How to Maintain Your Mountain Bike Front Suspension

How to Maintain Your Mountain Bike Front Suspension

Mountain Bike Suspension

Have you ever noticed your mountain bike suspension fork starts to feel sticky or draggy? If that's the case, it's time for service. For the highest level of performance and durability of your mountain bike suspension, manufacturers recommend that you have regular fork service performed according to the appropriate service intervals.

What makes a mountain bike suited so well for trail riding and tough terrain? In addition to the frame design, burly components, and style of rider position the suspension is a huge technological advantage mountain bikes have. A mountain bike that features a front suspension fork is known as a hardtail mountain bike, while a dual suspension or full suspension bike has shocks on the fork and at the rear pivot point of the frame. Both style mountain bikes come in 26", 27.5" wheels and 29" wheels.

The front fork and rear suspension define the capabilities of a full suspension mountain bike, and maintaining these systems is crucial to having high performing and long lasting mountain bike.

Suspension Forks

Suspension forks rely on a special oil lubricant in order to function effectively. In order to maintain a healthy suspension fork you need to ensure the lubrication system is filled and the lubricant is not contaminated. A number of seals are used to keep dust and dirt out of your fork, and the oil inside. Staying on top of refreshing the oil lubricant and replacing seals when necessary will provide the rider with a long lasting suspension fork ready to tackle the single track ahead.

Suspension Pivot Systems

Suspension systems are comprised of bushings and bearings and the best way to maintain these parts is by keeping your bike clean and dry, especially when not riding.  Bushing and bearings service consists of cleaning, drying, and lightly re greasing the pieces of  the system. This process requires special tools and manufacturer specifics and should be done by an experienced mechanic always.

By monitoring your pivot points and maintaining bike cleanliness you can ensure a long lasting dual suspension system on your favorite mountain bike. When washing your bike take care not to directly spray water into the bearings or bushings, and avoid pressure washing at all costs. Clean your bike gently and lube all moving parts regularly. Bicycle suspension allow mountain bikes to travel across terrain once thought unimaginable, and servicing your system is essential for the best ride possible.

Fox Recommended Service 
Fox recommends that the minimum suspension fork and shock service is 125 hours of use, yearly, or whichever comes first. That is certainly on the longer side of things. Similar to changing the oil in your car, the more frequently you service your suspension, the better the fork will perform.
RockShox Recommended Service
RockShox recommends a more frequent suspension service than does Fox. In general, RockShox recommends a front fork lower leg service and rear shock air can service for their fork every 50 hours of ride time. A traditional lower leg service includes changing the bath oil, cleaning the seal  or replacing them if necessary and replacing the foam rings. For air shocks, an air can service includes replacing the dust wiper and o-rings. This maintenance will keep things running smoothly and make your suspension feel fresh again. 

It's important to continually maintain both your fork, rear shock and pivots to keep them working properly.  Simple things like using a microfiber towel to wipe off the stanchions and seals will help keep any debris from possibly contaminating the clean oil inside the fork. On the other hand, if you've ridden your bike at the bike park all year long, it's time for a full tear down of the damper cartridge,  air spring assembly and pivots.  We highly recommend having your fork oil changed every 50 hours or at least 1x per year.

Learn more about our bicycle Service Packages and visit us today at any of our 7 locations for more information.  Rest assured we've got you covered with our 30 day service guarantee.  


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