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Tuning vs Setup - The Shockcraft Way
Tuning is an ambiguous word. It means different things to different people. Some people are happy to take tuning money for turning knobs and moving spacers. Maybe installing a different factory shim pack.
At Shockcraft we do it differently. We have a unique tuning system that pulls customers in worldwide.
Here's what Tuning means to Shockcraft and what you get with a Shockcraft Tune.
1. Rider Inputs
We use our Shockcraft Fortune Teller to collect your info for either involved tuning or a simpler grading system for our Matrix tunes. Basic riding grades are Sport, Race/Rowdy and Extreme. Sport is a tune suitable for covering rough ground at speed that won't beat you up. Race/Rowdy gives you more spring and damper rate for more aggressive riding with the result of more trail feedback. Extreme is even more spring and damper rates for taking the energy that big impacts deliver.
2. Physics Modelling
We take your weight, bike geometry and riding style from the above and use this either to calculate out target spring and damper rates for fork and shock or for the simpler Matrix tuning we have pre-selected tunes that best fit your needs. These give us spring, compression damping and rebound damping rates for forks and shocks. Shockcraft appears to be one of only a few MTB suspension companies in the world with this ability, with the others being in the Northern Hemisphere. Most OEM companies are not competent at this, which is why this market exists.
3. Recommending Different Hardware
Some forks and shocks are either not capable of performing the way we need them or would require more time and money than those parts are worth. Bumps do not care how expensive and shiny your parts are or how the stickers match your frame. Often the only way up is to sell your current suspension and buy a fork/shock that can be tuned correctly. These upgrades are often not expensive as untunable forks and shocks in good condition still sell well.
4. Hardware Modification
This is where we take your fork or shock and work out what is possible and necessary to make the springs and dampers behave like we need them to. Sometimes this is easy, other times it requires a kit of custom engineered and manufactured parts.
5. Re-Shimming & Re-Valving
This is where we use those little flexy metal shim discs to regulate the oil flow inside the dampers, giving you just the right shape and size damping for every occasion.
6. Dyno Testing & Tuning
This stage is in a loop with #3. It is firstly verifying the damper is functioning correctly and also checking the new tune hits the customer's requirements for damping forces and adjustment range. Development of new tunes here can eat weeks of engineering time.
7. Customer Settings
The final stage on the dyno is setting clickers to suit the customer. When your fork or shock has 3-4 clickers this is a big deal. It starts the customer with a solid baseline that only needs fine-tuned on the trail.