Suspension setup is something which takes years for even the most knowledgeable riders to understand. Throw in a mix of multiple adjustments and a never ending spectrum of technology and it only gets more and more difficult to get right. More often than not, finding the right tune takes quite a while and varies with different riding conditions, rider abilities and bike setup.

More often than not though we find ourselves in a situation where we need to do a quick setup as a starting point to get the ball rolling. Chances are that with a new $10k bike in the back of your car you’re going to look to hightail it to the trails and get out there as soon as humanly possible, or you might need to borrow a bike or even rent one for whatever reason. I find myself in this situation quite often so here’s some steps I follow to get the tune right as a starting point, without taking up too much time.


Step 1
Set your rear sag

First things first, start with your rear shock and set your sag. Anywhere between 10% - 30% is in the range for most riders. If you are unsure, try 25% as a starting point and go from there. It also makes it easy to do a quick visual on the shock shaft to get rolling. Push the o ring up, sit on the saddle and lift your feet up. Take note of the pressure and where you are in the travel until you have the right setting. I do it with the compression settings fully open so I can tune in the right compression on the trail.

Step 2
Set your rebound settings

Once you have your pressure set, it’s time to set your rebound. The best thing to do here for novices is to seek some input from someone with some experience until you have an understanding of how it works. For me, I tend to adjust the rebound until the bike is rebounding notably slower when compressed and back it off a click or 2 from there. It’s important to do your rear rebound before your fork because the aim here is to have your fork match your rear settings for a balanced ride.