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How to Adjust Bike Shocks

Riding a bike is a great way to get some exercise. Riding a bike also minimizes the strain on your body that running can put on your knees and ankles, which can lead to complications later on in life. If you're riding a bike that has a suspension system, it's important to make sure the suspension is set to the proper levels, depending on your weight and the type of bike riding you plan on engaging in.

Adjusting Your Bike Shocks

  1. Determine the "sag" of your bike's suspension system before you adjust it. The sag is how much the suspension will drop down from your weight alone.

  2. Have a friend hold you up, or lean against a wall and sit on the bike without touching the ground. Your sag should be about a quarter of the suspension's full "travel," or how far the suspension goes down.

  3. Adjust your suspension to make sure the sag is correct. To do this, twist the knobs on the top of the suspension, clockwise to tighten to reduce the sag and counterclockwise to loosen to increase the sag.

  4. Adjust the dampening of your suspension. Dampening refers to the speed at which your bike's suspension will bounce back up after being compressed. The controls are usually located at the bottom of the suspension system.

  5. Test your bike's altered suspension. Ride over some bumps or a sidewalk curb and judge the comfort in which your bike sags and springs back. Try adjusting by a single click until you achieve the results you're looking for.


    Not all bike suspensions are the same. There are simple spring systems that rarely have dampening adjusters, and there are complicated ones that use oil and air that may need more intricate actions to adjust their viscosity levels. Refer to your bike's manual or check your model online to determine what kind of system you have and how to adjust it accordingly.


    Keep in mind that bicycling can be a dangerous sport, whether you take it on nature trails or a busy road. Always remember to wear the proper safety equipment to protect against injury.

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About the Author

Bryan Lutz began writing professionally in 2009. He has been published in his collegiate newspaper, "The Signal," as well as various literary magazines. Lutz holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and creative/professional writing from The College of New Jersey.

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