I have a cheap Apollo brand bike which has very soft suspension and sometimes leaks brown rust coloured fluid if compressed hard enough. both sides have a plastic cap which prys open (not unscrewed) to come off. Is there anything I can do to make the suspension more stiff?

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  • Do you require suspension? – Criggie May 30 '19 at 10:29
  • Trying to set up cheap suspension is fighting a losing battle from the start. A decent quality fork costs more than a cheap bike, so i'd always advise looking for a rigid fork when shopping at the budget end of the spectrum – Andy P May 30 '19 at 12:46

Cheap suspension forks just use a big undamped metal spring in each fork leg. If you can disassemble for the forks and don't mind making some irreversible modifications, you can increase the sprint rate at the expense of travel by cutting and shortening the springs. You would need to add spacers of the same length as the reduction in spring length. Sections of appropriate diameter thick wooden dowel would do.

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    Rusty liquid coming out suggests that water is getting into the forks. Putting wood in there might not be a good idea, as it would expand when wet, which could put considerable force on the tubes. – David Richerby May 30 '19 at 8:59
  • Some decent aluminium or even steel pipe might be better than wood. Or a solid chunk of hard plastic. If you use steel do deburr it and paint with zinc-based spray first, or add lots of grease. Then address why the caps are leaking water - perhaps there's a block in the drain holes, or no drain hole at all. – Criggie May 30 '19 at 10:29
  • Surely shortening the springs will increase the spring rate, but suspension will still feel too soft at the top of its travel. I'm not particularly familiar with fork internals, but if possible, wouldn't it be better to add spacers but keep springs original length - this would effectively preload the spring and make it feel firmer at the top of its travel? – Andy P May 30 '19 at 12:43
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    @AndyP Increasing the spring rate would make the fork stiffer at the top end of travel - because the force exerted by the spring increases more quickly as it's compressed. Adding preload is an option as well (and does not involve cutting the springs) but will make the fork stiffer at the start of travel. – Argenti Apparatus May 30 '19 at 13:01
  • Hi all, thank you for your comments. I do want to shorten the springs however I'm not sure how to take the springs out because it's too dark to see properly inside there. Does anyone know how to remove and reinsert the springs? – Anas May 30 '19 at 13:01

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