This thread has legs again!
Good points guys, it is an interesting discussion and probably quite an old and beaten out one regarding suspension tuning, shim stacks and the interwebs- we aint going to solve it so there is not point in trying.
I hope we are not dissuading Alex from joining the discussion.
I'll also be shipping things to various places to get some specialist work done that I can't do myself (or don't want to try to learn to do- at least yet)- transmission rebuild, head, piston and cylinder porting, recondition and machining, etc. These are 'do it once right' jobs IMO and ones I am not set up to do- and yes, they are paying for the result not a lesson in how to get there- and very importantly I know exactly where and who I will be sending these to.
For some reason I think of suspension tuning a little differently, not that it is less specialist or anything, nor that it is any less result-oriented, but that it is something that I would rather have done locally
or alternatively (with some outside help if possible) take it on as something to learn enough to do it myself.
Not to learn how to be a suspension tuner, but from a given starting point just to learn just enough to start to tweak this one fork on this one bike towards desired outcomes. I think there is a significant difference there.
In the hands of the right expert, the shimming and springing work might be a do it once kind of thing, but the maintenence is ongoing and there are internal wear/replacement parts so I will be in and out of my forks anyway.
If this was a proven application (say for a newish bike that is produced and sold in the many thousands), where a given tuner had done it all before and knew exactly the ground being covered then I might believe it more of a do it once and do it right kind of job- that is if I could find the right tuner... I haven't been able to and from the people I have spoken to if they even agreed to begin discussing taking on the job it seems to be more of a 'we'll just have to start trying things and keep at it until you are happy (or broke) and the results are probably not going to be good'
quite a sales pitch.
I found one helpful fellow about 500Km's away who was willing to work on this. I would have to bring the complete running bike to him. He wanted to respring it using off-the-shelf springs from 4860 forks (that by reports rattle around in our forks). He was a seat of the pants guy rather than a dyno guy, and shim stack changes would be tested by actually riding the bike, and though I got the feeling he would be able to improve the forks a lot the sheer logistics of getting this done were insurmountable to me.
For us, compared to the USA, we get significantly screwed with shipping costs, and one certainly doesn't want to be shipping forks (or anything else big and heavy) back and forward across the country or internationally for ongoing tweaks, thus if I have to go down the path of paying some one to do this for me, I would like to be able to drive/ride within an hour or two and actually see them face to face. I deal with a lot of things that might potentially require ongoing service or warranty type stuff this way.
I woud happily buy internationally, with no guarrantees, for a shim kit to get me started. I would happily pay a decent premium for this and for the knowledge it takes to be able to offer such a thing. I would expect this would only be a starting point and would in no way come close to actually handing over the forks or complete bike to the right person. It was the sniff of this possibility a few pages back that got me interested again.
Completely aside from that I just want to hear a pro talk a little or a lot about these forks for this application. Knowing a few of us, and what we have invested in them so far, we'll probably be stuck with them for the next decade or two and by that time the next crop of suspension tuners REALLY won't want to touch them