Mountain biking is a great way to take in the natural beauty of the outdoors while getting some exercise at the same time. But if your bike isn’t properly adjusted, you might not be enjoying the ride as much as you could be. Here’s how to adjust your mountain bike suspension for maximum performance and comfort.
Open the rebound and compression damping adjusters all the way
This will give you a starting point to work from. Start by adjusting the rebound damping. This controls how quickly the suspension returns after being compressed. If it’s too slow, the bike will feel “mushy” and you won’t have as much control. If it’s too fast, the bike will bounce around and you’ll feel like you’re riding on a pogo stick. Experiment with different settings until you find something that feels good to you.
Next, adjust the compression damping. This controls how much force is required to compress the suspension. If it’s too soft, the bike will feel “saggy” and you’ll sink into the suspension when you hit bumps. If it’s too hard, the bike will feel “harsh” and you’ll feel every little bump in the trail. Again, experiment with different settings until you find something that feels good to you.
If your bike has a lock-out feature, make sure to use it when you’re riding on smooth, flat terrain. This will prevent the suspension from compressing, which will make pedaling more efficient.
Take it to a mechanic
If you’re not confident in your ability to adjust your bike’s suspension, then it’s best to take it to a professional mechanic. They will be able to properly assess your needs and make the necessary adjustments.
This is especially true if you’ve just started mountain biking. Instead of adjusting the suspension yourself, it’s better to learn from someone who already has years of experience. This will also ensure that you’re completely safe on your next ride.
Get the right tools
Before you start adjusting your mountain bike suspension, you’ll need to make sure you have the right tools. You’ll need a wrench set, a set of Allen keys, and a shock pump.
If you don’t have the right tools, it’s best to borrow them from a friend or buy them from a local bike shop. Trying to adjust your suspension without the proper tools can damage your bike and lead to costly repairs.
Start with the air pressure
One of the easiest adjustments you can make to your mountain bike suspension is the air pressure. This is also one of the most important settings, so it’s a good place to start.
The amount of air pressure you need will depend on your weight, riding style, and terrain. A general rule of thumb is to start with around 30 psi and then adjust from there.
If you’re unsure of how much air pressure to use, it’s best to consult a professional or read your bike’s manual.
Check the rebound
The next thing you’ll want to do is check the rebound. This is the speed at which the shocks return to their original position after being compressed.
If the rebound is too slow, it will cause the bike to feel sluggish. On the other hand, if the rebound is too fast, it will make the ride feel jarring and uncomfortable.
To adjust the rebound, you’ll need to use a shock pump. Start by slowly pumping air into the shock until you reach the desired rebound.
Test the suspension
Once you’ve made all the necessary adjustments, it’s time to take your bike out for a test ride. This will help you see how each adjustment affects the way your bike rides.
Start by riding on a flat, smooth surface. Then, gradually move onto rougher terrain. Pay attention to the way your bike feels and make adjustments as necessary.
Remember, it might take a few tries to get the perfect suspension set-up. But once you find the right settings, you’ll be able to enjoy your rides even more.
Don’t forget the sag
One of the most important aspects of adjusting your mountain bike suspension is setting the sag. This is the amount that the suspension compresses when you’re sitting on the bike in a neutral position.
The sag should be set so that it’s about 20-30% of the total travel of the suspension. This will ensure that the bike has enough travel to absorb bumps and obstacles.
To set the sag, you’ll need to use a shock pump. First, find the recommended air pressure for your weight from your bike’s manual. Then, add or remove air until you reach the desired sag.
It’s important to check the sag regularly, as it can change over time. This is especially true if you add or remove weight, or switch to a different type of terrain.
Read your manual
Before you start making any adjustments, it’s important to read your bike’s manual. This will give you a better understanding of how your suspension works and what each component does.
It’s also important to familiarize yourself with the terms used to describe the various parts of the suspension. This will help you when it comes time to make adjustments.
Additionally, what you have to do might depend on the brand of bike you have so it’s always a good idea to take a look at the manual. For example, quality Polygon bicycles only need an air pressure adjustment from time to time. On the other hand, some brands might need a more thorough approach.
Put everything back together
Once you’ve made all the necessary adjustments, it’s time to put your bike back together. Start by putting the front wheel back on and then screwing in the handlebars.
Next, reattach the pedals and chain. Finally, check that all the bolts are tightened before taking your bike out for a ride.
Make sure to test your bike on different types of terrain to see how it rides. And if you’re ever unsure of something, it’s always best to consult your bike’s manual or a professional.
That’s everything you need to know about how to adjust your mountain bike suspension. By following these steps, you’ll be able to get the perfect set-up for your riding style and terrain. Just remember to take things slowly and make adjustments as needed. And soon enough, you’ll be enjoying your rides even more.