Setting Up Your Bike’s Suspension 2/3 – How To Set Up Your Suspension Fork

In our last blog post, we went over what preload, compression, and rebound do, so now we can start setting those adjustments for your riding needs.

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

First off, when setting your sag you want to be wearing everything you’re going to be riding in, as well as having any accessories you need on the bike. This is your actual rider weight. It may sound like something small, but when you factor in the weight of your water, tools, bags, etc. it can make a big difference.

Preload:

Step 1:
Measure the stanchion of the fork. This is the shiny tube that, when compressed, slides into the lower arch of the fork. When you have your measurement, divide it by 4.
This will give you 25% sag distance.

Most higher end suspension forks and rear shocks come with a rubber o-ring to help measure sag (pictured below), but if yours doesn’t have one 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 fork it holds a measurement.

Step 2:
Now, 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 preload or air pressure to reduce or increase sag.

*If your suspension is coil sprung and you cannot achieve the correct sag with the preload adjuster, then a new spring may be required for your weight.

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 24 clicks total, set it at 12). 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.

Now that we have that covered, make sure to keep your eyes peeled for the final part of our guide on how to set up rear suspension.

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