How to make a fork stiffer on a bike

Adjusting the bike fork

Before answering the question of how to properly set up a bicycle fork, it is worth understanding its basic functions. The main purpose of the fork is to serve as a shock absorber when overcoming obstacles with a bicycle. A soft landing after a hole, bump or bump will keep the rider healthy. At the same time, the elements of the bicycle are not destroyed, and increased stability is gained. Literacy and correct settings are a necessary component of a comfortable ride not only over rough terrain, but also along city streets.

Adjusting the shock absorber rebound speed

Rebound is the rate at which the fork returns to its original position under load. The response speed of the rebound mechanism must be such that the shock absorber does not fire immediately and can absorb the impact from the next obstacle.

How to determine the effectiveness of a bicycle fork’s rebound? When driving over bumps, bumps are damped before they hit the steering wheel. the rebound is well tuned. The shock absorber does not work on small obstacles. minor adjustments are needed. And finally, a neglected case, when the hang-up is very late.

How to Make Your Fork Super Plush!

  • Find a road or path with unevenness.
  • Set the regulator to the fastest bounce.
  • Accelerate, feel like check how hard it hits the steering wheel.
  • Tighten the adjuster until the beating stops.

It is important to tune the Rebound so that the bumps do not hit the wheel while maintaining a smooth ride. If the rebound is set to the correct value, but the shock is unpredictable, you may need to readjust the fork travel and compression.

It is recommended to tune the front fork not immediately, but in the “Preload. Compression. Rebound” sequence. Individual selection of each parameter will improve the performance of the shock absorber and give you a comfortable ride.

Front suspension compression types

Compression allows you to vary the compression speed of the fork, ensuring smooth travel and smooth damping. There are three compression options on the professional-grade front fork:

  • low speed,
  • high speed,
  • blocking.

The first type of compression stabilizes the bike on bumps. Softness, precision in passing obstacles, comfort. all this is low speed compression. In fact, its setting is preload, which has already been mentioned above.

High speed compression is responsible for reducing shock loads on the wheel, frame and rider. Slows down the shock on landing, so the bike doesn’t bounce.

The fork lock function allows it to be set to 100% stiffness. By setting the suspension to a fixed position, the cyclist rolls the bike out onto flat roads. For driving on rough trails, it is better not to block the fork.

On some air models (eg Dual Air), the pressure in both the positive and negative chambers can be adjusted separately. Excessive compression on the negative side will make the fork overly soft, and the bike itself will begin to sway on the go.

Preload (sag, preload)

make, fork, bike

This setting is responsible for the stiffness of the spring. It is also called negative spring travel. The sag value affects the shock absorber’s ability to track and handle any bumps in the road while driving. To determine the sag, you need to set the full travel of the fork (applies to forks with variable travel), the maximum speed of its compression and disable the lock.

To measure this parameter, you will need a plastic or rubber ring, or a plastic tie, which must be attached to the fork leg. If you sit on the bike and ride quietly for a few meters, the weight of your body will compress the fork by a certain amount. Then stop and slide the buckle down the leg of the fork towards the oil seal and stand up gently. The fork will return to its original position, and the tie will be at a certain distance from the oil seal. this is the magnitude of the sag.

Since this parameter directly depends on the weight of the cyclist, its adjustment for each is carried out individually. Also, the sag value is influenced by the riding style:

  • for freeriding, the sag can be 30-40% of the full travel of the fork;
  • for downhill. 20-30% of the fork travel;
  • for cross-country. 5-15 percent.

Whereas in spring forks the seg can be adjusted by external adjustment or by replacing the spring itself (if external adjustment is not enough), in spring-air and air forks, the preload can be adjusted by changing the pressure in the positive air chamber.

Competent option for adjusting the bike fork

The right setting will give you the opportunity to experience all the delights of cycling. The wrong setting will lead to the feeling of medieval torture in case of leaving the city, where you will only have to dream of returning home. Let’s analyze all the existing settings of the element.

  • Adjustment actions related to the weight of the cyclist. Spring forks are manufactured by the manufacturer with an average weight of 85 kilograms. If the cyclist exceeds this limit, then it is worth adjusting the preload. This will change the stiffness of the spring. But the more correct way out would be to replace the plug with an air version. Such a fork can always be pumped up to the level specified in the instructions for the bike in relation to the rider’s weight.
  • Fork pressure. Again, referring to the table, you need to determine the optimal level of pressure in the air fork, so as not to break through the shock absorber. The difference between an empty and loaded bike should be 20%. No more, no less. It is not necessary to build up more than the permissible pressure. This will lead to breakage and uncomfortable driving.
  • The presence of a negative spring. Why is a negative spring needed? Its main task is to smoothly counteract the compressive force. It helps the fork respond to minor bumps. Available as a metal spring or as a separate air chamber.
  • Difference between Dual and Solo Air. Solo Air uses a fork with the same pressure in both chambers. This is the most common and convenient option. With regard to Dual Air, there is the possibility of adjusting the negative springs. This product is intended for athletes in cycling.
  • Rebound Fork. There is an oil damper inside the product, which is designed to delay the instantaneous rebound of the shock absorber. It can be reconfigured to suit your parameters. If you twist the rebound to the maximum, then the steering wheel will hurt your hands when hitting a bump. It is better to test this segment on a flat area and set the desired position.
  • Blocking. You can block the fork yourself with a special lever. This position will give an incredibly stiff fork for those who like this kind of riding. New developments are completed with remote adjustment of this function located on the steering wheel.
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Rebound speed

This is one of the most important parameters of the fork, which must be individually adjusted based on the chosen riding style. So, if you prefer a quiet ride on an asphalt road, you can completely twist the rebound, then the fork will not create unnecessary vibrations. If you mainly ride on a dirt road and rough terrain, the rebound speed must, on the contrary, be unscrewed so that the fork quickly fulfills the irregularities encountered on the way, but at the same time the steering wheel should not hit your hands due to too fast rebound.

Rebound speed is usually adjusted either outside the fork or internally (requires partial fork disassembly).

Compression rate (compression)

This setting allows you to determine the speed at which the fork will contract when handling bumps in the road. Usually in forks with adjustable compression speed, you can adjust either Low Speed ​​Compression or High Speed ​​Compression.

By adjusting low-speed compression, you can adjust the behavior of the fork when handling small road irregularities, remove unwanted fork swing when pedaling and jerks when braking and high-speed cornering.

High speed compression adjustments are generally relevant for forks used in extreme riding conditions. It allows the fork to be tuned to handle medium to large bumps at high speeds, and to prevent the fork from punching through serious impacts such as landing after a jump.

The nuances of adjusting the softness of the fork

Thanks to the bike fork adjustment, it is possible to set the shock absorber stiffness. In the normal state, the leveling mechanism dampens vibrations, thereby maintaining the firmness of the spring on level road sections. Preload is the part of the spring adjustment in the fork designed specifically to adjust the shock absorber in a static position. It is also called negative spring travel. Usually the latter has 2 border states:

Front suspension compression types

Compression allows you to vary the compression speed of the fork, ensuring smooth travel and smooth damping. There are three compression options on the professional-grade front fork:

  • low speed,
  • high speed,
  • blocking.

The first type of compression stabilizes the bike on bumps. Softness, precision in passing obstacles, comfort. all this is low speed compression. In fact, its setting is preload, which has already been mentioned above.

High speed compression is responsible for reducing shock loads on the wheel, frame and rider. Slows down the shock on landing so the bike doesn‘t bounce.

The fork lock function allows it to be set to 100% stiffness. By setting the suspension to a fixed position, the cyclist rolls the bike out onto flat roads. For driving on rough trails, it is better not to block the fork.

On some air models (eg Dual Air), the pressure in both the positive and negative chambers can be adjusted separately. Excessive compression on the negative side will make the fork overly soft and the bike itself will start to sway on the move.

Consider the procedure for removing a fork from a bicycle.

First you need to turn the bike with the wheels up, and release the brake (in the case of a rim brake), remove the front wheel. After that, you can remove the stem with the stem and the head tube.

Then we remove directly the plug itself. It is important to ensure that the balls are not lost from the bearings when removing the fork. Any sharp object can be used to remove the tapered support ring from the fork stem. After that, you can start repairing or servicing the plug.

Next, consider the procedure for disassembling the fork (a spring-electric fork will act as an example):

  • The lower fixing bolts are unscrewed using hexagons.
  • The preload spring force adjustment bolt is unscrewed (it is important to remember the bolt stroke).
  • An elastomer is obtained, which is responsible for the function of limiting the travel of the spring (sometimes, if necessary, you can change the size of the elastomer by cutting).
  • The bolts are unscrewed and the “pants” are taken out. In this case, you need to monitor what flows out of there (dirt, water, oil).
  • Anthers are taken from the “pants” with a screwdriver, as well as bosses, which for this need to be rotated around their axis.

Further, all components are checked for cracks or other damage and washed with kerosene. Items requiring lubrication are treated with an appropriate material. It is worth noting that it is better to lubricate the spring with a thick grease, which will increase the efficiency of the bicycle fork.

Some cyclists even go through only purchased forks, trying to individually debug the device.

The process of assembling a plug is carried out in the reverse order of the parsing process, so we will not describe it.

It is better to entrust the procedure for replacing the fork on a bicycle to a qualified specialist or perform it under the supervision and according to the recommendations of the master.

As practice shows, owners can be divided into two types:

  • Those who ride a bike until the last “breath” of transport, and only when all systems completely fail, think about repairing the device.
  • Those who carefully monitor the condition of the bike, follow the rules for caring for it and prevent any breakdowns.

It is no secret that the approach of the first type of owners ultimately costs much more, because often it is necessary to replace the components of the bicycle that are not recoverable. In addition, there are times when the bike can no longer be saved.

In principle, experienced users are quite capable of handling fork repairs on their own, because over time, every cyclist who shows an interest in his transport will remember the name and functions of the parts, and it is no longer difficult for him to find the cause of the problem. If there is no relevant experience and skills in repairing a bicycle, then you should not experiment and it is better to contact competent specialists. In addition, ignorance of the design features of the fork itself can lead to difficulties in eliminating its breakage.

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This video review will help you consolidate the acquired skills:

About Mountain Biking. Adjusting the Suspension Fork

Long-term passion for any hobby leads to an indispensable investment in it. The bicycle is no exception. Suspension forks on inexpensive models have few differences, but if you wanted something better and even had a chance to buy it “better”, then it’s time to consider this issue in more detail. You can start reading the instructions (which, by the way, is not bad and will be a big plus), but few have the strength (or desire) to read the fifty-page manual to the end.

Correct fork alignment affects further ride comfort on rough terrain and asphalt. The wrong setting can make driving torture. To begin with, it is worth noting that there are air and spring forks. In the first case, the stiffness of the shock absorber is regulated by air pressure, in the second it depends on a metal spring.

Tuning the Fork to the Weight One of the most important tuning options for the fork is to match the rider’s weight. As for the spring fork, everything is complicated here, since factories produce them based on the average rider, weighing 75-85 kilograms (nevertheless, for good forks there are springs of different softness and there is a preload adjustment).

How to make your mountain bike coil suspension move freely

The situation is twofold: the heavier the cyclist, the more pressure will be on the spring, respectively, it sags more, and the risk of its breaking through on some hard area increases. In another case, when the weight of the cyclist is too small, the shock absorption is of poor quality, because this weight is not enough to overcome the resistance of the spring on various kinds of irregularities.

With a large weight, the preload adjustment (aka Preload) is very valuable, which increases the rigidity (twisting) of the spring with mechanical stops. Small irregularities are handled a little worse, but the chance to “break through” the shock absorber is noticeably less. So spring mechanics will stop responding to small irregularities of the earth’s surface. Already tired of reading? You can discard all the troubles, but then what is the point of buying a better quality part? So let’s continue.

A more versatile solution: air plugs that can be adjusted to almost any weight using a high pressure pump (often included). Buying it separately, however, is also not difficult.

You can try to pump the plug with an ordinary pump (after all, the nipple is usually automobile), if you have a lot of free time and effort (but there is no guarantee that the result will be achieved). High pressure pumps are equipped with a winding hose and a special pressure relief button.

What should be the pressure in the fork Either in the instructions, or on one of the legs of the fork, there is a table of the ratio of fork pressure to the rider’s weight. It should be guided by, adjusted for your own feelings. Many people prefer to inflate the plug to a higher pressure than what is indicated in the table. So it is more difficult to punch and, probably, it will be worse for handling small irregularities. Therefore, it is necessary to milk sag at 15-20% of the suspension travel. For example, if the fork has a stroke of 100 mm, then, accordingly, 15-20 mm goes to the sag.

Sag is the difference between the fork travel of an unloaded and loaded bike. In human terms, the sag is the sinking of the fork after the owner sits on the bike. In order: the plug should be inflated to the pressure indicated in the table. Once the target pressure has been reached, it’s time to sit on the saddle. The rubber ring on one of her legs will help to understand which sag is on the fork. If there is no such ring, you can make it yourself from scrap materials.

An insufficient sag value will cause your hands to feel uncomfortable on small irregularities. the fork will not handle them. And if you overdo it with sag, then this situation can end with a “breakdown” of the front shock absorber, which also does not bode well.

Negative Spring Needed in a Bike Fork This seems to be pretty straightforward and there should be enough compressed air for the fork to work effectively. But, oddly enough, in the operation of this system, one repulsive force is not enough, since a compressive force is also needed, in opposition to the first.

The usual average rider weight simply won’t be enough to force the fork to react to the roughness of the road and this is what caused the negative spring to be installed. Its function is precisely so that the fork can react to minor irregularities, helping to trigger. The mechanism described above comes in several variations: a metal spring or a separate air chamber.

Dual or Solo Air Most good forks are made with Solo Air technology with the same pressure in both chambers. According to this technology, several chambers are pumped simultaneously through one installed nipple, which has nothing to do with Dual Air technology, with which it becomes possible to adjust the negative spring.

The Dual Air system is quite difficult for many beginners, since they, especially without understanding the plug device, do not understand what’s what. Dual Air, frankly, is mainly required by athletes who care about seconds. In simple driving, there is no need for such a design. What’s more, the plug will only take longer to set up.

Adjusting Fork Rebound An important basic function of every working suspension fork is Rebound. If there was no oil damper, then the spring would bounce back in an instant, and then immediately compressed, beating off the hands. In conventional forks, the rebound force can be adjusted with a special adjustment (plus and minus are usually drawn on the lid). It will be useful for beginners to find an area with bumps and drive along it. Adjust the rebound depending on the sensations and remember the position.

You can do this in several stages: drive with the existing setting. Then, if the rebound is not the fastest, do it and drive again along the selected segment. If it’s too fast and your hands are extremely uncomfortable, then turn the adjustment by 1/4 and repeat. The purpose of all of the above is to find the moment when the fork not only does not knock out hands on the rebound, but there is no delay from the oil damper.

Twisting the rebound to the maximum will trigger the fork with a delay that is quite noticeable. As a result, on a series of repetitive irregularities each fork will not have time to “work out”. The elastomer acts as a damper in cheap forks. Subzero temperatures cause it to harden and it can easily stop functioning.

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By the way, it will be useful to mention that there is a “platform”. a technology that prevents unnecessary buildup of shock absorbers. It is installed in more expensive forks and therefore, the number of settings in them also differs in a larger direction (high and low speed compression, high and low speed rebound).

Fork blocking But back to our rams, as they say. Quite a few manufacturers already offer blocking on the forks of the mid-price segment. This is an incredibly handy addition! Just imagine: on the asphalt you can get an analog of a rigid fork by simply moving the lever to the “locked” position. If we consider individual models, then on them the fork lock is completely turned on remotely, using a lever on the steering wheel.

Experimenting more with your new fork is the key to getting it right and riding comfortably. You do not need to be afraid of this, rather, on the contrary, try to find the best option for yourself.

  • Low speed. The main function is to reduce sensitivity on roads with small potholes. Effectively absorbs strong shocks, removes unwanted sway when pedaling and jerking when stopping.
  • High speed. Responsible for reducing shock loads on the wheel, frame and seat. The adjustable fork allows you to tackle medium to large bumps at high speeds. It slows down the shock absorber on landing, which prevents the bike from bouncing. Excellent option for front fork used in extreme riding conditions.
  • Blocking. This function of 100% stiffness is designed for driving on perfectly flat road.

On some models equipped with an air spring, the pressure in the different chambers can be adjusted separately.

Adjusting fork softness on a bike

Preloading the suspension fork travel. preload. allows you to set the spring rate. When optimized, the damping system dampens vibrations where necessary and maintains firmness on level ground.

The adjustment consists in changing the distance between the upper “unloaded” and the lower point of maximum pressure.

In the first case, the fork travel is close to the maximum possible. On the road, this will result in constant up-and-down vibrations of the springs under the pressure of the cyclist. Interestingly, obstacles in the form of bumps and potholes such a fork will work out badly.

The second option is a high stiffness of the fork, the stroke length is less than 50% of the original. For the smooth passage of large obstacles, this value is not enough.

In the third situation, the shock absorber is fully tuned, allowing you to effectively repel impacts without compromising the dynamics of the bike. On average, the correct setting is 70% to 90% of fork travel of unloaded distance.

The preload method depends on the type of shock absorber:

  • On spring models, the amount of compression is manually changed using a special regulator. When replacing the spring, a harder shock absorber is selected to increase the load, and vice versa.
  • For spring-air forks, the stiffness setting is carried out through the pressure in the chamber.
  • On pneumatic shock absorbers, the fork travel is adjusted by changing the pressure in the positive sector.

You can measure the load in a stationary position, while sitting on a bicycle or while moving. For accurate results, correction is recommended in small approaches.

Front suspension compression types

Compression allows you to vary the compression speed of the fork, ensuring smooth travel and smooth damping. There are three compression options on the professional-grade front fork:

  • low speed,
  • high speed,
  • blocking.

The first type of compression stabilizes the bike on bumps. Softness, precision in passing obstacles, comfort. all this is low speed compression. In fact, its setting is preload, which has already been mentioned above.

High speed compression is responsible for reducing shock loads on the wheel, frame and rider. Slows down the shock on landing, so the bike doesn’t bounce.

The fork lock function allows it to be set to 100% stiffness. By setting the suspension to a fixed position, the cyclist rolls the bike out onto flat roads. For driving on rough trails, it is better not to block the fork.

On some air models (eg Dual Air), the pressure in both the positive and negative chambers can be adjusted separately. Excessive compression on the negative side will make the fork overly soft and the bike itself will start to sway on the move.

Correct bike fork alignment

Front suspension. a damping device to smooth out vibrations on uneven roads and rough terrain. The node is located in the part of the same name. the plug. Shock absorber functions. to damp all vibrations, improve ride comfort, reduce the load on the frame and wheel rims.

The front suspension is an adjustable piece. The efficiency of real movement will depend on the degree of its adjustment. For example, insufficient shock absorber travel will not allow leveling out large vibrations when hitting obstacles, and shock loads on the frame will increase.

A suspension that is too soft will degrade the dynamic performance of the bike. In general, full compliance of all parameters with the stated requirements is required. In this article, we will look at how to soften the fork on a bicycle, adjust the compression and adjust the travel speed.

Adjusting the shock absorber rebound speed

Rebound is the rate at which the fork returns to its original position under load. The response speed of the rebound mechanism must be such that the shock absorber does not fire immediately and can absorb the impact from the next obstacle.

Fixing Your Mountain Bike Suspension 101

How to determine the effectiveness of a bicycle fork’s rebound? When driving over bumps, bumps are damped before they hit the steering wheel. the rebound is well tuned. The shock absorber does not work on small obstacles. minor adjustments are needed. And finally, a neglected case, when the hang-up is very late.

  • Find a road or path with unevenness.
  • Set the regulator to the fastest bounce.
  • Accelerate, feel like check how hard it hits the steering wheel.
  • Tighten the adjuster until the beating stops.

It is important to tune the Rebound so that the bumps do not hit the wheel while maintaining a smooth ride. If the rebound is set to the correct value, but the shock is unpredictable, you may need to readjust the fork travel and compression.

It is recommended to tune the front fork not immediately, but in the “Preload. Compression. Rebound” sequence. Individual selection of each parameter will improve the performance of the shock absorber and give you a comfortable ride.