How to Setup Mountain Bike Suspension?

How to Setup Mountain Bike Suspension?

Setting up the suspension perfectly is the utmost important thing for the performance of your bike. Although, setting up the suspension is very easy to deal with, but it requires a lot of attention to finish the job with perfection. Remember, how your bike performs and what should be the perfect suspension setup for your bike, will come to you naturally after you have some fair amount of ride on your bicycle. Below is a description on how to setup mountain bike suspension and it is very easy to approach and straightforward.

The first thing that you should know is, what is sag? Well, sag is the amount of total displacement that your suspension gets by just adding your body weight on the bike. This is when the suspension of your bike turns to the active state and lets your wheels to be on the ground and provides traction. Before we start setting up the sag, few elements need to be in place:

  • Your bike.
  • You need to be in your original riding costume with all the things that you carry on a ride like, your backpacks, helmets, gears etc.
  • You can ask for help from a friend during the process.
  • Measuring device like, rulers and measuring tapes.

Step 1: Setting front Sag

mtb suspension

Once, you have all the equipment set up, look for a flat surface where you will be able to keep your bike straight and you are able to stand on the bike. Wear all the gears that you usually use during a ride. Make sure that the damper is fully open and the bike is standing straight with shock and fork fully extended.

The first thing you have to do is stand on the bike in an attacking position. Distribute your weight similarly like the riding condition and use your body weight. You can use the wall to hold by one hand to keep your balance in this process.

Now, the first thing you should measure is the length of exposed stanchion that is top of the seal to the bottom of the crown. Another person or your friend need to measure the eye-to-eye length and that is from the centre of one mounting bolt to centre of another mounting bolt.

To measure the sag the below given equation is being used:

Shock length under sag = Total length – (stroke x sag percent). After the calculation if you see that the shock sags too much then just pump the fork a little and if the shock sags too little, then release some air from the fork.

Step 2: Setting Rear Sag:

mountain bike suspension

Similar to the front sag, setting the rear sag also requires almost the same procedures, but it is a little complicated. Get up on the bike and take the riding position and distribute your weight. Place the seal or the rubber band all the way up to the shaft of the shock. Now after putting your weight, the shaft will compress and the seal will move down as far the total displacement of the shaft. Now measure how far down this seal has come down. That’s the amount of sag that is currently your rear shock is having. You can convert in percentage by just dividing the calculated sag by the total stroke of the shag.

All these above-mentioned steps were shown for an air shock. If it is a coil shock, then it is little tricky. But most of the coil shocks are also having a rubber bumper at the end of the shaft of the shock.

Most commonly the sag is around 20-25% but it still depends upon the bike you are riding. It is very important to have the right setting for the sag for a high quality and comfortable ride.