Suspension Tuning FOR DUMMIES

Get it dialed: A bike is only as good as its setup. This is why it’s important to spend time making sure your suspension is performing at its best. A few clicks can make your old ride feel new again.
H ave you ever looked at your suspension and asked yourself, “ What do all these dials and doohickeys do ? ” If the answer is yes, this article is for you. And, even if you do have a basic understanding of how your pause works, this article may still help. Follow along as we break down pause tuning into easy-to-digest tidbits .

Setting Sag

RockShox suspension components offer measurements printed on the fork to help you find the correct amount of sag. If you run a component from another company you will need to measure the distance between the O-ring and the dust wiper to determine sag.
It ’ randomness authoritative to constantly use sag as the start item for suspension apparatus. Sag is merely the measure of abeyance used when you place your body burden, including riding gearing, on your bicycle. long before you touch any of your hydraulic adjustments, you must first set your sag or leap rate.

The majority of batch bike suspension components use an vent chamber ; however, it ’ s not rare to have a coil spring rather of air. On coil shocks or forks, the rider may need to swap out springs to achieve the adjust sum of sag. In an breeze fork or air shock, riders use a jolt pump to achieve the right sag fructify .
Whether air out or coil, a shock should broadly be set between 25- and 30-percent sag .
To set sag ( on a common air traumatize ), begin by pushing the o-ring to the top of the stroke and then carefully sit on your bicycle. slowly stand up on your bicycle, doing your best to avoid bouncing the suspension. Where the O-ring lands is the total of sag you have. Let ’ s say your bicycle has 100mm of travel. This means that 25 to 30mm of stroke should be used by your fully body weight with gearing on the bicycle. Finding sag with a coil shock requires a slenderly unlike access, but the basic principles are the like .
following, move to your fork and set up its sag. Recommended fork sag varies from 15 to 20 percentage. To measure sag in your fork, it ’ s often best to stand up out of the saddle and have a acquaintance aid support you. If you don ’ t have a friend round at the moment, try riding on a flat coat and doing your best to place your burden on the fork without bouncing. Again, use the O-ring to help bill sag. If the crotch has 120mm of travel, then your sag should be between 18 and 24mm. If necessary, use a calculator to find the correct measurements for your sum of suspension travel .

Adjusting Rebound

rebound is the arrange that controls how fast or slow your pause returns. It ’ s a critical component of your suspension that allows it to recover from hits. On the majority of suspension components, bounce is marked by a crimson dial that can be found at the bottomland of the pitchfork branch adenine well as on the shock absorber body. Some higher-end suspension components have both high and low recoil settings ; however, most abeyance components alone offer control over the low-speed rebound .
When setting recoil, it ’ south crucial to not merely take a buddy ’ sulfur settings and think they will work well for you, besides. Changes in air travel pressure, pause design or riding style will determine how your recoil should be set. If your bounce is set excessively fast, you ’ ll palpate like you ’ re riding a pogo stick. meanwhile, a context that is excessively decelerate won ’ thymine allow the suspension to recover, causing it to pack up and feel stiff .
When setting your recoil, keep in heed that less bounce dampen equals a faster return speed, while more rebound dampen will cause it to slow down. A faster rebound ( with less damping ) is good for little, chattery bumps where the pause needs to recover cursorily to keep the tire planted to the grind. A slower bounce ( with more dampen ) is going to cause the pause to settle lower in its locomotion and offer a more predictable drive quality. The mind is to find a happy medium .

Finding Fork Rebound

Rebound knobs are almost always indicated with the color red. The Fox fork shown here actually offers both high- and low-speed rebound for further turning adjustments.
Start adjusting the rebound of your fork by turning it to the fastest fix with minimal damping. While standing future to your motorcycle, push down on the bars and watch the branch quickly return back to your hands and bounce the front run down off the ground. Continue to add damping to your pitchfork to slow down its recoil so that the front bicycle no longer bounces off the ground. Your pitchfork should constantly have a faster recoil setting than your shock to keep you from being bucked over the handlebars .

Setting Shock Rebound

The rebound knob on the shock is an important dial that makes the difference between bucking you over the bars or keeping your rear tire firmly planted on the ground.

now that you ’ ve dialed in your crotch, move back to your shock. The shock ’ mho recoil needs to be set agile enough so that the suspension has clock time to recover, but not therefore fast that it kicks the rise end of the bicycle about. It ’ randomness often safer to start with a slower setting and remove damping if you feel your shock is sitting excessively gloomy in its travel, causing it to become stiffly .


Most forks will offer some form of high-speed compression adjustment designed to firm up the fork. Low-speed compression is seen on mid- to high-end forks and is used to fine-tune their feel.
compaction adjustments are frequently blue dials or levers at the top of your fork and on your shock body. compression levers can be referred to as lock-outs or pedal switches. These types of compression adjustments cursorily firm up the suspension in order to reduce movement during pedaling. other forms of compaction adjustments, such as high-speed compression, are used to finetune suspension. When talking about high-speed compression, it ’ randomness important to note that it ’ s referring to high shaft speeds and not high riding speeds. high-speed compression adjustments consider with things like braking bumps or other obstacles that cause the diaphysis to move cursorily. By adding compression, riders can firm up the suspension to stay higher in its travel and offer a more patronize drive. Less compression offers a lavish or softer pause feel .

Volume Spacers

Air suspension can be further adjusted by adding or reducing the number of volume spacers inside the air chamber. More spacers will add progression, providing better resistance to bottoming out. Reducing the number of spacers makes it easier to use full travel.

Another popular way to adjust suspension settings is to add or remove air-volume spacers or tokens. A rider might do this to make the fork or traumatize more progressive or more linear. A progressive suspension part will better resist bottom out by becoming more firm towards the bottom of the stroke. A linear rate will create an adequate amount of power throughout the locomotion. Air forks and shocks are progressive by nature ; however, some riders find the add immunity during bottom-out is helpful for harsh hits. On the early hand, lightweight riders or mellower ones who are having trouble reaching full change of location, even with the correct amount of sag, may find it helpful to remove spacers in decree to reach the bottom. Keep in mind that once a volume spacer is added or removed, this hale summons reverts back to setting sag again .

The End Result

A bicycle can only perform deoxyadenosine monophosphate well as it ’ second set up to. You might have a $ 10,000 bicycle, but with a hapless setup, you won ’ thyroxine get finale to the performance your bicycle is able of. The lapp is true with an cheap bicycle. therefore, if you truly want to get the most out of your steed, you would be wise to spend quality time getting to know how its suspension adjustments work .

Random Suspension Pro Tips

We ’ ve put together a few abeyance tips that will help you over the farseeing haul .
1. Make sure to do regular maintenance on your suspension components. average riders should have their forks and shocks serviced about once a year. If you race or ride frequently, this care interval may need to be shorter
2. A minor zip-tie can be used as a makeshift O-ring if your fork doesn ’ triiodothyronine have one. ideally, your suspension has a rubberized O-ring that allows you to well set your sag ; however, if for some reason yours is missing, a zip-tie snug enough to stay in topographic point but loose enough to slide can be used alternatively. Carefully remove the zip-tie before riding to prevent scratching your stanchion .
3. Keep stanchion and fork/shock seals clean to increase the longevity of your suspension components. Avoid using hard-hitting vent or water when cleaning around these areas, as they can force scandal or water in. When cleaning abeyance, wipe around the seals and stanchion with a houseclean microfiber torment .
4. If your bicycle has experienced a drastic change in elevation, the lowers can have air out built up inside. Use the end of a zip-tie and urge it in past the seals to release this coerce.

5. Create a suspension log that notes your air pressure, bounce and compression settings ampere well as your maintenance intervals. This can be invaluable when you want to return to a context you liked or make sure you ’ re keeping up with unconstipated service intervals .


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