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I recently bought an entry level mountain bike, a Cannondale Trail 7, to use as a town bike. My town doesn't have too many mountains, but it does have a lot of badly rutted roads and I wanted something sturdier than my road bike for everyday use.

Anyhow the bike works very well as a town bike, but I'm surprised how poor the damping in the forks is and I wonder if they are faulty. The shop I bought it from offers a free service six weeks after purchase, and that's next week, so if there is a fault I'll ask them to fix it at the service. I have made a brief video to show how bad the damping is.

The forks are SR Suntour XCT-30:

Forks

I cannot find any details about these forks online. I did find details of the XCT-29 (600K pdf) and that does show a damping mechanism, but whether this applies to the XCT-30 I don't know.

So my question is: do you think there is a fault with the shocks or is this just the way cheap shocks are? Also if anyone can find a technical details of the XCT-30 online that would be great.

The lack of damping doesn't really make any difference round town, so if that's just the way cheap bikes are I can live with it. But I'm a bit surprised as I think if you took this bike onto a trail you'd be bouncing around all over the place.

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  • Not an answer, as i don't know how these forks perform normally. Here are internal details of your fork: srsuntour.com/fileadmin/user_upload/Downloads/Consumer/Bike/… They should be damped, but these cheap MTB-Forks aren't made to be taken off road.
    – airace3
    Sep 21, 2023 at 10:46
  • @airace3 Excellent, thanks :-) So the diagram does show that there is a damper inside the forks. Given the zero damping I'm experiencing that does suggest there is a fault. Sep 21, 2023 at 10:54
  • Renni I wouldn't be surprised if this is just how the forks are. You could try to ride down a bigger curb with some weight on them so they won't top out. After the impact they shouldn't do more than 1-2 oscillations.
    – airace3
    Sep 21, 2023 at 11:08
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    Seems to me likes there's too much rebound, even for entry level forks, but that also be a setting (adjustment is possible on top of each arm). Mentioning it at the service is certainly something to do.
    – Renaud
    Sep 21, 2023 at 12:05
  • This certainly looks very open, but I wouldn't say it's bad. IMO damping is unnecessary to counterproductive on forks up to 100 mm travel. Damping is not required for smoothing out small bumps, only to prevent bouncing off larger steps / rocks etc. (and that can generally be avoided by conscious riding, unless you're racing downhill). Too much damping or stiction is the more typical problem for forks. Sep 24, 2023 at 14:15

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Most Suntour forks are budget assemblies and offer a minimum of features. The damping is poor on the XCT30 because there is no damper. The left leg has a medium spring rate coil spring with preload adjuster on top. The right leg, with the so-called "HLo" adjuster is simply a lock-out lever. Turning it to the right should prevent the fork from compressing into its travel. Thus, you are left at the mercy of the coil spring's energy. Technically, the spring is a form of compression damping, but the energy the coil returns on its extension (during rebound) is not damped.

Here is a YouTube video describing how to adjust the HLo mechanism that may not be working correctly.

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    Suntour makes forks of all levels. Both current XCO MTB world titles (male and female) were achieved with a Suntour fork (Pinarello Dogma bikes). Sep 26, 2023 at 12:47
  • @VladimirFГероямслава, that's true, but the fact remains that "Most Suntour forks [that you'll encounter in the wild] are budget assemblies."
    – Paul H
    Sep 26, 2023 at 15:46
  • Suntour sucks, bottom line.
    – Jeff
    Sep 26, 2023 at 20:47
  • @Jeff Team INEOS probably begs to differ. Sep 27, 2023 at 19:36

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