Suspension Tuning Tips

Unless noted otherwise, these tuning tips apply to both forks and rear shocks.

Symptoms: Not using full travel, feels harsh, poor traction while making turns

Causes: Overly stiff spring or compression damping Oil or air damping resistance felt when trying to compress a shock or fork.

Solutions: Lower air pressure or softer coil springs; reduce compression damping


Symptoms: Bottoms out, soft throughout travel

Causes: Spring rate Force required to compress a spring one inch. too low throughout travel or too little compression damping

Solutions: More air pressure or stiffer coils springs; increase compression damping


Symptoms: Harsh over large bumps, but good over small ones

Causes: Compression damping too high

Solutions: Reduce compression damping


Symptoms: Excessive 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., feels soft initially but does not bottom out

Causes: Initial spring rate or preload Initial force placed on an air or coil spring. too low

Solutions: Increase air pressure or spring preload


Symptoms: Harsh over small bumps but uses full travel

Causes: Initial spring rate or preload too high, or too much compression damping

Solutions: Lower air pressure or install softer springs; reduce compression damping; reduce spring preload


Symptoms: Takes first bump in a series well but harsh over later bumps, poor traction in washboard corners

Causes: Too much rebound damping Oil or air damping resistance that controls the rate at which the shock or fork extends after being compressed.

Solutions: Reduce rebound damping, if adjustable


Symptoms: Front end springs back too quickly after bumps, poor traction in bumpy corners

Causes: Not enough rebound damping

Solutions: Increase rebound damping, if adjustable


Symptoms: Lockout not working

Causes: Not enough suspension fluid in the damper; RLC forks only: blowoff threshold knob is fully counterclockwise

Solutions: Check damper suspension fluid level; RLC forks only: turn blowoff threshold knob fully clockwise then cycle fork a few times