Mountain Bike Suspension Parts & Maintenance : Tips for Mountain Bike Suspension Dampers

Mountain Bike Suspension Parts & Maintenance : Tips for Mountain Bike Suspension Dampers


Probably the most prevalent type of damper
that we see from some manufacturers now is a combination damper. So it’s a combination
of like a pumping rod design and a shimmed design. This is the damper out of a Rockshox
Boxer downhill race fork. So, in my right hand is the rebound damper, in my left hand
is the compression damper. The rebound damper is a shim stack. You can see this red thing
is a base valve, it’s really heavily ported. On the back side there we’ve got some washers
that control the rebound. Some wavy washers to spring that all up, and a glide ring and
all that sort of stuff. The rebound settings are changed–here’s a knob. You can see how
there’s a needle valve there that changes how much oil flows and circulates around the
bottom of the fork leg. So, part of the damper on this one is a shim, like in here. Both
the compression and the rebound are on the same shim here. And then this is the compression
damper for that fork. The compression damper for this fork is a ported damper, or a pumping
rod. You can see this metal thing right here–this silver thing on the blue base valve is the
compression damper. This one is stuck, but I should be able to rotate that and open up
either more or less of an orifice, which controls how quickly the fork moves through the initial
part of the travel, by restricting how much oil goes through. There’s also–this black
thing is an elastomer, and as this elastomer deforms it controls how quickly this blows
off. So it’s a dual stage, sort of multi-channel damper. And what we see is–there’s some other
variance of all this–but as far as what’s in production, these are the main types of
dampers. And understanding what type of damper your shock or fork has enables you to make
the best decisions when you’re trying to set it up properly.