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mountain bike set up

5 mountain bike set up mistakes you have to avoid

mountain bike set up


A mountain bike set up can be complicated, especially when you do not have Know-How or experience. Many mistakes can happen. These mistakes are avoidable and we want to teach you here in this blog post about 5 common mountain bike set up mistakes.

1) Not setting SAG correctly in the beginning

The negative suspension travel – better known under the term SAG – is the part of the suspension travel that is compressed solely by the rider’s weight. Normally the SAG should take up between 15-35% of the maximum available suspension travel. The less SAG, the tighter, but also the less sensitive the chassis becomes. When you do your mountain bike set up the SAG should be adjusted right at the beginning. This is the starting point and can be adjusted by changing air pressure or coil force in your suspension element. SAGLY has a SAG guide integrated, which helps you set the SAG with ease. After setting the SAG the stiffness of your bike is pretty much set. After that you can change your rebound, compression and all other settings according to your preference.

2) Not balancing your mountain bike set up

Try to keep your damping settings balanced. For example, if you are riding with a very high low-speed compression on the fork and completely without the shock, then the bike will tend to put more weight on the rear wheel while riding, and vice versa. A balanced setup is the key to success. You can also try the following test: As a final check, find a level surface and slowly roll forward on your bike. Now pump up and down from a standing riding position – a few times and as hard as you can. The bike should feel supportive and the rebound speed should seem balanced front and rear. If the bike feels unbalanced, make the appropriate corrections.


3) Not saving your settings somewhen so you can keep track of your changes

Watch out that when you do your mountain bike set up that you save your settings somewhere. For this reason, and many more, we developed the mobile app SAGLY. With SAGLY you can document, tune and compare your mountain bike settings. You can create for each bike that you have a setup in the app and save your parts and settings for this setup. There is also a feature to make changes to your setup with ease. Moreover the history feature helps you to keep track of your changes and shows all changes you have made to your setup in a clear way.

4) Watch out for your tire pressure of your tire pressure

Proper tire pressure lets your bike roll quickly, ride smoothly, and avoid flats. Narrow tires need more air pressure than wide ones: Mountain bike tires, 25 to 35 psi – generally with more air in the rear than the front. This is because more of your weight is on the rear, so it needs more support.

When doing your mountain bike set up the tire pressure is the easiest and cheapest tuning measure. Once you understand how different pressure settings affect performance, you are well on the way to getting more grip, control and fun out of your mountain bike. 

Too high: A high tire pressure supports the sidewall of the tire and thus offers more stability and better protection for the rims. But if you go too far up, you reduce traction because the contact area is reduced. The bike then feels hard.

Too low: A low pressure increases grip thanks to the larger contact area and improves traction in corners, as the tire can better adapt to the trail. However, if you ride with too little pressure, the risk of rim damage from strong impacts increases.

In addition, the lower pressure reduces the natural damping of the tire, which can create an unstable riding experience at higher speeds. The tire lacks stability in hard corners and can feel spongy.

5) Rebound settings are not adjusted right in your mountain bike set up

The faster, the better – If you ride a lot in moderate terrain or ride more leisurely, a slower rebound stage will initially seem more comfortable to you. However, if you move in faster terrain then a slower rebound stage leads to painful arms and legs, as your bike cannot recover from the bumps quickly enough and thus “wastes” travel. Ride for maximum performance with as fast a rebound adjustment as is just comfortable. 

Important to remember for your mountain bike set up as well that High and Low relates to shock shaft speed not bike speed!

So we hope you could learn something about setting up your mountain bike. Do not forget to try out our mobile app SAGLY. In the app you can learn more about your mountain bike settings and how to improve them. Happy Riding!

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