set-up

tell me more!

why do we need to set-up?

Whether you’ve just bought your first bike or you’re an experienced racer, key to getting the most out of your day in the saddle, on the uplift or from your heli-drop is being safe and comfortable. Having the correct sized bike, seating position, good contact points and good brakes are the very basics of a safe, comfortable bike set-up. However suspension plays just as an important part. 

Suspension set-up isn’t a dark art that many people believe it to be, nor is it only beneficial for pro riders! In fact you could argue the opposite! Experienced/professional riders often notice and can rectify if their bike has an issue or isn’t performing quite how they expect it to. Less experienced riders are more likely to put the issue down to themselves rather than their expensive world cup level bike. 

Our bikes need to be set-up in such a way that it is safe, therefore making you feel more comfortable and confident. If the bike is balanced, predictable and performing at its best, the chance of it doing something unexpected is now minimised, leaving you to concentrate on your technique, line choice or how much your mate is nearly falling off because their suspension isn’t set-up properly!

pretty simple then?!

In theory yes, but as usual in practice it’s not so simple!

The main difficulty we face with suspension set-up is the amount of variables at play. Different frames, forks, shocks and component combinations, rider weight, balance, style, experience, strength, terrain, ground conditions, weather, altitude, temperature… The list goes on. All these affect how an ‘ideal’ set-up will be executed. You could have two riders, exactly the same weight, build and bike, however both set-ups could be different depending on the riding style. If one rider is more aggressive or rides with more weight on the front then the set-up will have to provide more support than a set-up for the other person who maybe doesn’t ride as aggressively or rides with their weight more rearward.

Many people use ‘factory recommended settings’, which are generally a good staring point to tune from. But that’s all they are, a starting point! These are worked out for the average rider, however taking into consideration some of the variables listed above how do you decide who the average rider is? ‘Average’ in this case is very subjective! Using this method is time consuming and often confusing.  For example too much low speed compression can give the same feel as too much high speed rebound, so if the feedback feels similar how do we decide witch one to adjust? This is where data comes in!

data and telemetry

Telemetry ‘The process of recording and transmitting the readings of an instrument.’  In our case  its readings from various sensors which are recorded on the hardware and then transferred to a computer or mobile device where, using special software it is viewed as usable data. Using various sensors is advantages as it can show us more than just the suspension movement and speed. For example we can overlay the brake data with the front and rear suspension data to understand how braking effects not only suspension position but suspension balance front to rear and suspension speed speed. Combined with accurate GPS, wheel speed sensor and the built in accelerometer we can gain a deeper understanding in the overall interaction of the bike.  

Other uses

Data is becoming a must have in the world of elite racing. Besides speeding up the process of bike set-up, we can also use this to understand how a rider is performing on track. For example we can see where they are dragging their brakes, braking too late, braking mid corner, loosing or gaining speed compared to a previous run or where the track is rough/smooth or steeper. Telemetry does not only to greatly speed up the process of getting a bike tuned for a specific track/conditions but gives a rider a deeper understanding of where in their runs they are faster or need to let off their brakes!