Forks and rear shocks.
Now I know a lot of you readers must look at these updates and just think “lucky ba*tards”. Well, on the whole, you’re right. But last week I wasn’t so sure… We spent Tuesday being fitted up with 2011 Fox forks by Tim and Chris from Mojo in South Wales.
What is it is bad about that, you may ask? Well, I was getting fitted the new generation of Terralogic forks on the front of my Santa Cruz Blur LT long termer.
For those of you that don’t remember, the first generation Terralogic forks came fitted on Specialized bikes (which also had the “brain” rear shock fitted to the rear). The Idea being is that you got a hardtail-like platform to pedal off until you hit something, at which point the pressure from the hit bypassed a brass Do-Da™ at the bottom of the fork and you suddenly had a fully active fork. And once the terrain smoothed out, the fork became rigid again.
(More info here.)
The bikes that I rode then were horrible. They didn’t seem to do anything at all until way after you’d hit something, whereupon it would turn in to an incredibly mushy bike for a bit, only to stiffen back up as you hit stuff further along the trail.
Anyway, 7 years is a long time in the world of suspension and here we are in 2010…
My version are the 140mm 15QR 32 TALAS. They also come with the super slippery Kashima coating where the inital movement of travel is less stictiony. And everyone loves a bit of gold bling innit? Plus it’s apparently a bit more durable than previous coatings.
If you remember in my last post about the Blur LT, I couldn’t get the rear to feel right. Well, while I was at Mojo I had the Fox RP23 Boost Valve rear shock swapped over to the Medium compression (previous setting was “Minimum”). All in all the Blur LT is now a very different set up than before.
Anyway, up to Cwmcarn for a blast around the top section of the XC loop… After setting the air pressure and doing the traditional bouncing in the car park to learn nothing, off we went…
The forks WORK! I was going to say they were a Revelation but we don’t want to confuse stuff do we> 😉 Apparently they now have a spring added to the brass mass at the bottom of the fork that keeps the fork in the “open” positon for longer. They’re not perfect; they don’t seem to have quite the same “controlled” feel as some of the more adjustable forks (in terms of compression damping) but they are a very well behaved fork that you can really put the power down with. Very racer boy (for me!) That, and the combination of the much firmer-feeling rear, has made the bike feel like a lot more taut.
You can still catch the “brain” out over small consecutive bumps spaced a little way apart. On this stuff I could feel more feed back though the bars. Also through bermy corners, as your weight transfers, you get a little less grip but it’s all horses for courses.
The interesting thing about all of this is how it reminded me once again of how different a bike feels dependent on suspension and set up. I’d like to reiterate again the entirely subjective nature of suspension set up. Your “expert” mate isn’t necessarily right! The way I like my bikes to feel is probably very different from yours, and yours does from your friend.
It’s well worth having a play with that expensive machinery at either end of your bike to see what it does.
One final note in rush to get the bike built up you can see I have a new wheel n the front for a few days. I will be going back to my Specialized Rovals this week. Specialized have sent me a set of 15mm adaptors the next day for my wheel. Fantastic service – thanks very much!
In more exciting news I’ve swapped the stem for 65mm (!) The Renthal has been excellent but what with the short (ish) top tube a 50mm stem was just a little ..too little.
So I now have one of these.
A lovely V- One All Mtn Stem (GRRRR)
I’m hoping this should make the perfect balance between techiness and me knocking minutes off climbs (that last bit isn’t true but I do think the whole thing will sit a little more ‘right’)
Don’t worry the Renthal is here next to me awaiting I hope a project much more suitable for it .
I’ve had a few emails about the adjustment to my rear shock so i’ve grabbed some numbers from Mojo for those who are interested.
Service :- £89.00 (thye have to pull the bugger apart to do the job)
Shim stack shimmy :- (My words not theirs) £30.00 and for that they really can make your shock do what you want .
postage – £5.00
Which I reckon if your riding a high end full suspension bike is pretty good value to get it to behave as you want it to.