How much does a vehicle suspension weigh
You took a great first step by buying a full suspension eMTB! You can fine-tune the front and rear suspension so that your new bike performs optimally. With a full suspension MTB you roll effortlessly over technical terrain and it gives you more traction on rough or loose surfaces compared to a hardtail. The suspension settings for Giant off-road e-bikes are the same as for traditional mountain bikes.
Let's start with some suspension terminology:
Suspension travel: The range of motion your suspension has or - in other words - the length of the stroke of your suspension. For example, the Full-E + 140mm rear travel and the Dirt-E + 120mm front.
Fork: The front suspension mechanism on your eMTB.
Damper: The rear suspension mechanism on your eMTB.
Standpipe: The tube of the fork or damper that dips into the “lower part” of the fork or the damper body.
O-ring: A rubber ring on the stanchion tube of the fork or the damper to measure the negative spring deflection ("sag").
Negative suspension travel (“sag”): compression of the fork and / or the damper by the static weight of the rider. With a sag test you determine the air pressure in your fork or shock. Ideally, the sag should be around 25 to 35% of the total suspension travel.
Spring characteristic: The force that is necessary to compress the spring. This can be the air pressure in the damper or the spring characteristic of the steel spring.
Compression damping: Some forks and dampers have the option to regulate the flow of oil inside the suspension. The more compression damping you use, the firmer the damper or fork will feel.
Rebound damping: The rebound setting regulates the speed at which your fork or damper returns to its natural position. The more rebound damping you use, the slower the fork or damper will return to their natural position.
How to adjust the negative spring travel ("sag") on an eMTB
To properly adjust your suspension, you will need a few tools to get the best result from your suspension.
- Shock pump: The device used to pump air into your shock or fork. Your normal air pump will not work because of the high air pressure going into the fork or shock.
- Ruler: To measure the normal and spring-loaded length.
- Notepad: Make a note of the basic settings of the fork and damper. This is how you can return to the original setting.
- Make sure your tires are properly inflated and wear all of your cycling clothing.
- Get on your eMTB and ask a friend to stabilize the bike by clamping the front wheel between his legs and holding the handlebars.
- If your fork and shock have compression damping controls, make sure they're all set to open.
- Get on the pedals and hop a few times. The oil moves through the suspension and the air pressure in the damper is equalized. When jumping, make sure to put a little weight on the front wheel, as if you were actually riding.
- Get on the bike in your "neutral" position, ask your friend to readjust the O-rings on the stanchions of your fork and the damper.
- Carefully sit in the saddle and get off the bike.
- Take a look at your standpipes.
Use the ruler to measure the position of the O-ring on the standpipe. It should sit on around 25% of the total length of the standpipe. If the o-ring is less than 25%, you have too much air in the shock or fork; you can use the shock pump to remove air. If the o-ring is above 25%, you have insufficient air in the shock or fork; with the shock pump you can add air.
Adjustment of the rebound damping.
We'd have half. Now that your suspension feels just right under load at your given weight, it needs to be properly adjusted so that it rebounds at the correct speed. These settings are just as important as the previous step. To correctly adjust the rebound on your fork and damper, proceed as follows:
- First you find out how many rebound "clicks" you can work with. With most rear shock absorbers and forks, you turn the rebound wheel all the way to the left to minimize any damping force. Then you count the clicks as you turn the wheel to the right. (Read the specific instructions for your shock or suspension fork.)
- With full body weight, force the saddle down to compress the shock. Watch (and feel) how the damper springs back after the load. Notice that the damper springs back very slowly.
- Then turn the rebound pulley to the left until it stops and compress the shock under full body weight. The damper now springs back very quickly to its neutral position.
- Now turn the damper wheel a couple of times completely counterclockwise and carry out the compression test again until the damper springs back more slowly than without damping.
A faster rebound is usually better for smaller bumps, while a slower rebound feels better for heavier bumps. Make sure the rebound feels right for your riding style and specific terrain. Test your bike regularly to see which setup is best for you. You can check rebound by compressing and releasing the shock (by pressing down on the saddle) and compressing and releasing the suspension fork (by pressing down on the handlebars). Make sure that you do not hold the handlebars or the saddle, but press with the flat of your hand to get a good feeling. Your suspension should return to its natural position quickly, but not so quickly that it makes your tire bounce off the ground. Turn clicks in or out as needed.
The best way to find out if the rebound is set correctly is to look for it while riding. If you feel like your bike is about to throw you off when you land a jump or drop, or the ride feels really bumpy on technical terrain, consider slowing down your rebound / adding more rebound damping. If you feel that your suspension is "packing up" (not returning to its natural position when you drive over several bumps in quick succession), you should adjust your rebound faster.
Use of compression damping
How do you get the most out of compression damping? Remember that high-speed compression damping is suitable for fast and violent impacts. Low-speed compression damping is better for slower impacts. In the end, it all depends on which setting best suits you and your particular riding style and trail conditions.
There are also different versions of compression damping on forks and dampers. Your particular product can have a high-speed, low-speed and lockout option - or a combination thereof - for compression damping.
With the compression damping you can regulate the compression speed. With more compression damping, the suspension feels firmer, which means that you don't rush through the entire suspension travel when you have small bumps or when braking. But if there is too much damping, the suspension cannot absorb larger impacts - which can lead to a rough ride.
The right compression damping depends on your personal preferences and the terrain. Some riders like luscious and supple cushioning, while other riders who ride rough, bumpy trails prefer a firmer feel.
Recommended starting air pressure for setting the negative suspension travel
In the following overview you will find information about the air pressure for fork and damper, which you can use as a starting point. The values depend on the damper your e-bike is equipped with. As I said, these are just guidelines. In the end, it all comes down to what you're most comfortable with.
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