Guide on Using Lockouts on Mountain Bikes Suspension - Thunderhead Alliance

Guide on Using Lockouts on Mountain Bikes Suspension

We’re going to talk to you about suspension lockout. We’re going to tell you exactly what it is, how it works, and when you should be using it.

Most suspension forks have externally adjustable damping options. Common ones are compression and rebound. Rebound is usually found at the bottom of the fork, just down here, and compression is found at the top of the fork. This particular model of fork is a RockShox Lyric, and its got a very simple single dial on the top, just to close the low-speed compression damping. We’ll fully open it.

So, low speed compression damping is the sort of damping that you want to stop the fork moving to your movements, and also to help keep the fork extended. Like, keep it up a bit when you’re riding through turns and stuff like that Quite often you hear us refer to lockout, if you run this fully closed. Makes the fork feel a bit more firm, so if you’re climbing up a hill for example, Antler Saddle, you’ll stop it bouncing around too much Just controls the stroke, firms it right up.

Again if you open it, becomes a lot more plush, straightaway. The same thing applies to shocks, and there’s different settings on the shocks So the same adjustments can be found on a lot of rear shocks On this one, I’ve got rebound adjustment, which is this clicky dial here. Again that’s to control the extension of the shock.

But for compression, its got a three-stage lever here, and it’s kind’ve indexed like the gears are so you can easily find those indented positions. So there’s fully opened, there’s midway, and then there’s closed. So open, you want to use that when you’re just riding sort of rooty, rough trails, where you just want the suspension to give you the maximum control and grip out there. The mid setting becomes really useful for climbing, where you just want to keep the bike sitting up slightly so you’re not going to strike your feet as often, but still allows a lot of traction to the back wheel. Fully closed, or, locked-out, is the sort of setting you want if you’re riding, perhaps, on the road, or, on a fire road.

The perfect sort of thing for an Enduro event climb Okay so a rooty climb like this is the perfect way to demonstrate how effective lock-out can be I don’t really want to lock out the suspension fully, because it’s quite rooty, and I want the maximum traction. I can get If I run it fully open, it’s going to give me that traction, but, as the suspension is actuating, my feet are going to be really close to striking these roots I need to get the best of both worlds, and that is that mid setting, and it works really well for this sort of occasion.

So, engage your mid mode Make sure you’re in a nice low gear, and then, hopefully I can get up this without any, sort of, strikes. As you can see here, look how close my pedal is to this root. You imagine if my body weight on this bike, and the, sort of, sagging motion that you get when you’re actually really digging in that climb, you’re gonna strike that. Running in the mid setting is really, really helpful for this.

Just to keep the bike a little bit higher But I’m still getting suspension use, so, still getting the most of the traction to the back wheel – So this is my Nukeproof Mega, and I’ve got lockout options on the front and rear, but do I use them? Well, actually, yes and no, which I’ll go into now. So, this is an Enduro bike It’s 165 millimetres travel.

To me, it feels like a mini downhill bike. So, I do take it on those sorts of rides where, there maybe one big climb, and then I’ll ride a pretty much downhill track, and then do that big climb back It’s by no means a cross country ride, where I maybe would use a lock-out on and off quite a lot. With this, it’s either one or the other. So I open it up for the down hills, and then I close it for that big climb back to the top.

It’s also a reason why I don’t feel I actually need a remote lever, for this lockout, on my handle bars, because I’m not using it that much. Like I said, it’s on or off I’ve got a two-stage one. It’s either open or firm, as Dotty’s Explained. When I put it to firm, for pedalling, it just firms everything up, makes that bike more efficient.

But, something that I also like is it keeps me in that nicer position when I’m climbing. So I’m not sagged in, I’m still sat up on the bike in that good position. However, I do also have lock-out options on my fork. This Fox 36 with that fit for a damper I’ve got open, mid, and then closed.

And that close is fully lock tight. But, I don’t use that to be honest Again, this is an Enduro bike I feel like that is enough for me Just locking the shock helps me climb that a little bit better, and I don’t mind leaving it in that open setting all the time on fork, cause’ it just sags in that little bit, and again, keeps me in that good position for climbing.

Right, when it comes to my Scott Genius 700 Tuned, this has a remote lock-out system right up top here, which actuates both shock, front, and rear. So, it starts out, it’s 150 mil of travel, but then you click it, like this, and it goes down to 110. But, this is a clever little system Scott called this traction control, and it’s pretty unique little system because that adjusts the dampening in there to give you a little bit more traction on those technical climbs. And then, with one more click, that is fully locked-out.

And that is great for those flat surfaces, AKA fire roads, long tyre roads, anything with no bumps at all It kind’ve locks it out so you can get as much power down to those wheels as possible. So, Neil and Dotty Are using their lockouts, and it’s perfect for them for climbing. For me, this is a little bit different I like to use it when it comes to jumping.

I tend to flick it straight to 110, and that kind’ve stiffens it all up, to give me a little bit more pop on those jumps, because I don’t really want to run it at 150 on these little steep jumps, where it kind’ve sags in – So for me, I really do like having a lockout It makes the bike so versatile. You can have, actually, a pretty long travel bike, and turn it into, almost, a rigid bike. And it does make a big difference for climbing.

Yeah, just a flick of a switch or a turn of a dial can really change the ride characteristics of your bike.