Bicycle suspension forks. types and types of suspension forks.
These days, it is difficult to imagine a mountain bike, and indeed a bike (except for high-speed road bikes), which does not have a shock absorber. Thanks to such forks, the front wheel of the bike is able to smoothly overcome bumps and pits on the way, which makes it easier and easier to control the bike when overcoming road obstacles and irregularities. driving comfort is significantly increased.
As for the disadvantages of such forks, it is their high price, depending on the quality and various types of lotions. Another disadvantage is their weight, they are much heavier than their “brothers”. hard forks. Also, the disadvantages include such a factor as the loss of energy during swinging, when pedaling, since part of the transmitted effort when you press the pedals. absorbs depreciation. As for the last minus, already on the forks of the middle class there may be various stiffness adjustments or LockOut. full fork lock that can be engaged when driving on a highway or flat road.
Most modern suspension forks have 1 and 1/8-inch headtubes. In mid-range bicycles, the 1/8 inch standard is usually used. These standards are supported by manufacturers of bicycle frames and steering columns.
In the modern bicycle market, the most common manufacturers of suspension forks are: RST, SR SunTour, Manitou, Marzocchi, Rock Shox.
According to the type of shock absorbers, bicycle forks are divided into the following types:
Spring loaded bicycle forks. these include cheap forks, the design of which contains one or two springs. As a shock absorber, such forks do not work, since there is no damper, but still add comfort to the ride. These forks may have a Preload /-.
Spring-elastomeric shock absorbing bicycle forks. in such forks, in addition to a steel spring, a rod made of polymer material is installed, it acts as a damper. These budget forks can be Preload and LockOut adjustable.
Air suspension forks. in them, the role of a damper and shock absorber is air, which is pumped into the fork by a pump. With prolonged and aggressive use, air can pass through due to wear of the cuffs (it loses its density). Have a wide range of Preload and Rebound adjustment, can also be LockOut.
Oil-air. in such forks, a cartridge filled with oil plays the role of a damper, and pumped air serves as a spring.
Oil spring forks. the oil cartridge also serves as a damper, and the spring is made of durable steel. One of the most reliable and expensive bike forks. Have different hardness settings and blocking.
Settings used on bicycle suspension forks.
Preload. preload, setting the spring rate. In cheap forks, as a rule, it does not significantly affect the real stiffness of the forks.
Rebound. bounce / rebound. This setting adjusts the bounce rate of the fork. return to starting position.
Compression. adjusts the compression speed of the fork, the reciprocal of the Rebound.
LockOut. blocking the travel of the bicycle fork. Becomes tough, convenient to use on a flat road.
By layout, suspension forks are divided into:
Regular. the most popular and widely used bicycle forks, made on the principle of a telescope. two pipes of different diameters go in each other.
Long stroke forks of this type are usually made in the form of a double-crown fork. two links connecting pants (legs) forks.
Inverted. these forks are also made on the principle of a telescope, only the suspension pistons of the fork are at the bottom. Specific. these include multi-link and multi-piston forks. They also include forks with one leg.
The suspension forks can also be categorized by criteria. stroke length.
They are divided into three main types: short-stroke, medium and long-stroke.
Short-stroke. travel in such forks from 25.30mm, used for cross, pleasure and city bikes.
Average. travel is 50.100mm, used on bicycles for hiking, active riding and Cross-Country.
Long stroke. fork travel from 120.300mm or more, for specialized bikes for aggressive riding and Downhill descent.
Types of suspension forks, their settings and installation
For every cyclist, the question always remains, which fork to choose, how to set up and use correctly. First, let’s look at the main types of surebets and in which disciplines they are used.
What disciplines are suspension forks used in?
Cross-country suspension forks are used with 80-100mm travel, disc brakes and the most lightweight design: carbon rods and pants, mounts exclusively for disc brakes, shock absorption is carried out by pumping air into the high pressure chambers. To compensate for the other leg of the fork, oils of different viscosities are used, depending on the season. Such forks are used not only by world-class professionals in competitions, but also by advanced amateurs. Simpler forks for such bicycles have aluminum or steel components, a spring and oil act as a shock absorber. In extremely rare and budget models of bicycles, pivots are used to attach rim brakes (v-brakes). Enduro, all-mountain and downhill disciplines use suspension forks with the same damping system as in XC, only the travel of the fork itself will be different: from 120-140 mm to 200 mm. The higher the load on the fork and the more obstacles, the correspondingly more travel. Downhill forks have a double crown for increased strength and an increased leg diameter that allows for increased torsional rigidity.
We should also highlight the bicycle forks of the Cannondale company, called Lefty. Earlier models used springs for damping, modern ones use an air-oil system, and needle bearings are used in the construction of the oil forks, which allows the fork to work even with the strong side load that occurs during cornering. The fork itself is also interesting in that one leg is missing, the wheel is fastened only on one side, so a special bushing is needed. Also, the fork is a flip-flop, that is, the leg of the fork is located at the bottom, which allows you to reduce the sprung mass. The advantage of this fork is the reduced weight and better torsional rigidity of the overall structure.
Touring, city and some gravel enduro bikes use short-travel suspension forks with 30-70mm travel. There are both simple elastomeric and more advanced air forks. The short travel of these forks provides sufficient cushioning on small bumps and does not affect the geometry of the bike.
If you have decided on the type of fork that is installed on your bike, or that you are going to purchase, we will proceed directly to setting up the fork or installing it.
Bike Fork Settings
In some expensive models, the Lockout button is located on the steering wheel and you can switch without stopping, on the go!
Preload. Sets the spring rate. This setting allows you to adjust the SAG value. a value in% showing how much the fork will sink if you load it. For MTB. 15-20%, for extreme sports. 25-30%.
If the fork sags too much, you may not have enough fork travel to overcome obstacles, or it will swing violently during acceleration or climbing uphill. And if it sags enough. will hit hands hard when hitting an obstacle, not cushioning enough. On air forks, this is controlled by the amount of air pumped into the fork according to the weight.
Rebound (the speed of the bounce of the fork). the speed at which the spring returns to its original position after being compressed. This metric is responsible for the softness and speed at which the fork is ready to fire again.
As stated above. this setting is responsible for the size of the holes in the oil cartridge, by decreasing or increasing it, you slow down or speed up the rebound. Basically, the rebound depends on the rate of passage of the oil through the holes in the cartridge. The wider the hole. the higher the rebound speed. This is useful when driving on different types of bumps. If you have a road ahead with many small obstacles. feel free to twist the rebound to a fast position and the fork will work out all the little things. When riding on deep bumps, such as pits on roads, country roads, it is important to operate the fork with a slow rebound so that the cyclist does not lose control and the fork provides a smooth ride.
Compression (speed of compression of the spring). Adjusts the speed at which the fork is compressed by surface impacts. Distinguish between high speed and low speed compression.
Low-speed compression allows you to fine-tune the sensitivity of the forks when handling small irregularities, to minimize swing when pedaling, pitching when braking, redistributing weight in corners, etc. The spring travel will be smoother and softer. Suitable when driving in a straight line. High-speed compression is responsible for the operation of the fork on descents, large irregularities, rocks, holes, when landing from trampolines, etc. Here the spring will be more rigid and will instantly work. For more aggressive riding. On expensive bicycles, the Compression rotator is located on the handlebars, which allows you to adjust the travel speed of the fork on the go.
Types of suspension bike forks
Simple elastomer forks, which are found on budget bikes, use two springs that bounce when hitting an obstacle or pit. Elastomer. This is an elastic band that looks like a school one. It counteracts the rebound of the spring by softening it. Such a fork is weakly sensitive to small obstacles and poorly dampens vibrations. The spring-elastomer fork is suitable for riding in a walking mode in parks, light off-road. Only the stiffness of the springs can be adjusted here, which is regulated by the twists located on the crown of the fork. Optimal for rider weight 65-90 kg. If the rider is lightweight, you can look for softer springs. In the bicycle market, these forks are represented by the brands RST, Suntour, noun.
On bicycles of the middle price segment, spring-oil forks are installed. Such surebets are not considered budgetary. The quality of such forks is an order of magnitude higher than that of spring-elastomeric forks. In one leg of the oil-spring fork there is a spring, in the other there is an oil cartridge and a chamber. The spring (steel or titanium) is responsible for the compression, for the rebound speed. a separate oil cartridge, which is a set of washers with holes of different cross-sections. By rotating the rebound adjustment lever, the cross-sectional area of these holes decreases or increases, slowing or accelerating the rebound. Basically, the rebound depends on the rate of passage of the oil through the holes in the cartridge. This is useful when driving on different types of bumps. If you have a rough road ahead with a lot of small obstacles. feel free to twist the rebound into a fast position and the fork will work out all the little things. When riding on deep bumps, such as pits on roads, country roads, it is important to operate the fork with a slow rebound so that the cyclist does not lose control and the fork provides a smooth ride.
The cartridge can also have a lockout function (block the plug if necessary). When the fork is blocked by the lockout system, oil stops flowing from chamber to chamber and the fork actually turns into a rigid one. This is useful for long highway driving and to save energy on the ascent. It is especially convenient to use the external lockout, the switch of which is located on the steering wheel.
Forks with a spring-oil damping system are produced by such well-known brands as Rock Shox, Suntour, etc. On bicycles of the middle and top segment, forks with an air-oil damping system are installed (often they are simply called air forks). As a spring, there is air, and a damper. butter. Instead of a steel spring. a piston fixed in the pants and a sealed air chamber in the fork leg. A special high-pressure pump is injected into the high-pressure chamber through the pumping nipple (the instructions indicate the required pressure depending on the weight of the cyclist) and when the piston begins to move in the chamber. the air pumped in it is compressed. The air pressure inside the chamber determines the softness of the fork. For the rebound, as in the spring-oil fork, the oil cartridge is responsible. These are quality forks that are semi-pro / pro level with sophisticated technology. They are more expensive than the above types of forks and are made of quality material. Designed for serious off-road technical riding. Air forks provide the most precise tuning for a particular cyclist and his riding habits, as well as the best cushioning compared to other types of forks. absorb microvibrations, swallow small irregularities, do not shoot, the wheel rides without taking off the ground. These forks will work well with both light riders (up to 50kg) and heavy riders (over 100kg).
It is important to remember that any fork is adjusted for a particular cyclist, his weight and riding characteristics! For a more accurate setting, it is imperative to take a test drive, since you can only understand what kind of work you want from the plug only when it is working on bumps.
Installing a fork on a bike
There are metal and carbon stocks depending on the fork material. All new forks come with an uncut stem and must be shortened when installed on a bike. It is worth shortening carefully, with a special tool, taking into account the stock of length to be taken out, the steering column cups and spacer rings.
For metal rods, use a pipe cutter or a hacksaw for metal:
For carbon rods, use only a metal hacksaw. And to make the cut even on a metal or carbon rod, it is advisable to use a pipe cutting guide.
After the cut, the edges are filed. If the rod of the fork is metal, then the anchor is driven in, or, popularly, chamomile, using a tool for driving a chamomile (or a tool for installing an anchor in the rod for forks), into which a bolt is screwed in, tightening the steering. If the fork stem is carbon, then a special anchor for carbon stems is installed.
If the fork has mounts for rim brakes, before installing the brakes, the seats must be lubricated with grease for the smooth movement of the brakes themselves. Disc brake mounts on new forks often require trimming. removing excess paint on the contact surface for a snug and even fit of the caliper (brake machine or caliper). To trim the mounts for disc brakes, as a rule, use a special tool, if it is not available, you can use a file.
Tip: Air forks require pumping for the rider’s weight, factory oil is filled with universal viscosity. And if you will be using the bike in winter, you need to change the oil to a less viscous oil for better fork performance. At low temperatures, simple elastomeric forks practically stop working, because they use a grease (thick) lubricant, so pay attention to this!
After installing the fork on the bike, you need to adjust the front brake, adjust the position of the wheel relative to the frame and remove the play of the steering column.
Remember to follow the advice of the plug manufacturer for use and maintenance. This will significantly increase the lifespan and allow you to get the most out of your ride.
The rigid fork is slowly becoming a thing of the past, but when it comes to the highway, the rigid fork is a tradition. Aluminum forks are considered the worst to use because they transmit vibration more to the hands. High-speed road bikes use carbon forks, which greatly reduce the weight of the structure.
Bicycle fork. Multiple functions
The main functions of the forks are to turn the wheel exactly to the steering angle, maintain an accurate wheel trajectory, absorb the loads when braking with the front brake, mitigate the impact of wheel collisions, and ensure safe cycling due to a robust design that is designed for a specific type of use.
Typically, forks are made from a variety of materials: steel, aluminum, carbon, titanium. According to the principle of the device, they are divided into hard and soft. The fork design is determined by the purpose of the bike. Mountain bike forks are almost always shock-absorbing, with moving elements. Road bikes, city bikes and hybrids have simple rigid forks with no moving parts.
Bicycle fork. note for beginners
An integral part of your two-wheeled friend is the front fork. A bicycle fork is a multifunctional steering mechanism that holds the front wheel in place and allows direction changes while driving. Not so long ago, all bicycle forks were similar to each other and differed little from each other. Over time, manufacturers began to put more meaning into this part of the bike, which led to the multifunctionality of the device.
It’s hard to imagine a mountain bike without a suspension fork. Today they are no longer considered something unusual, as a result of which the price of middle-class forks from well-known brands has decreased. They are installed on bicycles designed for use on uneven terrain, off-road, and also for extreme riding.
Manufacturers offer suspension forks that can work in different ways and have the following components as working elements:
- spring, due to the compression of which the entire structure works;
- elastomer. a rubber bar inside the spring;
- oil that flows through the tanks of the oil damper device through the valve system, thereby limiting the speed of compression or expansion of the fork;
- air or air spring. A sealed container is used, which works by compressing atmospheric air. They are generally lightweight and typical for cross-country and marathons.
Higher quality suspension forks can be customized to suit the rider’s needs and riding conditions. The more expensive the plug, the more options for adjusting the parameters. Subject to adjustment:
- fork compression speed;
- unclenching speed;
- stiffness (change in fork travel);
- complete blocking of actions, as well as a breakable blocking, which provides the locked fork unlocking in case of strong impacts in order to prevent damage to the entire device;
- setting the minimum load at which the shock absorber starts to operate.
When choosing a suspension fork, you need to take into account the intended riding style and its geometric parameters, namely the fork travel and the diameter of the legs.
The long travel of the bicycle fork makes it possible to overcome larger obstacles, absorb strong shocks, develop high speed on the trampolines, and have a comfortable fit during downhill descents. The small fork travel provides a low center of gravity for the bike, precise control, and reduces swing when pedaling hard. Typically, the suspension fork locks up when driving on a flat road.
Shown below are the travel values for different riding styles:
- Hybrids: 50-70mm.
- X-Country: 80-100mm.
- Cycling, riding: 80-120 mm.
- Dirt: 80-100 mm.
- Marathons, enduro: 120-150 mm.
- Freeride: 180-250 mm.
- Downhill: 170-200 mm.
- Hardcore freeride: 250-300 mm.
Bicycle suspension fork, design
The body of a complex bike part consists of the following elements:
- “trousers”. two glasses into which the legs are inserted;
- “stock”. axle, attached to the frame;
- “crown”. connects the stock and two legs;
- “legs”. tubular parts, connected to the wheel axle, or slide into “trousers”.
For better performance, the pants are oiled during assembly, so the legs slide easily along the rails. Irregularities are smoothed out between the pants and the crown. Rebound is “softness” movement, at what speed the fork will react by squeezing, which means it dampens the impact. The rebound speed can be adjusted. Damping parts: steel spring, air.
The average fork travel is up to 203 mm. travel is needed for uneven surfaces, less travel for smooth surfaces.
Standards (in inches) are assigned to the diameter of pipes of different systems:
- 1. on old samples;
- 1 and 1/8 are popular standard;
- 1 and ¼;
- 1 and ½.
In addition, the devices differ in the diameter of the wheels, for each size a certain option is suitable.
By the type of fastening, mechanisms are distinguished: threaded and unthreaded. Today, the second method on bearings is more common.
- Short-stroke (up to 40 mm);
- Medium (up to 100 mm);
- Long stroke (up to 300 mm).
Bicycle forks, purpose
It is a part that holds the front wheel, connects it to the steering wheel and allows for pivoting movements. In addition to visually drawing attention to transport, it serves as a depreciation. Why is it needed?
- Comfortable riding. No shaking or shock to the steering system. a guarantee of a comfortable ride.
- Maintaining health. Vibration and stress on the wrists, as well as blows to the hands, negatively affect the joints.
- Convenient management. Suspension fork reduces stress and wheel slip.
- Saving strength and energy. The shock absorber takes all the vibrations on the road, making it easier for the cyclist.
Important parameters of the bicycle mechanism:
- Depreciation properties;
- Matching your device with your preferred riding style.
How to choose a bicycle fork
Depending on the nature, riding style, choose front forks with appropriate shock absorbers.
Consider the common types of systems by type of shock absorbers, which bike fork is better, their disadvantages and advantages:
The basic option for any inexpensive bike model, as well as for children’s transport. It is highly discouraged to install cheap copies. Spring-loaded. do not extinguish heavy loads, all significant vibrations are transferred to the wrists. It is easy to pierce them for people weighing more than 70 kg, just dropping into the curb. Frequent breakdowns. leaking oil seals, backlash in the legs. A budget option for recreational riding. One of the most successful models is the RST from Santour, for example, https://www.velopiter.ru/view/veloaddon/5444.htm.
Elastomer (damper) design provides better shock absorption and is suitable for city and touring bikes. These elements are made in the form of a rubber rod (or air valves). The cost of such a fork pays off. The impossibility of working at negative temperatures, due to changes in the basic properties of the damper, justifies itself by eliminating oil leakage. Due to friction against the elastomer, the spring does not have time to expand. Add-ons are not provided.
The air fork is powered by compressed air instead of a spring. High pressure air accumulates in a special chamber. They dampen large and small vibrations, shocks. An air fork for a bicycle belongs to special equipment, but it has one significant drawback. a short operational life, since the system requires regular pumping of air. Aggressive riding wears out the structure even faster. Nevertheless, many cyclists prefer this model.
This model has a higher price, which depends on the type of oil used and the characteristics of the cartridge. An air / oil fork will last long if you regularly monitor the pressure in the cartridge, which is responsible for damping shocks. Its advantage is its ability to work properly at low temperatures.
This system costs more than 300 and is installed on professional bikes. The joint work of the damper (oil cartridge) and the spring withstands significant loads. In such assemblies, the quality of the parts is excellent. Operation at low temperatures requires more frequent oil changes. The disadvantages include a small range of adjustments. The best bike fork for every hobbyist and professional has its own. The types of bike shock absorbers are selected individually, based on the experience of the cyclist, climatic conditions, frequency of vehicle operation, personal preferences and financial capabilities. The assortment can be found here https://www.velopiter.ru/cat/veloaddon/0/39/1.htm.
What are the bike forks
By design features, there are: rigid and shock-absorbing forks.
The first category applies when driving on smooth surfaces at maximum speed conditions, such as cycling. Rigid bike forks should not be used for off-road, difficult trails. They are responsible for balancing the position of the frame when entering sharp turns, dampen minor irregularities. The main reason for the wear of such a structure is the high load.
The main purpose of the second category is to extinguish all irregularities at the time of movement. The damping fork is used off-road and is capable of withstanding severe shocks and vibration from the surface. Its advantages include the ability to adapt to any conditions of movement, providing a comfortable ride. The disadvantages are limited in speed and instability in tight corners, due to the large stroke of the shock absorber. Currently, rigid structures are very rare, due to the versatility of the shock-absorbing mechanism.
How to choose a mountain bike fork
When riding a mountain bike, the choice of a bicycle system should be approached with special responsibility, since the safety and comfort of the cyclist depends on its characteristics and parameters. It makes the ride smoother, provides easy control.
In the ranking of the best mountain bike forks, the first place is taken by the oil-spring system. It is versatile and will fit any bike. The best shock-absorbing properties allow it to be used in premium vehicles. Steel spring, oil damper guarantee a smooth ride.
The second place is occupied by the oil-air system. It has a wider range of adjustments and a higher lifting capacity. With more pressure, dynamics increases and sensitivity to temperature changes decreases. The lower the pressure, the greater the safety margin and resource. But the latter option requires re-adjustment in case of temperature drops.
Which bicycle fork is better can only be determined by testing both mechanisms in action.
How to choose a fork for the frame
The bicycle industry is developing, new models of bikes and spare parts for them appear. When choosing a bicycle forks, you should start with familiarizing yourself with popular manufacturers.
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, you need to unscrew the rebound speed, on the contrary, 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).
Adjusting the bike fork
If you are the owner of a bike that has an air, oil-air or oil-spring suspension fork, sooner or later you will decide to start tuning the parameters of its operation according to your taste and riding style.
As a rule, many bikers are terrified of experimenting with suspension fork settings on their own, fearing that they will not be able to return all the wheels and valves to their original position. And this is not surprising, because almost all modern suspension systems provide an abundance of various twists, which can bring a novice cyclist literally to hysteria.
In principle, nothing bad will happen if, by changing different settings, you record the number of clicks or crank turns. Then it will not be difficult for you to return all settings to their original position. It is also important to re-run each setting you change to determine how the bike travel has changed.
In this article, we are going to cover three main settings for suspension forks:
- preload (sag, preload);
- rebound speed;
- compression speed (compression).
Preload (sag, preload)
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.
Tech Tuesday #10: Troubleshooting the Headset
Since this parameter directly depends on the weight of the cyclist, its adjustment is made individually for each. 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.
Compression rate (compression)
This setting allows you to determine the speed at which the fork will contract when handling bumps in the road. Typically for forks with adjustable compression speed, you can set 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 swinging when pedaling and jerking 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.
Or maybe no shock absorbers at all?
Thanks to marketing, almost all mountain bikes today are made as hardtails. However, there are people who prefer to ride mtb rigs without any cushioning at all. Where do such strange desires come from, you ask?
The thing is that a bicycle with a rigid fork is very light on the move due to the absence of swinging, which inevitably occurs on shock absorbers, even equipped with counter systems. Stand up on the pedals and all your muscle energy is transferred to the rear wheel, pushing the bike forward with maximum efficiency.
Another reason people are encouraged to switch to rigids is the growth of skating technique. Without shock absorbers, you need to be much more attentive and dexterous in order to also rush swiftly along a difficult track in the forest. Thus, complicating the task for themselves, cyclists grow above themselves, and moving back to a hardtail or full suspension, move to a higher level of skill.
If I asked my opinion, which is better. an entry-level hardtail, with a simulated amo-fork or rigid, I would vote for the latter with both hands. But there is a problem. all entry-level bikes are equipped with suspension forks.
The point here is that beginners choose in the likeness of adult bikes, if there is an amo-fork, then their budget should also have it. Not understanding what was happening, buyers simply stopped buying rigids, and over time, manufacturers ended up releasing them in the budget niche.
In the event that one of my readers came up with the idea to re-equip their hardtail with a fork simulator into a rigid, then here are my tips.
Think about the geometry of the bike. The frame of the hardtail is designed for shock travel, so if you put in any rigid fork from a real rigid, the nose of your bike will drop and you will get a sharp angle of inclination of the head tube. Because of this, the bike will have excessive steering and unstable directional stability. Look for a rigid fork with the same or at least approximate Axle to Crown value as the old Amo fork.
Do not put aluminum plugs under any circumstances. Due to the high rigidity of aluminum, you will feel all the smallest irregularities in the road, it is extremely harmful to the hands. Steel or carbon perfectly dampen micro-vibrations, and also bend under heavy loads. Traditionally, bent forks are considered to be softer, so if there is a choice, it is better to abandon the straight fork.
If you have a 26 “wheel and rim brakes, then by no means buy a 28” fork, even if there the axle to crown distance seems more appropriate. Vibrate mounts in this case will be above the braking surface of the 26 ″ rim. be careful.
I hope I was able to clarify some of the cushioning issues on bicycles without overloading the article with technical information. There are many nuances left overboard, but fortunately, they are not so important for a novice cyclist. All I wanted to do was explain what a person who bought a modern expensive fork gets, and is it worth buying at all.
In the next article I will tell you what choice should be made between a hardtail and a full suspension. If you are not yet a subscriber of my site, then be sure to subscribe, and you will not miss a single new publication.
However, for what I am writing to happen, the fork must be working. Unfortunately, almost all bicycles in the price segment up to 500 are equipped with so-called fork-imitators. Outwardly they look like real ones, but their design is far from a real working fork.
The simulator works like this: under the action of a bump, the spring is compressed, and immediately shoots back. This is extremely harmful, because instead of licking irregularities, the wheel bounces, giving the blow to the cyclist in the hands.
It turns out an accordion: bounce on irregularities, compression of the spring in the opposite direction, release, blow to the hands, again compression and bounce. What kind of improvement in handling can we talk about, here would be to keep the bike on the path. In simulators of a slightly higher level, an elastic band (elastomer) is placed, which, after compression of the spring, does not allow it to unclench to its full amplitude.
Such forks are contemptuously called elastomers. They are not able to handle the road normally, because no one cares in cheap forks about calculating the equalization of compression and expansion energy, the spring and this elastomer work the way they want.
Also, elastomers have an extremely bad property, at low temperatures, already at 5 they tan, preventing the spring from compressing normally, as a result of which the fork loses most of the travel.
Another feature that prevents cheap fork simulators from performing their function is dullness on minor irregularities.
When cyclists say that a fork eats small things, they mean that it not only responds to large irregularities, but also completely absorbs all small ones, such as pebbles. This is a very pleasant feeling, believe me, inaccessible to the owners of fork-simulators.
Basically, a fork leg is a pipe that moves forward within another pipe. In order for this pipe to move easily and freely, reacting to even the smallest unevenness, it must be ideally fitted to the pipe in which it moves, otherwise it will either hang out or wedge. So, this is how it happens with imitators. Most often they wedge, waking up only on irregularities such as a curb.
Since the bulk of my audience is still beginner cyclists who buy horses in the budget and initial mid-price range, I am not writing this text to tell you what bad forks their bikes are. I just wanted to explain that you shouldn’t expect too much from depreciation on an inexpensive bike.
Do I need a suspension fork on my bike
Today I decided to raise an important question for any novice Catalan. do you need shock absorbers on a bicycle. I myself went through all the stages: I rode hardtails (depreciation only in the front), and on two-suspension and rigids (without shock absorbers) for many thousand kilometers, through this I have ample experience to draw a conclusion.
My main takeaway is that bicycles definitely need cushioning. an important step in the evolution of mountain bikes. But as with everything, here you need to proceed from the position of rationality and practice. You need to clearly understand what is your level in skating, what are your goals, what is your style, where is your ski area.
Only by honestly answering these questions, you can choose the ideal bike for you personally. I would like my readers to clarify for themselves the advisability of buying such an expensive component as a suspension fork.
Let’s talk about bike cushioning in general. As always, the material on my site is of interest only to beginners, a minimum of specific slang is used and the phenomenon is described only in general terms. In this article, we will analyze hardtails and rigs, and leave the two-hangers for the next note.
The suspension fork allows the wheel to accurately track any irregularities in the road, and the reduction of vibration on the steering wheel is just a side effect. A good fork allows the wheel to stick to the road surface despite rocks, potholes and roots. Manageability is greatly improved.
Mid to high price working forks
The price of working forks starts at 300, and this is why this figure is due. To begin with, the legs of normal forks are perfectly fitted and polished so they walk easily in their rails, allowing even subtle irregularities to be handled.
The force that prevents the spring from bouncing freely after hitting an obstacle is regulated by a special oil valve. You can turn the knob to set any rebound speed, ideally adjusting the fork for specific conditions.
It is logical that the force of the spring’s release is a constant value, and the rider’s weight can be different, from a fragile woman to a healthy bully. Therefore, for a long time, almost all high-level forks have air chambers instead of a spring, inflated by a special pump for any weight.
The pressure in the air chamber is set based on the fact that when the rider is sitting at rest, the fork should sag by about 10-15% of its travel (for the cross-country discipline). this value is called sag (sag).
A reader who is a little familiar with the topic may ask what kind of Dual Air system is, which is declared on some models of amo-plugs. The point is that a spring, be it steel or air, has an initial shear problem.
That is, despite the perfectly fitted leg pipes, when hitting a small obstacle, the spring does not want to react. This phenomenon is fought with the help of a second spring, which works in opposition to the main.
The second air chamber, in contrast to the main one, works in compression. Thus, at rest, both chambers are in equilibrium, but when force begins to act on the main spring, the second spring helps it make the first compression shift.
This system is present in one form or another in any normal fork, it doesn’t matter if something like Dual Air is written on it or not. This inscription indicates the possibility of pumping the additional air chamber separately, adjusting exactly the initial shear force that you need.
To prevent the wobble that inevitably occurs on any bike’s shock absorbing element when pedaling, various systems exist, collectively referred to as compression control.
Check out the for different amo surebets. there are plenty to choose from.
There are various ways to dull the fork when screwing efficiency is more important than damping, such as on gradients or on asphalt. I emphasize. we are not talking about a banal blocking, which is equipped with any elastomer, I am talking about compression.
For example, entering an uphill section, you flicked the steering wheel to maximum compression. The fork has entered dull mode, when the swing from the pedaling energy is significantly reduced, but at the same time the handling of small irregularities worsens.
However, if more significant obstacles are encountered along the way, the fork crosses the configured threshold and processes them. This is provided by a valve with a variable orifice through which the oil flows.
Another essential feature of modern expensive forks is adjustable travel. For example, imagine you are skiing in a mountainous area with steep slopes and large rocks. The more shock travel, the better, and you buy yourself a 160mm travel fork, which is enough for less extreme mountain riding. But now, you went down, in front of a new mountain, which you need to call.
And to go up when you have 160mm of travel in front, oh, how hard it is. Technological progress comes to the rescue: you flick the handle, then the nose of your bike drops, and the fork only works 120mm. We climbed up, turned the handle again, and your 160mm is again with you on the descent. Very comfortably.
All these features make modern suspension forks a highly technological product that is undoubtedly worth the money. Think well if your level of skiing is constantly increasing, if you ride mainly on forest paths with roots and cobblestones, if you want to ride faster and harder, then you should definitely consider buying a good modern fork.
However, if you ride calmly, mostly on flat roads, then in case of an upgrade itch, take a close look at your finances. If 300-400 dollars is a tangible amount for you, then it is better to save them.
Although the new modern fork will give you more comfort, it will still be used for other purposes, which means that money will be spent ineffectively. Exception. if your standard plug has already turned into trash, jammed or vice versa, it makes no sense to buy the same garbage for replacement, then buy a normal one.
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Bulkhead and repair of bicycle forks
In our bike workshop, we bulkhead and repair bicycle forks of all models (fox, rockshox, marzocchi, manitou, magura, cannondale, suntour, rst, formula) using different technologies depending on the mileage and model, here are some and descriptions for working with forks bike:
- RockShox Fork Repair and Service (All 2006 Models)
Maintenance of new forks without traces of exploitation price 1200 r
Planned economy maintenance (includes changing the oil in the pants, cleaning it from dirt, checking the pressure in the air chamber). Price from 1500 r
Maximum maintenance for the RockShox fork will cost 2200 r.
A complete bulkhead of all nodes costs RUB 2500 for models older than 2006, the price can vary from RUB 900 to RUB 3000, depending on the design
Maintenance or repair of the fork with the replacement of bushing oil seals and other parts, including acceleration of the fork to the desired stroke. Price from 1100 r to 2500 r, depending on the complexity and time costs.
- FOX forklift repair and maintenance
Service of new forks without traces of use. Price 1200 r
Planned economy fork maintenance with a damper separated from the fork pants. Price from 2200 r.
Maintenance of the plug with oil change and clean oil seals. Price from 2500 r
Maintenance or repair of Fox forks related to the replacement of oil seals, bosses, cartridge bulkheads, etc. (including sorting out the cartridge of “X” plugs with teralodzhik with the restoration of the cartridge). Price from 3500 r
- Repair and maintenance Magura forks
Maintenance of the plug with oil change and cleaning from contamination. Price from 1800 to 2500 r. When working, only original oil is used.
Maintenance of the plug with oil change and cleaning from contamination. Price from 2200 r
- Manitou Fork Repair and Service
Planned economy maintenance (includes changing the oil in the pants, cleaning it from dirt, checking the pressure in the air chamber). Price from 1500 r
Full maintenance of the Manitou fork (oil change in pants and damper, cleaning from dirt, lubricating the air chamber. Price from 2500 r.
- Repair and maintenance of the Marzocchi fork
Economy maintenance of forks with separate damper systems. Price 1500 r
Complete overhaul of all 3500 fork assemblies
When working with Marzocchi, the price, working time, etc. can be determined in half of the cases only in the workshop, since due to the sale of an Italian company in 2004 to suntour and the subsequent bifurcation of production and technologies, a huge number of models were released, each of which has its own nuances From year to year, dozens of models have changed fillings, foot covers, etc. Marzocchi forks behave differently under different real-world conditions and present more and more surprises.
- Cannondale forks (fatty \ lefty)
Correct bearing migration. Price 1800 r
Complete overhaul with replacement of the corrugation, filter, cleaning of the bearing cartridges. Price 4500 r. (excluding pleats and filters)
We also carry out work on replacing bearings, changing the oil in the cartridge, changing repair kits for the air chamber of the fork (a fairly common problem when the Lefty air chamber is lowered due to the upper position of the piston)
Used materials and oils for the bulkhead and repair of bicycle forks:
Replacing bicycle forks oil seals
We replace oil seals in bicycle forks, we always have oil seals for the entire line of forks RockShox, FOX, Magura, Marzocchi, Manitou, there are consumables and bearings for forks from Cannondale.
When replacing the oil seals in the forks, we use only original materials (attention, installation of non-original oil seals quickly destroys the guides and legs of the forks)
When dealing with forks, we. the only place where all kinds of oils are applied !! Always in stock Motorex, Motul, FOX, Fox fluid, motorex supergliss, RockShox, Magura oils. When reassembling forks with us, you can use both original oils and their cheaper substitutes. over, we have Motul and Motorex oil substitutes in all viscosities from 2.5 to 20.
regardless of the quantity. Magura and DT. 500 rubles. If you bring your own oil, we will fill it for free.
The uniqueness of our bike service lies in the fact that we have been working with forks for over 10 years and have accumulated vast experience. over, various shock absorption systems have been overhauled in our service using various technologies, and all our tests and experiments have been tested and verified, not directly on bike tracks, because we are the only bike service that has assembled one of the strongest cycling teams in the discipline of cross country.
In this shock absorber, air is both a spring and a damper. The principle of their operation is similar to oil-air, but you can recognize this plug by the AT or HT marking, they are produced by RST.
For an aggressive riding style, the air forks are still rather weak. they wear out too quickly, but for a measured ride they are quite suitable for their own pleasure. The only drawback is that they are short-lived, so if you plan to use it for a long time, it is better to turn to other options.
The cheapest and lowest quality forks. Usually them, but even this amount spent on buying a spring fork is unlikely to justify itself. In fact, it is not a shock absorber, since it does not dampen vibrations, moreover, it tends to break often. The maximum for which such a fork is suitable is a children’s bike for riding in the yard. When riding, the bike and muscles will tense so much that the fatigue of the metal and your muscles will accumulate many times faster (and this is bad).
Spring Elastomer Bicycle Forks
Do not trust resourceful manufacturers who produce supposedly winter spring-elastomer forks. Unfortunately, in the conditions of the domestic climate, these units, in principle, stop working. If you still want to spend some extra money on a spring-elastomer version before buying a real suspension fork, we recommend choosing a RockShox Judy product.
The adjustment, which, in contrast to the previous one, allows the compression speed of the fork to be reduced. Unfortunately, in practice it is rare.
Oil spring forks
They are considered the best type of shock absorbers and are used in the most expensive bicycle models (excluding the most expensive bicycle in the world). An oil capsule works as a damper, as in oil-air forks, and the spring is made of steel. for these springs start at 6,000 rubles, but their quality increases in proportion to the price. These forks are unpretentious, suitable for any riding style, but inferior to oil-air forks in the range of adjustments.
The oil is an excellent damper, which itself has lubricating properties, which greatly simplifies maintenance. But simplifies does not mean completely excludes. Therefore, it is worth knowing what are the advantages and disadvantages of the existing methods of pouring oil into the shock absorber.
Open oil bath. makes it easy to change summer oil to winter oil and vice versa; allows for rebound adjustment by increasing or decreasing the viscosity of the oil, and the rigidity. by changing its level in the shock absorber; does not require lubrication of internal parts; usually equipped with high-quality oil seals and anthers, which allows less frequent maintenance.
Closed oil bath. oil change only when changing the capsule, there is no way to adjust the rebound; the rigidity of such a fork will be higher; requires frequent maintenance to lubricate internal parts; cheap components are often found.
Obviously, in most parameters, a closed oil bath is inferior to an open one, so you should pay attention to this characteristic if you want the fork to serve for a long time.
This setting adjusts the stiffness of the spring. It is also called negative spring travel. Normally, this indicator for a fork does not exceed ten percent of the stroke. Usually adjusted once, taking into account the weight of the athlete. It only needs to be increased when changing the riding style, for example, downhill, which requires increased rigidity.
Front fork: device and types
The front suspension fork is one of the most important components of a mountain bike. Its main task is to be a shock absorber, otherwise a damper (a device for damping vibrations and vibrations).
The principle of operation of the shock absorber is reduced to the fact that it quickly compresses (when hitting an obstacle) and slowly unfolds (so that the reaction force does not throw you out of the saddle). Most often, the fork is already installed on the bike at the time of purchase, but its quality does not always meet all the requirements of the cyclist. To choose the right fork that suits you, you should familiarize yourself with the differences in the types and methods of operation of modern suspension forks.
In addition to a routine inspection, the fork also requires regular maintenance, namely:
- every 100-150 km of the distance traveled, it is necessary to clean and lubricate the feet on the oil seals;
- every 500-1000 km. disassembly and full lubrication of oil seals;
- every 4000-5000 km or at least once a year an oil change is made (applies to oil plugs)
In general, a bicycle fork should be lubricated at least once a season, however, if you are actively using your bike, this procedure is recommended to be done more often. If we consider a spring-elastomer fork as an example, the lubrication process will look like this:
- Using a syringe, oil is poured under the boot.
- For the lubricant to be evenly distributed, the fork must be designed.
- Remaining oil must be removed with a soft cloth.
According to experts, it is better to use silicone and transparent greases as a lubricant.
In addition to lubrication, maintaining a bicycle fork also includes keeping the devices clean. To exclude the possibility of dirt getting into the oil and malfunctioning of the bike after each walk, you need to wipe the legs of the forks near the anthers.
Also, the bike fork can be adjusted by sag or rebound (if available). However, as experts note, this procedure should be performed in stages: after changing each parameter, you should check the progress of the bike. Otherwise, the rider may miss out on the difference in travel, and the effect of fork adjustment will be blurred. It is worth noting that the masters advise to start adjusting this device from the neutral position, in which the rebound should be set halfway, and the compression arrows are unscrewed completely counterclockwise.
Work on changing the oil, foot oil seals, sealing parts, as well as on eliminating a malfunction of one of the components is accompanied by a complete or partial disassembly of the bicycle fork.
Most often, bicycles are equipped with a front suspension fork, thanks to which it is much easier for cyclists to overcome road bumps even at high speeds, while the load on the palms and hands during riding is minimal. By minimizing vibration, a well-matched and aligned fork extends the life of other bike components such as the frame and steering bearings.
The lifespan of the plug itself can be extended several times through proper care and regular maintenance.
Fork routine inspection
Often, it is the prophylactic inspection of the fork that makes it possible to timely identify minor deviations from the norm in the operation of the device, and, accordingly, prevent a more serious breakdown. Generally, a visual inspection of the fork includes checking:
- dropout states;
- fork legs for dents, scuffs and other marks;
- oil seals (anthers) for mechanical damage and oil leaks from under them;
- pressure in air chambers;
- presence and condition of lateral leg play in pants;
- the condition of the fastening bolts under the forks and the adjustment knobs.
Consider the procedure for removing a fork from a bicycle.
First you need to turn the bike with the wheels up, and after releasing 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.
How To Fix an Mtb Suspension (Xcr Suntour) EASY DIY
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 out of 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 fork assembly process is performed 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.
This video review will help you consolidate the acquired skills: