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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I just found this article on NSMB. They interviewed four guys about cold weather suspension:

Jordi Cortes (Fox)
Steve Mathews (Vorsprung)
Bryson Martin (DVO)
& some duded called Dougal from Shockcraft in NZ.

It was published back in March, but they never told me. So here it is:

https://nsmb.com/articles/cold-weather-mountain-bike-suspension/
 

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Neat.

~10 or 12 years back I had a conversation w/Ed Kwaterski @ Manitou about cold weather suspension stuff. I think because he had previous experience in the sledneck industry he steered me toward a very specific 0w synthetic oil -- can't remember which at the moment.

I remember him sharing an anecdote about putting a bunch of different 0w synth oils in a freezer at -20* or so overnight and then removing them and immediately pouring them (or at least attempting to) out. Some poured like honey at that temp, others poured same as at room temp.

Based on his recs I bought some of that fluid and used it down to -20*f with some regularity in CO and -40*f a few times in AK. No suspension feels "good" at those temps, but at least it still moved and that was all I was after.
 

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Interesting info. I typically call it quits around 25f, mainly because the bike feels so crappy that it just isn't worth it to get out, days that cold are regular for only 6-8 weeks of the year here, so I can usually afford to spend the time in the gym instead of on the trail. The suspension feel is only part of it, though, I notice a difference in tire traction as it gets colder and my whole body just feels stiff and uncomfortable.

Interesting note on the Manitou seals, do you know if they used the same material on the Mezzer seals?

I considered trying new fluids, but we have a wide range of fluctuating temperatures during the winter. It'll be 55f+ one day, then a few days later down to 25f-30f. It means all winter I'm having to check suspension pressures before every ride and I've been nervous that changing fluids would not play well with fluctuations that significant. TBH I haven't really looked into it, though.

I tried a few forks last winter and had mixed results. The Auron I ran really started to feel poorly below 40f, it became noticeably harsher and slower. Backing off the adjusters provided a minor improvement. My Ribbon didn't change much until about 30f, same with the Helm. My DVO Sapphire would start to slow down and get harsh around 35 or so.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Neat.

~10 or 12 years back I had a conversation w/Ed Kwaterski @ Manitou about cold weather suspension stuff. I think because he had previous experience in the sledneck industry he steered me toward a very specific 0w synthetic oil -- can't remember which at the moment.

I remember him sharing an anecdote about putting a bunch of different 0w synth oils in a freezer at -20* or so overnight and then removing them and immediately pouring them (or at least attempting to) out. Some poured like honey at that temp, others poured same as at room temp.

Based on his recs I bought some of that fluid and used it down to -20*f with some regularity in CO and -40*f a few times in AK. No suspension feels "good" at those temps, but at least it still moved and that was all I was after.
Ed is still into it. The Manitou 34mm seals they pioneered for the Mastodon (now used in the Mattoc too) were a serious game-changer. Those were the ones I referred to the interview. The suspension suddenly worked as well at 0C as 20C.

Last winter in the US got cold enough they could just go outside and beat the freezer tests!

I've also done the freeze-test. Interestingly many oils, that end up below their tabulated pour-points, still slosh around fine. I think a lot of oil manufacturers don't care about that detail and just use a conservative figure below common usage.
All the engine oil ratings 10W, 5W, 0W etc set maximum limits for viscosity at rated temps, but they don't set a minimum. So some will just squeak through and others still can still work for a whole lot colder.

The challenging bit is finding oils that have very good lubricity (many don't) and a viscosity range that works in usably warm down to as cold as you'll expect.

Back in 2003 Manitou picked a Motorex 5W40 fully synthetic bath oil (Semi Bath). 16 years later the same oil is still coming out on top in their testing.
 
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