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Helm MKII vs MKI damper

Oct. 5, 2021, 7:25 p.m.
Posts: 26
Joined: Nov. 15, 2020

I seem to recall there being some Helm users here, and maybe some folks with experience on both versions, but haven’t been able to find a discussion. I have been riding an original Helm for about 6 months and mostly really like it, but like a lot of people apparently I am barely using the compression dials. Usually just a click or two on HSC and one or none on LSC. I was looking at Cane Creek’s factory service options and noticed you can upgrade the damper to the MKII version during the 100 hour service for about 500 bucks, so not cheap but much less than a new fork, and you need to use their service centers for the 100 hour service anyways.

On the one hand I feel like I want more usable range out of the fork and like the idea of upgrading an “old” part. On the other hand I’m happy as is so why spend the money chasing rainbows? 

Oh, and I’m a ~170 pound (77 kg) rider doing general trail riding and modest sized features around the Pacific Northwest. I get my wheels off the ground every ride but not impressively so, if that makes sense.

Oct. 5, 2021, 7:38 p.m.
Posts: 1383
Joined: Sept. 30, 2006

I had a Helm Air MKI when they first came out. The MKII was obviously not available at that time. I was in the same boat as you, ran it wide open with about 35% sag and still couldnt get full travel out of it. Have you removed the  'token' adjuster?  I found it helped a bit to remove the plunger completely. In the end, I got tired of trying to make it something it wasn't and sprung for a new Lyrik Ultimate.

If you aren't a hard charging (not really sure what that means)/aggressive/heavier rider, the Helm MKI will likely not suit your riding style in my experience.

Oct. 5, 2021, 8:56 p.m.
Posts: 26
Joined: Nov. 15, 2020

Thanks for the input. I feel like it’s pretty good now, and since servicing it recently I am getting full travel on some big hits but basically wonder if I’m missing something by not having more adjustment range. I haven’t ridden a ton of high end forks so not much to compare it to other than an older Pike and a Yari and it’s better than both. Can’t remember where I set the “tokens” to, I will take a look.

Oct. 6, 2021, 7:55 a.m.
Posts: 803
Joined: Jan. 31, 2005

I've had an MK1 and an MK2, still riding both. I still don't use much HSC or LSC on either. The MK2 damper has a slighter nicer refined vibe despite the similarities in where I set my compression.

Oct. 6, 2021, 8:08 a.m.
Posts: 427
Joined: Jan. 2, 2018

500 bucks? If you really want a mkii seems like you'd be better off flogging the mki and just buying a mkii? 

Assuming they can be bought.

Oct. 6, 2021, 12:52 p.m.
Posts: 26
Joined: Nov. 15, 2020

It’s 500 with the rebuild so 300 extra for the damper. Sounds like it might not be worth it. Thanks for all the feedback!

Oct. 7, 2021, 8:27 a.m.
Posts: 803
Joined: Jan. 31, 2005

I have both and use them regularly on two bikes. I have zero intention of upgrading the damper on my MK1. It's totally good the way it is, which is a little less refined than the MK2 and that's totally fine.

Oct. 8, 2021, 9:18 a.m.
Posts: 1075
Joined: May 11, 2018

I hardly use any compression on any of my forks. I always try to turn up the compression as I'm over 200 lbs and ride fairly aggressively and figure that they put that adjustability in for a reason and if I'm not using it, who is? Every time I turn it up I just end up rolling it back as the fork starts to feel harsh. I suspect it also has something to do with our terrain in bc. Given the sustained steepness of our trails, we tend to ride deeper in our travel for long sections of trail. For that reason, we over fork and as well, probably run slightly stiffer springs with more progression. If I was riding in Ontario I could see myself running less spring to allow me to use more of the travel and some compression damping for support. 

This all being said, my mk1 (coil) is one of my favorite forks and I certainly wouldn't drop 300 bucks so that my compression dial is to 2 clicks instead of open.

Oct. 8, 2021, 10:33 a.m.
Posts: 803
Joined: Jan. 31, 2005

Posted by: RAHrider

I hardly use any compression on any of my forks. I always try to turn up the compression as I'm over 200 lbs and ride fairly aggressively and figure that they put that adjustability in for a reason and if I'm not using it, who is? Every time I turn it up I just end up rolling it back as the fork starts to feel harsh. I suspect it also has something to do with our terrain in bc. Given the sustained steepness of our trails, we tend to ride deeper in our travel for long sections of trail. For that reason, we over fork and as well, probably run slightly stiffer springs with more progression. If I was riding in Ontario I could see myself running less spring to allow me to use more of the travel and some compression damping for support. 

This all being said, my mk1 (coil) is one of my favorite forks and I certainly wouldn't drop 300 bucks so that my compression dial is to 2 clicks instead of open.

Same for me. I'm well over 200lbs as well and I find the compression settings at 1-2 clicks more than enough. I like the fork firm and riding high and both my MK1 and MK2 accomplish this. It's nice that there is a fork that rides correctly for 200lb+ riders right out of the box. Every Fox or RS fork I've ever had seemed toyish and needed a surprising amount of customization to get it to ride right, not to mention the inevitable creaking and CSU warranty. I've had my MK1 for two seasons+ with regular service and zero issues. I got my MK2 early in 2021 and so far it's as good.

Oct. 9, 2021, 3:23 a.m.
Posts: 143
Joined: May 1, 2018

How are people finding the ramp up on the Helm coil? I am considering one, but my other coil is a smashpot and the hydraulic bottom out is glorious.

Does anyone have any experience to share?

Oct. 9, 2021, 5:51 a.m.
Posts: 90
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

I was about to sell my 16hrs-old Helm Coil Mk1 but you guys are making me reconsider the idea. I have sent it to Suspension Werx to get checked for a weird feeling in the travel (Cane creek thought the damper could be sucked down since it was built in 2019 but unused since then) but I'll see when I get it back. @heinous if you're looking for one and I decide to let it go, I'd do it for a fair price.

Oct. 9, 2021, 10:12 a.m.
Posts: 26
Joined: Nov. 15, 2020

Posted by: RAHrider

I hardly use any compression on any of my forks. I always try to turn up the compression as I'm over 200 lbs and ride fairly aggressively and figure that they put that adjustability in for a reason and if I'm not using it, who is? Every time I turn it up I just end up rolling it back as the fork starts to feel harsh. I suspect it also has something to do with our terrain in bc. Given the sustained steepness of our trails, we tend to ride deeper in our travel for long sections of trail. For that reason, we over fork and as well, probably run slightly stiffer springs with more progression. If I was riding in Ontario I could see myself running less spring to allow me to use more of the travel and some compression damping for support. 

This all being said, my mk1 (coil) is one of my favorite forks and I certainly wouldn't drop 300 bucks so that my compression dial is to 2 clicks instead of open.

This makes a lot of sense to me. I’m in Oregon not BC but 80% of my riding is winch and plummet. I found myself using the compression dial a little more in the summer when traction was better and I was doing higher elevation but less technical backcountry rides. As soon as things got wet and slimy this year I opened up the lsc all the way.

Oct. 9, 2021, 10:21 a.m.
Posts: 1075
Joined: May 11, 2018

Posted by: Heinous

How are people finding the ramp up on the Helm coil? I am considering one, but my other coil is a smashpot and the hydraulic bottom out is glorious.

Does anyone have any experience to share?

It's different than an air fork. It's linear (as you know) so there is no ramp up. As long as you get the spring weight correct I don't think there is any big issue with bottoming out. I bottom this one out like any other, every once in a while. I feel this one bottom out every so often whereas I don't notice the bottom out on my air forks. I think this is because of the linear spring and the fact that when I do bottom out there is no ramp up before. This being said, I have used all the travel plenty of times without feeling a bottom out. In total, I have only felt this a couple of times but it is different than my air forks. It certainly doesn't change my opinion that this is one of my favorite forks ever. I would not hesitate to recommend the coil helm to anyone.

Oct. 14, 2021, 6:55 p.m.
Posts: 6
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

I had a MK1 coil and now with a MK2 and run my HSC a few click in on the MK2. I did have some harsh bottom outs on the MK1 and ended up installing an air cap over the spring with 4-6 psi that helped it ramp up, this is something I used to do in my moto days to fine tune the progression. 

For some reason the MK2 doesn't have this problem possibly because of the damper or the redesigned spring plunger assembly.  BTW I'm 155 lb. kitted up.

Oct. 15, 2021, 2:38 a.m.
Posts: 143
Joined: May 1, 2018

How do you mean an air cap over spring? I’d be interested to know more about that.

I’ve got a Helm MK2 coil arriving in the next day or two. I think the stock spring weight will be close to what I need, but may need to investigate ohlins if not.

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