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Dustin Mobley

Adjust forks to reduce deflection off rocks

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I have always left my forks (WP AER 48 Air Fork) at stock settings and never messed with the settings on my `17 250 SXF. Mainly because I have never really understood suspension. Well now after a few years of getting better on the bike, I think its time to test and try to get some better performance and enjoy the trail rides more.

When I am in rock, specifically the baby head type rocks, I seem to deflect off the rocks and I am all over the place on the trail and feel every little rock. Since moving to tubliss/Shinko 505 and reducing my PSI in the forks  from 154 to 145 has seemed to make some positive difference however, I think its the clicker settings that may help the most. 

Current Clicker settings:

Compression - 17

Rebound - 18

Suggestions on what how I should adjust?

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I would go to race techs website and find their suspension settings calculator... it’ll ask what type of riding, your weight, skill etc.  then it’ll give you a suggested air pressure... start there.  If you are riding trails.  Run your clickers way out on compression and rebound.  Try 25 clicks out on both compression and rebound.  I found that running my air pressure a little higher and clickers further out helped it soften the initial stroke and it still held up well on the bigger stuff. but the big hits “g outs” at speed will collapse the fork quicker because of the aer mid valves not being that great.  I learned this set up from people that have been riding aer forks for awhile.  Also, never hurts to watch some youtube videos on how to set up your suspension.  The aers will never be KYB’s but they do work well once dialed in

Edited by MXR
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Thanks. I will check it out. I will check the site and do some more research. 

What bike do you have and what PSI do you run your air forks at and what height and weight are you?

Edited by Dustin Mobley
wrong info

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I'm not very familiar with air forks but from my understanding,

while changing the air pressure can alter the spring rate

the dampening is still controlled by restrictions in oil flow just like more traditional forks.

 

Typically when you want stiff 'motocross' forks (ex: cartridge forks like the KYB's) to be more compliant for trail use,

for the issues you've described it is by softening the midvalve dampening where most of the gains are to be had.

(deflecting off rocks & square edged hits rather than absorbing them)

Clicker circuits are a 'low speed' bypass bleed and won't have much effect on this type of hits.

 

Edited by mlatour
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12 minutes ago, Dustin Mobley said:

Thanks. I will check it out. Looks like the max my clickers go to is 20 clicks. I will check the site and do some more research. 

What bike do you have and what PSI do you run your air forks at and what height and weight are you?

29 clicks out only On your forks?!?!  That’s weird. I have a 17 350XCF and it goes out I think 30 or 32.  

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Just now, MXR said:

29 clicks out only On your forks?!?!  That’s weird. I have a 17 350XCF and it goes out I think 30 or 32.  

I am sorry, I was referencing the "Guidelines". My bad

ClickersCompression.png

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If you're looking for better feel in the rocks I would say go all the way out on your compression clicker.  I have a 2019 300XC with the aer fork and I prefer mine all the way out for rocky single track which there is loads of here in AZ.  The deflection will be reduced with less compression. Your SX forks are going to be valved differently than my XC forks but 155 psi also seems high to me.  I'm pretty sure the book for my forks say 139psi for the standard size rider. I'm a little heavier than that but I run mine at 139 because I like them riding higher in the stroke.  I ran them at 120 psi for a long time and it was slightly plusher but the overall handling of the bike is better for my weight at 139 psi. Changing your clickers and your air pressures cost nothing so I would say go crazy with it.  Don't be afraid to move the clickers.  When I first started riding I would move the clicker in or out one click and then go for a ride and see if I could feel a change.  Yeah right!!! I would be surprised if anyone on earth could reliably feel one click of adjustment.  I've been all over the place with mine.

Some advice I got from an old timer who used to be a really fast guy (state off road champ in the early 2000s) was start with the clickers all the way out on both compression and rebound.  Start riding and see how it feels then start to add rebound and keep adding until you can feel the front wheel isn't tracking the ground and you can feel a decrease in your control then go back out a few clicks.  Then see where you're at.  If you blowing through the travel and bottoming out start adding compression and add it until the fork starts to feel harsh.   I wouldn't be surprised if you found all the way out on compression was where it felt the best.  You can use a ziptie on the fork legs to gauge how much travel you are using. 

Also if you don't know much about suspension (I still don't know a great deal but I know a tiny bit) I found the adjustments start to make more sense when you understand what you're doing with the clickers.  When you turn the clicker in, or in the clockwise direction you are essentially restricting the flow of oil, so you are making it work slower.  When you turn the clicker out (counter clockwise) you are making it easier for oil to flow. This is a very simplified version of what is happening in your suspension but it helped me think about things when I was starting to adjust mine. I apologize if you already know that, not trying to talk down to anyone. 

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The 17 sxf was brutal for mx at std settings 

 

I dropped 20psi and revalved much lighter, for vet mx 

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12 hours ago, PTECH said:

If you're looking for better feel in the rocks I would say go all the way out on your compression clicker.  I have a 2019 300XC with the aer fork and I prefer mine all the way out for rocky single track which there is loads of here in AZ.  The deflection will be reduced with less compression. Your SX forks are going to be valved differently than my XC forks but 155 psi also seems high to me.  I'm pretty sure the book for my forks say 139psi for the standard size rider. I'm a little heavier than that but I run mine at 139 because I like them riding higher in the stroke.  I ran them at 120 psi for a long time and it was slightly plusher but the overall handling of the bike is better for my weight at 139 psi. Changing your clickers and your air pressures cost nothing so I would say go crazy with it.  Don't be afraid to move the clickers.  When I first started riding I would move the clicker in or out one click and then go for a ride and see if I could feel a change.  Yeah right!!! I would be surprised if anyone on earth could reliably feel one click of adjustment.  I've been all over the place with mine.

Some advice I got from an old timer who used to be a really fast guy (state off road champ in the early 2000s) was start with the clickers all the way out on both compression and rebound.  Start riding and see how it feels then start to add rebound and keep adding until you can feel the front wheel isn't tracking the ground and you can feel a decrease in your control then go back out a few clicks.  Then see where you're at.  If you blowing through the travel and bottoming out start adding compression and add it until the fork starts to feel harsh.   I wouldn't be surprised if you found all the way out on compression was where it felt the best.  You can use a ziptie on the fork legs to gauge how much travel you are using. 

Also if you don't know much about suspension (I still don't know a great deal but I know a tiny bit) I found the adjustments start to make more sense when you understand what you're doing with the clickers.  When you turn the clicker in, or in the clockwise direction you are essentially restricting the flow of oil, so you are making it work slower.  When you turn the clicker out (counter clockwise) you are making it easier for oil to flow. This is a very simplified version of what is happening in your suspension but it helped me think about things when I was starting to adjust mine. I apologize if you already know that, not trying to talk down to anyone. 

Thanks for the info. I will definitely mess around based on your suggestions. I am currently using the ziptie, and normally this (See pic) is how much travel i am using. Now there are instances where I really compress the forks like crossing a deep, but narrow ditch. But for most part, when I check the ziptie is in this location.

IMG_2733.jpg

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On 6/30/2020 at 5:01 PM, mlatour said:

I'm not very familiar with air forks but from my understanding,

while changing the air pressure can alter the spring rate

the dampening is still controlled by restrictions in oil flow just like more traditional forks.

 

Typically when you want stiff 'motocross' forks (ex: cartridge forks like the KYB's) to be more compliant for trail use,

for the issues you've described it is by softening the midvalve dampening where most of the gains are to be had.

(deflecting off rocks & square edged hits rather than absorbing them)

Clicker circuits are a 'low speed' bypass bleed and won't have much effect on this type of hits.

 

I agree there are definitely big gains to be made with modifications to the mid valve.  A buddy of mine with a 2020 300xc bought a revalve kit from a company called 7k machine with custom settings to change his midvalve and it was a huge improvement!  Only $120 bucks too.  But I do think there are some gains to be made with just clicker adjustments.

Edited by PTECH

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