Ask a Mechanic: Suspension Component Intervals

Jackson wants to know, “I just got my first full suspension bike, how often should I get my fork and rear shock serviced.”

Great question Jackson. Adhering to a regular service schedule will make sure that your fork is always operating to its full potential. I’m not going to describe a full fork service, but I will go over the service intervals and a few things you can do to make sure you are getting the most out of your fork on every ride.

Before each ride, it’s a good idea to give the stanchions a wipe down, and inspect them for any scratches, and clear debris that gets caught around the seals. This will help prevent premature wear by eliminating spots where oil could escape from the lowers.

About once a week or so I like to use a little of Dumonde Tech’s liquid grease to lubricate the seals. Simply use zip tie to pull the seal back, and work around the seal dispensing the liquid just under the the seal. After applying the liquid grease, cycle the fork a few times and wipe away the excess. This helps to prevent stiction in the beginning of the travel.

Check the air pressure and sag on the fork every few rides to make sure you are maintaining the air spring pressure that you have determined is right for you.

Most fork manufacturers recommend an oil and seal change every 50 hours. This is the basic service that most people tend to neglect, and leaves them in a much worse situation when they finally get around to servicing the fork. When this service is ignored for too long, the stanchion’s coating will wear down, creating added stiction and the possibility for oil leakage even after the seals are replaced. Having the replace the whole upper is far more expensive than replacing seals, so don’t forget to change the seals on time!

Your fork should also have a full rebuild, including changing damper oil and servicing the air spring, least once a year or every 100-125 hours as recommended by the manufacturer.

When it comes to rear shocks there is less regular maintenance. You’ll still want to make sure the shock is clean and free of debris, but it really only needs a full service once a year or in that same 100-125 hours of riding window. stocks rebuild kits for most popular shocks, so if you know what you’re doing, you can perform this service at home. Otherwise, you can send your shock to be serviced by the manufacturer or us.

It’s always better to stay on top of the maintenance and solve a problem before it develops. Keeping your suspension clean and maintained will make you a happy rider and will end up saving you money in the long run.