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Rogue Exterminator
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The necessity of the lockout depends on the rider and terrain.
When I am standing up and mashing on my single speed the lockout is a must.
When On the geared bike I don't stand and mash as much but I still want the ability to lock out the fork and/or rear suspension when needed. Even if you don't use it, it is better to have and not need than need and not have.

As far as what the best fork for moderate absorption goes. I mean that is really too broad of a question to answer. Too many to list but any of them will pretty much do fine for that. If you are trying to pick between a couple bikes post them up.
 

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My LBS told me that hydro lockout has multi pin holes that when open allow the fluid to move past and your fork is able to move up and down but when you turn it off (lock it out) it closes most of the holes but not all so it stiff but there is still a little give so if you hit some little bumps you will not brake anything. There also said Mechanical lockout is open or locked and when locked it doesn't move but if you hit some bumps it could brake the lockout. Please remember I'm not saying they WILL brake just they COULD.
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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True lockouts are hard on the shock (cause high internal pressures) and bike (more force imparted than intended). As stated above, on a road they can be somewhat useful, but true low-speed compression adjustment is far more useful usually, especially when coupled with a way to rapidly adjust it.
 

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ballbuster
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True lockouts are hard on the shock (cause high internal pressures) and bike (more force imparted than intended). As stated above, on a road they can be somewhat useful, but true low-speed compression adjustment is far more useful usually, especially when coupled with a way to rapidly adjust it.
All forks I know of have a safety blowoff for the lockout circuit. My Lefty with PBR has a lockout that is pretty dang hard. It's so hard that the fork sounds very angry at the slightest set of small bumps. If I forget and hit a really big bump, it unlocks by itself. If they didn't have a blowoff, there would be a crapload of broken forks out there in the first few weeks of ownership, making a warranty nightmare for the manufacturers.

I have heard of earlier Leftys that didn't have a blowoff circuit. The rider would leave it locked out and bend the shim stack, but I think they solved that issue like back in 2002 or so.

So yeah, lockout is mandatory, IMO. Nothing worse than trying to pedal a bike up a long hill with it bobbing like crazy.
 

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The other issue u will have to decide on is whether to go with a remote lock out (mounted on the handlebar) or just the lockout lever on the fork leg. There is a bit of a trade off given you give up some adjustability on the fork if you go with remote lock out (for Rock Shox there are just two positions - locked / unlocked and for Fox three positions - Climb / Trail / Decent). If you plan on racing a remote lock out is essential IMO. No way to be reaching down to lock out your fork in the heat of the race. I use my remote lockout constantly although is puts more wear and tear on the fork seals triggering more maintenance.
 

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ballbuster
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12,718 Posts
The other issue u will have to decide on is whether to go with a remote lock out (mounted on the handlebar) or just the lockout lever on the fork leg. There is a bit of a trade off given you give up some adjustability on the fork if you go with remote lock out (for Rock Shox there are just two positions - locked / unlocked and for Fox three positions - Climb / Trail / Decent). If you plan on racing a remote lock out is essential IMO. No way to be reaching down to lock out your fork in the heat of the race. I use my remote lockout constantly although is puts more wear and tear on the fork seals triggering more maintenance.
I do it all the time. I actually switched my old Reba fork to a non-remote lockout because I was sick of all of the cable clutter and junk on the bars. I mean, look at it. Your grip is only 10" away from the top of the fork leg. Easy to reach down and spin the knob, or hit the button.

 

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I do it all the time. I actually switched my old Reba fork to a non-remote lockout because I was sick of all of the cable clutter and junk on the bars. I mean, look at it. Your grip is only 10" away from the top of the fork leg. Easy to reach down and spin the knob, or hit the button.

I respectfully disagree. Again in the context of XC racing I have encountered countless situation where taking your hands off your handlebar grips is either not possible or will cost you speed / position. On most XC courses there are numerous fast transitions from high speed technical sections requiring both hands on the bar (rooty / rocky / tight switchbacks) to immediately climbing hard / driving hard in or out of the saddle. You simply can't take one hand off the bar and put down max power. In addition, at speed with one hand on the bar it only takes a small root of rock to potentially cause you to crash. IMO for aggressive XC racing a remote handlebar lock out is a must (just my 2 cents).
 

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I respectfully disagree. Again in the context of XC racing I have encountered countless situation where taking your hands off your handlebar grips is either not possible or will cost you speed / position. On most XC courses there are numerous fast transitions from high speed technical sections requiring both hands on the bar (rooty / rocky / tight switchbacks) to immediately climbing hard / driving hard in or out of the saddle. You simply can't take one hand off the bar and put down max power. In addition, at speed with one hand on the bar it only takes a small root of rock to potentially cause you to crash. IMO for aggressive XC racing a remote handlebar lock out is a must (just my 2 cents).
So I suppose it's not doable to drink from a bottle or eat a gel safely while XC racing either?

Anything that I'm XC racing on that's smooth enough for me to lock out my fork is smooth enough for me to reach down and lock it. I'm smart enough to unlock before I get to whatever rough nasty bits require the unlock. Aside from a dead sprint, there is no way unlocking your fork at the crown is not doable. Really you should only be locking your fork for really really smooth climbs. Everywhere else you're faster unlocked using proper riding technique.
 

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Rogue Exterminator
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Sweet, the clipless vs flat pedal debate and 26" wheel vs 29" wheel debate were both getting old.

Now we have a remote lock out vs non-remote lockout debate.

I don't have a remote on any of my bikes so that automatically makes it better.

And for the record, flat pedals and 29ers are also better.
 

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Sweet, the clipless vs flat pedal debate and 26" wheel vs 29" wheel debate were both getting old.

Now we have a remote lock out vs non-remote lockout debate.

I don't have a remote on any of my bikes so that automatically makes it better.

And for the record, flat pedals and 29ers are also better.
yep...can we start over now?
 

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29ers Forever
2021 Rocky Mountain Altitude A70
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The first time I rode a bike with a lockout fork I thought I would use it on the climbs, but even on relatively smooth climbs I leave the lockout open.
A lockout would be useful on the road, to reduce the amount of pedal force being taken away by the bouncing shock, but on the mountain, if you have a sub 100mm travel air fork with the right psi, you don't need a lockout.
 

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ballbuster
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So I suppose it's not doable to drink from a bottle or eat a gel safely while XC racing either?

Anything that I'm XC racing on that's smooth enough for me to lock out my fork is smooth enough for me to reach down and lock it. I'm smart enough to unlock before I get to whatever rough nasty bits require the unlock. Aside from a dead sprint, there is no way unlocking your fork at the crown is not doable. Really you should only be locking your fork for really really smooth climbs. Everywhere else you're faster unlocked using proper riding technique.
Well, I can see his POV. You can time taking sugar water drinks to happen during non-techy sections when not sprinting. There are times when you might want an open fork to get over some rocky bits, closely followed by a sharp sprint up a hill. It has been my experience that the set of circumstances that kept me from reaching over a foot and slapping a button are so few and far between, that I have never missed my remote lockout... like, ever. That is, in the 4 years since I lost my lockout lever, it has never come up, and I've never missed it. I also do not miss having the extra junk on my bars, or the added maintenance.
 

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Crash Dummy In Training
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Personal preference.
I wanted a remote lock out at first site.
Almost added one to my Stumpy HT priced them.
But after not having one I don't want it anymore.
 

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Fat-tired Roadie
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18,453 Posts
I have lockouts on my fork and shock. I use them on the road to the trailhead because they're there. It didn't bother me not to have them on my previous bike.

Once I'm on fire roads, I don't like to be locked out. I do like to have some compression damping in my fork most of the time, however.
 

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I must be weird because I have two single speed 29ers and I never use the lockout on either bike. Maybe I'm just a super smooth out-of-the-saddle climber? Or maybe I actually have the low speed compression damping set correctly? I don't know. The only time I ever found it useful is on a full suspension bike when doing long road sections - in that situation it's nice to lock out both ends.
 

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love my terralogic fork. carbon hardtail. marathon use => unknown terrain / no fuss / thinking needed. set the threshold a smidge lower when the ride time is above 5 hours and I will be less out of the saddle.
If I go for a shorter ride (3 hours or less) I set it a bit higher (more hammering out of the saddle).
 

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squish, squish in da fish
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i'll tell ya that the MILO for manitou sucks. you lose more than 1/2 of your damper settings and to set it up for the range on those settings is a PITA! it lasted 2 rides & worst $40 spent eva. it would have been better to retro a friction shifter to it
 
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