Setting Up Your Bike’s Suspension 3/3: Setting up your Rear Shock

So far, we’ve covered all the basics of your suspension settings, as well as the steps to setting up your front suspension fork. If you haven’t check out our last blog post to learn more.

In this guide we will go over the specific details on how to set up your rear shock.

The steps to setting up your rear shock will be very similar to setting up your front suspension fork, but with some specific details for rear suspension.

Tools Required:
Ruler/Measuring Tape
Shock Pump
Optional: A friend, to make things easier.

You want to be wearing everything you’re going to be riding in, as well as having any accessories you need on the bike to give an accurate measurement.

Setting Rear Sag:

Step 1:
Measure the inner shock shaft. This is the shiny tube that moves in and out of the larger air canister. When you have your measurement, divide it by 4. This will give you 25% sag distance.

Most air shocks come with a rubber o-ring to help measure sag but if yours doesn’t have one, you can use a small zip tie or tie a rubber band lightly wrapped around the stanchion. This just needs to be tight enough that when you compress the shock it holds a measurement.
*Remember, if you’ve added anything to take measurements (zip tie, rubber band, etc), to remove it when sag is set, as to not cause excess wear.

Once you have done this, turn the compression knob to the open position, or all the way counter clockwise.

Step 2:
Get on your bike, making sure not to overtly compress the suspension. You want just your standing weight. This is where a friend can really come in handy, but it is possible to do this yourself by using a wall for stability. Get off the bike slowly and try not to alter the measurements you’ve just taken.

Step 3:
Once you have a base line of where your suspension is currently set you can make adjustments to the air pressure to reduce or increase sag.

In the case of a rear coil shock, there is a retainer on top of the spring, similar to the preload knob on a front suspension fork. It can be dialled in for more preload, and out for less.

Compression and Rebound:

So first, you want to figure out how many points of adjustment your suspension has.
Start by dialling them all the way going clockwise. Once you do that, start dialling them counter clockwise, and count the points of adjustment (or the “clicks”).

When you have that number, set everything to the middle of the adjustment (e.g. if you have 6 clicks total, set it at 318). If you don’t know what kind of feel you want, then experiment one or two clicks at a time, until you’re happy with the suspension’s feel.

Keep in mind that adjusting either the compression or rebound to its highest/lowest point won’t really give you much advantage, so its better to keep it close to that middle range.

Remember, if you’re ever unsure or have more questions regarding your suspension, come into one of our Bike Depot locations and our staff will be happy to help you.

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