I am interested in what makes progressive suspension better (or worse) than normal suspension setup. I'm not after an explanation of what progressive suspension is or how it works but I'm interested in people ideas and experiences of it. (For the purpose of the question I mean progressive air suspension)


  • 3
    in order to answer this question well, I expect that you will need to explain what progressive suspension is.
    – Batman
    Sep 15, 2017 at 21:47
  • 2
    With Progressive suspension the shock travel relative to rear wheel travel changes as the suspension is compressed. Progressive suspension (when setup right) is 'plusher' on small bumps but stiffens up as the travel is use, meaning it won't bottom out as much. The idea is you get a plush shock for small hits, that can handle big hits with less travel. (Or a plusher shock for small hits, with the same travel). (good discussion forums.mtbr.com/shocks-suspension/…)
    – mattnz
    Sep 15, 2017 at 22:50
  • You don't "bottom out" as easily. Nov 27, 2019 at 14:40

1 Answer 1


The idea makes some sense: progressive springs being softer for smaller bumps and preventing bottoming out by becoming firmer as they compress.

However, that is the main downside. The spring is too easily compressed at first, making the bike front (or rear) go down more easily, returning back more slowly in the "top" range of shock absorber movement.

As the shocks compress further, they become noticeably stiffer, compressing less and rebounding back faster.

It is clear that such springs make it impossible to set up an optimal compression and rebound for any riding terrain/style/preferences.

Compared to optimal rate linear springs, the small bumps will feel a tad smaller - since the springs will work in their lower rate range. But the bumps are small to start with. As you get to the "rougher bumps", you end up with shocks that are "harder" than optimal - compressing harder, rebounding quicker.

It boils down to personal preference: do you want even softer "small bump ride" at the cost of a bit rougher "big bump ride", with somewhat worse control/handling (compared to linear rate springs)? Progressive springs provide that.

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