Calgary Cycle | Front Suspension Tuning

By: Calgary Cycle  09-12-2011
Keywords: Fork, Pressure Washer, High Pressure Washer


Before You Ride

  1. Check that quick-release levers are properly adjusted and tightened.
  2. Clean the outside of your fork with soap and water and wipe dry with a soft dry rag. Do not spray water directly on the seal/upper tube junction. Do not use a high pressure washer on your fork.
  3. Inspect entire exterior of fork for damage. The fork should not be used if any of the exterior parts appear to be damaged. Please contact your us for further inspection and repair.
  4. Check headset adjustment. If loose, adjust according to manufacturer’s recommendations.
  5. Check that brake cables or hoses are properly fastened.
  6. Check that the front and rear brakes operate properly on flat land.

Setting Sag on Air Spring Forks

To get the best performance from your fork, it is necessary to set and adjust sag. Generally, sag should be set to 15 – 25% of total fork travel.

  1. Attach a high pressure shock pump to fork’s the air valve.
  2. Using the manufacturers information pump your fork to the appropriate setting, then remove the pump.
  3. Install a zip tie with light friction on the upper tube and push it down until it contacts the fork seal.
  4. Carefully sit on the bike and assume a normal riding position. The fork should compress slightly.
  5. Being careful not to further compress the fork, dismount the bicycle. Measure the distance between the seal and the zip tie. This distance is sag.
  6. Compare your sag measurement to the manufactures recommendation. If your sag is lower than the recommendation, screw on the pump, note the current air pressure setting and depress the pumps bleed-valve to reduce the gauge pressure by 5 psi. Measure the sag again and repeat adjustment, if necessary. If your sag is higher than the recommendation, screw on the pump, note the current air pressure setting and pump to increase the gauge pressure by 5 psi. Measure sag again and repeat adjustment if necessary.

Setting Sag on Coil Spring Forks

To get the best performance from your fork, it is necessary to set and adjust sag Amount a shock or fork compresses with the rider sitting on the bike in a normal riding position. Best measured with an assistant holding your bike up and with the rider in full riding gear. On a fork, it is helpful to place a ZIP tie around one of the upper tubes. Generally, sag should be set to 15 – 25% of total fork travel.

  1. Install a zip tie with light friction on the upper tube and push it down until it contacts the fork seal.
  2. Carefully sit on the bike and assume a normal riding position. The fork should compress slightly.
  3. Being careful not to further compress the fork, dismount the bicycle. Measure the distance between the seal and the zip tie. This distance is sag.
  4. Compare your sag measurement to the manufacturer’s recommendation. If sag is lower than the recommendation, turn the preload knob counter-clockwise one (1) full turn. Measure sag again and repeat adjustment if necessary. If sag is higher than the recommendation, turn the preload knob clockwise A motion that proceeds from the top to the right, then down and then to the left, and back to the top, like the clock's hands. one (1) full turn. Measure sag again and repeat adjustment if necessary. If correct sag cannot be achieved by adjusting the preload knob, check the manufactures recommendations. You may need to change to a coil spring with a higher or lower spring rate Force required to compress a spring one inch.

Adjusting Rebound

The rebound knob is typically located on the top or bottom of the fork leg. Rebound controls the speed at which the fork extends after compressing. Turning the knob either slows down rebound or speeds up rebound. As a starting point, turn the rebound adjuster knob all the way clockwise (full in) until it stops, then turn counterclockwise (out) to determine the range of adjustment.

Rebound Setting

Rebound Description

Set-up Tips

Slow Too slow and your fork will pack down and ride harsh. If you increase your spring rate or air pressure, you will need to slow down your rebound.
Factory Average Rebound  
Fast Too fast and you will experience poor traction and wheel hop. If you decrease your spring rate or air pressure, you will need to speed up your rebound setting.

Adjusting Low-Speed Compression

Low-speed Compression damping controls the speed at which the fork compresses. It helps control things like brake dive and harsh bottoming on big hits or hard landings off jumps. As a starting point, turn the low-speed compression dial all the way counterclockwise (full out) until it stops, then turn clockwise (in) to determine the range of adjustment.

Compression Setting

Compression Description

Set-up Tips

Soft Too soft and your fork will pack down and ride harsh. Maximum wheel traction and bump compliance. Too soft and you maybe have excessive brake dive and wallowy feel.
Factory Average Compression  
Firm Too firm and you will experience poor traction and wheel hop. Resists brake dive and keeps the fork up in the travel. Too firm and you may have poor traction in loose conditions.

Adjusting High-Speed Compression

High-speed compression damping Oil or air damping resistance felt when trying to compress a shock or fork. controls the force it takes to move the fork through its initial travel and how the wheel reacts to smaller bumps. If the high speed compression damping is set firmly the fork will sit up higher in its travel but it will loose its small bumps sensitivity. Dirt jumpers will prefer a little firmer high speed compression setting. Riders who want more control at high speed will prefer a softer high speed compression setting.

Compression Setting

Set-up Tips

Soft Maximum wheel traction and bump compliance. Too soft and you maybe have excessive brake dive and wallowy feel.
Factory Average Compression
Firm Resists brake dive and keeps the fork up in the travel. Too firm and you may have poor traction in loose conditions.

Keywords: Brake Cables, Fork, Front And Rear Brakes, Gauge Pressure, High Pressure Washer, Pressure Washer, Rear Brakes, Soap And Water,

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