In the November cycling newsletter, I wrote a story about getting your fork and shock customized to improve performance. I mentioned in the column that I had not had my equipment “PUSHed” yet and I’d let you know when I did and the results.
Before telling you the results, first I have to let you know the type of riding that I do and what is important to me for performance. The trail I ride most often is “Devil’s Backbone” located just at the western edge of town. It has loose sections, multiple rock gardens, smooth trail, some small drops (I don’t think anything is over a couple of feet), a short steep climb (Heart Attack Hill) and a few sections I find perfectly walkable. My suspension gets a workout on this trail.
Though “bump sensitivity” is important to me, the key races I do include sections where I want to be able to lock the fork and shock out. I won’t sacrifice this feature for more bump sensitivity.
When I went out on ride #1, post-PUSH, I found that many of the bumpy sections where I’d get tossed around some, were now smooth. The fork and shock took all of the bumps and I have to say the ride was remarkably smoother and it was easier to navigate the rock gardens. Yahoo!
I did find on my first ride out that when I went down one of the drops I used nearly all of the front fork and had a feeling of nearly going over the bars. Unfortunately, I did not bring my shock pump with me and couldn’t play with the air pressure while I was on the ride. (Rookie move.)
Prior to ride #2, I added 5 psi to the fork and did the same to the rear shock (still within the pressure ranges PUSH recommended). I didn’t feel like I lost any of the plush ride on the bumps, due to the increased pressure. On this ride, there is a long, steep service road climb and descent. (The Towers Road at Horsetooth… fyi to locals.) I was able to descend at a decent rate of speed without using the brakes due to chatter and the bike feeling like it would slide out from under me. In fact, I could have gone faster if the road wouldn’t have been a little wet, tossing mud and sand into my glasses and eyes. The bike felt stable underneath me. Sweet!
I am still able to lock the fork and the shock out for riding on pavement and hard dirt surfaces. Seems like the custom blend they did is perfect for me. I would never have guessed that customizing the suspension would have made such a difference, but it does.
Now I’m hoping the snow melts quickly and the trails dry so I can get out and play some more. Darren tells me it takes some 4 to 6 hours to fully break in the new parts (I’ve got about 4.5 hours on it now) and I will need to make minor adjustments when the weather gets warmer (the last two rides have been in the mid to high 30s).
(BTW - notice the link at the end of the column. PUSH will be offering December specials.)