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How to Set Up Your Bike Suspension



You've bought yourself a great new mountain bike with suspension and now you need to set it up before you go ride. Remember, riding your bike with insufficient air in the fork or rear shock may cause damage, which won't be covered by warranty, and most of all it will give an unpleasant ride feel. So read on.

Before we dive into suspension set-up in detail, an introduction to a glossary of suspension terms will help.

·       Damping: The process of slowing down the motion of a suspension part. This is typically provided by resistance to forcing oil through a small hole.

·       Compression: This is the act of squashing your fork or rear shock. Any force that shortens the fork or the rear shock causes it to compress.

·       Rebound: This is the extending of the fork or shock that takes place as the compressive force is overcome by the force of the spring. It is usually controlled by oil flowing through narrow, adjustable ports inside the shock/fork.

·       Sag: This is the amount that your suspension squashes down when you sit on your bike. About 20% is right for XC, 25% - 30% for Trail riding and 35% Enduro/DH. Adding extra air to your fork or shock will reduce the amount of sag, as will replacing the coil spring with a stiffer spring.

·       Lockout: Some forks and shocks have a Lockout option on them that enables you to turn off the suspension. On some, it simply closes all the valves and turns the suspension off entirely. On more expensive shocks and forks, safety valves will remain open that allow your suspension to 'blow-off' the lockout setting if you hit something fast and hard.

·       Debonair: Rockshox specific lightweight, tuneable air spring designed to offer a coil-like consistent feel through the travel.

·       Boost: Boost spacing is the current standard for mountain bike hubs, usually a 110x15mm front and 148x12mm rear.

·       Charger RC Damper: Rockshox specific damping system allowing you to adjust low-speed compression between fully open to firm.

·       Fork Offset: Also known as rake, is the distance between the axle and a straight line through the head tube. Increasing offset pushes the axle further in front of the head angle. Reducing the offset pulls the axle closer.

That's far from an exhaustive list of suspension terms, but if you can remember those, in most cases, you'll be able to set your own suspension up. Tuning suspension is all about finding the balance between your weight, the terrain that you ride, and the way in which you want your suspension to soak up the impacts without passing them on to you. Most forks and rear shocks come with guide weight/pressures that give the manufacturer's recommended range, they are a good place to start.

How to set sag

Start by referring to your manufacturer's guide on air pressure, this will be based on your weight and type of riding you intend to do. 



Remove the air cap on the crown of the fork to uncover the air valve.



Attach the high-pressure shock pump to the fork until snug and pressure reads on gauge. 



Inflate the fork to the recommended pressure, this is a rough guide to get a base pressure, we recommend taking your shock pump out on your first couple of rides and find what’s best for you and your riding style. 



Check the sag by sitting on the bike in the riding position with your riding gear on (you may need a friend to hold the bike for you) using the guide on the side of the fork or the sag ring on the stanchion you will be able to see what percentage of sag you have. Manufacturers sites will usually give you a guide for different riding types but between 20% to 30% is normal depending on ride type. 



When setting up forks cycle the air around the fork by compressing them every 30psi you add, this ensures air is cycled around the full system and the PSI displayed on your shock pump is true. The method is the same for rear shocks but air pressure will be different so again remember to check the manufacturers guides. For further advice on Rockshox fork setup use the Rockshox trail head guide. Below is a guide to some of the forks that we fit on the Titus and On-One Bikes.

 

Rockshox 35 130mm

Air Setting (PSI)

<120LB

 

120-140LB

55-65 PSI

140-160LB

65-75 PSI

160-180LB

75-85 PSI

180-200LB

85-95 PSI

200-220LB

95-105 PSI

>220LB

105+ PSI   MAX 163 PSI

 

Rockshox 35 100mm

    

Air Setting (PSI)

<120LB

<75PSI

120-140LB

75-85PSI

140-160LB

85-95PSI

160-180LB

95-105PSI

180-200LB

105-115PSI

200-220LB

115-125PSI

>220LB

125+PSI   MAX 194 PSI

 

 

 

Rockshox pike 150mm

Air Setting (PSI)

<120lb

<75PSI

120-140LB

75-85PSI

140-160LB

85-95PSI

160-180LB

95-105PSI

180-200LB

105-115PSI

200-220LB

115-125PSI

>220LB

125+PSI    MAX 194PSI

 

Rockshox Judy TK 130MM

Air Setting (PSI)

<140lb

50-70PSI

140-160lb

70-85PSI

160-180lb

85-100PSI

180-200

100-120PSI

>200lb

120psi     MAX 205PSI

 

 

Don't be scared to experiment with your suspension setup and adjust it to the trail conditions and most importantly get out there and have a good time!

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