1. Adjusting the sag
The so-called "sag" indicates how far your suspension is compressed when you put your full riding weight (including bike equipment) on your bike.
For air suspensions, you set the sag by adjusting the air pressure of your spring elements to your body weight. For steel spring elements, spring stiffness and preload are crucial.
Tip: The sag for all-mountain and enduro bikes should be around 20-30%. For freeride and downhill bikes the sag is around 30-40%. To be able to precisely adjust the sag, you should first open the compression of your damping components, meaning you set your tension and compression (see below) as low as possible (turn counterclockwise to minus, as explained below).
2. Adjusting the rebound
The rebound ensures that the suspension rebounds at a certain speed. It can be tweaked with the help of dials (marked red in most cases).
Clockwise rotation (+) - Rebound is getting harder (fork / shock absorber rebounds more slowly)
Counterclockwise rotation (-) - Rebound is getting softer (fork / shock absorber rebounds more quickly)
3. Adjusting the compression
The compression level ensures that the fork deflects at a certain speed (so-called spring rate). You adjust it by turning the corresponding setting dial (usually marked blue) to the left or right.
Rotational direction right (+) - Compression gets harder (fork / shock absorber compresses more slowly)
Rotational direction left (-) - Compression gets softer (form / shock absorber compresses more quickly)
4. Test ride
Test your suspension. For your basic setting, a trail with different conditions (jumps, roots, stones) is recommended.
Safety tip: Especially for trails with jumps your rebound shouldn't be set too fast, so you don't fly over your handlebars.
5. Fine tuning your suspension
After you have found your basic settings, you can deal with the fine tuning of your suspension.
Try different settings and take your time. Your patience will pay off and you will be faster and safer on the trails!