Can You Change The Travel On A Mountain Bike? (Let’s Dig Deeper)

Can You Change the Travel on a Mountain Bike

If you are a professional cyclist, the chances are good that you have been looking into different types of mountain bike forks.

On the other hand, most individuals have the issue that they need help knowing what to search for, and the procedure itself may be quite time-consuming.

You need to put a lot of effort into getting the perfect bike suspension forks to ride your bike over any terrain without experiencing any discomfort.

Yes, you can change the travel on a mountain bike. Travel is the most compression that either the front or rear suspension of the Mtb can withstand while absorbing force before petering out. The longer the travel, the more force the suspension can bear. The shorter the distance traveled, the less force the system will absorb.

This article will give a detailed overview of everything you need to know about changing your Mtb Travel and suspension forks.

Can You Change Travel on Your Mountain Bike?

Can You Change the Travel on a Mountain Bike

Yes, you can change the travel on a mountain bike. The first thing to be considered is which travel will function the best.

The smoothness with which your fork can absorb shocks is directly proportional to the amount of movement it is capable of.

You should keep this in mind, considering even a difference of ten millimeters would significantly alter the entire experience of your ride.

Always make an effort to conduct some study in advance to assist you in estimating how long a fork you need to prevent putting any unnecessary strain on the frame of your bicycle.

Mountain bike forks with more travel will naturally have a bumpier feel and help smooth out the terrain so that you ride more efficiently. 

The trade-off is that the weight will increase according to the distance traveled. Therefore, when mountain bike frames are made, a certain amount of fork travel is often planned.

If you put a 140mm fork on a cross-country bike built for a 100mm fork, the whole front end of the bike will be up, which will radically alter the bike’s stability.

In addition to making the ride less comfortable, it may stress the incorrect location of the bike’s frame, which will often violate the guarantee provided by the manufacturer.

Getting a function that allows you to change the amount of travel your mountain bike forks provide is a solid reason to replace your forks.

How Essential Is a Suspension Fork?

The front fork of a mountain bike is as essential to the functioning of the bicycle as the frame. As an expansion of the frame, the bicycle fork is responsible for the following functions:

  • Making sure that the angle you turn the wheel is the same as the angle at which the steering column is.
  • Keeping the direction of the turn in which you are traveling.
  • Keeping the front wheel in place
  • Absorbs the weights caused by brakes.
  • The ability to dampen vibrations brought on by rough ground is common not just in shock-absorbing front forks but also in stiff, or as they are often known, rigid front forks.

How To Tweak Your Mountain Bike’s Travel?

Below is a detailed guide on how to tweak your bike travel:

#1. Adjust the Sag

Sag is a term that describes the amount of travel that your shock and fork have while you are seated on your bike.

You can change it by raising or lowering the air pressure inside the spring. Adjusting this should be the first thing you do when configuring the suspension.

A greater quantity of sag will result in more flexibility, while a lower level will provide a more rigid and abrasive sensation.

Since sag is in percentage, bikes with longer travel often utilize more sag than bicycles with shorter travel.

  • As a first step, you must ensure that all the adjustment knobs are in the open spot.
  • If you are unsure which way to turn the knobs, it is best to consult the user handbook that comes packaged with your specific brand.
  • Using a shock pump, pressurize the fork and shock. You would find the recommended air pressure depending on the rider’s weight on the fork leg or the company’s webpage.
  • The next step is to get on your bike while wearing everything you normally would for a ride, including a complete rider pack and bladder if you use one.
  • Pay attention to how far the fork and shock progress along their respective travels. 

Rubber O-rings are often already attached to the shock and one of the fork stanchion tubes, making this an easy task for most models.

  • On the stanchion of certain models will also be measurement lines with percentages written on them; however, it is also possible to measure by hand.

#2. Rebound

After establishing your sag, you can proceed to the rebound. The rate of rebound describes how quickly a fork or shock returns after reaching its lowest point of travel.

This change contributes to improved traction and control. Also, you can locate the knob used to modify the rebound on the top of the shock, close to where the fork leg attaches to the shock.

If the rebound is too quick, the bike will bounce off of obstacles like pebbles, which might make you feel unstable.

Too slow of a rebound rate prevents the suspension from recovering its full travel in time for the next bump in the trail, creating a slow or rough ride.

Forks and shocks designed specifically for high-end bicycles will have high-speed and low-speed rebound capabilities.

Once the suspension has been to its limit, the low-speed circuit takes over, and the elevated circuit does not affect performance.

Since the rider seldom adjusts high speed, most models only have a low-speed adjuster and set it to the manufacturer’s default.

#3. Compression

The motion of your suspension, when subjected to “low-speed” collisions, is referred to as low-speed compression.

However, this is not the speed at which you are moving down the track; rather, it is the speed at which the shaft travels when struck.

If you increase your low-speed compression, your suspension will ride further in its travel, making rough roads seem firmer than usual.

Since the suspension can move freely through its journey at lower speeds, the ride quality over rough terrain will be smoother.

It is likely the low-speed compression knob if there is just one compression adjustment knob on your suspension.

How quickly the high-speed compression setting controls your suspension contracts over large bumps, square-edged pebbles, or drops.

You can improve the ride quality over rough terrain by increasing or decreasing the amount of high-speed compression.

Modifications concerning air-sprung suspension and changes made about coil-sprung suspension are almost identical.

An extra adjustment known as preload is available on coil shocks, often seen on enduro bikes.

Users of coil shocks can adjust sagging by changing the stress placed on the shock’s spring, known as the preload.

As you can see, the suspension is sophisticated, and it may take some trial and error on the trail before you figure out how all of the different settings interact with one another.

Finding a portion of the trail typical of the ground you ride most often might be an effective way to determine the best suspension settings for your bike.

It needs to be of a length that enables you to complete more than one lap. Ride around the track and then make any necessary modifications. Examine how the suspension behaves at present.

Does 20mm of Travel Make a Difference on a Mountain Bike?

Yes, a little modification of 20 millimeters can significantly impact how your ride feels.

However, upgrading to a suspension fork with 40 millimeters of travel on a bike that was to have just 20 millimeters of travel is not likely to result in an improvement in the bike’s handling.

To get the most performance out of the frame, you should stick with the geometry intended for the fork’s original length.

A mountain bike fork with a tapered steerer tube will make your bike more rigid without adding unnecessary weight, so go for one if you want to improve your ride’s performance.

Finding the ideal mountain bike forks may seem impossible initially, but if you’re patient, you’ll eventually discover the perfect one for your needs.

Here are the perfect riding styles for different suspension lifts:

Style of RidingSuspension Fork Length
Enduro/Trail120mmto 150mm
Freeride150mm to 180mm
Downhill180mm to 220mm
Hardcore downhill250mm to 300mm
Josh Matthews

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