Suspension has undoubtedly become more complex over the years with more purpose-built machines and various linkage designs, but the fundamentals have largely stayed the same. While there are many buzzwords and phrases when it comes to your suspension that can be difficult to understand, the concept of the leverage ratio is one of the most basic things you can understand to get the most from your shock. In this “Garage Files” we break down what a leverage ratio is and how it can affect your suspension. We will even show you the proper way to size your shock, so you can understand what type of shock you may need if you ever need to replace it.
There is a fairly simple equation to find the leverage ratio of your bike.
WHY DOES THIS MATTER?
You might be asking yourself why these ratios matter so much and how they change the ride of your bike. The relationship between the rear wheel travel and stroke determine how hard the shock must work to support rider weight and handle suspension damping. Most modern full suspension bikes come with leverage ratios somewhere between 2 to 1 and 3 to one. For nearly all riders, anything in this range will work well. However, heavier riders should note that higher leverage ratio bikes require stiffer springs and/or higher air pressures to function properly. This need for more support can also limit your tuning options, especially on bikes with very high leverage rates. Conversely, lighter riders may find that bikes with low leverage rates
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