The Short Answer is:
A mountain bike suspension lockout is a small switch located on the front right stanchion of the suspension that, when engaged, decreases the low-speed compression rate of the suspension. This feature is designed to make climbing easier and more efficient by reducing the amount of energy lost to suspension movement.
Mountain biking is an exhilarating sport that requires skill, endurance, and the right equipment. One of the most important components of a mountain bike is its suspension system, which helps absorb shock and keep the rider in control on rough terrain.
However, not all suspension systems are created equal, and some may be better suited for certain types of riding than others. One feature that has become increasingly popular in recent years is the mountain bike suspension lockout.
In this article, we will explore what a suspension lockout is, how it works, and whether it is right for you.
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How does suspension lockout work?
Mountain bike suspension lockout is a feature that allows riders to lock their suspension in place, making it rigid and preventing it from compressing. This feature is useful when riding on smooth or flat surfaces, or when climbing uphill, as it reduces the amount of energy lost through suspension movement.
Suspension lockout works by reducing the low-speed compression rate of the suspension, making it adjustable to the point of being fully rigid. A small switch is placed atop the front right stanchion of the suspension, which can be routed to the handlebar for easy access.
When engaged, the switch blocks the suspension partially or completely, mimicking the feeling of a fully rigid bicycle. While suspension lockout reduces traction, it is a great feature for riders who switch between trails and flat surfaces.
Different types of suspension lockout mechanisms
Mountain bike suspension lockout mechanisms come in different types, each with its unique way of achieving the lockout. Mechanical lockout is achieved by a crown sleeve stopper that locks the moving shaft in place and prevents it from moving.
Electronic shock lockout is a continually improving facet of bicycle technology that uses electronic sensors to detect terrain and adjust the suspension accordingly. On the other hand, lockout tagout is a protection system against unintentional exposure to hazardous energy from equipment and machinery.
While lockout reduces traction, it is essential to note that without suspension, your tires won’t be able to stay in contact with the ground, and you’ll be jostled all over the trail. Overall, suspension lockout is great at what it is meant for and can still help you out when you are switching between trails and riding on flat surfaces.
Advantages of suspension lockout
Suspension lockout provides several advantages for mountain bikers. It eliminates pedal bob, which improves pedaling efficiency and provides a firmer platform for pedaling uphill or on smooth, flat terrain.
It also gives the rider options to unlock when riding downhill. Additionally, not having any suspension systems equipped on a bicycle provides great responsiveness out of the pedals, as no energy is being absorbed by the suspension.
However, it is important to note that suspension systems absorb energy when riding downhill and generally make the experience more comfortable.
Disadvantages of suspension lockout
Suspension lockout can improve pedaling efficiency and provide a firmer platform for pedaling uphill or on smooth, flat terrain. However, it can make a rigid bicycle uncomfortable to ride on uneven terrain and difficult to withstand when going through obstacles.
Additionally, when riding on roads or uphill, the suspension absorbs energy, making it more difficult to scale steep inclines or get up to speed easily. Therefore, suspension lockout may not be ideal for rough trails or downhill riding.
How to use suspension lockout on a mountain bike
To use suspension lockout on a mountain bike, you need to engage the lockout feature on your fork or shock. This can be done by turning the compression lever to the fully closed position, which is usually done by turning the dial on the right fork leg clockwise.
Modern suspension lockouts can be fine-tuned for the exact terrain you’re riding, and there are top tips available on how to use your suspension. A lockout is a small switch placed atop the front right stanchion of your mountain bike’s suspension which when engaged decreases the low-speed compression rate of the front fork, adjustable to the point of being fully rigid.
This switch can also be routed to the handlebar, which is called a remote lockout.
Maintenance and care of suspension lockout
To maintain and care for a suspension lockout, it is recommended to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and lubrication. Regularly check the lockout switch and cable for any damage or wear and replace if necessary.
Some fancier models allow you to adjust how hard the hit needs to be in order to release the lock. Suspension system maintenance should be left to the professionals due to the complexity and importance of the system within your vehicle.
Lockout tagout is a safety procedure used in industry and research settings to ensure that dangerous machines are properly shut off and not able to be started up again prior to the completion of maintenance or repair work.
Frequently Asked Questions About Mountain Bike Suspension Lockout:
How do I know if my mountain bike has a suspension lockout?
To know if your mountain bike has a suspension lockout, you can check for a remote suspension lockout switch on the handlebar. This is usually found on XC-style bikes. If your bike has a lockout, you can adjust the cable tension adjustment screw on the fork’s right leg.
You can also check for a small switch placed atop the front right stanchion of your mountain bike’s suspension. This switch can be routed to the handlebar. Additionally, you can watch videos on how to use lockouts on your mountain bike suspension. If you are unsure, you can consult a bike mechanic or refer to the bike’s manual.
Is it safe to ride a mountain bike with the suspension locked out?
Yes, it is generally safe to ride a mountain bike with the suspension locked out. Locking out the suspension can improve pedaling efficiency and provide a firmer platform for pedaling uphill or on smooth, flat terrain. While it is not recommended to use the lockout on rough trails or when going downhill, it should not damage the internals of the suspension system.
The lockout feature is designed to restrict the damper’s low-speed compression circuit, which can be helpful when climbing. Some mountain bikes have a lockout fork that allows you to adjust how stiff or soft your suspension should be.
Can I install a suspension lockout on a mountain bike that doesn’t have it?
Yes, it is possible to install a suspension lockout on a mountain bike that doesn’t have it. However, it may come with some restrictions and may not be feasible for all types of bikes.
It is important to note that while a lockout feature on a mountain bike is not necessary, it may come in handy in certain situations. It is recommended to use the suspension lockout sparingly and only when needed.
In conclusion, a suspension lockout can be a useful tool for mountain bikers looking to improve their pedaling efficiency on smooth or flat terrain. While it should not be used on rough trails or downhill sections, a lockout can provide a firmer platform for uphill climbs.
It is important to understand how a lockout works and when to use it to get the most out of your mountain bike. Whether you prefer a fully rigid bike or a suspension MTB, a lockout can help mimic the feeling of a different style of bike. Remember to always ride safely and within your skill level, and enjoy the ride!