whatshot Welcome @ Maciag Offroad Save 10% on your first order! With voucher code: nc#welco close
chevron_leftIn MTB Workshop

Mountain Bike Suspension Setup - We show you how it's done!

A correctly adjusted suspension is one of the most important factors in getting you over the trails fast and quick. That's why we made a step-by-step instruction to get you closer to your desired suspension settings. After that, you will be prepared for any trail, whether it's a flow trail with jumps or a rough nature trail.

Have fun adjusting!

Some useful advice in advance

  1. Basically, there are two different MTB suspensions: air spring and steel spring. Each type of suspension has its own advantages and disadvantages. You should therefore inform yourself in advance which suspension suits you and your bike best.
  2. Whether your suspension works well doesn't only depend on the suspension type and adjustment, but also on the maintenance condition if your MTB suspension. Check when the last service of your suspension components was. Dry fork seals and old damping oil can be a reason your suspension doesn't work as desired.
  3. It is advisable to take notes of the fine tuning of your suspension. This way you can start from your basic setting and adapt your bike to different trail conditions without having to start from the beginning each time.

You have read that? Then we can now start with the adjustment!

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).

To understand:
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.

To understand:
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!

If you liked this MTB tutorial, feel free to like it and subscribe to our YouTube channel, where we upload videos with English subtitles regularly. You will receive valuable tips from the MX & MTB world on a regular basis that way.

Visit us on Youtube