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Setup Guide

So you’ve got yourself a shiny new steed, now it’s time to turn it into your own personal workhorse—dialing in your ride is the first step. From suspension setup to saddle height, this guide will show you the basics of bike setup.

Setup Guide

So you’ve got yourself a shiny new steed, now it’s time to turn it into your own personal workhorse—dialing in your ride is the first step. From suspension setup to saddle height, this guide will show you the basics of bike setup.

Setup Guide

So you’ve got yourself a shiny new steed, now it’s time to turn it into your own personal workhorse—dialing in your ride is the first step. From suspension setup to saddle height, this guide will show you the basics of bike setup.

Basic Adjustments and Advice

Few things are more annoying than a ghost-shifting derailleur or a loud, squeaky brake rotor. Thankfully, you’ll be able to fix these with just a little knowledge and some basic tools. Your Santa Cruz retailer is always an option too if you get in over your head.

Derailleur Adjustments

Derailleur Adjustments

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CABLE SHIFTING SYSTEMS

Usually, ghost shifting—when your derailleur decides to shift gears for you—happens when your derailleur either has slightly too much or too little tension. Ghost shifting can take many forms, from not going into certain gears to just some minor clicking while pedaling—but it’s often an easy fix. Pop your bike in the stand, or flip it over for a trailside fix, and look at the cassette and derailleur cage from the rear. If the cage is sitting off to the right of the cog that you’re in, you likely need more cable tension. If to the left, you likely need less.

CABLE SHIFTING SYSTEMS

So, go up to your shifter and find the little barrel adjuster next to where your cable housing hits the shifter. For more tension, twist the barrel adjuster forwards; for less, twist it backward. Start with one or two clicks, then shift through the gears again and see if it’s smooth.

ELECTRONIC SHIFTING SYSTEMS

Though less common, SRAM's AXS electronic shifting systems can also have ghost shifting issues when your AXS derailleur is improperly adjusted. Pop your bike in the stand, or flip it over for a trailside fix, and look at the cassette and derailleur cage from the rear.

ELECTRONIC SHIFTING SYSTEMS

Next, go to your AXS shifter and find the adjustment button on the underside of the shifter. If the derailleur was sitting to the right of the cog, hold the button while also clicking the button you’d usually use to upshift (get into an easier gear). If to the left, do the opposite. Pedal, shifting through the gears and make sure they’re all shifting properly. When done successfully, this will line up your derailleur cage with the cassette resulting in buttery-smooth pedaling.

Learn More about SRAM AXS Setup

Brake Adjustments

Brake Adjustments

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If you have a pesky brake that won’t stop squeaking, it’s likely one of a few things: your pads are worn out, your caliper is off-center, or your brake rotor is slightly out of true. Again, all easy fixes.

Begin by checking to see if your brake pads are worn: Remove your wheel and look through your brake caliper while holding a piece of paper behind it (this will make it easier to see). If you have a good few millimeters of pads, you're probably good. If the pads are starting to get close to the spring, it might be time to replace them. If this is the case, either head to your local bike shop or take the pads off for further inspection and potential replacement.

If your brakes are still squeaky after you’ve checked your pads, it’s time to check your caliper alignment. Again, look top-down on the caliper with a white or bright background. If the rotor is sitting pretty in the center of the pads, you’re good to go—but if it’s off to one side, you’ll want to center it up. To do so, loosen the two bolts that hold the caliper to the frame. Spin your wheel, then pull your brake lever. Keep the brake lever pulled and tighten the two bolts that you just loosened. This should do the trick of centering your caliper. If it doesn’t, you’ll likely want to head to your local bike shop for a brake adjustment.

Finally, if there are still some annoying noises coming from your brakes, you’ll want to ensure your rotors are true. Again, look top-down on the caliper with a white or bright background. Spin your wheel while looking down through the caliper to see if your rotor is bent. If so, use a rotor truing tool to ever-so-slightly bend your rotor back straight as needed—all the while being extra careful not to touch your rotor with your hands or any potentially-greasy tools.

When in doubt, don’t experiment trying to fix things yourself if you feel uncomfortable, as there’s always a chance you can make it worse and more costly. Head to our dealer locator to find a shop near you that will be happy to help you fix any potential problems.