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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So after testing a while over the last year I’ve found myself to run 0 fork tokens on my 170 Lyrik and 2017 boxxer WC. The Lyrik after upgrading to the debonair definitely didn’t need the token to prevent bottom out anymore. Obviously I’m not the most aggressive rider but I like tech trails. I seem to use about the same travel with 1 token as I do none so that’s a little odd but when I went to 0 on the debonair it felt more controlled and less harsh however that was with an RCT3. So I’m wondering if maybe the lack of damper support was just having the spring ramp up and feeling that ramp up as harshness and now that I’m on the HC97 (and even the stock damper has gotten better) is maybe I should be putting the stock 1 token back in.

I know it’s easy enough to just try it and see which is what I’ll do I’m just wondering if my theory makes sense. So I’m wondering if I basically use the same amount of travel with 1 or 0 and I’ve only really bottomed the fork a few times ever but I’ve come to accept that not using all your travel doesn’t mean it is set up wrong (also good to hear that on the podcast with Darren) so where does the 1 token take effect? I guess I’m wondering does even 1 token effect midstroke or is that not enough to make a difference? Is there any kind of negative of running less than the stock setup, meaning like is this not something Rockshox would ever recommend going less than stock because the mid would become wallowing or is this just their stock setup as a guess of what most would use for ramp up? Without actual spring rate data it’s hard to tell where too much volume actually takes effect and makes the fork ride deeper in travel than desired.

Curious what others have finalized on their setup now that debonair and better dampers have been out for a while.
 

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The debonair is a very balanced air spring in the long travel options. There is so much positive volume it naturally ramps up a ton. So most people don't need tokens if they have good spring rate. I don't think that applies to shocks tho. I also dont think tokens are the best way to control wallowing. More compression, swapping to a coil or swapping frames for something with a better forces curve would be more effective.

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I have a 170 Lyrik rc2 with the hc97 damper.
With 25% sag and 1 token its really progressive - on a normal xc type ride i would get 130-140 max travel. The only times i really used full travel is doing uplift days in the uk or on proper dh tracks.

With zero tokens and the same pressure in the forks they do give up the travel abit easier but you loose the support abit in the middle.

try cutting a token in half?
 

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tl;dr tune for *support* NOT "use of travel"

I prefer to use the minimum number of tokens to offset whatever compromise I am facing if I don't like what it is doing with zero tokens.

We all intuitively understand that when you take away air volume you make an air spring more progressive. The interplay with the negative chamber is not something I find intuitive but I work it through like this:

- Adding a token removes positive volume
- We set pressure at the most convenient fork position (fully extended)
- The air chambers equalise when the fork compresses to the chamber equalisation divot
- If the positive chamber has lower volume, its compression ratio is increased and it will be at higher pressure at the equalisation point
- The negative chamber will be equalised to this same higher equalisation pressure
- When the fork rebounds out to fully extended the negative spring is at a higher pressure (higher spring rate) throughout
- Adding a positive token increases negative spring rate

This gives you some characteristics to bear in mind for tuning the setup:

Adding tokens will "over-power" your negative spring. The fork will be softer off the top.

Adding tokens will make the positive more progressive. The fork will be harder to bottom.

Both of these effects are tendencies to a more progressive behaviour at each end of the spring travel which also implies that comparatively the midstroke is softer and more wallowy.

If you pump up the fork to the same pressure with tokens as without, the absolute support in the midstroke will be higher but it will definitely be softer off the top (less topout preload even though the spring rate is "firmer" in engineering terms).

If you drop the fork pressure so you still attain bottom out on a regular basis, the fork will be less supportive in the midstroke.

So what I do is I tune in the amount of support I like with air pressure settings with minimum tokens. I then consider adding tokens to soften the top, but I am very hesitant to drop air pressure much just because I've added a token. I'd rather be keeping travel in reserve than have a wallowy midstroke. Softness off the top can be a big factor in grip and confidence.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
To clarify I am not looking to drop pressure and add a token that was what was done in the past before debonair in order to gain small bump. With debonair I know longer feel that necessary. I guess my main concern was if going with less than the stock setup (stock for 170mm is 1) does the air spring positive chamber become too large causing it to have the hammock curve in the middle or is 1 token not even enough to play a role in the midstroke support.
 

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Purely based on my sole experience with volume spacers and Rock Shox...

Running the _correct_ spring/sag I found little need to add spacers. I've found running these forks at _no_ more than 20% sag gives me what I need. Its only when I've tried to resort to "old school" sag setting of 25-30% did I need to add more tokens. Very consistently did I bottom when running too much sag. Oddly, with less sag the fork felt no more harsh off the top. Just more supportive towards the mid and end.

I'd much sooner run less sag and relatively fewer spacers. If I bottom too much I dial up the compression damping to at least modest levels first. That way I can adjust fork feel and support "on the fly" with compression damping by simply turning a knob. When I need or want less support I just back off the compression damping.

Not at all saying this is the right way to go about things but I've found it works for me. Also, I'm not saying I use zero spacers (though sometimes that is the case). I'm saying I'm more likely to add spacers to prevent bottom out as a first remedy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Purely based on my sole experience with volume spacers and Rock Shox...

Running the _correct_ spring/sag I found little need to add spacers. I've found running these forks at _no_ more than 20% sag gives me what I need. Its only when I've tried to resort to "old school" sag setting of 25-30% did I need to add more tokens. Very consistently did I bottom when running too much sag. Oddly, with less sag the fork felt no more harsh off the top. Just more supportive towards the mid and end.

I'd much sooner run less sag and relatively fewer spacers. If I bottom too much I dial up the compression damping to at least modest levels first. That way I can adjust fork feel and support "on the fly" with compression damping by simply turning a knob. When I need or want less support I just back off the compression damping.

Not at all saying this is the right way to go about things but I've found it works for me. Also, I'm not saying I use zero spacers (though sometimes that is the case). I'm saying I'm more likely to add spacers to prevent bottom out as a first remedy.
This is about where I've landed too. 20% sag gives me good feel and about 90% travel usage on avg, but I get the same usage with 1 token as I do none which is why it has me question where it actually starts to take effect. Without recording my front end I don't know how much time the fork is staying in the 75%-90% usage zone vs 50%-75%. I'm just looking at RS chart and see that for the Lyrik they never have less than 1. They add more with reduced travel which makes sense because the stanchion is the same length for all travel versions so you need to reduce the volume on shorter travel to prevent bottoming but what has me questioning 0 is even at 180mm they still spec 1 so that's why I'm wondering if that is where the spring starts to become too large. So far it's felt good but I've made some other changes and that's having me question 0-1 and where does 1 actually start to make an effect.
 

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I think you might be overthinking it. Are you really heavy? If not I don't see why adding spacers would be beneficial. If the fork is divey and the spring rate is good you need to add compression damping.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I think you might be overthinking it. Are you really heavy? If not I don't see why adding spacers would be beneficial. If the fork is divey and the spring rate is good you need to add compression damping.
Your probably right I just found it odd that the min spec even at 180 is still 1 token which has me question if RS has some reason for that. I'm not heavy at all which is why I'm able to run 0 and fork feels good but you know how suspension is, you don't know what your missing until you try the alternative. As I said in the past I tried 1 and use about the same travel but it felt harsher and maybe not as controlled or calm. I'm now wondering if that was lack of compression damping (since the stock RCT3 is fairly soft and digressive) which is what has me wondering if it was that lack of damper support causing the spring ramp up to be felt through the bars, similar to how blown shocks on a car actually cause a harsher ride than good firm shocks. I guess I'll just have to put it back to stock and give it a ride but I was just curious what others have landed on since I know a lot are finding themselves running less tokens now with new modern air springs. Maybe the RS chart is still stuck on outdated theory since they have the same token spec solo air as they do debonair.

Would be nice if I had a way to compress it through the travel and monitor psi increase to see if 0 has a consistent progression curve or if it dips in the middle.
 

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Just went through all this.

1. No tokens= linear and better mid stroke support. Can be a little firm initially for some.
2. More tokens= progressive, less mid stroke. Will be more supple off the top but you will sit lower in the stroke and ride in the firmer ramp up.

Just have to experiment. I really like 0 tokens for how well the fork stayed up and felt in rocky rooty hits. BUT the initial feel was way too firm. So I went to one token. Compromise. If I loose a bunch of weight than I may try no tokens again, as I can run less PSI and the initial feel maybe less harsh.
 

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So after testing a while over the last year I’ve found myself to run 0 fork tokens on my 170 Lyrik and 2017 boxxer WC. The Lyrik after upgrading to the debonair definitely didn’t need the token to prevent bottom out anymore. Obviously I’m not the most aggressive rider but I like tech trails. I seem to use about the same travel with 1 token as I do none so that’s a little odd but when I went to 0 on the debonair it felt more controlled and less harsh however that was with an RCT3. So I’m wondering if maybe the lack of damper support was just having the spring ramp up and feeling that ramp up as harshness and now that I’m on the HC97 (and even the stock damper has gotten better) is maybe I should be putting the stock 1 token back in.

I know it’s easy enough to just try it and see which is what I’ll do I’m just wondering if my theory makes sense. So I’m wondering if I basically use the same amount of travel with 1 or 0 and I’ve only really bottomed the fork a few times ever but I’ve come to accept that not using all your travel doesn’t mean it is set up wrong (also good to hear that on the podcast with Darren) so where does the 1 token take effect? I guess I’m wondering does even 1 token effect midstroke or is that not enough to make a difference? Is there any kind of negative of running less than the stock setup, meaning like is this not something Rockshox would ever recommend going less than stock because the mid would become wallowing or is this just their stock setup as a guess of what most would use for ramp up? Without actual spring rate data it’s hard to tell where too much volume actually takes effect and makes the fork ride deeper in travel than desired.

Curious what others have finalized on their setup now that debonair and better dampers have been out for a while.
I have settle on 4 tokens for my boxxer so far. I use it to ride trestle bike park in Colorado. With zero tokens and an upgraded charger 2.1 damper I was still blowing through travel in an uncontrolled fashion. By going to 4 tokens I was able to slightly lower my PSI to keep my small bump sensitivity while still being able to lean on my bars to throw traction to my front wheel. Last season I got really into jumping so I may add another token this season, and drop the PSI again.

Unrelated: I highly recommend needle bearings for your rear shock for DH riding! Almost took all the chatter out completely! You may have to add a click of rebound.
 

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it really depends on the air spring I find.

I subscribe to the no tokens/higher pressure on my 38 as the small bump is so fantastic on a well serviced airspring.

on my 36 rhythm, with the same mentality (high pressure, no token) will not have the small bump due to the smaller negative volume these forks have. (even with the bare minimum grease)

People say a spring is a spring.... well not really when it comes to air springs, some can be somewhat linear, some have that hammock, some have trouble overcoming that initial force.
 
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