Get­ting the Most Out of Your Sus­pen­sion

The right setup will let you ride at your best

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - TECHNIQUE - By An­drew Ran­dell and Steve Neal of The Cy­cling Gym SAG 101

Dual sus­pen­sion is be­com­ing more the norm on the trails these days. And not only dual sus­pen­sion but longer, 130–150 mm travel bikes. Many rid­ers say that these bikes are more fun to ride, al­low­ing them to com­plete sec­tions of trail they wouldn’t nor­mally at­tempt. Get­ting the sus­pen­sion right and un­der­stand­ing how to use it is sure to im­prove your trail-rid­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

One thing we have seen at the gym is the va­ri­ety of set­ups that rid­ers choose for their sus­pen­sion. A com­mon theme though has been many rid­ers run­ning their sus­pen­sion with­out enough sag, which means they don’t get the full ex­pe­ri­ence of the ex­tra travel they have on their bikes. Why carry that ex­tra weight around and not use it?

The amount of sag you run is im­por­tant as it af­fects how well the wheels stay on the ground as you ride over var­ied terrain. The more con­tact the wheels have with the ground, the bet­ter your abil­ity to con­trol the bike. Run the shock too stiff (less sag) and your bike will be­come like a pogo, bounc­ing you along with it. Many rid­ers who run their sus­pen­sion too stiff think that they don’t have good tech­ni­cal skills. In fact, it’s their bikes that are work­ing against them. Set your bike up prop­erly and you may feel much more in con­trol through rough terrain. If you are rid­ing a long­travel bike, be sure to try it with more sag that you think you need.

Check your shocks be­fore each ride. Note the pres­sure you like in the shocks and make sure it is con­sis­tent ride to ride. Make sure to cy­cle both the shock and fork ev­ery time you add or re­move air prior to set­ting sag.

A fi­nal piece of the sus­pen­sion picture is us­ing your lock­outs prop­erly. It takes some prac­tice to mas­ter the set­ting that makes the sus­pen­sion in­ac­tive. Us­ing the lock­outs means that you can have the ben­e­fits of the sus­pen­sion over rough terrain and down­hills, but then lock When set­ting up sus­pen­sion, we talk about sag, which is how much the shock com­presses when you sit on it. Think about how you sit on your bike. Do you stand a lot or stay seated? Use your typ­i­cal rid­ing po­si­tion to set your sag. Also put on what you will wear on the trail – hel­met, hy­dra­tion pack, shoes, etc. – as you want to set your sag with the weight of your rid­ing gear on. The rec­om­mended sag usu­ally runs in the 15–25 per cent range. Many rid­ers us­ing longer travel shocks are now choos­ing to run their sag at 30–35 per cent. If you have your sus­pen­sion set up well, you might find that when you take a big hit through rough terrain, you bot­tom out your rear tire to the rim. This will only hap­pen once in awhile, but it means you are rid­ing your bike to the limit and that the sus­pen­sion is set up per­fectly.

the sus­pen­sion and avoid bleed­ing power when climb­ing. You can have the best of all worlds.

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