Do’s & don’ts of adjusting dirt bike sag (Article in dirt bike sag 101 series)

Do’s don’ts of adjusting dirt bike sag

What you should and shouldn’t do when setting dirt bike sag

How to set sag on a dirt bike is often asked. But the question is; what are the do’s and don’ts when adjusting dirt bike sag? Let’s take a look…

Do’s don’ts of adjusting dirt bike sag - Article in dirt bike sag 101 series

The do’s & don’ts of adjusting dirt bike sag include: Always measure to the same fixed point to get an accurate reading; Rider sag should only be adjusted to within the recommended “sag window” for your model of bike; Always check rider sag with you on your bike so the the correct sag is set for your weight and preferred riding position; Don’t attempt to adjust your dirt bike sag when your suspension in hot from riding.


What is dirt bike sag?

When we talk about sag, we are talking about how much your dirt bike “sags”. Or put another way, it’s how much your shock absorber compresses either when the bike is sitting on the ground by itself (static sag) and also when you are sat on the bike (rider sag). Then there’s “free sag” which is when the rear wheel is off the ground when there’s zero weight on the rear wheel.

With that understood, what are the do’s and don’ts of adjusting dirt bike sag?

The do’s and don’ts of dirt bike sag

The do’s of adjusting dirt bike sag:

  • Always check rider sag with you on your bike so the the correct sag is set for your weight and preferred riding position.
  • Bounce on the bike before you measure its sag to loosen up any stiction. In other words, you are loosening up the suspension to move normally, as your bike might have been standing for a few days so the shock needs to be freed up.
  • Always measure to a fixed point on the bike when checking the sag to make sure you’re comparing “apples with apples” and not comparing “apples with pears”. It’s best to mark the fixed position you’re using with a marker pen.
  • The fixed point should be to the rear mud guard or fender or to the side panel.
  • The fixed point should be somewhere along the arc of travel of the back axle when the shock is compressed.
  • Your feet must be on the foot pegs when you measure rider sag. Some argue it’s better to measure sag standing, whereas other say to check sag when sitting down. You choose or perhaps check both measurements to see how different they are.
  • Always check the sag with your complete rider gear to represent your “true” rider weight.
  • Check all the fluid levels on the bike and make sure these are correct before the sag check.
  • I would also suggest you give your dirt bike a clean before you carry out the sag test.
  • Make sure to re-tighten the lock nut on the shock after the check.

More Reading: How to adjust dirt bike suspension to your weight (How to set dirt bike sag 101 series)

The don’ts of adjusting dirt bike sag:

  • Don’t check your dirt bike’s sag when the suspension is hot: i.e. not after you’ve ridden the bike, as it gets hot quite quickly. Any heat build up will change the sag amount.
  • You mustn’t have your feet on the ground when measuring rider sag, either sat on the seat or standing.
  • Don’t check the rider sag on your own bike with someone else sat on it, as their body weight and where they sit on the bike will be different to you.
  • Don’t adjust the sag on your dirt bike outside the “sag window“ recommended by the manufacturer of your bike.

More ReadingDirt bike suspension sag tools for the job (Article in dirt bike sag 101 series)

I hope you enjoyed this article about the do’s and don’ts of adjusting dirt bike sag

I’d love to hear from you. Tell us about your adventures of dirt biking in the comments below. Please also share your photos. Either from your cameras or videos from your Gopro’s!

If this article hasn’t answered all of your questions. If you have more questions about dirt biking (or specifically about the do’s and don’ts of adjusting dirt bike sag), please comment below with your questions.

There will also be many more articles about dirt biking for you to read and learn about this fabulous sport and hobby.

Have fun and be safe!

Do’s & don’ts of adjusting dirt bike sag (Article in dirt bike sag 101 series)
Scroll to top