All balled up: suspension/wheels/seat

Nate is having problems with his suspension, wheels and seat rails. Could they be related?


Thanks for the great web site and book. I listened to the bike setup podcast. The podcast really got me thinking about my setup. So here is my background information. I have a 05 Enduro Pro with the Fox DHX 5.0 rear shock and Talas 32 RC2 forks. I live in Wisconsin but my favorite trails are like Porcupine Rim trail in Moab. In the off season I seriously lift weights and practice basic trials moves on a hardtail.

I currently have the front shock fairly plush with the high and low compression fairly high with hardly any rebound damp. I have to stay light with the hands or I’ll blow thru the travel easily and on drops I have to make sure I take the impact with my legs. I like that it feels like its glued to the trail.

The rear shock is set about 30% sag with the progressiveness fairly high with little rebound damp. It takes about a 3 foot drop to a good form flat landing to go thru the travel. When I bunny hop I go thu the travel easily. If I hop as high as I can and land light I sometimes go thru all the travel. If I hop and land so I go into a second hop (really cram the bike into the ground) I clank metal to metal in probably shock and the fork.

Since I live in Wisconsin there are hardly any great suspension specialist in the area. When I ride lets say Porcupine Rim trail. I feel like I’m about ready to break the bike. I actually broke a couple of spokes off at the thread on the stock rear wheel set on that trail. So I’m probably going to need a more of a DH style rear wheel set. Another problem I have is after an aggressive ride somehow my stock seat rails get bent. Is the seat problem common or is it a technique problem? Do I need a different style of seat?

OK to sum it up. Should I change the way my suspension is set up? Is there a wheel set you would recommend that wouldn’t break the bank? If the seat problem is common, what should I get for a seat?


By the way the answer you gave me for the “Change my bunny hop into a rabbit hop” was revolutionary to how I ride. Thanks a lot I really appreciated it.

Rocking the ’05 Enduro in some Front Range rocky love. BTW: I’m pulling myself forward to pump into the backside.

Hey Nate,

Thanks for writing. The ’05 Enduros are awesome — kind of like mini DH bikes that pedal too. I had a 2005 S-Works Enduro, and I’m sorry I sold it.

Yes, it sounds too soft. You shouldn’t be bottoming that often or hard.

Like I said in the podcast, but I think I kind of mumbled: When you’re pining it on a typical ride, you should use all of your travel. The suspension should gather you up and just barely kiss the bottom-out — but there should be no clank.

It’s also possible that you’re riding too rough and heavy.

I’m not a board certified ninja wheel builder, but that sounds like a spoke tension problem. As I recall, the stock wheels on that bike are solid — but you must maintain spoke tension.

If you’re interested in an inexpensive, bomber wheelset for aggressive trail riding on that bike, consider Sun Chargers. I have Charger 27s on my Stumpy, and they’ve been great. But you must maintain spoke tension! (Disclaimer: Sun provided those wheels.)

It’s also possible that you’re riding too rough and heavy.

Seat rails
Back in the day, I used to bend seat rails and seat posts with regularity. It got to the point where I couldn’t lower my seat anymore!

That was caused by 100 percent bad technique: I was way too involved with the seat.

You should NOT be bending your seat rails. Stop slamming onto your seat. Ride with your feet. Lower your seat.

If that doesn’t fix the problem, look into any DJ/DH-specific saddle.

To sum it up
Stiffen your suspension. Tension your spokes. Ride with your feet. And work on being smoother.

Right on. I’m off to work.


— Lee

8 replies
  1. Pual Toolboc says:

    I had the same bike and the same suspension problems I belive it is inherit to the design. Making the suspension stiffer would have hurt cornering and DH performance so I held off. Further more the frame was being beat to crap I think i just was to agressive riding it like a DH bike doesnt help.
    I went to a demo 7 because I could care less about climbing and prefer to pin the downs. So far it has held up well and done everything I hoped.

  2. leelikesbikes says:


    I was thinking about this on the way to work …

    If you want the bike to be super plush, PLUS you want to be able to handle harder hits, then more travel is the answer.

    — — —

    We’re one step closer to the Grand Unifying Theory of Braaap!!!

  3. Mr. P says:

    The DHX Air is not a good match for the linkage design. The DHXa has a notoriously soft mid-stroke that blows through travel on the Enduro. A coil takes care of the midstroke, adds consistency during high G turns and can be very progressive. It also climbs steeps better due to the improved midstroke support.

    There are extensive threads on this at on the Specialized board.

    I don’t like the term “upgrade” for components, but moving to a coil on my 06 Enduro was a very real and significant improvement for the bike. The improvement far outweighed the pound weight gain.


  4. Nate says:

    When I bought the bike I was going from a xc hardtail to the Enduro which was a huge step. I bought the book “Mastering Mountain Bike Skills” and then things started getting bigger and funner. I now wish I had a bigger bike, lets say an SX. I’m in construction, and work is slow in the area so I have extra time and am trying to squeeze as much performance out of the Enduro as possible. Anyone want to trade a DHX air for Coil? 🙂 I stiffened the suspension up to the point I believe you were implying in the mp3. I wish there wasn’t 16 inches of snow outside. I want to get the bugs worked out before I head to Moab, UT March 20-30.

    The more I think about the seat issue, I believe it’s because I don’t have a remote seat post. Most of my ridding is little ups & downs (Wisconsin) and I try to have the seat a little higher for shuttling, but not low enough for the braaaping.

  5. Mr. P says:

    Hey Nate, one trick you can try with the DHXa is to “fill” the outer air chamber with some plastic material – fill it as much as you can (The outer air can pops off). This will reduce the air volume and result in a more progressive air spring curve. It should also move the soft spot to a different position in travel. This could help, and it’s near free.
    What and how to:
    Some background:

    I’m with you on that “Mastering Mountain Bike Skills” book. The guy who wrote it is like a crack dealer. 😉 He makes ya want to ride more and more…


  6. Adam says:

    Hi, I have an 05 S-works and I can confirm the lack of mid-stroke compression damping on the stock shock. I send mine to our U.K. specialist Mojo to have the shim stack tweaked. Result – I can still run 30% sag but the bike is a lot more stable and doesn’t blow through the travel. You can push the bike into compressions and turn much better and the bike flies! Best all round mountain bike I’ve owned.

    I’ve also heard that the filling the secondary air can with grease to alter the spring curve helps, but haven’t tried it myself.

    Good luck.

  7. Nate says:

    Thanks for all the input. I just got back from Moab, UT and Porcupine Rim and Amasa Back have never been funner, Thanks. The bike felt more solid and handled better then last year. Between Leelikesbikes and James Wilson I’m really getting impressed with my biking abilities.

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