SAG can actually be a key tuning feature that’s crucial to the handling of your bike and the position of your body while riding. Having a good understanding of SAG is extremely important. It will be the first thing you check after evey adjustment you make.
WHAT IS SAG?
SAG is the amount the shock compresses under your own body weight. Make sure you check your SAG with all your riding gear on (riding shoes, hydration pack, etc). The ideal amount of SAG is best determined by your bike manufacturer, there are many linkage designs & each design works best according their design.
WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT?
Insuring that your shock has the correct amount of SAG is crucial to the set up and performance of your shock. This is the easiest and best way to determine your shock is working in the most effective range for your rider weight.
HOW DOES THE SAG AFFECT PERFORMANCE?
Since SAG is the amount the shock compresses under your body weight, it allows the shock to be pre-compressed while riding. When riding on a flat surface and a hole is encountered, it allows the wheel to fall into the hole and absorb the up-face with the entire stroke of the shock. Having the correct amount of SAG allows the bike to track the ground and keep the feedback to the rider at a minimum.
CAN SAG AFFECT PEDALING?
SAG will determine the amount of squat your bike has. The less SAG you have, the pedal bob will be reduced but small bump compliancy will be negatively affected. The more SAG you have, the small bump compliancy will be increased but pedaling efficiency will decrease. It’s beneficial to run less sag on hard packed pedaling trails since carrying momentum and pedaling is the priority. On rougher trails, more SAG actually carries more momentum by allowing the wheel to move over bumps rather than be hung up by them.
HOW DOES SAG EFFECT THE HANDLING OF MY BIKE?
It is very beneficial to test different SAG settings for various riding conditions. Increasing the amount of SAG on your bike drastically increases high speed stability but decreases front end traction and cornering ability. Increase your SAG on high speed or sandy tracks to improve stability. Too much SAG will cause your front end to be too light and deflect over bumps.
DOES SAG EFFECT MY BODY POSITION ON THE BIKE?
SAG definitely has a big affect on your body position. The more SAG you have the more your bike will squat while riding. This positions your center of gravity behind the seat which improves high speed stability but decreases front end traction. Riders can then compensate for this by moving their body weight forward while cornerning. This set up is great for steep/rough trails where pedaling isn’t as much of a priority.
Reducing SAG will create a “stink bug” effect and bring your body weight forward. This drastically improves cornering ability but decreases high speed stability. Riders can compensate for that by moving their body weight back in high speed sections of trail. This set up is great for hard-packed single track or trails with tight turns and pedaling.