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Okay Zac,I am glad you replied. Preload does effect potential energy. Thinking only in terms of ride height limits your understanding to only static equations. When you think about the energy equation, you start looking at things dynamically, which is how we'll all increase our understand of the "art" of suspension movement - spring rate + damping effects.For example, if you have a 6" spring preloaded to 12 mm, you have a PE = rate*(6"-12mm). If due to suspension movement, the spring further compresses 2", then your new PE = rate*(6"-12mm-2"), and the change in PE = rate*(2"). If you change the preload, you don't change the rate of the spring, but there's no guarantee that the change in potential energy will be maintained because it now takes more force to get the same change in PE. If you then knew how to account for the damping effect mathemetically, then you could estimate the kinetic energy part of the equation. Therefore in a viscous damping system it is possible to tune the damping with preload, of course due to the geometry effects, steering effects are coupled to the mathematics = the "art".
Also, heat isn't the only form of the energy in the suspension equation. At some point, the fluid doesn't get hotter, the bike just moves differently in response to the damping changes.
This could become a fun discussion for us nerds ;)-z.
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