I’ve been setting up my forks and shocks for many years. Of course, I believe I can tune my suspension, right? Well, I’ve liked my Fox X2 so much for the tuning ability and it’s feel that I decided to get a Fox Grip 2 Fork with the same adjustability. What could go wrong? As you may know, both the X2 and Grip2 have high speed and low-speed compression and rebound adjustments.
After installation of the fork and setting it up with the same tune as the Fox 36 it replaced, I went for the maiden voyage on the new fork. I believe I set up my suspension as most “weekend” riders. I use my riding weight, consult the fork manufacturer air pressure for the fork at said rider weight and measure the sag. Take that sag air pressure and set rebound and compression off the recommended chart and make minor adjustments for feel from there.
A local trail I’ve ridden and tuned forks on was the trail of choice for the fine tune of the fork. A few trail segments before the “big technical challenge” had me confident the fork was good to go. Upon the drop-in of a steep and very technical section, that I’ve ridden many times, I hit the ground on the first turn before the serious section started. That’s right, I crashed before it got serious. Well, accidents happen and I dusted myself off, got back on and tried again. I got past the turn and up the first rock and down the back side of the rock drop and the fork sent the front tire in the air. Committed, I hit the second rock up the face and down the back side and the fork popped me up even stronger and down I went again. Now, I’m thinking to myself, I’ve never crashed on this trail; same bike, tires, just a new fork. I understand the importance of a good tune and I understand a poor tune can cause issues.
I could have spent hours trying to figure out what was wrong. Multiple attempts at air spring pressure decreases, slowing the rebound and so on. But I had two more adjustments I had little experience with as Fox and RockShox have always taken charge of those. I’d heard of the ShockWiz and wanted to try one, but it was expensive. After crashing three times trying to tune my new fork, I decided to go get one (thank you Worldwide Cyclery). It’s like this, I could pay someone for a tuning lesson, keep crashing and getting hurt experimenting on my own, or purchase this tuning device that can teach me the tuning magic. My hope was that I would learn something and in the process be less painful.
I installed the ShockWiz (SW), followed the instructions and went for a ride. I’m not offering installation instruction suggestions as those are well done on the
internet and YouTube. The install was straight forward. The App was straight forward too. The Calibration was smooth as the App tells you exactly what to do.
The instructions suggest making adjustments from top to bottom in that order. The first recommendation was lower air pressure in red and to add a volume spacer. To get green on the App for the air spring, I dropped 12 psi. from Fox recommendation. Without the SW, I would never have gone that low in experimenting with pressure. Now, I don’t know how I haven’t had issues in the past being over sprung. The ride quality is so much better. This educational experience was worth every dollar.
Next up was adding volume spacers as recommended by the App after the air pressure was green. I’ve always run only one as that is how it was spec'd from the factory. The App had me at three. I’ve got to say that three is perfect if I rode aggressively the majority of the time. I compromised and went with two; this was another first for me.
The App will recommend to add or slow these settings. I was happy that I understood these settings and was able to get mostly green by feel. The SW just reinforced my understanding.
When I changed volume spacers, I needed to recalibrate the App for the volume change before the next ride session; this is noted in the instructions. What wasn’t clear was what to do when you changed air pressure only. On the App, there are three sections that give an option to reset for a new ride session. One is “Air Pressure,” the other is “Shock Travel” and then there are the “Start New Session” tabs. When I lowered the air pressure and just “started a new session,” the “suggested” changes didn’t make sense. So I recalibrated with the App which takes a long time. Then I figured out that if you touch the “Air Pressure” tab a pop up opens and lets you calibrate for the altitude you are using the ShockWiz. However, touch the “shock travel” and another pop up screen will open. With this one, extend the fork to the maximum and reset the App so the new air pressure will be set and the travel will be at or near 0; that bit saved me a bunch of time. Also note that the air pressure and shock travel values change when the wheel is off the ground without the weight of the bike. I always rest the App with the wheel, front or rear for fork or shock, off the ground.
The ShockWiz is a great setup tool and a great educational experience. I didn’t mention I purchased two so I could tune the fork and shock at the same time. It’s not necessary to have two, but it accelerated the setup process. I ride with my wife a lot. Our weight difference is too big for me to tune her suspension, so I’ve had to adjust her bikes based on her feedback. My wife isn’t the type to spend hours trying to set up a new bike; she just wants it to work. Well, the SW has solved that issue. We tuned her bike on one ride and she was very happy with the speed of the tune and how the bike felt after the tune. What’s that worth? As they say, happy wife...