Sure, you’ve pumped up your tires hundreds of times. However, you just purchased your first full suspension mountain bike and aren’t sure why you have a separate pump for your shocks. In an air fork or rear shock, the air serves as the spring and pressure is adjusted to make it stiffer or springier. A regular bike pump cannot produce a high enough pressure to effectively fill your suspension, so a specific shock pump is needed.
1. Take off the cap for the air fill valve on the fork. The valve should be located on the top of your fork. It will be a shraeder valve like those found on many bike tires.
2. Connect the pump hose to the fill valve on your fork. You will need to screw the hose connector on. Once on, the gauge should read the current pressure.
3. Add additional air to make the shock stiffer. Refer to your bike or fork manual for recommended pressures based on your weight and riding style.
4. Pump the shock and use the gauge to ascertain the correct pressure.
5. Lower the pressure. To make the shock bouncier and less stiff, release air from the shock by pressing down on the bleed valve until you have obtained the desired pressure. Be careful not to release too much air or you’ll need to pump the shock up again.
6. Repeat for rear suspension if applicable.
7. Check air pressure regularly to ensure your shocks are ready for every ride.