Mountain Bike
Suspension Setup

Mountain bike suspension setup will be worth your while. No matter if you mountain bike as a means of training or just for fun. Very few people know how to do that setup properly. So I thought it may be useful to make a page on how to do that.

There are 2 important steps:

1) Set the sag front and rear (I will cover that on this page)

2) Set the rebound (click here to go to setup rebound)

First of all count the number of clicks that each adjuster is on by turning the adjusters clockwise until it stops. Write this down! Set the clicks back to their original position to start the set up.

Most mountain bike suspension uses air springs and you need a shock pump. If you own a MTB with suspension and do not have a shock pump, then buy one! Everyone should own a shock pump. Otherwise do it at your closest cycle shop! Normally MTB forks have the air spring on one fork leg only and shocks have only one air valve. Once you find the air valve connect the pump and write down the pressure on the gauge.

Measure the true suspension travel: Remove all the air out the fork using the valve on your pump. Move the 0 ring down against the fork seal. If no 0 ring then put a cable tie around the inner tube above the fork seal.

Compress the fork completely until it bottoms out. The 0 ring or zip tie will stay up on the fork leg as you extend the fork. Measure fork seal to 0 ring distance and this gives you the true suspension travel to work from.

Now pump in the air again to close to your original pressure to start setting sag. Before you get on the bike to check the sag push the 0 ring down against the fork seal again.

To set up the rear shock use the exact same technique, but the 0 ring is on the shock body and must be up against the shock seal!

Decide on the sag: Cross country bikes with suspension travel of 80mm to 120mm should have between20 and 30% (25% is perfect)as of full travel as sag and bikes with between 120mm and 160mm should have between 25 and 35% (30% is perfect) of full travel as sag. This can be used for fork and shock!

Measure this sag with the rider in his cycling gear on the bike.

Shorter travel cross country bikes the rider can sit on the saddle and longer travel bikes the rider can stand on the pedals to set sag. Best is to have someone help you and get on the bike let the mountain bike suspension settle and make sure the 0 ring is against the seals. Climb off carefully to avoid the suspension compressing more. Measure the distance from 0 ring to seal and this should be in the percentage range I mentioned.

But correct air spring pressures are vital and are the first and most important step. Once this is done you are sure to have a bicycle that works efficiently and handles pretty well.

Thework next step is to set the perfect rebound.

Or check out this site as an all around place for mountain bikes and mountain biking.

Good luck and happy cycling!


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