Looking after your suspension is a must. Not just because it’s the part of the bike that most influences the feel of your ride, but also because it’s the most expensive part to replace when it wears out. Keeping on top of your suspension keeps it feeling new, and is far cheaper than skipping services only to find out that you have to replace your fork due to wear because you never took any care of it.
After every ride
To keep your suspension performing at its peak for every ride, you need to be inspecting your stanchions religiously. Look for scratches or chips on the uppers, and if you see any, contact your nearest suspension specialist. Scratches themselves aren’t really an issue, but what really matters are burrs that could be scratching your seals every time the fork is cycled. It is possible to fix scratches yourself with specialist epoxy resin, 2000 grit sandpaper and a bit of know-how, but it’s best to chat your local suspension mechanic before grinding away at your forks.
The other thing you want to be doing after every ride is cleaning the uppers. Grab a damp rag (a Chux works great) and wipe down the stanchions. Pay special attention to the external seals, wiping away dirt that may get forced into the lowers. You can clean your forks with a low-pressure hose, but turn your bike upside-down to avoid forcing any water into the lowers. If you’re looking to get the most out of your fork, specialist cleaning products such as Maxima Suspension Clean is a great way to keep your fork performing at its best.
Every 50 hours or every 6 months
This is only recommended if you have a RockShox or pre-2013 Fox suspension, however, it definitely won’t hurt to do it on another fork if you have the time! Every 50 hours of riding, your fork will need a lower leg service. This is a simple service which involves a deep clean, followed by replacement of seals and oil. If you have the right tools, this can easily be done at home, but be sure to take extra care. Check out this great video by GMBN if you’re looking to do it yourself.
Every 100, 125 or 200 hours
Less regularly your forks will need a spring and damper service. This is a specialist service that should really only be done by a trained mechanic. You’ll notice that your local bike shop probably doesn’t offer a full suspension service, and that’s because it requires unique tools and a sterile environment. Contaminating your damper is a great way to ruin a fork! Service intervals vary from brand to brand. Cane Creek recommends a full damper service every 100 hours of riding, Fox says 125 and RockShox, depending on your fork, requires a service every 100 or 200 hours.
Got any other tips for maintaining your suspension? Let us know in the comments below!