Riding Tips

[R]evolution MTB How To: Suspension Sag

Today, we’re going to go through a few of the basic suspension setup techniques. Most notably, we’re just going to touch on how to set up your sag. Obviously these days a lot of bikes are coming directly to consumers from online shops like Pushys, so we’re sort of setting things up from scratch by ourselves. The big suspension companies have got very good documents and how-tos on how to set up their sag specifically. Even some bike manufacturers have this type of information on their own websites too. But, today we’re just going to show you a couple of the basics to get you more confident in playing around with your suspension sag. Let’s whip in!

Another notable thing is a lot of suspension forks will have a bit of an air pressure guide – like a starting point – with a pressure range depending on what your weight is. We’ll compare that to the pressure that you want to start with on average. For this Fox 36 and my weight, they’re recommending around about 85 psi. We’re just going to drop that down to 85 so at least we know we’re starting somewhere in the ballpark. We’re setting up a brand new Giant Trance-X e-Bike. I’ve had a bit of experience with this type of linkage system and this type of Fox shock before. So, off the top of my head I know I roughly want to be somewhere around 180 to 190 psi. That’s where I’m going to start and then we’re going to go and check our sag indicators from there. 

Our air suspension forks and shocks will have these little o-rings on the stanchions. They’re not just for looking cool, these are actually our sag indicators. If we push those all the way down the bottom and compress the fork we know how much travel we’re using throughout our ride. What we want to do is get a rough idea of how much pressure we want to put in our fork. Push those all the way down on the fork and all the way up on the shock. Now, compress the bike with all our body weight. We want to be wearing all our normal riding kit – if we ride with a backpack, a normal amount of water, and that type of thing. Those few extra kilos can make a big difference towards our sag. Suspension sag is very much a personal preference but sometimes bike manufacturers will have a suggested sag for their rear suspension. This generally ranges from between 20 to 30, maybe even 35 per cent. This depends largely on the type of riding the bike is designed for, the type of linkage system on it, and the type of rear shock that it has. Forks are generally between sort of 20 to 30 per cent.

What we want to do now is sit on the bike. If we have somebody around to help us they can hold onto the handlebars or hold on to the wheel for stability. Sit on the bike with both feet on the pedals, hands on the handlebars, and put all of our weight in a central riding position. Now, sort of just level out the suspension so our fork is compressed and our shock is compressed and then gently get off the bike. We don’t want to compress it anymore. This is where our sag indicators will tell us how much travel we’ve actually used up as sag (or our negative travel). As you can see there, we’re probably a little bit over on the fork and we’re looking pretty good on the rear shock. Generally, what I’ll do from this point is put a little bit more air in this fork and then we’re going to go and take it up to the trail. I’m going to throw the shock pump in my pocket and have a play around on a few familiar parts of a local trail. I know exactly what’s going on this trail to get a feel for “am I using up too much suspension”, “am I not using enough suspension”, “am I losing grip because my suspension is too stiff” and these types of things… This is how we’ll get a basic setup and wrap our heads around exactly what’s going on underneath us.

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Check out this video of the [R]evolution How To and other great content on YouTube here: Pushys YouTube Channel

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