Testing and maintenance.

The recent snow has been washed away by rain so now we’re back to mud! Still that’s so often a mountain bikers life in the Northwest of England so I went out yesterday for a bit of fun.

The weather forecast suggested that today would be rainy and they were right, so I was glad to have been out the day before. I did 3 laps of Healey Nab and tested some different routes to see which was quickest. Some trees have been blown over and blocked the original trail at the top of one of the climbs. Various ways round have emerged and in my 3 laps I tried the 3 which looked best. Later, at home, I looked at my ride using Strava and found that I will be able to save a good few seconds on timed laps by choosing the fastest option. It was a good ride considering the mud which mainly affected the climbs.

Last year I noticed that the small bump performance of the fork on my Boardman wasn’t nearly as good as the forks on my two old Whytes so I did something about it. I added volume reducers to the air chamber of the fork to make it less linear. This way I could run a lower air pressure to give better sensitivity for small bumps whilst the smaller volume of air in the fork would cause the pressure to ramp up to prevent the fork bottoming out too soon. It seemed like mission accomplished on repeated small bumps but the fork had lost its “pop”. When I needed to lift the front wheel over obstacles it felt dead and much more difficult to get the wheel off the ground.

I’d gone from the standard 1 volume reducer to 3. (The maximum possible is 4.) So today I decided to remove one spacer to leave 2. It’s a simple enough job but many riders seem to have a fear of messing with their suspension. I’d like to encourage you to just give it a try, you can always return things to the way they were.

First I cleaned the top of the fork to avoid any dirt getting inside then let out all of the air. I used a 24mm socket to screw the air chamber cap off, revealing the spacers. I screwed one spacer off and reversed the procedure. I found that 65psi of air pressure gave me about the right ride height but will check this again after a little use. I’ll report back on the difference after my next ride, which I hope will be at the weekend.



  1. WanderingPop says:

    It is so crazy how different the mindset is about riding trails in the rain the States are compared to England. People would through a fit if we rode the trails in those conditions.

    You are also correct about people being afraid of tuning their own suspensions. I need to get better at it myself.



  2. kirkmtb says:

    Hi WanderingPop. If you’ve read many of my posts you’ll have noticed that I limit my riding in the winter. I don’t want to damage the more sensitive trails so I use the ones with a good, hard surface.
    As for suspension, it’s amazing how simple a fork or shock is when you take them apart!


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