Having spoken with many bike shop mechanics and demo van drivers over the years, one of the common ailments that seems to afflict most mountain bikes out there is improper suspension setup. Given the complexity of some of the damping adjustments on most modern suspension forks, and the fact that you require a specific pump to adjust them, that’s hardly a surprise. But that doesn’t make it any less of a problem though.
One of the most simple ways to get the most out of your bike’s suspension is to get the sag setup correctly. This typically involves sitting (or standing) on your bike while stationary, and measuring the amount that the suspension compresses under your weight. If you get the sag setup correctly for your riding weight (that’s you plus your shoes, helmet, backpack etc), then in theory you should be able to access all of the travel on your fork and shock, without having it bottom out too harshly and frequently.
The Saggle is a small and relatively basic tool that’s designed to help you with exactly that. Unless you have a RockShox fork that comes with a printed sag indicator directly on the stanchion (such as a PIKE or a SID), measuring this sag amount normally involves pulling out a measuring tape. As a more convenient solution that’s purpose built for the job, the Saggle is a small plastic guide that has printed guidelines on it depending on what travel your fork is at.
How It Works
- If you don’t already have an O-ring on the fork stanchion, loosely attach a cable tie like we have in the above photo
- With the help of your buddy to balance you on the bike while stationary, mount the bike and stand up on the pedals in your attack position (knees and elbows bent)
- Push down on the fork to break through any stiction in the seals
- While you’re still stationary in the attack position, have your buddy reset the O-ring or cable tie down on top of the fork seal
- Sit down onto the saddle, and dismount the bike without pushing down on the handlebars and upsetting the position of the O-ring/cable tie
- Use the Saggle to measure the percentage of sag for the given amount of fork travel
Once you’ve measured the amount of sag, you can make adjustments to the air pressure from there to increase or decrease the sag amount. For most forks, sag should be around 15-30% depending on your riding style and the type of bike you’ve got.
Because the Saggle is so compact and lightweight, it’s an easy tool to throw into your backpack along with a shock pump. It’s bright yellow so it’s pretty hard to miss, and with its curved profile and plastic construction, it fits neatly around most alloy fork stanchions without fear of scratching them. The Saggle is made in the UK and costs £7.99.
We’ve been making good use of a Saggle this week while down in Bikepark Wales undertaking some fork testing. You’ll be able to read about the trail fork group test in the next issue of Singletrack Magazine, where we’ve pitched seven popular 130-140mm travel trail forks against each other to see what comes out on top. Those forks include the X-Fusion Streat, Fox 34 and RockShox PIKE that you may have already seen on Fresh Goods Friday. We’ve also been testing forks from BOS, Formula & DT Swiss, as well as the RST Rogue.
Want to have a look at the bikes we’ve been fork testing on? Then check out our Facebook Live video direct from the top of Bikepark Wales!