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Setting up suspension on a full suspension bike


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On a full suspension bike, when setting up sag, should I lock out the fork when setting up the rear shock and lock out the rear when setting up the fork or have both unlocked when setting up the other? I assume unlocked, as this is how I would ride the bike, but with the rear compressing when I get on the bike it seems like it takes more effort to compress the front (when the rear isn't locked out)

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Both unlocked. Best is to stand on an chair/step ladder while you climb on the bike and concentrate on applying your weight slowly and equally on the contact points of the bike.


General sag percentages are guidelines only. Best is to look at you bike maufacturer's specific sag specification for your model frame.


In addition to that, riding style also dictates how you set up your suspension.

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Make sure you are wearing full kit, water bottles, camelbak whatever.


You need to be dressed as if you are riding.

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As BF says - also, when measuring sag you should be STANDING with your weight equally between front and back. Not sitting.


I found this to be an important detail, makes a huge difference.

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Noobish Q.


I know the for the rear there is talk of say 25-30%.


I have never seen percentages for the front?


(I know it is a guide only)

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Regarding sitting and standing. I believe on a trail/AM bike it is better to set the sag while standing, but for XCO and XCM where a lot of time is spent sitting, I think the rear sag should be set while sitting.


From Lee Likes Bikes :



For Cross Country, rear shock sag should be set when the rider is sitting. The fork standing.


For DH, the Fork sag gets measured when the rider is standing. The rear shock is tricky. I prefer sitting because if you look at the position of

a DH bike and have a rider standing on the pedals, they look centered on the bike. But because of the grade when DH racing/riding, the rider shifts his weight to the rear of the bike. Measuring sag when the rider is sitting gives a better idea of the weight bias.


In a perfect world, measuring sag with the rider sitting and standing and taking the average, would be best.




Mark Fitzsimmons

MTB Race Manager

Fox Racing Shox

Edited by Brian Fantana
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Kitted up, unlocked and standing, as above. Front and back at the same sag percentage - XC 15 - 25%, trail / AM 25 - 30%.

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