How to Use a Bicycle Suspension Pump

How to Use a Bicycle Suspension Pump
Many mountain bikes come equipped with air forks and rear suspension that use air as the "spring" to provide shock absorption. In order to increase the pre-load on air shocks, making a stiffer shock, it is necessary to use a pump. A traditional tire pump might seem like the obvious solution, but these pumps do not produce a high enough air pressure to properly fill shocks. That is why you'll need a suspension pump designed specifically for increasing the pressure in air shocks. Here is how to use it.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Step 1
Locate the air valve on your fork. It should be at the top of one of the legs. Unscrew the cap to uncover it. It is a Schrader valve.
Step 2
Screw the nozzle from your suspension pump onto the fork valve. Turn clockwise until the valve is on as tightly as it will go.
Step 3
Check the current pressure. Your suspension pump has a pressure gauge that allows you to read the pressure in your fork. The gauge will show the current air pressure once you have attached the pump nozzle.
Step 4
If you need more air pressure, simply hand pump the shock until you have reached the desired pressure level. If you are not sure how much pressure that you need, refer to the bike or shock user manual or check out the tip below on sag.
Step 5
To decrease pressure, press the pressure release button on your shock pump until you have reached the desired pressure.
Step 6
When finished, unscrew the pump nozzle and put the cap back on your fork.
Step 7
Repeat for your rear shock, which also has a Schrader valve for adjusting air pressure.

Tips & Warnings

A shock should generally have about 20 to 25 percent sag. In other words, when you sit on the bike, the fork and rear shock should compress about 20 to 25 percent of the total travel. Adjust the pre-load using your suspension pump to correct your sag.

Article Written By Joe Fletcher

Joe Fletcher has been a writer since 2002, starting his career in politics and legislation. He has written travel and outdoor recreation articles for a variety of print and online publications, including "Rocky Mountain Magazine" and "Bomb Snow." He received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Rutgers College.

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