Thursday, September 14, 2006


TF Tuned Shox have now returned my RP3, having been overhauled and tweaked. As I'd been away from my beloved knobblies for some 10 days, I was mighty keen to get my 5Spot rolling again last night. But whilst my camelbak was thawing, I opened the package and read the TFT service report.

TFT had called me prior to the service and their initial tests showed that my 18 month old, 2k mile'd was working normally - encouraging for anyone else running a stock RP3. I recounted the problem experienced in the Peaks, which I bike ride, my riding "style", typical terrain and riding weight.

He then quiz'd me about any specific changes I wanted. Since the riding rough Peaks terrain, I feel that my 5Spot feels too soggy at the "sag" point. It feels too hard overall if I add a little more air to jack her up a little. On my local cross country terrain the RP3 works fine, although the Pro-Pedal does seem to still allow some pedal induced bob.

Neil offered to re-valve or better still add the PUSH assembly which would then give him more options to fine tune the shock. From browsing tinterweb I hadn't realized that these suspension guru's could adjust the mid stroke as well as the compression and rebound. Specifically, The PUSH mod allows them a choice of 4 to 5 options ranging from soft to xtra firm in each area. Gulp. With so many choices I pretty much left it to him to identify which option would suit - they have loads of experience listening to dodgy, illiterate MTBers like me and interpreting what they really want. I think he pretty much selected the middle options with perhaps a firmer mid-stroke.

So what'd they do to my ol'RP3 ?

  • Stripped, cleaned and reassembled '05 RP3
  • Full service
  • Fitted PUSH platform damping upgrade kit
  • Dyno tested shock operation
  • Static water-tested shock for air leaks
Parts fitted...
  • PUSH platform damping upgrade kit
  • Air can seal kit
  • Oil damper seal kit
Much to my surprise, all the displaced parts were returned for my inspection. How brilliant is that, it proves that they're talking straight ;) They included some Fox lube and even replacement DU bushes, after noting that the original bushes are still fine. Oh and you also get a new "logo" sticker :rolleyes

The service sheet also highlights that adjustments can be made to the PUSH kit if the initial configuration is not to your liking. Promptly and free of charge, me likee :p

Recommended set-up;
  • Positive pressure to 210psi (which may need re-setting to get correct sag)
  • Rebound will need adjusting
210psi ! Gulp. I'd found that running my stock RP3 at approx 160psi gave me almost full travel locally and wouldn't bottom out on the occasional Welsh drop. At this pressure the ride was still acceptable albeit a little wallowy. 160psi is approx 90% of my body weight (lbs) - a rough gauge for a 5Spot. So TFT's recommendation of 210psi flips this rule to 120% body weight :o At this higher psi, a quick sag check showed around 12mm of the 55mm shaft, around 20% which is pretty good for general trail riding.

Initial Ride impressions; Cranking a straight forward xc route, my immediate thoughts are how taught the rear now feels. Sure, the stock RP3 could be made firmer but then even the smallest ripples would crash and skip by underneath you, let alone riding over roots or babyheads. Not so with the PUSH mod - even tho I'm running waaay more psi the rear is taught and firm but not harsh over the bumps.

The rebound adjuster didn't seem to make much difference and consequently wasn't tweaked too much.

The Pro-Pedal appeared to be working (looking down at the cable movement) but seems to be much softer between settings than the stock RP3. As the different settings don't seem as pronounced, I suspect that I need to adjust to the operation of the revised damper before I can feel any differences - much like familiarising myself with the action of the stock RP3 last year.

; :thumbu Although it's still early to make a complete assessment, I can tell ya's that tuning really does make a huge difference. The less soggy feel makes the bike feel much tighter and quicker yet it rides the terrain with so much more composure. I also have my digits crossed that running less sag will improve climbing ability and help nail my long fork to the trail.

The peeps at TFT are down to earth, helpful, prompt and definitely know their stuff. Their prices aren't high compared to the competition either. PUSH are the dogs, 'nuff said.

I'll update this post when I've completed a few more hours testing.

What's Next ?
  • Sag; when loaded up with riding gear
  • Rebound; more testing required
  • Varied terrain; get over to a rooty Woburn and hammer it !
  • Experiment with lower psi


daahnhilla said...

Cool!!! I'm interested in how the PUSH system improves your ride, my DHX is due a service and I was considering getting mine push'd too!!!

Should get a nice test at AFAN:)

Farqui said...

I had a crackin' ride over to Woburn over the wkend and easily ascended "lights out" - which is suffering from mucho water damage at the mo. It wasn't until I was up top and catching my breath that I realized I hadn't lowered mrNixon. T'was because the front end felt stable which I presume is a benefit of less mid stroke wallow with the PUSH damper. If the travel adjuster is now redundant, then perhaps I'd like a Pike air ?

The revived rear shock even had me re-thunking my front bouncer and before setting out I'd added 20psi and backed the compression right off. The front is now still supple over the ripples but doesn't dive as much under braking. So it would seem that these fully's are defo worth a fiddlin' with ocasionally.

I visually tested the RP3's new rebound damping with a few "seat presses" and the range of adjustment is much less noticeable than stock. I'm now running x1 click from full fast whereas I was very nearly full slow.

So my 5Spot is now a more nimble on the single track with less head angle change and "tucking" under braking. She now feels more like she did when I ran a shorter 130mm fork - which'd be interesting to try again. Oh wait, I did just that on the asphalt blat back home and yes, she's very agile.

Bring on the altitude peeps 'cos I'm well up for some more "testing".

daahnhilla said...

Good to hear!

Pike Dual Air Uturns for the win!!!!

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