can you explain what will happen to the ride (good and bad) if I set it to a lower SAG? So say 27% or even 25%? And vice versa, higher, to say 33% or 35%. And then how do I decrease SAG, and how do I increase SAG? Thanks
 

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This may stir some heated debate, but I will throw this out as you seems enjoy reading.

1-6" square edge is not that small for shaft speed if you hit it fast. 29" wheel hitting a 4" square edge at 20mph produces about 150in/sec shaft speed, which is about the same as a 3ft drop.

Balancing landing and "small bump" is the art of tuning and compromise. HBO is probably the best engineering solution so far to expand the trade off space.

 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
This may stir some heated debate, but I will throw this out as you seems enjoy reading.

1-6" square edge is not that small for shaft speed if you hit it fast. 29" wheel hitting a 4" square edge at 20mph produces about 150in/sec shaft speed, which is about the same as a 3ft drop.

Balancing landing and "small bump" is the art of tuning and compromise. HBO is probably the best engineering solution so far to expand the trade off space.

I'm not sure you understood what I was saying. Let me rephrase it. I'm talking about 1-6" round slow speed hits. Not square edge hits at speed (15-25mph). So like flatter or rolling parts of trails that have small little roots, little rocks and or little bumps that are somewhere between 1-6 inches tall. And at speeds around 3-10mph. I totally understand what you are saying though above.

And you are correct about the art of tuning and the HBO system. It definitely seems like an art and something that takes great care and skill to do well. And the HBO system is one of many reasons I decided to skip the Fox and RS fork offerings and go with a real fork. I spoke with Dougal and a few other super knowledgeable people as well as read countless articles and the Mezzer Pro seems like the best if not one of the best forks out there for a reasonable price. Without stepping up to an Ohlins, EXT or whatever for 1500 and still having to get it tuned. I also love the ability I have to tune it. It's fun and will give me something to learn and play with ;)

Thanks for your input, I appreciate it!
 
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