Our phones are always ringing at Bakcou, and one question that we hear a lot is how to properly adjust the suspension of your bike. Luckily adjusting the suspension is simple and you will only need a few things to get the job done.
- Shock Specific Pump
- Tape Measure
- Friend (optional)
Our Mule and Flatlander have suspension on the front fork, the Storm has suspension settings on the front and rear. There are basically three different settings to dial in for the optimal suspension (both front and rear). The three are the air pressure, the rebound and the compression.
The best place to start is with the air pressure on the front fork. You adjust the air pressure by pumping up the fork with the shock pump. You will find the valve on the top left of the fork. Start at around 150 psi, sit on your bike (this is where it can be nice to have a friend to hold you steady) and look at how much the suspension compressed by looking at the o-ring. The fork should compress around 15 - 25mm (⅝” to 1”) . If your fork isn’t compressing enough, say it is only compressing 10mm, simply lower the PSI of your fork in increments of 5 psi until it looks right. On the other hand if your fork is going through too much of its travel, like 25mm add more air to your fork.
With the air pressure set, turn your attention to the rebound. Rebound is like controlling the “springyness” of your fork, how quickly (or slowly) the suspension returns. On our forks you can change the rebound with the knob at the bottom of your fork. Loosening the knob all the way out means a very “springy” fork, fast rebound. Tightening the knob all the way in means the fork will return slowly. Somewhere in the middle is usually perfect, once you find the rebound you like you can simply leave it there and not worry about it again!
The last suspension setting is the compression. You can see this adjustment on the top right of your fork, on the opposite side of the air valve. Turning it clockwise towards “lock” will stop your suspension from compressing, this can be useful when climbing or when riding on roads. On the other hand if you turn your suspension anti-clockwise to “open” this will allow your suspension to move up and down freely, this is where you want your suspension when riding rough, bumpy, terrain for maximum comfort.
Now if you have a mule or a flatlander you are ready to ride. If you have a storm you need to get these set up for your rear suspension. Again you can start with air pressure around 150 psi. Using the o-ring check how much the fork compresses from simply sitting on the bike. You will notice percentages on the shock and after sitting on the bike you want the o-ring to have moved to about 25-30%. If you are hitting less than this remove air from the shock, more than this add air in 5 psi increments. Once you have the correct psi, move on to rebound.
You adjust the rebound with the red dial. If you turn the knob anti-clockwise towards the rabbit this means the shock will return faster, or more springy. If you turn the knob the opposite way towards the turtle this means a slower return. Set this somewhere in the middle that feels good to you.
And last just like on the fork you can change the compression. When the blue lever is in line with the bike this means your rear suspension is open and will help to smooth out bumps in the trail. If you turn the knob out this will lock out the suspension which again can be useful when climbing or riding on roads.
Having your suspension correctly tuned will allow you to get the most out of your bike. It is a simple process to find out your correct optimal setting for air pressure and rebound. Compression can be changed quickly on both the fork and the shock depending on what you are riding. If you want to see this all in action here is our youtube video on suspension setup: