In Custom Tunes, Issue Finder, Mountain Biking, Setup

Suspension Tips to Prepare for your Desert Mountain Bike Season

We have all rolled our bike out from the garage after the winter and thought, “Eek, I wonder if my suspension even works, I haven’t touched my bike since last season” Remembering when your last service was is a tough one. Having been in mountain bike suspension only service for over 15 years has allowed us to catalog common issues, and one of the most common one is jumping into Desert season with dry, dirty, suspension components.  

Eek, I wonder if my suspension even works, I haven’t touched my bike since last season”


1. Get your Suspension Serviced!

Do you see oil leaking from your seals? Seem softer than it did last year? Maybe it is time for some love! Don’t remember when you had your items serviced at Dirtlabs? Email us. Otherwise contact your shop and make sure you are not risking damage to your components. Another useful trick is to allow the oil in your fork to get back up towards the wiper seals.  Flip your bike upside down for a bit to soak your foam rings.

2. Adjust Your Suspension Settings

For some of us, the winter months can mean adding a few pounds. Check you air pressure and set your sag! In Moab, it’s important to have a suspension setup that can handle quick square edge hits and also the all so common “huck to flats”

  • Set your Sag! For moab we recommend 20-25% sag to handle square edge hits, control bottom out, and maintain the ability to “pump” through terrain.  Keep in mind different frames have different leverage curves, take a look at your manufacturer recommendations here!
  • Consider adding volume reduction for bottom out protection
  • If you are a “plow rider”, who likes to maintain contact with the rock, consider adding a click of rebound damping, slowing down the rate your suspension returns from an impact. This will allow your bike to maintain a straight line without getting “bucked”

3. Choose the Right Tire Pressure and Rim Inserts

Tire pressure is another important factor in setting up your suspension for Moab and is the first line of impact absorption. Lower pressure will allow you to grip rocks well but too low and you may find yourself doing trailside flat repairs. Generally speaking we recommend airing (misspelling on purpose) on the side of caution. Adding an extra ~3psi for aggressive riders.  If you are a newer rider, consider a lower pressure for the sandy situations.

4. Consider Upgrading Your Suspension Components

Moab is an abusive place for your suspension. An awesome way to improve the quality of your bike trip or vacation is to upgrade your suspension. Higher quality damper components, upgraded airspring, or an trade-in (see our trade in program here) can extend that life of your frame and make the trip a smoother experience.

Dirtlabs is the longest standing suspension only service center in the US, having serviced over 50,000 components and worked along over 600 bike shops to improve the riding experience of riders all over the world.

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