Everybody has their own preferences how to adjust their own bike and that’s ok. This is the part where we try to give you something to think or maybe even try on to your bike.
These guides or suggestions are made by riders who have designed and built Pole bikes or are riding Pole bikes.
Many forks have a table printed in it’s casting which shows the psi/kg(lbs) pressure per weight of the rider. This might work for your first and second ride but even if you are not an enthusiast tuner you should pay attention to your bike and how it rides.
You can get so much more out from the bike after you understand why it has a 1k$ fork and not the 0,4k$ fork. You really can’t feel the difference if you don’t tune it for your liking.
With bicycle suspension, there is always the first step and it’s called the sag. RockShox explains the sag as follows:
Sag is the amount of travel, measured as a percentage of full travel, that the suspension compresses when the rider, including gear, is on the bicycle in
the normal riding position. Setting the correct sag allows the suspension to actuate effectively and efficiently.
So in practice. Gear up, put your bike near to something in which you can lean on a bit, push the rubber band on your forks stanchion down and gently climb on your bike. With forks sag, you should stand on your pedals to put a little bit more weight on the front wheel, basically so that you are in a fast riding position ready to take some hits from the fork. Climb off from your bike and check where the rubber band is.
Now if your rubber band shows that the sag is somewhere between 10% to 20% the bike feels fast and should grip very nicely, but on the other hand, the ride might be too harsh for longer rides and if the sag is too low you start to lose the grip.
If your sag is somewhere between 20% to 30% you might lose a bit in the high-speed grip but the ride is much smoother. But too much sag will make your for bottom out in harder hits
There is always a but, and this doesn’t make an exception in a case of a full suspension bike.
Your fork is in a fact linked to your rear suspension by a frame if you have a full suspension bike. The basic rule in here is that you should adjust the suspension so that when you are bouncing on your bike, both the shock and fork should feel like they are traveling as much. If the bike feels that your fork dives, you should add more air and another way around.
We try to make a video from this but at the moment you need to try to understand our logic behind this.
Ok, this was the first step for your fork tuning. There is a few more…
For example, RockShox has several tuning options in their forks: rebound, low-speed compression, high-speed compression, threshold, and lockout. And if you have some other manufacturers fork they might have some other names to extend the list.
Basically, all even a little more usable forks have rebound adjustment.
Rebound adjustment affects the speed of the fork surviving the hit, so how fast the fork bounces back from the hit. If you have adjusted rebound so that the fork bounces back too rapidly the bike might be hard to handle in rough parts and you might lose the control. On the other hand, if rebound is adjusted for too slow the fork might not be able to survive the hit fast enough for the next hit.
So, there is no right or wrong setup here, maybe completely open or completely closed rebound is a no-no but otherwise it mainly depends on how you ride and what makes you feel comfortable.
Depending on the fork manufacturer the markings are a little bit different for rebound adjustment. RockShox has a turtle and a rabbit and it is simple to understand, the rabbit makes the fork bouncing back faster. But for example, Fox is using + and – markings and you might get confused, + here doesn’t make the fork faster it adds more resistance so your fork gets slower.
low-speed compression (lsc)
The next step towards better performing fork is low-speed compression (LSC) adjustment.
LSC is working, as the name says in low-speed when the shock is compressing slowly (you can ride fast tho). First impressions from LSC adjustment you can feel when pedaling the bike. If it feels like your fork doesn’t carry the weight of the movement when you pedal, your LSC is adjusted for too soft.
high-speed compression (hsc)
Most advanced forks have a high-speed compression (HSC) adjustment.
HSC starts to work when the pressure rises too high for LSC valve.
3.Rear shock tuning
Pole bikes have been designed so that the recommended sag for shock is 30%
“Sag” is how much your fork/shock sinks into its travel just by having your body weight on it.
All rear shocks have some kind of ring around their stanchion tube which as a travel indicator. Usually, with air shocks, it’s a rubber band and coil shock has a larger bumper rubber which also helps in cases when your shock bottoms out.
In most of the cases, there are many other adjustments in your shock than just the travel indicator. Usually, there is at least rebound damping adjustment. At this point, we suggest that you either open all the adjustments or keep those in the middle. The only exception is if your shock has a three-stage switch where you can select the lock-climb-open mode you must put this in open. Otherwise, the sag measuring won’t work properly.