Full-suspension bikes make trails faster, more fun, and safer than the klunkers of the past, but they also require regular maintenance in order to stay at peak performance. In the pursuit of a better mountain bike, we designed an elegant and easy to service system to dial in the proper bearing pre-load for minimum drag and maximum user serviceability.
The Freedom Linkage uses four standard cartridge bearings for each part of the four-bar suspension design. The rocker pivot and main pivot use angular contact bearings which are incredibly easy to adjust as they wear in. If the phrase “angular contact bearings” sounds familiar, it’s because these are used in all headsets and a lot of high-end hubs due to the ease of fine tuning the balance between drag and free play in a bearing. What this means is that if you are comfortable adjusting the bearing pre-load on your headset or hubs, you’re going to be confidently spinning wrenches and dialing in your linkage bearings throughout the season.
We typically see bearings lasting one season for high-mileage riders and those in wet/humid climates and two seasons for weekend warriors and those in drier climates. As always, check for loose bolts regularly, including your pivot bolts. While we are using standard bearing sizes, you can always contact the Shredquarters for a replacement bearing set when yours get crunchy.
How to adjust the Freedom Linkage*
*All of the bearing adjustments are made from the non-drive (left) side of the bike.*
- 5 mm Allen wrench
- 6 mm Allen wrench
- 8 mm Allen wrench
- Torque wrench rated up to 15 Nm
1. Grab your 6 mm Allen wrench and loosen both shock bolts.
2. Remove the shock mounting bolts and rear shock
3. Grab your 5 mm Allen wrench.
4. Loosen the pinch bolt on the rocker (facing towards the rear wheel).
5. Loosen the pinch bolt on the chainstay (facing upwards).
5. Adjust the rocker link axle with the 5 mm Allen wrench to optimize bearing pre-load.
6. Cycle the rear suspension to check for a smooth range of motion.
7. Tighten the rocker link pinch bolt with the 5 mm Allen wrench and torque to 15 Nm.
8. Adjust the main pivot axle with your 8 mm Allen wrench to optimize bearing pre-load.
9. Cycle the rear suspension again to check for a smooth range of motion. .
10. Tighten the main pivot pinch bolt with the 5 mm Allen wrench and torque to 15 Nm.
11. Install the rear shock. Protip: start with the rear shock bolt first and alternate tightening the shock bolts until both are torqued to 7 Nm.
12. Treat yourself to a cold beverage since you just successfully serviced your suspension bearings.
Your rocker pivot and main pivot operate just like the headset on your bike. You have a preload bolt and a pinch bolt that holds the adjustment, just like the top-cap bolt and stem pinch bolts on your headset. Cleaning and regreasing the pivot axles also helps keep your bike running quiet.