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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It seems like when I read a bike review or a bike is discussed around here, climb or shock stiffening switches are referenced almost in pejorative terms. Why do people seem to see it as a problem to use the switch?

In my mind, if it climbs well with the switch, then what does it matter?

Insights appreciated!
 

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Some bikes have a suspension design that tends to benefit from a climb mode----FSR for example---nothing wrong with this. Others tend to not need it as much----DW link for example---nothing wrong with this either.

Very supple designs tend to need it and firmer designs not so much.

I would not get hung up on this but ride the bike that has suspension performance to your liking.
 

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If you have a bike that climbs and descends well without using a switch, it's more convenient, particularly if there are a lot of those transitions between the two. Also, if you climb a lot of technical terrain, firming up suspension tends to reduce the effectiveness of the suspension for that application.
 

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It's not a problem if you have long climbs followed by long downhills. Where I live, everything is rolling terrain mostly, constant up and down, and a suspension with higher antisquat built in is preferable. It's not as plush going down as say a 4 bar suspension, but worth the compromise to not have to flip a switch every 5 mins, or else feel your bike squat down into its travel with every turn uphill, and bob like crazy unless you spin smooth circles.
 

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It's a problem for folks with low brain power -- like me, for instance -- who NEVER remember to open the switch before a descent and then wonder why my previously dialed suspension feels like crap.

Generally, I have zero interest in a bike that won't climb well in open.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks guys, just something I've been musing about in my head.

Blatant, it is infuriating when you get half way down the hill you just worked so hard to climb up, and realize your fork is on travel reduced mode or your shock is stiffened up! I've done that many times.

d365, good point about rolling terrain. I hadn't thought of that. I don't have much of that here on the Wasatch Front (SLC) -- most of my rides are an hour climb followed by a fast and furious descent which is, sadly, much shorter time-wise than the climb! But I do want to take my new bike, whatever it is, on some longer 'trail' rides, and I suppose it follows that if it climbs well without a switch, it will be better on the flattish parts, too.
 

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To me, a 3 postion switch is ridiculous. It's FINE if you want to have a lockout, but WHY do you onmly give me three damping settings (thats what your switch is).

practically zero damping (open/descend mode)
middle of the range damping (trail mode)
100% closed damping (climb mode)

I personally want all 10-20 clicks worth of adjustment that SHOULD be available to me. No, instead I get, for all intents and purposes, 2.
 

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WHY do you onmly give me three damping settings (thats what your switch is).
cost of the shock, simply enough. A number of really nice ones have access to finer adjustments.

To be clear, I do agree with you. My FS has one of the aforementioned 3 position shocks. I mostly just leave it completely open because it almost always rides better that way. But if I had access to finer adjustments, I might just choose one with some light compression damping like I often use on the forks I use on different bikes.
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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Because in most cases, bikes tend to ride like jackhammers with "climb" switches turned on. If you ride on roads, that's not a big deal, but a great majority of people climb on trails (as well as descend), and we paid a lot of good money for a bike with suspension and damn sure want to have it working on both the uphills and downhills. Without traction, you'll stall out and have more trouble on technical sections, without suspension, little roots and rocks will buck you with every single impact.

On my XC race bike, I have a lockout for smooth climbs and when you get into the XC pro ranks, they have lockouts because they'll run them at almost all times, except gnarly downhills, which makes the actual suspension design fairly insignificant. I never use the lockout unless I'm racing.

There's nothing inherently "wrong" with them, they have their uses. "Hard" lockouts are rare now, because without good blow-off/contingency, they tend to be real hard on the shock and frame, blowing out seals and pitting bearings. Firming up for a road can be nice, but much more useful IME is having actual low speed compression damping where you can firm up the chassis stability (and therefore, the pedaling), these are easy enough to adjust if you are going to do once of those "long road climbs". Otherwise, a lot of us just want our shocks to work and actually suspend us, absorb bumps, give us more traction, etc., even on the uphills. A good shock combined with a good suspension design gives us our cake and we can eat it too, rather than having to resort to running lockouts and having our a$$ flung into the air with each and every impact.
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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To me, a 3 postion switch is ridiculous. It's FINE if you want to have a lockout, but WHY do you onmly give me three damping settings (thats what your switch is).

practically zero damping (open/descend mode)
middle of the range damping (trail mode)
100% closed damping (climb mode)

I personally want all 10-20 clicks worth of adjustment that SHOULD be available to me. No, instead I get, for all intents and purposes, 2.
Yep, the 3-position shocks are ridiculous. We've normalized people to think that for descending you should have this wobbly-diving chassis that blows through the travel, because running it in any other mode is like a jackhammer usually. This often takes custom tuning to overcome, but there are shocks out there with some usable high and low speed damping adjustments. These should come on more bikes.

Of course, this gets to the crux of many issues with our society, while many of us, especially those that peruse this site, would gladly spend the time to dial in our bike with this kind of suspension, most of the actual buyers would probably not, when looking at the numbers, they just want a quick-fix and don't want to fuss. They are more than happy to ride around with the lockout on all the time or with some other screwed up setting, never being the wiser. In many cases, they just "don't want to deal with it".
 

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fraid of heights
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To me, a 3 postion switch is ridiculous. It's FINE if you want to have a lockout, but WHY do you onmly give me three damping settings (thats what your switch is).

practically zero damping (open/descend mode)
middle of the range damping (trail mode)
100% closed damping (climb mode)

I personally want all 10-20 clicks worth of adjustment that SHOULD be available to me. No, instead I get, for all intents and purposes, 2.
It's too bad there is not a way to have "both". A main dial that goes through the full adjustment range incrementally, and then above that a lever that clicks the adjuster through major chunks/sections?

Course that would go back to someones point about cost.

On the one hand the three setting switches are limiting. On the flip side when your riding with an X2 you spend more time playing with the lever to get the amount of platform feel/LSC your after. So you may reach down and get it, OR you may keep reaching down a couple times...? (just rolling it all the way closed was too much) Course, if my fitness level didn't suck so bad I probably wouldn't be reaching for those levers so much!!! :)
 

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fraid of heights
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It's too bad there is not a way to have "both". A main dial that goes through the full adjustment range incrementally, and then above that a lever that clicks the adjuster through major chunks/sections?

Course that would go back to someones point about cost.

On the one hand the three setting switches are limiting. On the flip side when your riding with an X2 you spend more time playing with the lever to get the amount of platform feel/LSC your after. So you may reach down and get it, OR you may keep reaching down a couple times...? (just rolling it all the way closed was too much) Course, if my fitness level didn't suck so bad I probably wouldn't be reaching for those levers so much!!! :)
OH, duh... I guess if the X2 just had 3 simple "detents" along the full range that would be a simple solution. You'd still have full adjustment of the LSC lever, but you could easily feel where a "suggested" descend/trail/climb modes would be if you chose to use them. So you could get used to rolling to the last felt click and then backing it off just a bit because that's how you prefer your bike to climb, etc. (OR going past that last click just a bit because your legs are marshmallows late into a long ride!!) :)

Also, you'd still have all the way open or all the way closed as natural stops. So you'd get full adjustment as well as ease of use that I think manufacturers were intending with the three stop levers.

OK Bike companies go ahead and name your new shock after me...
 

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There's just no free lunch, and neither approach is "wrong" IMO.

Low anti-squat means you gotta flip the switch a bit, but you also control how firm you want the rear sus in any given situation. Example: Trek Slash.

Higher anti-squat means less or no flipping the switch, but you also get a firmer ride when pedaling, whether you like it or not. Smooth trails are great for this, pedaling hard (climbing) through chunk, not quite as good. Examples: Intense Primer and Spot Mayhem.

So, pick your poison. For me, on a race (or racey) bike, I'll take the higher anti-squat, but not on a trail bike. I pedal too much in chunky stuff with that bike.

As far as 3-position switches, I love them. Fox's DPX2 has one, but the "open" also allows you to adjust the low speed compression. Probably the best upgrade for me that I ever installed on my Fuel EX.
 

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For years I kept my hands off the lock out switch in fear that it would make me a weaker climber reliant on the shock. Once in awhile i'd flip the switch only to complain the rear was just too stiff / non-compliant. I currently have a RS Monarch RT3 and can use the "climb" mode effectively and even forget it on w/o bursting into flames while descending.
 
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