The forks and shocks are a much neglected maintenance item – the reasons normally being the cost and the perceived inconvenience. Many riders do not notice the slow deterioration in performance until it is too late:
Forks become stiff or sticky
The fork loses air
The bike’s handling and steering feel different
The overall ride quality becomes harsher
The stanchions become scratched
A common scenario is that dust / mud / water enter the fork past the dust seals and this forms an abrasive paste that wears away the coating on the fork legs and bushes in the lower legs.
The 29’er fork on the left is only 2 years old and it is beyond repair. Replacement cost of this fork is in excess of R8000.00 excluding labour – other forks can be a lot more expensive. Regular maintenance would have been a far more cost effective option.
Basic maintenance is simple: Wash the fork and shock after every ride with mild soapy water. Do not use a pressure washer as this will force dirt in under the seals. Check the air pressure, sag and fork operation as often as possible, and check for scratches on the legs.
Depending on your brand of fork, the service interval can start at 30 hours – for a weekend warrior who rides 2 hours per weekend, that’s about a 4 month interval for a fork oil change. The damper needs to be serviced less regularly,. Obviously there are many factors that influence the service interval, but if you are unsure it may be best to have your suspension serviced soon – to avoid costly replacement bills.
Fork, shock and linkage servicing prices will be quoted per job.