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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm just starting out downhilling and am getting my Airborne Taka soon. I'm not really familiar with all the terms, and have been hearing a lot about "dialing in the suspension", or something. What exactly does that mean, and how is it done? I know it has to do with shock and fork tuning, but what do I do? Would it be any different on a single pivot frame vs a DW link or other linkage bike? My shock is the Marzocchi Roco R coil over, and my fork is the Marzocchi 888 RV 200mm. Thanks.
 

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"Dialing in" the suspension refers to getting the sag/rebound/compression settings adjusted to get the bike to handle optimally. You can find suggested settings on the Marz. homepage, that'll give you something to start with at least. The actual values will vary with suspension design as well as personal preference. Some people like their bike to ride super plush while others want it firm.
 

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I'm stalking you on the interwebz dude :D Just kidding. If the bike doesnt come with the suspension manuals, I've included the fork and shock manuals for you. Start out by setting your sag in the 30% range. Most companies use spring rates for ''average weight'' riders of 165-185 lbs. If you are below this range you're gonna need softer springs, above that you may be ok with just adding some preload. Once you get your sag set, it's time to adjust the rebound. (NOTE) this is a personal setting for most riders, and everyone likes something different. Generally you want the rebound fast, but not so fast that it bucks over sharp edge hits. Just play with the setting until you find one that you like. When you get your bike, be sure you or your bike shop checks the oil level in the fork before you ride. If you do a search on here you'll find plenty of horror stories of forks coming with too little/too much oil.:madman: Just give it a check to be on the safe side. Congrats on your new bike, now it's time to go rip:thumbsup:
 

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the best advice i heard is to set it really stiff then ride it....then set it really soft and ride it again....then keep making adjustments either way.
 

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setting the suspension up right to me is probably one of the most important things. as a beginner or someone starting off one can get use to any setup. i think the terminology is the most important.
rebound- how fast or slow a shock bounces back to full stroke after being compressed
compression- how fast or slow a shock compresses under impact (preload can also have a small affect to this)
preload- how much tension is loaded on the spring itself by compressing it

have you ever had coilovers or tracked cars? if so the exact same concept applies. rebound is typically set up to be as fast as you feel comfortable, some people prefer rebound quick to help with bunny hops and jumps but on race day or fast and bumpy corses i wouldnt recommend it.

compression is mostly taken care of by the spring rate, but to have a consistant and more fine tuned compression rate you use your compression dial. once again this is determined by purpose, corse or riding style. not as important as having the right spring rate and proper rebound setting. this is usually something youll understand better as you ride more or have some type of engineering back ground.

preload and spring rate, is usually specific to a bike due to stroke and stroke angle and weight of rider. there is usually only one proper spring for you bike and weight. only sometimes when your right at the edge of one spring weight to another does the type of riding affect the rate or weight of spring you will want. obviously the the lower the rate or lbs on the spring the softer the ride. and when you have a long travel bike that is the reason you have it is to be plush, so softer is generally better. i actually prefer the ladder, but to each his own. then also having the sag which is the amount the bike drops or goes through the suspension when you sit on the bike typically 25-30%, this can be controlled finely by preload meaning how much your going to compress the spring by turning the spring in. this usually requires 2 people, obviously for you to sit on the bike and the 2nd guy to measure the sag, typically done by measuring the seat from the ground, this will be sufficient. this is enough info to get you started for the next few months.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks everyone. Thanks eride for the info. I understand all the terms like rebound, compression, preload etc, but where do I get softer springs? The one that comes with my bike will, like dhpeteinsc mentioned, probably be for the "average rider" at 165-185 lbs, and I'm around 125lbs. Do I have to get them online, or can I get them at my local bike shop? Also, do I need a different spring rate to set the sag on my shock? I don't understand how I'd be able to change the sag without different springs. (talking about the Roco R coil over) Thanks.
 

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The definition of having a dialed suspension; when your bike is dead quiet over 80% of the trail your riding. If your bike is making noise, its not dialed. But also I must say racers' bikes run stiffer suspension setups then your average weekend warrior. Which will make them make more noise.

The only suggestion anyone can give is to tell you to go out and ride your bike. The only person that knows best is the rider riding the bike. Set it, if it doesn't feel right, keep playing with the dials. And if you think it feels right, change it again. Put it through all the settings so you personally know what the difference is and how it affects your riding.

Also go to the manufacturer if you want to get a push start.

You can get a spring from your bike shop or online, will probably be cheaper online. Check both out.

Springs are built per pounds, so you choose your length (shock length/stroke) and weight (spring rate). Its also determined by rider preference and link design. The spring weight (spring rate) determines how much sag you get, so with the correct spring weight, you will get the correct sag. If your getting too much sag with the lighter spring your going to buy, just turn the metal knob that comes in contact with the spring to either loosen or compress the spring further.

One more thing, suspension setup is preference, so be ready to do some testing. But that will come in due time. Get the spring for your weight and start there, and have fun.
 

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camarosam said:
The definition of having a dialed suspension; when your bike is dead quiet over 80% of the trail your riding. If your bike is making noise, its not dialed. .
Bike "noise" has nothing to do with setting up your suspension correctly. I can have a complete idiot try to re-tune my Sunday and it will still be quiet, but feel like hell.

You also don't want to mess too much with preload on a shock spring. The spring weight is either good for you or it isn't. You can't take a spring that's too light and just crank the preload up a dozen turns to make it stiff enough. Once a shock spring is compressed a tiny bit, you only want to use 2-3 complete turns at the most. If it's still too soft then it's time for a stiffer spring.

Spring weight depends on the bike and the rider's weight. Nothing else. High speed/low speed compression (if you have it) and rebound are all subjective. Once you get the correct springs for your shock and in your fork, find the middle settings for everything and play with them from there.

I would also suggest finding people that have similar set-ups and ask what they run. Watch out though, there are tons of idiots in the internet. Best is to fiddle with it yourself and find what you're comfortable with.
 

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Dougie said:
Bike "noise" has nothing to do with setting up your suspension correctly. I can have a complete idiot try to re-tune my Sunday and it will still be quiet, but feel like hell.
When I hit a trail, and am doing 35mph through rough sections, if I have the rebound set too fast, my chain makes so much dam noise its ridiculous. Hit the same trail, same speed but slow up the rebound and the chain is dead silent. Dialed suspension does have to do with bike noise. If your freeriding thats another story, because when you do big drops the bike doesn't make noise either way. Its the rough, consistent hits that gets the bike to make noise. So in a way yes, it does have to do with bike noise, but at the same time you can say it doesn't.

I've been racing my bike for a year now, so this isn't coming from an "Internet idiot".
 

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camarosam said:
I've been racing my bike for a year now, so this isn't coming from an "Internet idiot".
A whole year? Nevermind what I wrote having come from 10 years of mechanic experience. Listen to this guy.
 

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I'm stalking you on the interwebz dude :D Just kidding. If the bike doesnt come with the suspension manuals, I've included the fork and shock manuals for you. Start out by setting your sag in the 30% range. Most companies use spring rates for ''average weight'' riders of 165-185 lbs. If you are below this range you're gonna need softer springs, above that you may be ok with just adding some preload. Once you get your sag set, it's time to adjust the rebound. (NOTE) this is a personal setting for most riders, and everyone likes something different. Generally you want the rebound fast, but not so fast that it bucks over sharp edge hits. Just play with the setting until you find one that you like. When you get your bike, be sure you or your bike shop checks the oil level in the fork before you ride. If you do a search on here you'll find plenty of horror stories of forks coming with too little/too much oil.:madman: Just give it a check to be on the safe side. Congrats on your new bike, now it's time to go rip:thumbsup:
I'm stalking you on the interwebz dude :D Just kidding. If the bike doesnt come with the suspension manuals, I've included the fork and shock manuals for you. Start out by setting your sag in the 30% range. Most companies use spring rates for ''average weight'' riders of 165-185 lbs. If you are below this range you're gonna need softer springs, above that you may be ok with just adding some preload. Once you get your sag set, it's time to adjust the rebound. (NOTE) this is a personal setting for most riders, and everyone likes something different. Generally you want the rebound fast, but not so fast that it bucks over sharp edge hits. Just play with the setting until you find one that you like. When you get your bike, be sure you or your bike shop checks the oil level in the fork before you ride. If you do a search on here you'll find plenty of horror stories of forks coming with too little/too much oil.:madman: Just give it a check to be on the safe side. Congrats on your new bike, now it's time to go rip:thumbsup:
---💥💥💥💥-----
I have a 18' kawasaki ninja 400.
I weigh 110 lbs. What type of % would I need mine to be at? Or would it matter?
 

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When I hit a trail, and am doing 35mph through rough sections, if I have the rebound set too fast, my chain makes so much dam noise its ridiculous. Hit the same trail, same speed but slow up the rebound and the chain is dead silent. Dialed suspension does have to do with bike noise. If your freeriding thats another story, because when you do big drops the bike doesn't make noise either way. Its the rough, consistent hits that gets the bike to make noise. So in a way yes, it does have to do with bike noise, but at the same time you can say it doesn't.

I've been racing my bike for a year now, so this isn't coming from an "Internet idiot".
If you're rebound is set correctly, it has absolutely nothing to do with the sound of a chain. Nobody adjusts their suspension based on the sound of a chain. Nobody.

NOBODY

20+ year mechanic. Some-odd years of racing.

Ttyl, Fahn
 
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