How Does Air Volume Affect Your Suspension Fork’s Ride Quality?

Suspension fork

There are several aspects to your bicycle that can be adjusted to provide a better experience depending on your riding conditions.

Having a degree of control over your bike's setup is a good thing, but with the wrong information, it can also be disastrous.

This is why it is important to be educated about the best settings for all of the adjustable components of your bicycle.

One of the more important components that can be adjusted is your suspension, which we will talk about today. More specifically, we will discuss how the volume of air in your shocks will affect your riding experience, and what you can do to ensure optimal riding conditions.

High Volume

If your shocks contain a high volume of air, there are several conditions to take into account to ensure that your bike ride does not become uncomfortable or even dangerous.

Having a high volume of air in your bike's shock means that the air will be more compressible, as it has more room to move about in your shock.

This makes high volume shocks ideal for very rough bike riding, such as in cities with many cracked roads and potholes, as well as for mountain biking, its most common application.

The risk with a higher air volume is that your shocks will have much more travel than with lower volumes and this makes it far easier to bottom out.

Air Volume -suspension fork

When your shocks bottom out, they are impacting the bottom of the tube, which gives you a harsh jolt and may even throw you off of your bike with a hard enough bump. This is why it is very important to ensure that you find the perfect sweet spot when it comes to high volume air chambers.

Low Volume

Low volume air chambers are a little more straightforward. These shocks are typically optimized for road biking, as long as the roads in your area are smooth and easily traversable.

As the air is far more compressed in small volume shocks, they will not have anywhere near as much travel as high volume suspensions. While this will make bumps less comfortable, it will also significantly decrease your chances of bottoming out.

Suspension fork on bike.

The practical result of this is that bumps will be harder, as the suspension will absorb less of the upward force. However, the advantage is that you will not have the unpleasant experience of bottoming out, as it is nearly impossible for a reasonably sized bump to cause a bottom out with such high pressure.


We hope that this article has helped you decide on the best possible air volume and air pressure for your bike’s suspension. It is important to personalize your bike for the conditions in which you are riding, and don’t be afraid to experiment with different settings to find the right one for you.




This post was last updated on June 4th, 2018 at 12:50 pm

About the Author Max Shumpert

Over the last few years, I’ve taken my love of the outdoors, hiking, skiing, trekking and exploring to the next level by starting this site. I started a bike shop in Denver, CO, and have seen amazing growth over the last few years. Getting paid to do what I love has been a dream come true for me. That’s also what led me to start In my shop, I spend a large amount of time helping people find the perfect bike for them and the style of biking they’re going to be doing. It only made sense that I expanded my reach and got online, making it possible for me to help people all over the world. If biking and staying fit is your priority, too, you’ve come to the right place.

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