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learn to revlave/shim

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I need some help here. Are there manuals out there to teach this trade?

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nope. Mx-tech and Race Tech both offer classe though. Lots of forum material if you don't mind searching and reading.

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I decided to try to learn suspension about 18 months ago, and i'm still learning and readin almost every day... prepare to put in a lot of hours if you really want to understand and not just take someones word for the way things are.

I couldnt find anyone who was willing to teach me... i offered to work for free at a number of suspension tuners, but they all siad no, so i went to a race tech seminar and it was great. Cost me about $2000 but it was worth it for someone like me who had never taken suspension apart before 9well, only once or twice). They dont tell you specific stacks to use but they do tell you enough to figure it out for yourself. The only true way to learn is by doing it though!

Ive probably revalved my own bike about 30 times, and have borrowed friends bikes to do the same to... i have also spent about $2000 on tools and shims so its not a cheap hobby. But you could get away with spending much less than that (or much more!). the first 5 times i revlaved i didnt have any special tools and took the shock to the local bike shop to have it regassed.

So the moral of the story is... start reading and although none of it will make sense at first, just keep reading over and over and keep testing on your own bike and it will slowly start to come together.

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thanks for the replies guys.

I have searched all this over and over. I too have asked a local guy but got hesitation. I thought about the RT class but hear its all show and no hands on not too mention it is designed around their valves.

So, my basic desire is to just open it up and learn how it all works together. I have been in mx for a long time but have only replaced seals, springs, oil.

What all would i need to make sure I get it all back together correctly?

Thanks in advance.

-David

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I am the owner of FCR Suspension of the Carolina's it takes along time to learn how to set up the valving stacks on a bike. The problem is like it has already been posted no one out their will teach you with out paying allot of money. The reason being if everyone knows how to do their own suspension set up their would be no reason for people like me. I have had people to offer to work for me for free and had to trun them down as well. However if you do have some questions feel free to ask and I will do what I can for you.

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I may try the RT class but other then that I guess its trial and error.

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the 'problem' is that this whole suspension thingy is very, very complex.

Valving is just a small fraction of it. You can valve the hell out of the fork - as long as the sag isn't correct, it won't work.

And you can 'do' suspension for ten years and you will still learn (to a certain degree).

I was told when asking about valving, that the very first you have to know is how the suspension works.

ie how do all parts play together to result in working something (to get the big picture) and of course how the shock(s) and fork(s) work. That means you have to understand how the oil flows, what influences what etc.

And you have to service quite a good number of forks and shocks, just to get the head free of thinking, what belongs where, is this part correct, which side is upside down etc.

All in all it's a matter of years of experience - or if you want to have it a little more damatic: blood, sweat and tears.

A good start is an old shock or fork which you got cheap. Disassemble everything take it apart to the last screw and investigate. If you ruin something by doing it, doesn't matter.

The more you practice, the more you will get the picture and things which right now are still hidden in the dark will become that obvious, that you will wonder why you've had such problems with them before. (ok, not 100% true but kind of)

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Frez nailed it.

First.. You need to be very very passionate in doing suspension. If people think this is a easy buck I would suggest doing something other than suspension. It takes countless hours ( years) of reading, testing, watching peoples riding syles ect. I for one have had the great pleasures to have the opportunity to have discussions with what I concider some smart people and most are on this board or have posted on this board. ( they know who they are)

It is also one of the hardest fields to break into the mainstream.

So you have to be very patient.

My intensions is not to discourage anyone, but state the facts as I see them

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Ah Yeees my children, ye must love de springs and fluuuids as much as de yummi frau:ride:

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the 'problem' is that this whole suspension thingy is very, very complex.

Valving is just a small fraction of it. You can valve the hell out of the fork - as long as the sag isn't correct, it won't work.

And you can 'do' suspension for ten years and you will still learn (to a certain degree).

I was told when asking about valving, that the very first you have to know is how the suspension works.

ie how do all parts play together to result in working something (to get the big picture) and of course how the shock(s) and fork(s) work. That means you have to understand how the oil flows, what influences what etc.

And you have to service quite a good number of forks and shocks, just to get the head free of thinking, what belongs where, is this part correct, which side is upside down etc.

All in all it's a matter of years of experience - or if you want to have it a little more damatic: blood, sweat and tears.

A good start is an old shock or fork which you got cheap. Disassemble everything take it apart to the last screw and investigate. If you ruin something by doing it, doesn't matter.

The more you practice, the more you will get the picture and things which right now are still hidden in the dark will become that obvious, that you will wonder why you've had such problems with them before. (ok, not 100% true but kind of)

I agree totally, but if you never try to learn, you will never learn. Everyone has to start somewhere. There is always going to be a place for professional susspension tuners because there are always going to be people that don't want to mess with it or are scared to try and they are the majority. All of you had to start somewhere no one was born a expert at anything. I have cost myself some money along the way and am by no means an expert, but I have enjoyed learning from my mistakes and from talking to you guys. I have went from the point of not understanding what assemblys do what to bing able to change somthing and feeling the difference. My changes are not always educated, but I learnt from each one of them. To me it would be smart to educate someone under the promise that for x amount of time they work as an aprentice with little or no pay and that after they are capable they work with your product exclusively. I personally would be willing to not only do that but also kick back a fair percent of my shop earnings to my educator for a certain amount of time. You would make money off parts to my customers and my sweat, I get to learn suspension the correct way and have the opertunity to buy into an established name.

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I agree, most DIYers are no threat to proffessional tuners. I'm learning to tune my own suspension and have been working on some friend's bikes as well. Personally, I'm just having a blast learning and not one of my friends bikes that I've worked on would otherwise be in the hands of a proffessional tuner. They're just friends willing to be test beds for me with the hope of the benefit of improvement. If anything, I'm giving them a small taste of how their bike can handle and perhaps inspiring them to spend money on a tuner. The "secret handshake" crap is just not necessary. Apparently Dave gets that, but few tuners do.

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a diyer is not a threat.... until he is, it doesnt take long to understand enough to do a few bikes in the local area, and then basically your giving someone the power to take your living away, thats not sensible at all, so no one is going to educate someone on how to take there business away.The forums are different, as we are all spread out and so dont take from each other, the opposite in fact, we share and buy from each other, it works until we cross over into others terriritories.

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I agree, I wouldn't expect a guy to let someone come into his shop and learn without a non-compete agreement. That would be unwise. But sharing tips and advice about actuall shim stacks and other mods seems to be increasingly rare. I do understand the need for guys to have and keep their edge and trade secrets. But It's my opinion that alot more guys on this site and others have alot more to offer than they are currently willing to. Searching the archives is evidence of this. Too many guys have had their toes stepped on or been burned and that's a shame. I would be more likely to give a guy like Dave my business and send business to him for the sake of his willingness to help.

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but the thing is, why would tuners want to share, its not going to gain them anything other than a feel good feeling? its business after all, dave is very open with his settings, but the del taco mid stuff is not much use to your average person without his mods, however he does share shock info and other stuff and is to be commended for it.

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but the thing is, why would tuners want to share, its not going to gain them anything other than a feel good feeling? its business after all, dave is very open with his settings, but the del taco mid stuff is not much use to your average person without his mods, however he does share shock info and other stuff and is to be commended for it.

I believe a large portion of MX-Tech's success is due to Jeremy and John sharing their knowledge and proving to many that they know what they're talking about. A guy like John or Dave helping a guy like me compells me to do business with them. Alot of people don't care what you know until they know you care. This is a sport about fun, I'm sure none of the guys who have gotten successful with suspension businesses started out without the ideal that they could make a living in the sport they love. I want to give my business to somebody who takes pleasure in seeing people have more fun and more success due to their help. Sure, business is business but this isn't just business. It's a business about passion and fun and love for the sport. You might think I'm cheesy but that's the kind of people I give my money to.

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a good place to start:

http://www.thumpertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=390319

good luck!!!!

Thats too crazy. I read through alot of this last night. Great read.

I said that I wanted to learn this trade, just so everyone knows, I have a day job so the intent is not the do a career change but as a hobby. I have been riding since '91 and have always been fascinated with suspension.

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I know that telling secrets of ones profession probably doesn't make sense but I think there is a difference in tuners. Meaning there are good ones and there are great ones.

I will use my profession for example, I'm in IT and yes there are alot of us out there but the really good ones have a name for themselves and because of their reputation they can get a job anywhere and basically make double or triple what the average IT guys makes.

As a pre-sales engineer I'm always telling my secrets :) I never have been good at keeping secrets :banghead:

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a diyer is not a threat.... until he is, it doesnt take long to understand enough to do a few bikes in the local area, and then basically your giving someone the power to take your living away, thats not sensible at all, so no one is going to educate someone on how to take there business away.The forums are different, as we are all spread out and so dont take from each other, the opposite in fact, we share and buy from each other, it works until we cross over into others terriritories.

I totally agree... I am a DIYer that has just started getting more and more calls from people (strangers) who are unhappy with other local tuners and have tracked me down... i didnt seek this out but it is happening none the less. I consider myself a 'reasonably skilled beginner', certainly no more than that, but there are some people out there who are very happy with my setups and as a result i have become a threat to a couple of local tuners... even though i look up to them and respect their knowledge enormously.

I still have a full time job, but i am now just starting to think about where i want to be in 5 years or 10 years... and bikes/suspension/engines are beginning to feature heavily. So even though it wasn't my initial intention to become this involved in suspension the fact is that the way things have evolved I have become a threat to some of these guys whether i like it or not, and i am very glad that they refused my offer of free work in return for knowledge... because there's every chance that i would have burned them in the end once i realised how much i enjoyed it, and thats not in my nature.

So i would definitley recommend to anyone to teach yourself... don't even think of asking anyone local, because they will say no, and rightfully so.

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I can see both sides. The closest suspension guy to me is over an hour away and I aproched him with this exact deal. I agree to work for free as an aprentice 2 days a week untill he thinks I am capable of doing the work myself. I would open a shop with my money useing his shop name, products, and set-ups. I would also give him 10% of my earnings and promise to never compete with him on my own. I thought of this as sort of away for him to expand his buisiness with no chance of losing anything. Sence he is over an hour away he doesn't make it too all the tracks around here so it's away to expand his track side support as well. I thought it was a all win deal for him, but he shot it down without hesitation.

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