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How To Set Your Suspension Up In 10 Minutes | MTB Suspension Set Up Basics

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– Setting up mountain bike suspension can seem a little bit overwhelming but it's actually fairly simple to get good base settings Today, I'm gonna show you how to set up your mountain bike suspension in 10 minutes, every time

(upbeat music) One of the things that can seem so hard about setting up suspension is the fact there's a lot of different adjustments available to you on virtually every modern suspension design So we've teamed up with SunTour to make this video, they've given us a brand new fork and a brand new shock and they fitted them to my bike Now I've never set up SunTour before so I'm gonna do that right now to show you just how easy that process can be There are three main adjustments you need to make to your suspension in order to get it ready for off road riding There's the sag, there's the compression and there's the rebound

The sag refers to the amount the suspension moves under your body weight when you sit on the bike The reason you need sag is so the wheels can track the contours of the ground When the wheels are on the ground, you have traction and control Compression refers to the amount of damping applied to the shock absorbers under the compression The reason you need this is to slow that movement down and to absorb impact

Rebound refers to the way the damping forces are applied to the shop absorbers when they return following a compression Now, before we get started it's a good idea to get to know your equipment and know where you can find those adjustments We'll start by having a quick look at the suspension fork So this fork is SunTour's Durolux, it's a 160mm fork Like most suspension forks, at the moment, it's air sprung, now the air spring is accessible by cap on the top of the left hand leg here, that's pretty common position on most brands, although you might find on your bike it has it on the right leg instead

It's typically a little cap, you unscrew it and there's a Schrader valve underneath, this is the same time of valve that you'll find on your car tyres Next up are the compression and rebound adjustments, compression is always blue, a rebound is always red Compression is normally found on the top of the leg, and rebound at the bottom of the leg As far as actually adjusting the damping goes, clockwise adds more and anti-clockwise or counter clockwise takes it away There are typically two types of compression adjustment available on forks, there are loads with a multi-position lever or those like this one that has a dial

Now out back I have the SunTour TriAir Shock, this has three points of adjustment, it has air, compression and rebound Again, the compression is a blue lever here and rebound is a red dial Now this particular shock has 55 millimetres of travel, which at the rear wheel that translates to 150 millimetres Now just before we get started it's important to say make sure your compression adjustments are fully unwound or fully open and make sure that the rebound is backed off, you don't want any of this damping to affect the sag setup (upbeat music) We're gonna start by looking at the rear sag

Now, find yourself somewhere away from traffic, fairly flat that you can repeat this process nice and easily, car park will be fine, section of fire road like this, anything nice and simple Now the general rule of thumb is between 20 and 30% of the available travel, you set up as sag, now this can vary on some bike designs out back and of course with rider preferences Some people prefer it slightly softer and some will like it slightly harder On this particular shock there's 55 millimetres of shock movement, so between 20 and 30% equates to 11 to 16 1/2 millimetres Now you set the sag by inflating the shock with a shock pump at the Schrader valve that's based at the top of the shock and you measure the sag by pushing the O-ring up against the seal and sitting on the bike to see where it pushes it to and whatever that amount of space is, measure with your trusty tape measure and that's how you can work out if it's the correct sag or not for your body weight

So you get the O-ring, push it up to the seal on the shock, then you're gonna sit on the bike and bounce up and down a bit, just to let it settle So you're basically taking your weight off the floor so your weight is on the bike Once settled, push that O-ring back up again, move the O-ring up against that shaft and carefully dismount, try not to disturb it too much and it quite simply, where the O-ring is, that's how sag you have Now like I said, I'm looking for between 11 and 16 1/2 millimetres, so at the moment there's 18 millimetres so it's a touch too soft for me SO now's the time to get the shock pump out and make some adjustments

(upbeat music) Now, something that's really important to say, is when you disconnect the pump, depending on which type of shock pump you have, you may lose a tiny bit of air and it's something you need to factor in when you're actually inflating it in the first place, you might need to go slightly firmer, put a few more pounds in there just to compensate for that Again, push the O-ring up to the seal, sit on the bike, let it sort of settle a bit, okay, so it's about there and then carefully climb off again and measure once more (upbeat music) Now, in a ideal situation you would lean up on someone to do this or perhaps against a work bench or similar but you can do it like this out on the trail If you get over the bike, you have one pedal down, put all your body weight on that pedal, lean over the front of the bike and then your O-ring will move, you will compress that fork Note that I'm on a slight up hill here so it's not gonna make me roll anywhere and that's a pretty good indication of my body weight on the front of the bike

If I take the tape measure out and I measure this, at the moment here we are 45 millimetres of sag Now I actually prefer my front end a little firmer, so I'm just gonna put a little bit more air in here (upbeat music) So there we go, that is the sag at the rear and the sag at the front set up All we need to do now is get some good base settings for our rebound and our compression and we're good to hit the trials Okay, now it's on to the rebound control

Now this controls the extension or the extending of the fork and the shock following a hit Now this has quite an important affect on the handling of the bike, if you have too little rebound damping in place a bike can feel very bouncy, quite like pogo stick-ish and it can feel quite uncontrolled If you have too much damping though then it's gonna feel quite harsh because the fork and the shock won't extend fully before the next impact Now that is something known as packing down Now what you're looking for when you're setting up your rebound, is it to be as fast as possible without packing down

Now before we adjust the rebound it's important to say that the heavier a rider you are, the more air pressure you're gonna have to have in your forks and shocks and therefore the more rebound damping you're gonna have to have to control it So, what I might have on this bike won't necessarily be the same as what you will have on your own bike What you're looking for is a nice, fast performance You don't want it so fast it feels out of control and kicks you and you don't want it so slow that it sticks down after repeated hits On this shock there's nine clicks of rebound, so I'm gonna start by having four clicks from fully open and I'm gonna work it out from there

Now, there's a couple of things to bare in mind with this is that if you have a new bike and you're setting up for the first time, the back end of your bike won't necessarily be as smooth as it will be after a few rides The shock bushings, they will tend to wear in slightly and be slightly smoother after the first few rides, so you might still need to increase the amount of rebound once you've initially set it up A good way to check, make sure you're in the right ball park, is to set your O-ring against the shock seal again, ride off an obstacle, about a curb sized and remain seated in the saddle Now if it's too slow, it will just return back to the sag point, if it's too fast it'll bounce around and if it's about right, it will go past the sag point a little bit and then just settle, that's really what you're looking for for a good base setting And for the front forks, a good way to get the same sort of base setting is to return that O-ring to the fork seal and with just the palms of your hands rested on top of the handle bars, you wanna compress the fork to about your sag point and then release as fast as you can

And what you're looking for is the wheel to not come off the ground If it's too fast the wheel can come off the ground and if it's too slow, you will know about that, so literally just this process Now on most suspension forks you will have a single red adjuster on the bottom, just for adjusting that rebound On this particular fork, the Durolux by SunTour, there's two, there's one for high speed and there's one for low speed What they recommend doing is running the high speed all the way in and just making the adjustment with the low speed to find your base setting

Don't forget these are base settings, this is where you start figuring out how your bike reacts to off-road terrain, you start with a good base setting, then you go and ride and learn your bike, learn the trails As you get to know your bike, you get to know your suspension fork and shock a bit better, we're gonna make some revisions to your setup (upbeat music) Now the last adjustment you need to make for your base settings is compression In this case we're looking at the shock and you have a lever here, now this controls the low speed compression Now most people refer to open, mid and closed as the typical settings but what this actually refers to is the amount of damping you're getting from the shock

In fully open, you're actually getting about 20% damping, when it's on the mid-way, about 60 and then about 80 when it's fully closed Now this doesn't mean it's locked out but what this means, you're getting the maximum low speed compression, so it makes the bike a bit more efficient when you're climbing so it's not gonna move around too much under your body weight, very effective to have Now you're probably gonna find for riding most stuff, you'll be on the mid setting and if you want extreme comfort or lots of traction, you can have it on fully open You only really wanna engage the fully closed section when you're on perhaps climbing a high road or even for urban riding Now the same thing applies to your fork, if you have one of those multi-position levers, this one has two dials on here, it has high speed and low speed

Now if your fork has high and low, start by fully opening the high speed, leave that one alone for the time being, that is something you'll learn as you start riding a bit more and you understand the characteristics The low speed is the one you need to make your initial adjustments to to get your good base setting So what you wanna do is figure out how many clicks it's got and go in for about a third of those clicks Well there we go, that is how you set your suspension up in 10 minutes with sag, compression and rebound All you've gotta do now is go and hit those trails and get to know your bike

Don't forget, these are just the basics that you can do to get a good base setting for your suspension, as your riding improves and you start to learn your bike a bit more, naturally you're gonna make some improvements and some incremental changes If you're in to jumping you might want add some more rebound to slow the bike down and make it feel a bit more controlled and predictable If you're in to your downhill racing and riding, you might wanna experiment with high speed compression to really take out those massive hits and of course if you also like jumping and you want the bike to ramp towards the end of it's travel, rather than having a more linear feel, you can experiment with ramp control by adding air volume spacers in the forks and in the shock All stuff that we're gonna get in to in our next suspension video If you wanna see SunTour forks being used in a very different video, click down here to see Blake absolutely smashing it on the Surrey hills with SunTour Polygon rider Sam Reynolds

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Source: Youtube

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