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Should you always use all your travel?

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I got a new 19 yz250fx. Took it for an initial ride. This was a faster, deep, sandy trail ride, about 23 miles.

I put the zip tie on the fork and found in stock settings I was using abut 3/4 of the fork travel.  I was having a bit of an issue with the front wheel wanting to tuck.

Following weekend I went back out and rode the same trail but I stiffened fork compression 2 clicks. This  helped the tucking almost 100% but I used about 2" less fork travel from the previous weekend.

Would I have been better to leave compression and speed up rebound? This way I'm using more of my travel. Should you "always" set up suspension to use max travel?

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How much do you weigh and what level do you ride at?

If the bike is brand new it'll take a few rides to break everything in.

having a couple inches of "holy crap" travel in reserve isn't a terrible thing.

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Posted (edited)

In my very numerous CRF250X fork home experiments (revalves, spring rates, oil volume etc)

for moderately paced rocky trail riding (no jumps) I used to aim adjustments to use up as much travel as possible.

 

After a while I realized to obtain almost full travel, the settings were way too soft having a negative effect on handling

and feeling really harsh (fork rides deeper in the stroke)

 

My best results up to date have been achieved with stiffer base valve settings (keeping the forks initially higher)

yet a very soft midvalve to blow off quickly on big hits, even running one spring rate softer than recommended.

 

The forks have never felt plusher yet I'm using up less travel that I ever had, about 3-4" away from bottoming.

(enough reserve for unexpected 'oh-$h..' moments)

Edited by mlatour
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The answer is you should not be able to use all the travel on a regular basis. You should bottom out a couple times per ride under more extreme circumstances. That additional 2in that you aren't using for those circumstances... 

Edited by Hans Schmid
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Lately with the ktms I have owned I have found using all the travel means a hasher ride,the plushest setting left 2" of travel

In the past I would not accept this but I've gone forward and back

The plushest ktm I have ridden were setup for a rider 10kg heavier than me

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Suspension should use the minimum necessary travel to absorb the obstacle and rebound as fast as possible to recover. On the trail a lot of us should never bottomed.

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Adjust for what feels good for you, not what the manual says, not what you read on the internet, not what the bloke at the pub said he done in 1973. You ride the bike, adjust for what suits your riding style. Stroke only becomes a problem when you run out of it, who cares if the forks feel amazing and you only use 1" of travel (exaggeration to make a point)

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My two cents...

If I don’t bottom once or twice a ride, I know I am setup too stiff. My theory is that you are leaving suspension performance on I the table by not using it all the travel.

But, there are a lot of variables.

Do you have the right springs for your weight?

Is the rear sag set correctly for you?

Once the basics (above) are set, return all the clickers to the stock setting (owners manual).

Ride the bike... if your not bottoming, backoff the compression damping until you do (front and rear). Then go in a click or two. Now the bike will be using all the available travel and should be preforming close to its potential.

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On 8/26/2019 at 12:54 AM, Knightly said:

My two cents...

If I don’t bottom once or twice a ride, I know I am setup too stiff. My theory is that you are leaving suspension performance on I the table by not using it all the travel.

But, there are a lot of variables.

Do you have the right springs for your weight?

Is the rear sag set correctly for you?

Once the basics (above) are set, return all the clickers to the stock setting (owners manual).

Ride the bike... if your not bottoming, backoff the compression damping until you do (front and rear). Then go in a click or two. Now the bike will be using all the available travel and should be preforming close to its potential.

So in your opinion should you soften up for a track you don't know since your aren't going to run it full tilt like the track you know like the back of your hand?

 

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18 hours ago, EnglertRacing said:

So in your opinion should you soften up for a track you don't know since your aren't going to run it full tilt like the track you know like the back of your hand?

 

Maybe stiffen it, since you're probably gonna case something haha

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Before clicking anything on the bike, make sure that you have your sag properly set up. Weight bias or excessive fork sag (or not enough shock sag) can cause the front tire to tuck, (over steer)

A soft fork with a stiff shock will make a bike very unstable, esp at speed. Bars swapping back and forth down a whooped straightaway or under hard/sudden braking is a sure sign of a soft fork or poor weight bias. Make sure that your forks are not set too high in the triple clamps, but high enough for you to get good traction in the turns.

Once your sag is set up, then go ride and pay attention to suspension feedback. If you don't know what the bike is trying to tell you, have a friend watch your ride and even record you so you can see what the suspension is doing.

Most beginners have the front too low and soft and the rear rebound too slow. If the seat is smacking your behind, rebound might be too fast. Last. stay centered on the bike, gripping the tank with your knees and stay slightly off the seat as much as possible. Have a loose grip on the bars!

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5 hours ago, skorpan777 said:

You should har 2/3 for the most time and occasionally full travel

Why? if the suspension feels good and you use 1/2 or less travel then run it. Forget what the books, forums, mates say and run what works for YOU

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Why? if the suspension feels good and you use 1/2 or less travel then run it. Forget what the books, forums, mates say and run what works for YOU


You can run the suspension however you want, that’s fine. But if your only using 1/2 of your available travel, you are losing huge amounts of performance. It’s like buying a 450, but never opening the throttle past 1/2... sure you can do it, but your not using its full potential.

The suspension at 1/2 travel is giving you a rougher ride than it has to be. You are taking a beating for no good reason.

I have a skinny friend who bought a used bike that was set up for a heavy guy. He was using a little over half travel and was getting beat up bad. He had the springs changed for him, got the sag set properly, and backed off the Compression and rebound and the ride was MUCH better.

Just try backing off the compression... it only takes a minute... you can return it...

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3 hours ago, Knightly said:

 


You can run the suspension however you want, that’s fine. But if your only using 1/2 of your available travel, you are losing huge amounts of performance. It’s like buying a 450, but never opening the throttle past 1/2... sure you can do it, but your not using its full potential.

The suspension at 1/2 travel is giving you a rougher ride than it has to be. You are taking a beating for no good reasonemoji846.png.

I have a skinny friend who bought a used bike that was set up for a heavy guy. He was using a little over half travel and was getting beat up bad. He had the springs changed for him, got the sag set properly, and backed off the Compression and rebound and the ride was MUCH better.

Just try backing off the compression... it only takes a minute... you can return it...emoji106.png

 

If this was the case bikes would comes with 600mm suspension travel, more is not always better

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If this was the case bikes would comes with 600mm suspension travel, more is not always better

 

Roughly 12 inches of travel on today’s bikes is an engineering compromise balancing ergonomics, handling, weight and expense. If the engineers could pull off 600mm (23 inches) and not compromise the the other factors, I would guess they would do it. Logistically thought, we don’t want a 42 inch seat height, extra 40 pounds, and extra expense.

 

If you mellow trail ride, using 1/2 your travel is fine... but if you pick up the pace your just hurting yourself but not using more travel. Ask any competent suspension tuner, expert or professional racer how they feel about only using 1/2 travel at a race pace.

 

Most people don’t mess with their suspension because they are intimidated by all the different factors... so they leave it as is. I’m encouraging people to experiment with it... it’s not rocket science... just read your owners manual (a lot of people don’t).

 

 

I’m not an expert, but I’ve listened to enough experts and done what they say to do. Through hundreds of small adjustments, and trial and error, I’ve learned how to set up my suspension. If you invest the time to set it up right, it is a huge benefit.

 

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