Shocking stuff

Having your shock set up correctly on a DH bike is a must - we see a lot of riders with poorly set-up bikes that can hold the rider back. On most shocks there are a few adjustments you can make - spring pre-load and rebound are the basics, and compression adjustments follow on better shocks.

Having your shock set up correctly on a DH bike is a must - we see a lot of riders with poorly set-up bikes that can hold the rider back. On most shocks there are a few adjustments you can make - spring pre-load and rebound are the basics, and compression adjustments follow on better shocks.

Low speed compression adjustment allows the shock to resist rider induced movement, but also resists small trail bumps and flutter. High speed compression controls the way the shock moves at speed - or under bigger hits. Too little and the shock will reach the end of travel too quickly, and too much will feel harsh - not allowing full movement unless hit ultra hard.

Rebound adjustment controls the speed at which the shock extends - but tends to be a single adjustment. Setting up requires a happy medium between something fast and supple enough to return after small and medium hits without packing down, whilst at the same time having enough damping to absorb the big hits that could buck you over the bars. Finding a medium is tough - most riders tend to suffer on the smaller stuff to make their shocks perform better on the all important big and potentially dangerous hits. Doing this misses out on traction - it's arguable how much, but you can try a test for yourself to understand the principle. Find a turn that's rough enough for the bike to want to wonder around, and wind off the rebound on your shock so the bike feels like a pogo stick. Note when riding round the turn how much grip you have - it's because the wheel has more contact with the ground over bumps. Now try winding on loads of rebound and try again - note the rear wheel slips out a bit and wonders round. Get it?

Tyre pressure is a factor in how much the wheel grips and tracks the ground, but as we all know there are downsides to running too hard and too soft - speed and traction. I could go on for ages on this subject as I'm constantly trying new things - but that's for another blog...

Fox and many other companies believe in the damping being the most important factor, and the spring - or suspension being used is just to return the shock and to support the rider weight. Technically this is the best way of doing things as the bump force doesn't have to overcome an unnecessarily heavy spring weight before moving to allow the wheel to move over a bump. Cane Creek shocks also run on this principle, but are a little bit more special. Using Ohlins shock technology (google Ohlins to find out just how big they are), the Double Barrel shock is custom made for each rider - and takes in to account the bike it will be mounted to, and how much the rider weighs. It features spring preload, and both rebound and compression adjustments in low and high speeds. This should allow an infinite adjustment that will allow supple performance, good pedalling and supreme big bump capability without sacrificing on the rest of the ride. I normally run a 450lb spring on my Socom, but have gone down to a 400lb spring for the Cane Creek - and am just about to fit it now. I'll get out on the Socom this weekend - and will keep you posted. For now I'll mostly be smiling at this wonderful piece of kit that's sitting on my desk...

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