Tune Your Shock

Everything you need to know to dial in your shock.

With a Cane Creek Double Barrel shock, you have the most tunable shock on the market. Cane Creek Double Barrel Shocks represent the pinnacle of high performance suspension systems. Each features a unique design, which moves oil through externally adjustable valves – giving you the power to tune your shock based on your individual preferences. Our goal with this guide is to take the mystery out of customized tuning and to walk you through the steps of creating the perfect settings for you and your ride.

Suspension Definitions

Before we begin let’s make sure we understand the basic concepts and definitions covered in this guide.

Sag

The difference between the suspension when it is fully extended (not compressed) and when the bike is on flat ground under rider weight including riding gear.

High-Speed Compression (HSC)

High-Speed Compression (HSC) is critical to absorbing energy from high impact forces, such as square edge hits and harsh landings.

High-Speed Rebound (HSR)

High-Speed Rebound (HSR) enables a bike to recover quickly from deep in the suspension travel while enabling controlled take-offs from jump faces.

Low-Speed Compression (LSC)

Low-Speed Compression (LSC) controls traction and frame stabilization. LSC adjustment is used to eliminate pedal induced “bob”, influences small bump sensitivity, and affects how the bike will react to weight changes.

Low-Speed Rebound (LSR)

Low-Speed Rebound (LSR) works with LSC to stabilize the frame and manage traction. LSR ensures maximum traction everywhere from technical climbs, high-speed chatter, offcamber corners, to braking in stutter bumps.

* It is important to note that each of these terms refer to the shaft speed of the shock, not the speed of the bike.

Climb Switch (CS)

CS is the most innovative climbing feature available and is now standard on all  Cane Creek CS & IL Double Barrel shocks.   This proprietary climbing feature (patent-pending) for Double Barrel shocks alters the entire low frequency dynamic response of the shock to specifically address the demands of ascending on a bicycle. For more information, graphs, and videos visit our Double Barrel Climbing Efficiency page.

Factory Base Tune

If your Shock came with your bike, it may have have a specific OEM tune put together by engineers at Cane Creek and the partner manufacture. Otherwise, all shocks ship from our factory with a factory base tune specific to the model. This is your starting point. You can find all those various tunes on our Shock Base Tunes page.

To reset shock settings turn each adjuster all the way counter clockwise. BE CAREFUL NOT TO OVER-TORQUE THE LOW SPEED ADJUSTER. When you feel resistance – STOP. You won’t feel a hard stop. Then move the adjusters clockwise the number of turns /clicks indicated in the base tune.

Ride Preparation

Proper suspension tuning is best achieved in a controlled environment. Choose a section of trail where you are comfortable and can repeat
the same lines several times. The trail section should have features typical of your preferred riding terrain, i.e. big G-outs, drops to flat, chop
in corners, etc.

Suspension Terminology

  • PLUSH: Softness on high speed impacts, soaking up of rough terrain with ease.
  • SUPPLE: Sensitivity to small bumps and traction control.
  • FIRM: A more rigid feel to the shock.
  • G-OUT: The most compressed position in the bikes travel. Noted for how the bike responds
  • OFF CAMBER: Trail that fades unfavorable to tire traction
  • BUCKING: Feeling of being pitched forward off jumps or rocks from rebound being too fast.
  • CHATTER: Feeling of never having traction in long areas of continual bumps.

Prior to Run 1 – Set Sag

To achieve the best performance from your Double Barrel rear shock, the proper setting of sag is vitally important. Sag controls the ride height of the bike and the amount of damping that will be necessary. Most manufactures have a recommended sag for different frames which can be found on their website or in your original paperwork. If OEM sag settings are not available, we recommend using to 25-35% of available travel depending on shock length and application.

Check out this video on setting sag.

Follow these steps to set sag before your ride.

It is also important to note the following:

DBInline – 250psi MAX
DBAIR IL – 300psi MAX
DBAIR CS – 250psi MAX

DBair/DBair CS/DBair IL – Setting Sag

  1. Inflate shock to starting pressure; 20 psi less than your weight (with gear) is a good starting point. Slide travel indicating O-ring down to air can and remove the air pump.
  2. Dressed in full riding gear, mount your bicycle and assume your normal riding position. Dismount and measure the distance the O-ring has moved. This measurement is your sag.

    Sag = Distance from air can to O-ring
  3. Cycle the shock to charge the negative air spring. Recheck sag, adjust air and repeat until you have the desired measurement.

Stroke = The second number in your shock’s size (e.g. 216 x 63mm). If you are unsure of your shock’s stroke/travel, check the product page or contact the Cane Creek Customer Service Team.

Sag % = (Sag ÷ Shock Stroke) x 100

When the proper sag value is reached, record the air pressure required to achieve this sag value below (this will make setup faster next time out).

DBcoil/DBcoil CS/DBcoil IL – Setting Sag

  1. Make sure that you are on a level surface. With the rear wheel off the ground, measure the length of your shock from eye-to-eye and
    record this measurement.
  2. Dressed to ride (with gear), position your bike next to a wall or table to support yourself. Mount your bicycle and assume your normal riding position. Measure the shock length again from eye-to-eye. You may need someone to assist in this measurement. Record this measurement.
  3. The difference between the two measurements is the sag.

Sag = Free shock length (Step 1 measurement) – Weighted shock length (Step 2 measurement)

Stroke = The second number in your shock’s size (e.g. 216 x 63mm). If you are unsure of your shock’s stroke/travel, check the product page or contact the Cane Creek Customer Service Team.

Sag % = (Sag ÷ Shock Stroke) x 100

Preload

Preload affects the energy in spring.

IMPORTANT If less than 1 turn of preload is needed to achieve proper sag, you will need to change to a lower spring rate. If more than 6 turns preload are needed to achieve proper sag, you will need to change to a stiffer (higher rate) spring.

Increasing Spring Preload

Increasing the preload will increase the ride height and reduce sag. To increase the preload on your spring, turn the Spring Adjustment Nut clockwise (no more than six turns).

Reducing Spring Preload

Reducing the preload will decrease the ride height and increase sag. To reduce the preload on your spring, turn the Spring Adjustment Nut
counter-clockwise (no less than one turn).

Ride & Observe

Phase 1

Focus on the overall feel of the bike and the shock. You will not be making any changes on this run. Pay attention to where you are confident and where things get sketchy (if any): flow sections, cornering, chatter, small and large hits. If appropriate, make sure you do some uphill pedaling as well and return to the top of the trail.

Make notes on your general observations, e.g. things you like, things to improve, etc.

Phase 2

Focus on big features (big hits, berms, landings, G-outs) and on sections where traction is limited (off camber, flat turns). It is more important to concentrate on the ride quality rather than being fast and aggressive. Note how it feels to hit something and how it feels to come out of it. In the following steps you will answer a series of questions about Phase 2.

Before you begin, on the DBair/DBair CS/DBair IL slide the O-ring so that it rests against the seal of the air can. On the DBcoil/DBcoil CS/DBcoil IL, move the rubber bottom-out bumper up to the shock body (see graphics below).

DBair/DBair CS/DBair IL

DBcoil/DBcoil CS/DBcoil IL

Step 1 | Set HSC

Do you feel like you were getting enough travel? Check the travel indicator (O-ring or bottom-out bumper).

  1. Yes – Perfect – Go to Step 2
  2. No – Not enough travel – Reduce HSC damping by turning the adjuster 1/2 a turn counter clockwise (see graphic below). If you made a change – do another run and answer this question again until you are satisfied.
  3. Too much travel – Go to Step 2

Step 2 | Set HSC

Did you feel like you bottomed out the shock frequently?

  1. No – Perfect – Go to Step 3
  2. Yes – Bottomed out – Increase HSC by turning the adjuster clockwise 1/2 a turn (see graphic below). If you made a change – do another run and answer this question again until you are satisfied. Go to Step 3.

Step 3 | Set HSR

High Speed Rebound: Ride the section of trail again and focus on the bike as it reacts when exiting turns, g-outs, and leaves the face of jumps.

Adjustments:

  1. Decrease HSR by turning the valve counter-clockwise 1/2 a turn (see graphic below) and take a run. Repeat runs and 1/2 turns until it feels too lively.
  2. Turn the valve back 1/2 a turn clockwise. Go to Phase 3.

Phase 3

In Phase 3, repeat the same lines on the same section of trail that you did in the previous phases. During this phase, you will dial in Low Speed Compression (LSC) and Rebound (LSR). If you have a CS shock – you have a selectable mode that changes climbing specific low speed damping in one simple switch. To dial in low speed damping for non-climbing terrain, you need to place the Climb Switch in the Off position. When you ride, focus on pedaling efficiency, traction and small bump sensitivity.

Step 1 | Set LSC

Low Speed Compression: with this adjustment you will be looking for a balance between pedaling efficiency and small bump compliance.

Adjustments:

  1. To improve small bump compliance, turn the adjuster 2-4 clicks counter clockwise.
  2. For greater pedal efficiency, (less bobbing) increase LSC by turning valve 2-4 clicks clockwise.

Repeat runs until you find your optimal setting. Go to step 2.

Note: LSC is the adjustment most commonly changed to suit varying trail situations such as long uphills and long downhills.

Step 2 | Set LSR

Low Speed Rebound: With this adjustment you will be looking for a balance between traction and chassis control.

Adjustments:

  1. To improve the ability for the rear wheel to follow the terrain, decrease LSR by turning the adjuster counter clockwise 2-4 clicks.
  2. To decrease chassis movement (get rid of wallowing), increase LSR by turning the adjuster clockwise 2-4 clicks.

Repeat runs until you find your optimal balance. Done, Go Ride!