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Talk to be about tokens in my Pike
I’ve a 29er Pike fork (FS-PIKE-ULT-B3, to be precise), with a 130mm airspring. I’ve so far been pretty disappointed with how it responds to fast small chattering trails (ie it doesn’t, my bars chatter) compared to the Mattoc I had on my old bike and now I’m wondering if the tokens need fiddling. The manuals talk about progression and so on but don’t spell it out for muppets like me.
I’m 95kg in my birthday suit so 100kg+ on the bike, and not an aggressive rider. Should I try removing or adding tokens? I also note that the fork originally had a 140mm airspring and would have come with 1 token prefitted, and a retail 130mm fork comes with 2 tokens prefitted. My LBS swapped airsprings whilst they had it, but I expect they didn’t add another token.
Cheers for any help for clueless muppet.dangeourbrainFull Member
More tokens causes the fork to firm up as it goes through its travel (progression, increasing the spring rate).
Less tokens means it ramps up less.
You possibly want more tokens and less air pressure, leading to a more supple fork at the beginning which ramps up faster to avoid bottom out.
with how it responds to fast small chattering trails (ie it doesn’t, my bars chatter)
Possibly, very possibly, you might just need to drop your tyre pressure.desperatebicycleFree Member
I’ve found similar with a 29er Pike. Also got exactly the same fork in a 27.5 and it’s absolutely perfect.militantmandyFree Member
I would make sure your rebound and air are right first. Do you use a sensible amount of travel on a ride? If your rebound is too slow, the fork may be packing over repeated hits.
How’s it going? This one is going to be a hints and tips rundown, as it occurred to me there’s a fair bit I have learnt and applied to the bikes base tunes and setups over the last 18 months or so, and I wanted to share those.
Racing my RocketMAX Gen4 Prototype at EWS Tweed Valley
Starting at the front, the big thing I have got my head around more and more in the last couple of year is volume spacers. Given that most forks – even the posh ones – have confusingly high compression damping, to the point where everyone here runs the adjusters fully open regardless of weight, riding style or fork choice, the air spring is your biggest and most effective weapon in tuning your ride. And before you think “why not say something?” about the fork setup, I do, regularly, but we are still too small to have that much of an influence. Bottom line, if you have dials on the top of your fork, wind them all the way out and see how you get on.
Anyway, fork volume spacers: There was a bit of a weird thing a few years ago where the number of spacers in your fork was some kind of badge of honour. It’s not. Just like anything with engineering and suspension, it’s a compromise based on the inputs. I’ll give you a couple of examples based on my (90kg in riding kit) and Paul (68kg in riding kit). I have been running MY22 Rockshox Lyriks in anything from 150mm to 180mm travel depending on what I have been working on. Paul has mostly been running Cane Creek HELM, but with Rockshox of various flavours at various times.
Using all the travel on the Linderets Red in PdS
First rule of thumb:
The lighter you are the more volume spacers you need in your fork. Volume spacers control the feel around sag and how much ramp up you get through the travel. When you are light, you put lower pressure in the fork to achieve the right spring rate. If you have the same volume in the fork as a heavier rider, the pressure won’t ramp up as much through the travel so you will blow through more easily. Generally Paul runs 2 more volume spacers than me. For instance, in a 160mm Rockshox, I run 1 spacer, Paul runs three. In a HELM, I run with the gold volume adjuster removed, Paul runs it 2 notches down the shaft. Because I am at the heavier end of the spectrum, if I run more volume spacers, not only do I not use all the travel on the fork well, but around the sag point the fork is very supple, but not very supportive, so on steep trails and high load turns like berms it feels mushy and not very confidence inspiring. With fewer spacers in I get more support around the sag point, but the fork moves more consistently through it’s travel too.
Second rule of thumb:
The more travel your fork has, the fewer spacers you need. This applies to forks like the HELM and the various Rockshox (except the SID because they are fixed travel) which have various travel options. In the longer travel settings, the volume change is larger so you naturally get more ramp up. So, where I run 1 spacer in my Lyrik at 150 and 160 travel, I run none at 170 or 180. (Side bar – before anyone gets excited about me running 180 Lyriks, it was to simulate the 170mm Zeb before I got a set during RocketMAX Gen4 development. The Zeb’s are physically longer than the Lyrik)
Paul tipping it in on his Jeht
As I have become more sensitive to the changes in my bike, and been able measure them with my Motion Instruments data acquisition system, I have really got to know much more about this side of the fork setup. And by being to measure other riders using the data, I can see the changes there too.
I know I have said this before, but you are probably running too much rebound damping. The “bounce in the street” test is a terrible way to check the feel of your bike. On the fork, just try riding down a rough trail you know well with half the number of clicks you are currently running. See how it feels. If it feels a bit much then add a click, if it’s still fine, keep going faster! Faster rebound lets the wheel flutter and track the ground better, and leads to less arm pump because the fork isn’t packing down. There are 20 clicks of adjustment on a Lyrik: I run 10 clicks rebound. On a HELM I run 4 clicks from open, Paul runs 2.
Nicked from cotic btwThe-BeardFull Member
I also run a 29er Pike and keep thinking that it’s not that responsive over small bumps – BUT – I’m absolutely flying on that fork. It’s possibly in my head a bit but I’m pretty sure that I need to do some more fettling on the set up. I used the Rock Shox app and felt the recommended pressure was too firm. Keep meaning to fiddle with the rebound and compression over a section of trail and see how I get on. Think I’m running one token.YakFull Member
I have one token in a 29er pike at 150mm. I think I would run 3 at 130mm for a similar feel. I run it with c 20% sag measured in a standing ready position and keep the rebound fairly fast so it stays high up in the travel.ayjaydoubleyouFull Member
Intersting from BikeRevive (or rather from Cotic) that they are saying heavier riders should go without the tokens.
That seems to go against the conventional wisdom from when they were first released.
However back then they were the magic beans and solution to everything up to and including world hunger.
Ask literally any suspension related question in any biking facebook group and the first reply would be “have you added volume tokens? they make it sick [fist bump emoji]”
I agree with the above, started experimenting based on comments from Steve at Vorsprung.OnzadogFree Member
Have you given any thought to bushing clearance and alignment? The variance I’ve found in Rockshox bushing is frightening.
Strip the fork, garter spring off and foam wipers out, see if each leg in turn drops in smoothly under its own weight. If each side does, refit the front wheel and try both sides together. It could be that bushings are too tight, or that the fork lowers are not parallel.
The lighter you are the more volume spacers you need in your fork. Volume spacers control the feel around sag and how much ramp up you get through the travel. When you are light, you put lower pressure in the fork to achieve the right spring rate. If you have the same volume in the fork as a heavier rider, the pressure won’t ramp up as much through the travel so you will blow through more easily.
That contradicts itself.
I found my Pike (2021 ultimate RC2) disappointing for exactly the same reason. I replaced it with a Mezzer Pro which I’m very happy with.
Knowing what I know know, I’d first look at the bushings and then look at a Runt or a Secus.ScienceofficerFree Member
Vorsprung says this.mrmoofoFull Member
Im 105 kg and run a Pike with no tokens ….
Oh, for reference I ran my Pike at 150mm with no tokens and light compression + mid-light rebound. I’m 85kg or so kitted up.
I’d use full travel on bigger drops, but around the sag point it managed to feel both jarring on chatter and unsupportive under braking or on steep stuff.
I’m sure my setup could’ve been poor cos I’m a noob.devashFree Member
Tokens shouldn’t affect the feel at the beginning of the stroke as they’re designed to tune the ramp up / progressivness of the fork travel towards the end of the stroke.
There’s a great diagram on the Fox website somewhere showing how additional tokens affect the stroke. The beginning of the travel isn’t affected whether you are running 1 or 5 tokens.
There’s always been this desire to get a fork that feels buttery smooth when cruising flow trails, but that becomes bottomless when getting big air. The latest Rock Shox ones have those butter cup things to absorb more chatter at the start of the stroke. Some manufacturers have played around with springs (was it Manitou or Marzocci)? Best thing I’ve found is to tune the initial stroke feel with air pressure, and then dial in the ramp up with tokens.chestercopperpotFree Member
The advice lifted from Cotic above is the sort of thing that creates confusion and is best ignored. Although he is right about older RS forks being overdamped.
There’s always been this desire to get a fork that feels buttery smooth when cruising flow trails, but that becomes bottomless when getting big air
Absolutely it’s the holy grail. Or to put it in more STW terms, a plush bridleway bashing setup that works for bike park jumps and drops. Most people run very soft suspension because it gives confidence when riding small chatter (humans are very sensitive to vibrations) and most people judge how good suspension is off that alone! The trouble is, with a nice plush bridleway setup, you will find when hitting a jump spot it’s way too soft/sluggish and you bottom out all the time. They’re two extremes and there is no suspension product that can be super plush on chatter, yet hard enough to handle big air/hard landings without adjustment between the two activities or compromise. Modern trails (rough with sizable features/DH) demand this holy grail setup. In recent years we have generally got better out of the box tuning windows from the big names. Don’t expect miracles though you can’t have it all in one setting without compromise. Some forks have a narrower tuning window and better/worse damping characteristics than others!
IMO below Lyrics/upgraded Yaris you’re better served by a Mattoc Pro or Sweep HLR which can usually be picked up cheaper than some basic models of RS forks.
I had a pair of 29 Pikes & had the same issues you describe. Mine were RCT3 charger 2.1. They were so bad I sent them to TF Tuned for tuning – I pretty much have them free reign including Push Coil & Acs3. They tested them and they were working perfectly at pressures suitable for lighter riders – up to 70kg ish whereas for heavier riders there wasn’t enough bushing overlap and I was basically making them bind (I’m same weight as you).
I sold them & bought some factory fox 36. That’s solved my Pike issue 😂.
Incidentally what Cy wrote about suspension setup is absolutely spot on.
Tokens won’t change anything relevant. Is possibly under inflated and running too much rebound. What psi are you running? How many clicks (from closed) of rebound are you running?
And/or a lower leg service might be an idea (to reduce stiction)
They tested them and they were working perfectly at pressures suitable for lighter riders – up to 70kg ish whereas for heavier riders there wasn’t enough bushing overlap and I was basically making them bind
That’s interesting. I’m 58kg and find my Pikes with a charger 1 perfect. It’s the only fork that’s felt right for my weight. My Yaris with a charger 2.1 and no tokens is harsh and too progressive.
This issue with RS forks is clearly “a thing”. Reading MTBR etc. people always talk about the damping, then the air spring (which version is best etc.), yet when I spoke to both TF & Avalanche in the states, they took a very different view. I’ve got to be honest, their advice largely aligned with what Cy said in his email, but expanded upon this by talking about bushing overlap and stanchion support through the travel.
Personally, I don’t get along with Rockshox at all. The best fork I’ve ever used is a Bos Deville, and TF explained that although they have relatively “loose” bushings, they have massive bushing overlap. Meaning, they moved in a particularly unrestricted manner yet were very well supported through their travel.
The 2021 Fox factory 36 is the closest I’ve got to the Bos feel; if anything they’re way more supportive around the sag point and never use more travel than required. It’s a bold statement and largely based on personal preference but I wouldn’t use RS if you paid me.
PS: that Vorsprung piece is very interesting. I’m a slight outlier; I’m heavy at 100kg but because of years of BMX I’m also very smooth. I ride hard but not in a careless bike smashing kind of way. I’m also very sensitive to setup, so tend to mull upon changes.
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