Do I need a rear shock absorber on a bike

Methods for setting up a depreciation system

Shock absorbers can be adjusted in several ways:

  • Spring Flexibility Setting.
  • Changing the speed of compression and return of the spring to its original position.
  • Travel blocking.
  • Adjusting the travel distance of the bicycle fork spring.

Adjusting the stiffness and mobility of the shock absorber spring involves changing the resistance to external influences and the selection of the optimal characteristics. So, the stiffer the spring, the worse it resists impacts during movement. In a weakened state, the shock absorber will constantly jump, and on serious obstacles it can even break through.

The selection of the rebound and compression speed allows you to adjust the shock absorption system for specific travel conditions: mountain trail, forest road, complete off-road with stones and holes. Along with setting the speed, leveling of the stroke length of the bicycle shock absorber is also applied: this adds or removes a margin of distance within which the spring can move. This is done in order to reduce spring wear during long-term operation.

Blocking is the disabling of the softening ability. The spring is made rigid and incapable of deformation. It is advisable to use on smooth asphalt where there is no need to damp shocks.

What are shock absorbers for?

Traditionally, shock absorbers for bicycles consist of leaf springs (springs) and a damper. The springs, as a more powerful element, help to reduce shock loads on the frame and the cyclist when driving over bumps at high speed. The damper functions include vibration damping and position stabilization. It should be noted that the damping system acts as an additional one and is not installed on all types of shock absorbers.

Initial installation is for mountain bikes and sport bikes. For example, in downhill competitions, a cyclist is required to quickly drive a track strewn with stones, bumps and holes. Often you have to jump into the air to jump a high obstacle.

Conversely, shock absorbers are not fitted to road and road bikes, as they are designed to be driven on tarmac and not suitable for cross-country riding. Although cyclists can sometimes set them up on their own to increase comfort when riding on uneven roads.

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Bicycle Shock Absorbers: Varieties and Adjustments

The popularity of two-wheeled vehicles continues to grow steadily every year. New models appear and existing ones are improved. Bicycles began to be in great demand for use in specific conditions: riding without a road, rough terrain, jumping over obstacles. The design includes special elements. shock absorbers, which allow you to repeatedly operate the bike and not experience discomfort when moving.

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Self-assembly and repair of shock absorbers

The damping system requires periodic maintenance, and in case of deterioration in performance, inspection and repair. In either case, you will need to remove the fork from the bike. But, before proceeding with the description of this process (and, by the way, it is simple), we note some features of the service.

Oil and air plugs require special attention:

  • Changing the oil in the cartridges after 4-5 thousand km of run.
  • Cleaning, lubricating and checking oil seals for leaks after 100-150 km.
  • Weekly check of cuffs on air forks.
  • Examination of the external surface for chips and cracks.

The last point applies to conventional spring or elastomer suspension forks. Also, from time to time, you will need to change the polymer damper.

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To remove and disassemble the fork, turn the bike upside down, dismantle the rim brake and remove the front wheel. Next, the steering stem and pipe are pulled out. After that, the support ring is carefully removed and the fork itself is removed. To remove the spring, you will need to unscrew the force adjustment bolts, and then remove the damper.

Using an ordinary screwdriver, remove the seals (anthers or oil seals), then pull out the entire shock absorber. The overhaul of parts consists in a thorough inspection, cleaning, lubrication and replacement of some elements. On average, fork disassembly should be done once a season. Installing the front shock absorber and fork on the bike is done in reverse order.

The rear shock absorber also requires periodic inspection. Standard maintenance consists of periodic lubrication and cleaning of components. It is recommended to use heavy high-temperature greases for the suspension. Clean the surface of the springs and damping element as needed.

Long-term operation knocks down the travel distance of the shock absorbers, therefore, it is necessary to periodically tighten the springs, adjust the compression and rebound speeds. To avoid a decrease in the spring’s sensitivity to shocks, it is recommended to make adjustments in stages: first select the compression speed, check while driving, and then adjust the rebound speed.

Do not neglect the shock-absorbing system in a faulty condition. This will not only cause inconvenience when driving, but will also contribute to a deterioration in the bike’s running characteristics. there is a risk of bending the wheels or damaging the frame. Self-disassembly of suspensions should be carried out if there is confidence in their subsequent assembly. Otherwise, it will be better not to touch anything, but contact a specialist for repairs.


In most cases, the systems are installed at the front of the bike and are called suspension forks. The name speaks for itself: the shock and vibration damping device is located in the part of the frame to which the front wheel is attached. There are several types of front shock absorbers:

  • Rigid spring.
  • Spring loaded with elastomeric damper.
  • Air.
  • Oil.

The first type includes the simplest and cheapest devices. They consist of rigid metal springs embedded in the legs of a bicycle fork. The springs of such shock absorbers are not supplemented with a damper, which makes them ineffective when driving over rough terrain. But they are actively used on road bikes for comfort.

Elastomer spring dampers include a rigid metal spring and a rubber damper located in the center of the fork tube. This type dampens vibrations much better than the previous one, and can be actively used when driving on small and medium bumps. A significant disadvantage of elastomeric shock absorbers is the low cold resistance of the rubber damping pin: with a decrease in temperature, the ability to damp vibrations is significantly reduced.

Air shock absorbers have high efficiency compared to spring-loaded ones. Air pumped into the fork is used as a shock absorber and vibration damper. Disadvantages: deterioration of the sealing properties of the cuffs and air permeability, as well as the high price of forks.

Oil shock absorbers are divided into two subgroups: oil-air and oil-spring. The spring on them is the air pumped into the bicycle fork and the steel spring, respectively. A cartridge filled with oil is used as a damper.

Another type of shock absorbers is also widespread. rear, which eliminates the residual force effects of the drive wheel. Most of the shock loads still fall on the front wheel, so rear damping systems are used as additional ones. They are similar in design to the front ones. A bike with two shocks is called two-suspension.

Seatpost cushioning

Another cushioning option is a damping pin under the seat. Such devices can be installed as additions to an existing shock absorption system or to improve the comfort of cycling without shock absorbers. There are two types of seat posts: telescopic and parallelogram.

The telescopic pins are actually shock absorbers themselves. The seat tube contains an anti-shock damping system: an inner tube, in the cavity of which there is an elastic spring with a rubber damper. When hitting road irregularities, the shock absorber walks vertically inside the pipe, thereby damping vertical vibrations.

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A significant disadvantage of a telescopic shock absorber includes:

  • Increased friction during prolonged driving on uneven roads.
  • Resistance to shocks and vibrations only along the axis of the pin.
  • Settlement of springs and saddles.

All this prompted the invention of another type of seatpost shock. the parallelogram. The design of such a device is represented by the following elements:

  • Seat tube.
  • Articulated arms.
  • Rubber damper that is placed between the levers.

On shock absorbers of this type, the seat is displaced in a smooth arc due to the compression of the elastomeric element. The travel of the parallelogram pins is lower than that of telescopic pins, but they are more durable and resistant to small bumps.

Both types of shock absorbers require adjustment for the rider’s weight, which makes it possible for him to operate where necessary. Otherwise, the movement will be uncomfortable, moreover, the risk of damage to the frame increases.

Good bike shock absorbers not only keep the vehicle parts intact, but also contribute to a comfortable ride. When faced with poor amortization on a two-wheeled bike, don’t panic as you can repair the front and rear forks with your own hands. Clean, lubricate and replace the anthers, seals, bushings and feet of the shock absorption system in time, and then the bike will enjoy long-term use.

How to adjust the rear suspension

Before starting the installation, you need to make sure. that you have all the tools you need.

It is best to make adjustments before riding, but carry tools for additional adjustments during the trip.

Preload setting

It’s good if you have an assistant. but you can install yourself on a wall or a hard surface.

Measure the inside first. the shiny part that moves inside the case. Divide the value by four to get the best result.

For optimal performance, you need 25 percent drawdown. However, some more aggressive shocks, like those on downhill bikes, can be fitted with a maximum of 30 percent.

Most shocks have a small inflatable ring or stop to measure sag. if your bike doesn’t have one, you can tie an elastic band. Don’t use a cable and of course don’t leave it there; the dirt it collects in combination with hard plastic will scratch the surface and be expensive to fix.

Set the compression damping switch to the downhill or open position, remove the ring, gently place the bike and enter the riding position. Try not to shake the bike. you are picking up a constant weight.

Carefully check the level of subsidence. how far the ring has moved. If the sag is more or less than a quarter of the length, adjust the psi. For most cyclists using air shocks, 150 to 200 psi will give 25 percent sag, so if you don’t know how much pressure you have, reduce it to 150 psi. Then add or subtract 25 to 50 psi at a time until you reach 25 percent subsidence.

2.Adjust compression and damping

Depending on your shock model, you will have a CTD switch or suspension settings as well as damping settings. If you have a CTD, then just tweak it according to your current terrain; if you have settings, proceed as follows:

First, notice how much ‘clicks’ range in your settings. To do this, rotate the disc fully back and forth and count the clicks.

If you are unsure of the value you want, set the disks to medium. You can experiment to find the value you want.

Setting extreme values ​​is rarely suitable for cyclists. therefore, most set an intermediate value.

Memorize the route and the desired setting values, you will have a feeling of understanding the process of the suspension.

What is bike seatpost cushioning?

For many bicycle owners, it becomes a real discovery that experts say that good cushioning is also provided by the pin under the saddle.

Those looking to increase cycling comfort will fit the damping pin themselves. But on expensive two-wheeled vehicle models, it is built in by default. The device of the clever device includes a pipe, where there is an elastic spring, and a damper made of rubber. When the bike hits road bumps, the element moves vertically inside the pipe and successfully dampens vibrations.

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The telescopic damped unit has a number of significant disadvantages:

  • blows are softened only along the axis of the pin, others remain the same;
  • springs and saddle sag.

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Therefore, the designers have developed an analogue, which is called a parallelogram. The product consists of the following parts:

  • a pipe placed under the saddle;
  • levers fixed by hinges;
  • rubber damper centered between the levers.
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Thanks to an unusual device, the seat is displaced along a smooth arc, while the elastomeric component changes and takes the desired position. The movement of parallelogram pins is much lower than that of telescopic models, at the same time, experts note them as durable and resistant to small bumps and irregularities, pits.

Why you need rear bike shocks

Cyclists are divided into two types: hardtail riders and those who love comfort and safety. Lovers of a quiet ride must install a rear bicycle shock absorber. It is he who is considered the heart of the entire suspension of the bicycle, its correct selection and installation will significantly improve comfort and speed of movement on rough terrain.

Internal organization

Having disassembled the front and rear shock absorbers, it is easy to determine the internal arrangement of the parts, including the springs and the damper. Thanks to the springs, when cycling with a rear shock absorber, shock loads are reduced to nothing, even if the terrain is bumpy and the speed is off scale. Dampers, in turn, dampen vibrations, provide stability and stabilize the vehicle on the road.

Dampers are always found on mountain bikes and speed bikes designed for cycling. Such devices are necessary if travel includes passing a route with bumps and pits. For this reason, you will not see shock absorbers on road and road bikes. But if a cyclist wants to retrofit a two-wheeled bike, he can do-it-yourself front and rear forks.

Rear shock absorber, its device, adjustment and repair

There are different models of bicycle rear shock absorbers, but fundamentally, the principle of operation and basic settings are the same for most. Linear and progressive damping systems are available depending on the model.

It’s time to start repairing and adjusting the shock absorber, which is responsible for comfort while riding a two-wheeled vehicle. A common cause of shock absorber breakage is untimely or improper care.

How to adjust bike shock absorbers

The repair of the front shock absorbers on the bicycle, as well as the rear ones, cannot be considered complete if the work of the forks is not adjusted. To make cycling enjoyable and not annoying, you need to adjust the following parameters:

  • tighten the springs;
  • adjust the speed of compression and rebound to comfortable parameters.

It is better to tune in stages, otherwise it will not be easy to achieve well-coordinated operation of the shock absorber elements. Experts recommend that you first select the compression speed, then check this property while driving, and only then to regulate the rebound speed.

When the damping system is not fine-tuned, malfunctions not only cause discomfort when riding a two-wheeled bike, but also impair the vehicle’s performance. There is an increased risk of bending wheels or damaging the frame. Suspension assembly after repair is carried out following the same instructions, only in reverse order.

If you need to change the shock absorber

Determining the best part is tricky, so be guided by the bike manufacturer. As a last resort, experts advise to be guided by the following rule: the length along the axes should approach the value /. 5 mm, and the movement of the stem should be no more than 3-5 mm.