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Fork spring pre-load?

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What are the advantages of more/less spring pre-load.

1. Spring pre-load will raise or lower the height of the bike and this will shift the balance or weight distribution of the bike from front to rear, (more pre-load) or rear to front (less pre-load).

2. Pre-load will position the fork within the available stroke or range of movement. This will add or reduce the stroke, and shift the fork with respects to the operation of the air-spring (via the oil level). Therefore more pre-load may soften the upper range and stiffen the lower range…well, a little bit.

3. Adding or removing pre-load effects the rebound rate of the fork. When you add pre-load you are reducing the window or range in which the spring operates (your starting value is smaller, therefore the range is less). This gets a little tricky since a given amount of energy will only push a spring so far regardless of how much pre-load is added, but when applied, the end result is a faster recovery or more force on the rebound.

4. Lastly, pre-load sets a suspension up for impact, meaning that the more pre-load you add, the more the suspension is going to feel, "at the ready". This is because the introduction rate into the spring has been increased. This will make the front end feel more taut (call it stiff) which will lead to a more nimble ride.

That aside, the good thing about springs and pre-load is that they are very easy to calculate off of the bike. It only takes a few numbers and a little bit of math to really determine how the bike is going to sit (distribute the weight) with and without you. Or forget the math and use a few rulers and some scales.

Does that help?

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