Opinion: When It Comes To Suspension, Don't Forget The Basics

May 24, 2022
by Seb Stott  
Nukeproof Mega 275C


Part of my job is trying to pick apart the differences between bikes and suspension products to try and figure out which performs best. But to be honest, often the differences are subtle and one person's idea of "better" may not be the same as another. Moreover, a far bigger factor than whether you buy "fork X" or "fork Y" could be how you set up your chosen fork and how regularly you service it.

This was made clear to me recently when I was on a call with Öhlins about their new RXF 34 fork, and a throwaway comment grabbed my attention. One of the product managers mentioned in passing that they sell far more forks than the seal kits needed to service those forks. That fact really surprised me. If the average fork is serviced once per year (the bare minimum), and Öhlins has been selling MTB forks en-masse since 2016, you'd expect to sell many service kits for every fork. Even if some forks are getting serviced without the proper seal kit, that still suggests there are lots of forks out there which are badly overdue a service.


Anyone who's ever serviced a fork knows that it makes a huge difference. The degradation of performance due to water and dirt ingress, oil degradation and seal wear is slow enough that you don't notice it while it's happening. But when you refresh the oil and seals, it dramatically reduces friction and bumps up the performance.

It's often said that before you service a fork you should carefully note all your settings and then return to those afterwards. But I think that's bad advice because if your fork hasn't had a service for years, there'll be so much friction in the system that it will dominate the damping. And so the damper settings you'll want after the service will be very different to those that worked best beforehand. Otherwise, the reduced friction will make it feel too soft and too lively.

Servicing a fork has such a massive impact on its performance that a top-tier fork that's overdue a service can perform worse than an entry-level fork that's been looked after. So in a sense, you're throwing away hundreds of pounds/dollars/euros by not having it serviced, even before you consider the extended lifespan that comes with regular servicing.

No hatrick of Lourdes winds or peace of mind for AG starting the 2022 season. A big off during practice yesterday unfortunately put him on the back foot.
Even for World Cup Pros, spring stiffness is the primary adjustment.

In the same phone call, I asked Öhlins about their tuning programme, which makes it possible for Öhlins products to be re-valved to suit customers at a local service centre. Far from giving me the big sell, Öhlins Racing Technician, Terje Hansen, was pretty dismissive of the "shim cowboys" who are too keen to re-valve a shock before they've properly tuned it using the external adjustments. He added that at a recent testing camp for a DH World Cup team, the vast majority of their time with Öhlins was spent testing different spring rates in the fork and shock, trying to get the best balance right front-to-rear.

I think a common mistake is to measure sag once and then move on to damper settings and even re-valving; setting sag is just a starting point when it comes to setting up the spring stiffness, and it's worth trying a few different settings before fine-tuning the damping settings or thinking about custom tunes.

The point of all this is to stick to the basics. It doesn't matter all that much which fork you buy or if it's custom-tuned, or whether you're running five clicks of compression or six. What really matters is when was the last time it was serviced, what spring rate are you running and how does the spring rate compare between the front and the rear? Getting that right is 95% of the battle.


261 Comments

  • 89 2
 To be fair, it really depends on the user how often one needs a service and especially new seals. I wipe off my dust seals every ride and pull out the remaining dust with a drop of oil and wipe it again. That way, the dust wipers survive way longer than a season of regular use. A lower leg service every 50 hours, maybe change the foam rings every 100h and do a bleed of the damper once a year goes a long way. If the seals of the damper are not damaged or hard because of age, a clean and fresh oil is all it takes. New seals might even be stickier because they didn't break in yet. At 60 bucks for a full service kit one should inspect the seals before just throwing money at the fork.
  • 5 47
flag browner (May 24, 2022 at 9:05) (Below Threshold)
 That makes you a super pernickety fork consumer, because you could for example do a lower leg service once per fork, or per 2 or say 3 years or in some rare cases never. If it gets stiffer, maybe just let some air out or turn preload down and if something else isn't right get another one of ebay, get fork grease and use it all over the place. 1 fork used, works well, could probably use a service
  • 6 0
 I'm with this guy. My bikes see 100-125 hours per year, in dry and dusty SoCal. Even though I can easily do it myself, I'm only doing the fork and shock services once per year. So I use small paintbrush to clear the dust out of the seals and give the stanchions a wipe after each ride. That's worked fine for me, with minimal dirt in the oil when I change it out.
  • 10 1
 @Marquis: Once a year is fine. The point of the article is that, based on how many seal kits Öhlins sells, most people are servicing *much* less often than that, or never.
  • 2 1
 I've started changing the foam rings, lowers and damper oil a few times a season; and only doing O-rings and a full rebuild every few years or if something is torn. Changing the damper oil in a charger or GRIP2 damper only adds like 10 minutes to a lowers oil changes, and fresh damper oil seems to make an even bigger difference in fork feel than fresh lowers oil.
  • 8 0
 Dumb question here, but I honestly would like to know why the stanchions aren’t fully enclosed in a rubber boot like the forks from the 90s to keep the crud out? I know how those old boots always seemed the work themselves loose, but come on this is 2022 surely we can have a cover that is 100% sealed?
  • 12 1
 @blackthorne: your entering the Looks Department
  • 17 2
 @blackthorne: I remember those rubber boots very well. They sucked the dirt in and kept it there unseen, until the stanchions and bushings were dead.
As those rubber boots compress and then expand again, they have to release air somehow and reinflate again, and that is where they fail. I did try to connect them with a small hose into the steerer, but that did not work well. Makes everything very complicated.
  • 5 0
 @cxfahrer: yes, making way more damage in very short time
  • 3 1
 @cxfahrer: That's right. And if you didnt want the build-up of dust you'd end up sliding the boot off the lowers to clean it anyway. Plus other problems and can't be bothered typing.
  • 5 1
 @iamamodel: We definitely don't want fork boots back Big Grin
  • 1 0
 It's not so much about wiping off the dust seal as much as the stancion. Water spots, from mud or mineral can adhere to the stancion with greater force than the scraper on the dust seal can remove, then it's wetted with oil and scraped off in between the dust and oil lip or worse in the lowers. So drop some oil 5w or lighter on a rag shimmy on. Compress the fork a few times. A "dirt travel indicator" will appear. Use a new rag to completely wipe away all oil and clean dust seals.
  • 47 0
 Say it louder for the people in the back.

1) Friction
2) Spring rate
3) Damping

You have to do them in order.
  • 27 0
 Fixed (and yes, I suck at the 4th one)

1) Friction
2) Spring rate
3) Damping
4.) Not being bad at bikes
  • 11 0
 @jackalope: 5. Reasonable expectations
  • 2 0
 @somebody-else: for most people, yes. Thank #deity that, for example, Steve at Vorsprung skips your #5.
  • 1 0
 @melanthius: narrowing in and defining #5 is where I’d argue he makes his true value shown.
  • 2 0
 @jackalope: 4) Send it!
  • 7 2
 Friction is the number one consideration of suspension performance and also kashima is a worthless complete waste of money, got it
  • 5 0
 @fewnofrwgijn: Kashima barely improves friction vs. ano after a fresh service and does nothing when things are dirty. From my feel, Kashima might improve things by 2% but lack of maintenance worsens by 30%+. Different orders of magnitude.
  • 1 1
 @melanthius: kashima koated 2% milk. Nice feel
  • 38 1
 i’ve been working on suspension forks for 10 years and I just learned about how important it is to burnish the bushings especially in a brand new fork. It’s the first thing any professional suspension team does to their team forks. I bought a burnishing tool from a guy who makes them in his garage in New Mexico happy to pass on the info. Using the burnishing tool on my 2022 Pike it was very apparent that one of the four bushings was significantly tighter than the other three. That’s to say that there are almost always manufacturing inconsistencies in the cast lowers which then affect the tolerance of the bushing pressed inside it. The reduction in friction after burnishing my fork was unbelievable. When I read these shoot out reviews testing new forks back to back nobody ever mentions burnishing bushings which makes me disregard the reviews completely. Because a lot of forks have sticky bushings that take weeks to break in without burnishing. The only way I could take a fork review seriously is if all the forks were professionally serviced and the bushings were burnished before the test began that would create a level playing field of friction
  • 9 0
 Can you share who in New Mexico makes the burnishing tool?
  • 79 0
 How many times can you fit the word "burnish" into a paragraph?
  • 2 0
 Yep this is true. Some fork stanchions also wear out way too fast because of too tight bushings even if you service the fork often
  • 13 0
 @Neechy:
Burnish
Burnish
Burnish
Burnish
Burnish

…doesn’t even sound like a word anymore
  • 26 0
 @Neechy: Sick burnish.
  • 5 0
 @steveczech: Oliver Majewski he's the man! Here is his email. livamysta26@hotmail.com
  • 2 0
 @Neechy: Its Burmishin time!!
  • 2 0
 @lukazy: Thanks!!!
  • 18 2
 That’s part of the test,
Also part of the QC,
If you were to take all the forks and give them a pro level re-build, what your now testing is the quality of that re-build more than what you get off the rack.
A lot of the differences that your feeling in a stock fork, are just that, the quality of their QC, manufacturing tolerances, and design, with the first two being most important.

If you’ve moved on to custom suspension, any fork review becomes nearly irrelevant. It is important to those who want to purchase something, and have it work acceptably from the get-go.

Things that are fairly common in Motorsport, like custom suspension, etc, are less so in mtb, as the barrier to entry is quite a bit lower
  • 16 0
 @onawalk: I think the point of the OP is that even the best forks from the best brands have a degree of random variation in bushing tolerances due to manufacturing inconsistencies, so a reviewer might be making generalizations about a product when in fact they're experiencing random variation. It's a reasonable point. I'm not sure I buy it though, because I think fork companies are likely going to do some basic QC on forks before they send out to testers. All you have to do to double check bushing tolerances is push up and down on a new assembled fork before sending it out to the reviewer. Too tight and sticky? Grab another fork. I've got to imagine they do that as an every-time practice for reviews.
  • 2 0
 @TEAM-ROBOT: I get his point,
I’m making the assumption that there is a degree on allowances in the manufacturing QC as well, so that’s part of what’s being tested during a review.
Any fork, gone through a custom rebuild is going to feel great, but it’s not a representative example of what comes out of the factory, so in doing it, it makes any review after the rebuild, more about the quality of the work done during the rebuild. There’s going to be quality variances within the rebuilds as well, so you’re no longer reviewing a representative example.

I would think most companies that send things out for review simply pull what they have. Surely they have to rely on their own QC to catch the one-offs.

I’ll be honest, I don’t put a tonne of stock into the reviews of most things, it’s entertainment for me to consume to pass the day. Maybe I learn along the way. It’s usually more telling what isn’t said in a review than what is.
Cant say I read any reviews of Sid forks that mention much about bushing play, but Levy kept tripping over himself to shade RS for it in the last bike review videos, which is good to see
  • 14 1
 @onawalk: Your missing my point, the fact that QC is so poor and bushing tolerances are so inconsistent is unacceptable for $1,000 premium suspension. Some pikes are very sticky, and take months to break in. Others are ok out of the box. Ive had a 36 that had bushing play out of the box. For this huge variable to not be taken into consideration let alone addressed or even mentioned in any of the fork reviews in pinkbike makes it impossible for me to give them any credence. By the way burnishing a fork doesnt make it “custom suspension” as you stated. It’s a 15 minute job that anyone can do. EXT does at the factory and the fact that more manufacturers dont is in my opinion unacceptable.
  • 2 0
 @TEAM-ROBOT: yes exactly!
  • 25 0
 If I was that guy I'd call myself TROGDOR THE BURNISHATOR
  • 1 0
 @lukazy: They don't do it because the majority don't care enough, don't notice or have forks without an issue, so if you added the extra cost onto the fork because of this you would likely upset more people / product managers than you would gain in custom.
  • 4 1
 @lukazy: easy, I’m not missing your point,
Who’s to say that PB or any other reviewer has received any suspension product that is either overly sticky, or has bushing play….don’t assume the QC is bad, it might just fall within their manufacturing tolerances
I’ve serviced hundreds of forks, and ridden as many in my time as a mountain biker. I cant honestly say that there has been that many that have been “off”. I do vividly remember some bad manitou black forks,
And a couple Pikes that were horrendous.

If I remember correctly, the EXT forks, are more money than an Ultimate, or Factory fork, so call it part of their tighter manufacturing process to burnish those bushings, the extra cost has to go somewhere doesn’t it?

Burnishing the bushings at factory might be a 15 min job at the factory, but no way I’m getting that done in my garage, 2 beers deep, in 15 mins.

I’m not saying burnishing the bushings isn’t a valid idea, but I would classify it as a bit of custom work.

Love to burnish bushings over here.

Long and short, it’s not something to get too worked up about, buy from the companies that you respect and prefer, but don’t be so surprised that there are different quality standards within similar products. You have every right to say it’s unacceptable, but was it unacceptable prior to your knowledge and understanding of burnishing bushings…

All jobs are something that anyone can do, but I can assure you most don’t want, as evidenced by the point of this article.

BURNISHING BUSHINGS…
  • 10 0
 @rickybobby18: burnishnating the countryside
  • 11 0
 @13en: AND THE THATCHROOFED COTTAGES!!!!!!!!!
  • 1 2
 Yeah-out the box seals and parts won't be as buttery as on a fully fettled fork. Then again, I'll bet it only takes a few hard rides to break those bushings in.......
  • 9 0
 @TEAM-ROBOT: and the trogdor comes in the NIGHTTTTTTT
  • 5 0
 @13en: @TEAM-ROBOT:
"A fork service? That's easy! Feel free to follow my simple step by step instructions. I make burnishing FUN!!"
  • 1 0
 @lukazy: yeah, my zeb was so tight csu was staying in the same position without damper and spring
  • 7 0
 The burnishing bushing was a supernatural phenomenon described in the third chapter of the Book of Exodus that occurred on Mount Horeb. According to the biblical account.
  • 1 0
 @wyorider: I've had forks from friends that were 3 years old and still sticky, and were improved two-fold after a burnish.

Hard riding will only ever "break in" fore and aft, and to me, that's just wear. If a bushing is ovalised, the stanchion doesn't have the dimensions to put it back into place, no matter what.
  • 3 0
 @rickybobby18: he was still TROGDOR!!!
  • 3 0
 @onawalk: QC on all bike parts is pathetic. Definitely not machine shop tolerance. On top of that I have seen far too many parts that are IMO past acceptable tolerances . Bike companies sell the stuff and cross there fingers . Then the cheap excuses come out when the part fails . I have read many reviews on PB that end on this note .
  • 1 0
 @Sshredder: What about bike parts made by machine-shops?
  • 1 0
 @justanotherusername: I worked at one . The CNC milling machine constantly needed tool sharpening for the 1/4 inch Mills . A chip under the part being held down will be out a bit . In the bike industry the tolerances are low . And quality control is a bit different in an actual machine shop. The line is blurred with Industry 9 as they are first a machine shop , that happens to make rather reliable bike parts .
Maybe tenths of of millimeter is the tolerance and maybe the quality control ,wishes to, catch the mistake.
The reputation for longevity of parts often reflects the level of QC.
  • 1 0
 @Sshredder: that was the worst description of any decent machine shop and it’s process that I have ever heard.

‘The tool needed sharpening for the 1/4 inch mills’ - where on earth did you work and what were you doing / making? Fence brackets from scrap metal?

We haven’t ever resharpened an endmill, just not worth it - nobody does it anymore

I think you are confusing mass production, often overseas to companies like Hope, i9 etc etc l
  • 1 0
 @Neechy: 7 times for that @lukazy
  • 1 0
 @rickybobby18: that's a good one
  • 1 0
 @justanotherusername: I worked for Race Face haha 5 the axis CNC milling machine . 1/4 inch Mills are very popular and useful for milling small aluminum parts . Yes it was a shit show . Yes they ,I , sharpened 1/4 inch end Mills .
The shop was in Burnaby BC Canada .
  • 1 0
 To circle back,
Can you forward contact info on your man who builds burnishing tools?
  • 1 0
 @justanotherusername: it's interesting that you compleatly overlooked the issuse of tooling changing parameters because the tool is dull. As in sharpening Mills. Also most bike parts are pumped out of a Asian factories where my description of machining errors are common. This a well known fact.
Some how your obsessed with fence brackets and a a avoiding the job of sharpening tools .
I have worked in "real machine shops" not bike related . Thousands of an inch is what real machine shops deal with. Mistakes are not considered. Or tolerated .
  • 1 0
 @Sshredder: Nobody 'sharpens' endmills - I part own a machineshop, we comp our endmill diameter until the tools maximum time in cut is reached and then the endmill goes into recycling, we don't 're-sharpen' the tool as it wouldn't ever perform the same unless sent back to the manufacturer for some kind of 'as new' specific regrind which is very rare to take place.

What did you sharpen the endmill with, a file?

We don't deal with thousands of a inch here - that 0.025mm which would be a large allowable tolerance for most work.

You are talking nonsense - many Asian factories are state of the art and have super high QC levels, who do you think pumps out all of those i-phones? - you get what you pay for though.
  • 1 0
 @justanotherusername: some people have conversations and Learn stuff. Then there is you . Lol.
  • 1 0
 @Sshredder: what was I meant to learn, that machine shops ‘sharpen’ endmills? Funny stuff.
  • 1 0
 @justanotherusername: Hot take,
Machine shop guys are right up there with engineers and vegans on Internet forums.
  • 1 0
 @onawalk: Spicier hot take; machine shop guys would have been engineers but were bad at maths at school.

I think you missed Italians, crossfitters, and people with BMX backgrounds of your list of stereotypes.
  • 1 0
 @ROOTminus1: no disrespect to engineers, or machine shop guys (machinists, tool makers) just taking the piss.
Full disrespect to cross fitters, and of course vegans….
  • 1 0
 @steveczech: did the OP ever get you contact info for the bushing burnisher tool maker?
  • 34 3
 After trying to tune a cane creek effectively I want to go buy a rigid single speed
  • 24 0
 I was just about to post how I did a lower service on my rigid fork today. Which is to say, I had time for a nap.
  • 4 19
flag gotohe11carolina (May 24, 2022 at 8:52) (Below Threshold)
 Just replace it with an x2. The VVC’s tuning range is so ineffective it might as well be rigid. Wink
  • 9 1
 @gotohe11carolina: that answer makes ZERO sense
  • 1 1
 @gspottickles918: it does if you have ridden a grip 2 with a vvc hsc adjuster.....
  • 24 0
 I would assume most Ohlins fork sales are OEM, guessing it's part of the Covid MTB surge. If Ohlins changes their maintenance schedule from every 50 hours to every 6 months hanging in a garage unused or 10 laps around the neighborhood they would sell more kits.
  • 2 2
 lol
  • 24 0
 Great Article. Now give me a foolproof three step tutorial on how to perfectly set up front and rear fork/shock. Thanks 3
  • 12 1
 Yeah, people often talk about getting the correct front/rear balance, but there is not a lot of info about what "correct" is or feels like and how to get it.
  • 16 3
 @tgrummon: Only you know what is correct and what it feels like. You want someone to tell you that you need 3.65% more weight distributed to the back wheel in order to prevent sliding off that one rock in that one trail? What about all the rest of the obstacles? Ride it, feel it, find your own "correct". Don't be afraid to try shit. Take 10 psi out of your shock one day. Put 5 more in your fork the next day. You'll know if it's "correct" because you'll feel it, and/or if you're a racer then the clock will tell you.
  • 37 0
 @tgrummon: in short, there is no “correct”, there’s good, better, best, and shite.
There are so many variables, and they change from ride to ride, location, speed, weight, etc, etc, etc.

You have three options,
1, get a fork with grip/rail damper, or Charger damper, the entry level forks are great, service them regularly, use extra money for beer and be happy in the knowledge that you are not Loic, Amaury, or Minaar. Ride your bike, have fun, chill vibes as they say.

2. Get stuck in, learn everything you can, research, toil, take apart, reassemble, rinse and repeat daily. Change settings based on upcoming weather patterns, try to explain while your SO rolls eyes, memorize spring weights, etc

3. Buy Fox Factory level suspension, do no setup, read PB to complain that they didn’t include how many clicks from (is it closed or open?) Danny Hart runs on his completely different fork, complain to the fine folks at Cascade why you need them make a link for you specific bike (but not actually buy it). Sweat over a extra 10mm your buddies new bike has, etc, etc, etc
  • 2 1
 @onawalk: There is also choice 1.5:

Get good adjustable dampers, spend a tiny bit of time (relative to all the riding time you will eventually do) getting stuck in, learning a little bit, getting the suspension fairly dialed. And then ride, have fun, chill vibes. I have a 36 Factory with Grip2, so pretty much _all the settings_, but the only time I turn the knobs nowadays is after a service since they all get moved around during that process. Smooth trails that are all turns, rough trails that are all punchy climbs and janky chutes, winch & plummet "jump" trails, doesn't matter, I just ride the same settings. But it's nice to know the fork is better suited to me and my style than a basic damper (or un-dialed fancy damper) that is tuned for people who weigh 40 pounds less and are probably way nicer to wheels than me.
  • 6 2
 Go to a good shop. Pay what they ask. Tip generously. Otherwise, learn the craft. Same as wrenching on your car, painting trim, laying flooring or any other skilled trade.
  • 3 0
 @wyorider: that's good for maintenance, but OP was asking about setup advice. Best shop in the world can't really do that since it requires you riding a bunch, not just dropping parts off.
  • 2 1
 @justinfoil: you understand sarcasm right?
Should I pick a different font maybe?
  • 1 1
 @tgrummon: One way I balance front to rear is to check travel after medium ride or good squishing in the driveway. On my XC bike, if I use 80% of the travel on the fork I should also have used 80% on the rear. For my enduro bike, I want the fork a little stiffer as I want it to stand up a little more on descents, so when I use 80% on the front I want about 90% on the rear. Setting sag is the starting point, but may not get you how the overall suspension is travelling during a ride. My 2c.
  • 2 0
 Funny you should mention this...

youtu.be/xhnKTZu2AKs
  • 3 0
 0. Set tire pressures
  • 20 1
 Having just purchased the tools to service my fox forks this past season I can confirm it’s an easy 1 beer job. That being said one biggest reasons for lack of regular service aside from people being uneasy about doing it themselves. Is the serious lack of manufacture service centers and LBS’s willing/capable of doing a full dampner service.
I live in Vancouver, and given how big of a presence mtbing is here; insert cliché “mecca” of mtb term. The lack of manufacturer service centres is pretty pathetic. Fox only recently opened a service centre in Burnaby, which is awesome. But if you own rockshox? You have to drive to Squamish.. other than that there’s suspensionworx in west van. I couldn’t imagine living in a smaller town, or somewhere biking isn’t as popular. I would also be willing to bet that most riders don’t want to ship their parts out for a rebuild which likely takes weeks unless something is seriously wrong with their suspension. Further diminishing the likelihood people will do it for preventative maintenance.
  • 20 1
 I'm just 90 minutes down the road, and the prospect of mailing my shock to Fox is honestly just as big a barrier as the $200 they want to service it.
  • 10 0
 That's kind of why my suspension purchase decision is driven highly by how serviceable they are at home with basic tools and how accessible their service manuals are. Rockshox and DVO have great documentation (only a shock pump+fitting needed for IFP pressurization), and MRP is quick to respond with any request.
  • 2 0
 @banzonam: Same for me. I now have the tools to almost service all the rock shox stuff. But the vivid service needed a bodge to compress the counter measure spring. that tool from rock shox would have cost me 70 bucks haha
  • 2 0
 Honestly the biggest barrier. Before I started doing by forks (which is super easy everyone), I was looking for someone to service the suspension. Every shop is booked flat out the summer and you don’t want to loose your bike for 3 weeks or something.

Now I’m in Vancouver and you can schedule a shock service pretty easily for within one week, so it’s not such a big deal.
  • 3 1
 @schili:
Exactly. I will say too. People, if you’re apprehensive about working on your $1000+ suspension. Take the money you’d pay for the service into investing into the proper tools. Having the specific tools to do the job, A: makes things 100x faster and most importantly B: significantly decreases the chances of messing something up.
It cost me about $300 to buy all the tools for my 36 including new seals and oil. But now the next time it’s needed all it will cost me is $30-50 for the seals and the 1-2 beers.
  • 2 0
 @brycepiwek: you bleed your own damper too?
  • 2 0
 @mikedk:
No I haven’t done a damper yet. But that will be the next step in my suspension service learning experience. I genuinely enjoy working on and tinkering with my bike(s) so part of that will be eventually being able to service and completely rebuild my own suspension.
  • 2 0
 Getting that service done at weird times of year or in the shoulder season seems like the obvious solution. At a time when you're not riding much due to injury or weather and the service centers are less busy.
  • 2 0
 Doesn't SRAM have a service centre in North Van now for Rock Shox? I believe shops have to send in the products, no customer drop-off, but pretty sure they don't need to go to Fluid Function anymore. I have Fox stuff and either send to Fox or SWerx for full service.
  • 2 0
 @banzonam: DVOs spare parts are crazy expensive though.

F.ex. Shock body 95€s, while a RS Monarchs is 30€
  • 3 1
 The problem with doing service yourself isn't just "being uncomfortable". Its the time investment required. Thats time which could be spent riding, or which just isn't available in between job/family/social activities.

Having a service point where one can drop of the fork (or better the whole bike) and pick it up fully serviced a few days later, is such a huge advantage.
  • 3 0
 @Ttimer: I guess it depends how skilled you are and what you need to do. For me and some basic service e.g. lower legs, it's much quicker to do the job at home and just go ride than to go to a shop, drop the bike there, wait for several days until it's ready and then go pick it up again...
  • 1 0
 @alexsin: when you ride a lot that’s not really an option. I’m half way through the 125hrs for my fox shock and had it done in early April. And that’s without riding at WBP.
  • 1 0
 Dunbar Cycles can take care of your RockShox stuff, including full services. A lot of bike shops also have a relationship with Fluid Function and will ship on your behalf. I think SRAM also just opened a service centre in the lower mainland. It will deal with shops on though, but still closer than Squamish.
  • 1 0
 @JohSch: That may be, but you can still do that work at home versus having a shop do it, which was my main thought. DVO probably doesn't have the economies of scale for those spare parts like RS. MRP parts/seals are a little more expensive, too, but I appreciate their small company support.
  • 3 0
 @banzonam: it's made by Suntour, world's biggest bike suspension manufacturer and shares almost all parts with the Triair
  • 20 1
 "It doesn't matter all that much which fork you buy" ohhh boyyyyy
  • 15 0
 I suspect part of the answer is the outrageous price charged for seal kits. A couple of rubber seals, foam rings and washers is £30. If it cost £3 I would be surprised. Yes I expect them to make a profit but if ask the marketing bs about caring about the customer and the green agenda then why are they so expensive
  • 5 0
 Couldn't agree more. While I understand the business model from the manufacturers to get people to shops to service the suspension components in the end it's a disservice to the 'DIY' types that want to do the right thing, but also aware of costs (hence DIY). Even at 10 EUR/USD/GBP (whatever), the seller would make a handsome profit per unit on a service kit, if anything, a higher overall profit based on a massive increase in sales volume, and we'd have happier customers on the trail.

Their suspension components would also last longer. Wait a minute...
  • 16 4
 Service kits - I did a lower leg on my fork this weekend. But I cleaned, flushed and re-used the foam rings - which I think might date to about 2017 or 18 when I last paid for a service, before I learnt to do it myself. And I've got a 5L bottle of the correct spec oil from Halfords. Unless Rockshox keep track of how many times I check the website to find out how many ml of oil to put in, they will have no idea about my sevicing.
  • 3 2
 Original rockshox Totems. Already done, didn't work then because of shit seals; but I've been using the same set of seals on my MY 2020 fox forks through 4 services and they still keep the dirt out, so maybe now is the time.
  • 1 0
 @Bahh: At some point it's not about just keeping the dirt out, but also largely about running smoothly. Old seals get worn, the surface gets (microscopically) rougher, stiction goes up. Keeping the oil fresh keeps the bearing surfaces clean and happy, but keeping the seals fresh not only assists the oil in its job by keeping the dirt out, but it also does that while minimizing friction.
  • 8 1
 Out of curiosity,
Why do you continue to re-use the cheapest replacement part?
What are you using to clean and flush the foam rings?
You’d be spending more time and money to re-use a part that is breaking down over time. Any corrosive solvent used to “clean and flush” is breaking down the open cell foam, which would be degrading its ability to retain the oil that you’re putting back on.

I can see re-using a seal, assuming it’s clean, and re-greased, but it too will degrade in its ability to “seal” allowing further contaminants into your fork.
  • 3 0
 @onawalk: by cheapest replacement part you mean $60? I reuse them because the sealing edge is fine and new seals=break in period.

WD40 cleans foam rings without swell.
As I said, oil is clean when it comes out. Am I using a particle analyser? No, but it looks clean to the naked eye.
  • 5 0
 @Bahh: sorry boss, my comment was meant for the OP that stated they cleaned and re-used foam rings. Which are pennies, compared to the seals.

As a side note, WD-40 is not great to i]use on foam, as it degrades the foam, there by decreasing it’s ability to soak, and retain the oil that you’re soaking it in.

It then also contaminants that oil, and takes up space that could be used to hold oil.
Just a tip, use as you see fit.
  • 6 0
 Interesting assumption that your fork will just feel better after a service, the damper can with new oil, but different brands have widely different viscosities for the same 'oil weight'. I also find quite often new oil seals in the legs can be tighter and create a bit more friction, overall I generally dont notice much difference at all after I service my forks.
  • 7 0
 One of the many reasons why I went coil with my fork this summer. Will still service it, but won't fret over it as much as an air one.
  • 2 1
 I'm leaning this way myself, more and more.
  • 3 2
 The service mentioned here applies to coil forks and shocks as well. If the Ohlins guys said they just don't sell as many air spring service kits as air forks, then the coil argument would make sense. But they were talking about things common to all forks: dust/oil seals and (implied) bath oil. Damper service and air spring service are pretty different animals, with sometimes* larger maintenance windows.

*(Fox has everything: spring, damper, wipers, oil; at 125 hours, but it's really the wipers and oil that you'll notice that soon)
  • 1 0
 very true, smashpot conversion holds so much damn oil you might need to service it once a decade!
  • 1 0
 @justinfoil: Coil forks typically work for longer than air forks without a noticeable degradation in performance, in my past experience. I've found modern air forks can start to feel sticky even before the recommended service intervals.
  • 1 0
 @chakaping: That's on the air spring then, since the wiper seals are _the same_. My point still stands: Ohlin said they weren't selling many wiper kits, implying people weren't doing even lower leg service, let alone air spring rebuilds.

I've found modern air springs stay fresh longer than wiper seals, though that also may depend on where you're riding since the wipers have to deal with external contamination, not just the sliding wear.
  • 5 0
 In my experience there is an alarming number of people who don’t understand how their suspension works, what advantages it can provide, or how to tune it.
“Have you set up the suspension on your new bike?”
“Oh they did that at the shop”
“Uh huh….”

How would they ever know it’s not working properly? Hahaha
  • 2 0
 I wonder how many Friday Fails are due to improper suspension setup?
  • 3 1
 Counterpoint: I know how my suspension works to a reasonable degree. However, the last thing I wanna do is talk to random bike dorks with who-knows-what actual skills or experience about a topic as complex and nuanced as suspension. Hence when asked I'll aways say "Huh, nah I dunno aye I just ride it".

hah ha ha indeed.
  • 2 0
 @dirtyburger: hahaha OK. i feel ya. To be fair, I don't ask random bike dorks. For example I ask my mostly roadie friends when they drop serious bank on an Ibis with full fox factor. Because I want them to love MTB more and ride more trails with me and I know a crappy suspension set up turns people off to trails. Or when I see friends get bucked over the handle bars on a small jump. "may want to turn that rebound down a pinch on the rear"
  • 5 0
 coming from a guy who works in a bike shop, working on suspension, people don't do service intervals. Now, obviously this is a blanket statement, and there are people who keep up with manufacturer recommendations, but as a whole, people basically don't get their suspension serviced, unless there's something wrong with it (assuming it's wrong enough that they notice, or care)
  • 6 0
 If you have Zeb ultimate you cannot find a service kit for love nor money in Canada - and you are restricted from buying it outside Canada and having it shipped.
  • 1 0
 Wait, what? Why can’t you ship it in? What about NAFTA?? lol
  • 9 0
 No need for the service kit. Properly clean and re-use the foam rings and seals. Fresh oil and grease is what really makes the difference.
  • 1 0
 @islandforlife: pull the lower off a Zeb ultimate the other day. The amount of friction in the damper was crazy..
  • 1 0
 @gnarlysipes: SRAM's own price fixing by market. Same as Shimano not allowing EU retailers to ship to NA
  • 7 0
 @somebody-else: FYI the purpose of a damper in a fork is to generate heat and friction. I know that's probably not the type of friction you were referring to, but generally speaking I'm counting on a lot of friction in my fork's damper.
  • 4 0
 @TEAM-ROBOT: New product available now from my garage: pre-dirtied wipers with extra stiction to make up for under-damped forks. I'll even sell you my old oil for even more frictions!
  • 1 1
 @islandforlife: I agree. Do you have any suggestions for replacement or alternative crush washers? I'm unable to find any of the larger ones with the lip - the smaller ones are easier to find
  • 1 0
 @gnarlysipes: Nope, cross border shipping of the SRAM stuff is not allowed
  • 1 0
 @stuie321: I don't think they have a lip when new, pretty sure that only happens after use.
  • 1 0
 @stuie321: I just reuse them... has always worked out just fine.
  • 1 0
 @islandforlife: Recipe for leakage eventually. I have also re-used them, usually flipping them over to crush the other side, but it often ends up with a little oil seepage around the washer. So when I saw a 10 pack for like 12 bucks, I grabbed the bunch and then never again worried about compromising with re-use.
  • 1 0
 @justinfoil: yep, good point, I’ll usually re-use them once and by that time it will likely be time for a full kit anyway.
  • 4 1
 THIS!
Better material doesn't make you a better rider. (It does sometimes help, though, I admit)
More adjustability, doesn't mean it works better if you don't know how to adjust it.
You need to know what the adjuster knob does and understand how it will change the feel/reaction of the suspension BEFORE you turn it. (Like you know beforehand that the music will get louder, when you turn the volume knob in the "+" direction)
  • 6 6
 I feel like less adjustability would be better for us all. Just watch a couple episodes of dialed, not even half the pros know what they are doing when it comes to setup lol. I have a Zeb R and couldn't be more pleased with it's simplicity
  • 4 0
 Just knowing what something does doesn't mean you also know how it should be set. In other words, louder is not always better.
  • 5 0
 @CFR94: Luckily your weight and riding match up with your fork's presets. For those outside the presets, an R only fork might never feel good no matter how much spring tweaking that goes on. More adjustability is good because riders are not all the same.

Even if there are more knobs, it doesn't mean you have to touch them. If you don't care, just leave them in the middle, or even better, match the presets chart that comes with the fork or shock. The second option means those riders that don't slot right into the middle of the bell curve still get a more ideal setting, even if they're not going full tweak and doing bracketing and all that jazz.
  • 4 7
 @justinfoil: but if you weigh more or less adjust your air pressure and rebound accordingly. We all think we "need" all this stuff when we don't.
  • 5 0
 @CFR94: I needed it bc I had a chronic muscle inflammation in my right arm for years.
I'd argue there is nothing worse to ruin your ride than a shitty fork you can not adjust, speaking from experience there.
If you are happy with the base model, I'm happy for you, but you cannot know what I need or want.
Your fork is the second most important thing on your bike, right after tires. So make sure it suits your needs.
  • 2 0
 @CFR94: If you weigh more and ride hard, just upping the pressure isn't the whole solution. At 110+ kilos kitted up and a smashy ride style, I _need_ more compression damping than a typical R-only fork, otherwise I'd need pressure so high that comfort and low-speed traction would be severely compromised. I've tried both ways, so I don't just "think" I "need" this, I _know_ I do, otherwise I can't ride the way I want to.

Thing is, beyond the cost, for someone who doesn't need that extra damping there is no downside. They set it to the middle or follow the chart and continue on.

And yes, I _can_ ride with a basic damper that I'm way outside of the tuning window on, but it's not ideal and is just one more thing I need to think about: more instances of "oh, I'd better slow down before that hit or I'm gonna bottom out and then get tossed on the next hit".
  • 1 0
 @whoopsy: Nailed it!
  • 1 0
 @justinfoil: True, that is why the second part of the sentence, says "and understand how it will change the feel/reaction (edit: characteristics) of the suspension" ;-)
The volume comparison was just a metaphor. Or course, louder doesn't always mean better. But the point is, that everyone knows what's going to happen if the knob is turned in a certain direction, before it's turned.
If someone doesn't know what it does, that someone either needs to educate her/himself, or get suspension with fewer dials on it.
If that someone then complains about the suspension not behaving as one likes it to, then back to step one: educate yourself and get either the adjustments dialled in correctly, or get a different suspension product that suits the needs.
  • 1 0
 @Morrrice: Except you don't need to know how the knob will effect the suspension, you just need to know which way you turned it and how far, so you can go back. In fact it might be better to not know, then you can just turn it, try it, and judge the effect more subjectively, less placebo effect from knowing the intended result. Turn, try, judge, repeat until it feels the best.

One doesn't need less dials if they don't know what they all do. There is always the option to just leave them in the middle, or just follow the preset charts, the latter being especially useful for riders on either side of the weight bell curve.

You also don't necessarily need to educate yourself or get a different product if things aren't behaving ideally. You can just turn dials a bit at a time, trying each setting, and judge them as subjectively as possible. Again, it might be better to not know, since even if you know the expected result of each dial, you really don't know how much each click will have an effect until you try it out, so it's always better to go into the dialing in process without expectations and just judge each test on its own.
  • 4 0
 argh....I know I need to do it but.....LBS is too busy to do fork service, I'm worried if I do it I'll f' it up, and if I send it off to FOX for service I'll be without the bike for a month [the horror]....
  • 3 0
 send it to someone who can do it quicker duh
  • 13 5
 It’s a one beer job. About as easy at it gets.
  • 11 1
 Seal/oil change is vastly easy, just try it
  • 6 0
 Give it a go man. Youtube is a treasure trove of information and the overall process is extremely easy. Just keep a lot of towels and a bucket, you're bound to spill some stuff the first time. Otherwise it is a pretty painless job and working on your own stuff can be quite satisfying. You can even help your buddies out once you get the hang of it.
  • 18 0
 @wyorider: Drink faster
  • 6 0
 @nskerb @wyorider @hi-dr-nick ...alright, going to give it a go if its that easy
  • 2 0
 Purely anecdotal, but I had Fox do a full service + rebound knob/shaft replacement in April, and the turnaround was less than a week. You do have to schedule a date a few weeks in advance, but as long as they have the fork in hand on that date they turn it around in days, not weeks.

Or, use the situation to get closer to the ideal number of bikes, N+1!
  • 1 0
 @SATN-XC: yeah it's really not that bad
  • 4 0
 FOX has set up a service scheduling system that seems to work pretty well. Your appt may be a few weeks out, but you don't have to send your stuff in until your appt comes. This way you aren't down for a month.
  • 1 0
 @wyorider: Dude, what is the size of this beer you keep talking about? Wait, it's a growler. Never mind.
  • 2 0
 @wyorider: sounds like you drink too slowly...
  • 2 0
 @SATN-XC: Go for it! One thing I learned the hard way is to read the instructions/watch the videos all the way through at least one BEFORE you start to make sure you have all the tools and supplies you need.
  • 4 0
 @swansong: RS on the other hand has had my shock (full 200 hour service) for 6 weeks and has given no indication of when I might get it back. Shop couldn't get the parts.
  • 2 1
 Just buy a second fork off of PB, then you can always have a fork while the other one is serviced. Especially if you want to try to see how other forks feel
  • 3 0
 @swansong: Yep, this is why I have two full squishers. I can take my sweet time fixing one while I keep riding the other.
  • 2 0
 It is intimidating at first but it's actually an easy job if you have the right tools and follow the directions. Check out the manufacturers website, print out the pamphlet and you are good to go. There are multiple videos on youtube if you learn better this way.

These products are all serviceable by the home, DIY mechanic. You can get all the tools, replacement bits and fluids for roughly the same cost or less then if you paid the shop for one single service. Even if you break something, most individual parts are easy to replace, plus you get the added bonus of having the learning experience.

To be honest I don't know how people aren't independent with their own maintenance. Yeah it can be stressful to learn if your not mechanically oriented ( I wasn't before I put in the time to learn), but it saves so much money and you get to ride way more because your bike isn't parked in the back of some LBS waiting for the staff to get around to it.
  • 2 3
 @pbuser2299: 1 beer means 30-45 minutes. Sorry about your drinking problem bro......
  • 1 0
 Send it on over to my bike shop. We have experience with lower leg services. We're also right in California. Hit me up in PMs.
  • 4 0
 I had a fox 32 I bought used, ended up running the rebound full fast and it was still too slow. Changed / added lower leg oil, and new seals, ended up in the middle of the range. Makes a huge difference
  • 2 1
 If a lower service and seals effected your rebound that was one dirty fork
  • 5 2
 Riding whistler everyday in the peak of summer I do lower oil and clean every 3-4weeks. It’s a piece of cake and takes less than 30mins. I once took them to Vorsprung in 2016 and they put the spring in upside down and jammed up the top bearing. Totally lost confidence in ‘experts’ after that. Don’t get me started……
  • 1 0
 vorsprung messed it up?!
  • 10 0
 @crazy9 sorry to hear we let you down, certainly not the experience we want to give customers!
  • 6 1
 I'd service my fork more often if Fox would sell crush washers for a reasonable price so I didnt have to buy a complete service kit to change the oil every 50hrs...
  • 1 0
 I got a 10 pack a while back, it's not impossible to find.
  • 2 0
 The fox 8mm crush washers can be substituted with the 8.2mm SRAM washers. Not sure on the 10mm though, my forks are 8mm on both sides. Some have an 8mm and 10mm.
  • 2 0
 Correction: fox 8.2mm for RS 8mm. 100% works both directions though
  • 1 0
 @AccidentalDishing:

13mm for the Fox damper side washers.

Though 32 forks used to, and might still, use 8.2mm washers on both sides. And Talas springs used a metal 8.2mm OD washer, which you'll still find in the seal kits.
  • 3 1
 Well, this article is a bit too generic. For instance, damper knobs have more or less range depending on damper type, especially for monotube dampers there are quite basic. The only adjustment that really works on all dampers is the LSR. For LSC you can have like LSR, IFP pressure and the very LSC needle which all influence the LSC ... HSC/R on monotube dampers is really controlled by shimstack so ... yes, to adjust it you do exactly that, change shimstack. Why Ohlins enginners say otherwise? Simple, they do not use monotube dampers ... And we did not even start talking about HSR/HSC adjustment which are typically not what you would think.
So, maybe if you have Ohlins or CCDB or FOx X2 the best way for 99% ot the time is to use knobs. And of course you should always start from them. But having a monotube you are very likely to benefit from changing shimstack, and btw this is something that your bike manufacturer should have cared in the first place, but often they just pick a random stock tune and call it a day.
  • 6 1
 I think you have misunderstood. I think what TJ was getting at is that many people go for a "custom tune" cos it sounds cool, when they don't need one at all, they just need to find a good setting using the adjusters. If that setting cant be found using the external controls, or is near one of the extreme ends, this is when you should start considering a "custom" internal tune.

Tuning rebound straight out of the box makes sense, as the rebound works directly against the (known) springrate. However tuning the compression side of things before you have even ridden the bike is just a waste of time and money. Problem is people hear the word custom and get all excited...
  • 3 0
 @gabriel-mission9: I think that the problem with tuning is that it's had to be done right without telemetry or at least a dyno. Tuning it by riding is the simplest and the hardest way, there are lots and lots of combinations. You can have stiffer spring and less damping, you can have softer spring and more damping, you can have less/more lcs/hsc. The rebound is also not that simple as it may influence the compressions and this zeta = 0.7 is also a kind of compromise, no one said that this is the best for everyone. So to sum up, you need to check lots of settings and spend a lot and I mean a lot of time on the same part of trail trying to compare things. And at the end of a day it may occur that that particular damper will never work with your frame properly.
  • 2 0
 @lkubica: And for heavier riders needing more compression damping, even when you have high speed compression adjusters, these increase the preload on the shims. This gives a threshold feel, which feels spikey/shitty in most scenarios. Better to have a stiffer unpreloaded stack than a softer preloaded stack.
  • 2 0
 This is why I really like SR suntour's lube ports, that ability to put few drops of oil straight into the foam rings without removing lowers and to easily improve performance, that's something I'd prefer over the air release button which Fox has and which you can do anyway with a zip tie. Otherwise there is always some time to give a care so my fork feels and goes like fresh.
  • 2 0
 I had a brand new Fox 38, rode like cardboard. Sent it in to my local shop, had them service it. Threw it back on the bike, “now this is what I’m talking about!” So yeah, servicing matters, unfortunately even on a brand new fork
  • 4 0
 I’m shocked at the Ohkins service kit to fork sale ratio but this article has some forking great advice.
  • 1 1
 If you've owned one then you'd understand. They feel good way past service times. I did mine yearly even though it didn't feel any different from brand new.
  • 3 0
 further to this if its a result of weight id happily take the hit of an extra 200-300g if it means signifcantly longer service intervals.
  • 1 0
 One of the reasons I have 2,5kg Lyric with Smashpot and open bath Avy damper... The other being performance of course.
  • 1 0
 The problem with optimization of settings, for me, is that it is always a compromise. WC DH Pros will spend a lot of time figuring out the optimum settings for a 4 minute bit of track that does not even include climbing. My typical rides are hours with ups and downs. I can find the settings that are best for brake bumps. Or for jumps. Or for tech climbs, or for... Whatever. And in any of these settings I can still ride all the other stuff. So I just pick one compromise and leave it at that.
  • 1 0
 Not just seal kits. I had regular 50 hour services done for 3 years on my Bomber Z1, but neglected the full teardown 100 hour service. Finally got the 100 hour done this year at SuspensionWerx on the North Shore (you guys rock!) and it's a night and day difference.

Also loving the tractive tune I got from Vorsprung Suspension on my Rockshox Superdeluxe and send that to them every year for a full service. If you're riding 1-2 days a week all summer long and are an intermediate rider or above, getting your suspension serviced properly is a must!
  • 1 0
 But why do you want such a balanced system anyways?

I started running my Trek Remedy with 15% sag in the back and 23-26% up front. I have never looked back since. Having a stiff rear end can be a blessing on a lot of tracks, escpecially if your bb doesnt sit low enough or your head angle is too steep.
  • 1 0
 I disagree.

"But I think that's bad advice because if your fork hasn't had a service for years, there'll be so much friction in the system that it will dominate the damping. And so the damper settings you'll want after the service will be very different to those that worked best beforehand. Otherwise, the reduced friction will make it feel too soft and too lively."

If you find you're wanting to start tweaking a dialled fork or shock on your local trails, don't. A sure sign you need to service it. Especially if you're backing the damping off.
  • 4 0
 So what you're saying is.. ride a hardtail.
  • 3 0
 That's what she said
  • 1 0
 Even better ride a fully rigid bike. I've just resurrected my rigid Krampus while i've been rebuilding my FS bike. Man what a blast. You can't be more underbiked than rigid. Also there's no suspension maintenence.
  • 7 7
 I have a Pike (bought used) that I've thrashed for years, haven't serviced it once, still feels better than 90% of the other forks I've ridden. I know I'm lucky, but at least one time RS made a service free fork. Can they make a dedicated line of service free forks? Maybe.
  • 8 0
 It only feels "better" because you're used to it. It's definitely not objectively "better" in all the ways one would measure fork performance.
  • 1 1
 well i serviced my 98 Monster T last year and it sure needed it. Oil came out as grey sludge. Its a Monster T so no damage at all to bushings, seals and dust seals. I did replace seals, and now 1 year later im going to do another service to it before the summer and dust time. Old girl is still fresh as ever and if you have the arms, it takes it all!
  • 7 0
 That grey sludge was ground up aluminium that has worn off the un-anodized damper internals on older marzos. Please service the fork more often if you want it to last.
I too own a Monster T. It is worth keeping them in good condition, they are f*cking cool forks Smile
  • 3 0
 @gabriel-mission9: that was when i got her... First thing i did was that service. From then on i only ride it about 1 or 2 times per month. I changed springs last month and the oil is still good from that service, but im doing on next month to have it like new for thr summer. its this bike.... www.pinkbike.com/photo/22580782
  • 3 3
 Green SKF seals... Can't say it enough... They best seals around, just make sure to put them into the lowers with a little rubbing alcohol, grease after install. Keeps em in place better, the can sometimes wiggle back out after a fresh install.
  • 8 0
 The "best seals around" don't stay seated? That's not "best".
  • 2 0
 Out of curiosty does anyone know the service life on moto forks for comparison ive always felt the service intervals for bike suspension has always been super short
  • 1 0
 Just a quick google and it looks to be the same or less. Depends if you're talking about a street bike or a motocross bike. 50 hours is a lot of riding. kontrolsuspension.com/service-schedule
Generally I do a minimum of one lower leg service per year. Winter is good for that.
It's easy enough. Complete strip and rebuild once every two seasons.
  • 3 0
 serviced a 90's marzocchi. it fit like legos. if a 13 year old can do it, so can you!
  • 2 0
 So does this mean that manufacturers will magically stop forgetting the "basics" of getting bushings that are sized properly now after 20 years?
  • 1 0
 My service schedule is:
seals once a year, foam rings clean em' once in between the full seals, but change that oil as often as I can remember, try and do that quarterly. It works for me, keeping the oil fresh and clean.
  • 21 22
 Why do I have to disassemble my fork to put fresh oil in the lowers? If someone will make a fork that I can just thread in a syringe, and suck all the old oil out, and put in new oil - I'll buy it. Totally worth it for the effort it will take me on servicing it.
  • 27 2
 Dropping the lowers is a one beer job, and means you get all the dirt/dirty oil out.
  • 3 0
 While thats a good start, i think the trickle down effect is people would be less likely to clean/change dust seals and clean any of the migrated dirt out. So while it might make the bushings feel smother, it might also be wearing the sagged area of the stanchions worse. Then again if a user isnt doing any lower service already, they also arent doing seels so its not making it worse for the neglectful owner? With a fork still on the bike a lower service is still only a 30 minute job. It feels longer to get the tools and oils out and clean up than the service itself.
  • 4 1
 What Snow guy said, oil is probably the smallest part. Seals and rings are more important.
  • 6 9
 You are living in the year 2035. This is the best idea I have seen on PB in a long time.
  • 8 0
 back in the day with open bath and semi open bath designs, once a year me and the lads would just unthread the bottom nut and pour out all the muddy oil, cycle and shake to get out all the drips, then refill with ATF. No disassembly required (we were dumb/poor college kids)
  • 3 8
flag hi-dr-nick (May 24, 2022 at 8:08) (Below Threshold)
 You should be changing seals when you change your oil anyway so what’s the point?
  • 6 0
 @wyorider: Yes and no. For me, by the time I get my shop all prepped, remove the brake caliper, and considering all the cleanup I have to do afterwards and reinstalling the brake caliper - it ends up taking about an hour. I still do it after every 10 - 15 rides. If I could do it in 5 minutes with a syringe, it would be a major time savings for me.
  • 13 0
 Dear aftermarket: please sell a package of foam rings at an affordable price please. In my experience the seals last a lot longer than the foam rings And don’t need to be replaced every service.
  • 1 0
 @PHX77: get some Amazon knock-offs.
  • 2 1
 @aireeek: 10-15 rides?! Are you changing oil every two weeks?

Good on ya I guess!
  • 2 0
 EXT actually has a procedure for this that they just call a quick lube and is essentially just an oil change that you drain the fluid and replace it. It is not meant to do instead of full lower service but it can spread them out a little further.
  • 4 0
 @PHX77: You can buy them on Aliexpress - you can get them for almost nothing. I buy them for less than $1 each.
  • 1 0
 @notsosikmik: Interesting, I'm going to check into this. I've got a reason to upgrade now!
  • 4 0
 @hi-dr-nick: That's because some recommended service intervals are synchronized and/or extended for convenience. It would be ideal to change bath oil more frequently than the recommended interval.

Imagine having a syringe that you kept loaded with bath oil. Unscrew a drain plug to drain most of the existing bath oil, tighten the screw, attach the syringe, and push in a few mL of oil. The whole process might take five minutes and would extend the service intervals of the seals and foam rings. It would be the suspension equivalent of lubing a chain.
  • 4 0
 @aireeek: Instead of removing the caliper, just unclamp the lever from the bars, and ziptie the entire front brake system to the lowers. That way, you won't have to disturb your hard-won caliper/disc centering.

Also, no chance of losing that little tiny hose clamp screw!
  • 1 0
 @hellanorcal: There is more chance of contaminating the brake pads. I wish the brake adapters had accessible bolt so it would be simpler. The old IS mounts were good that way, I'm not sure the change was for the better.
  • 1 0
 @PHX77: How exactly are you wearing out foam rings? Why would they need replacing more often than the seals?
  • 1 0
 @justinfoil: They deteriorate faster than the seals and they are cheap, so why not?
  • 1 0
 @justinfoil: Maybe it’s just because I live in the desert but mine are always chock-full of dirt and I’m not sure if I want that rubbing against the stanchion. It’s also near impossible to get out in my experience but I’m open to suggestions and techniques
  • 1 0
 @hellanorcal: Wow. This is actually a really good idea. Can't believe I never thought of this.
  • 2 0
 @PHX77: If the rings are full of dirt, then that dirt went through the wipers, so the wipers probably need replacing too. Maybe if you did change the wipers more often, the foam rings would stay cleaner longer.
  • 1 0
 @Joecx: Deteriorate? They're not a wear part, they just hold oil near the top so it can drip down to that top bushing. If they're dirty, then the wipers are letting in the dirt, and that means the wipers need replacing. That's why the kits come with both: because if the rings are dirty then it's time for new seals; and you said, the rings are cheap so might as well replace them with the wipers.
  • 1 0
 @Joecx: re: risking contaminating brake pads by just removing the lever but not the caliper, you can also remove the pads but leave the caliper attached to the fork. So you retain the alignment, but the pads aren't in the path of any oil.
  • 2 0
 Take the pads out mate @Joecx:
  • 1 0
 is a grip2 damper the same as a grip damper but with the ability to adjust the high speed rebound compression or is it a totally different damper?
  • 1 0
 Yes.

Grip2 not only has external adjustments for HSC and HSR, but those valves are a slightly different design to allow that adjustment. I think plain Grip also kinda combines HSC and LSC into that one blue dial, but not 100% sure on that, yet. The rest of each damper is pretty similar to each other
  • 1 0
 @justinfoil: so the factory-set hsc and hsr on the grip might might be somewhere near the middle of the grip2 range and in theory you could adjust the grip2 to basically land on the exact same damper settings that you get from the grip as standard.
  • 1 0
 @twonsarelli: I would assume so, but I've never dynoed them to be sure.
  • 1 0
 @twonsarelli: Turning the compression dial on GRIP is the same as turning the HSC adjust on the original GRIP2. There's no low speed bleed on GRIP.


The current GRIP2 has a totally different HSC design.
  • 1 0
 @PhillipJ: Pretty sure GRIP does indeed have a low speed bleed adjustment. There is a "comp needle" attached to the knob clearly visible in the parts diagrams, as well as a part called "damping adj part: hat preload comp". I think turning the GRIP knob both closes that free-bleed (low-speed) needle and adds preload to the shim stack (mid/high-speed).

You are correct that GRIP 2.1* has a different HSC adjustment mechanism (VVC) from the first GRIP2 (preload hat), though the result from each knob is still functionally similar.

* (it's stupid that the GRIP2 (2019-2020) with VVC on just HSR and the GRIP2 (2021+) with VVC on HSR _and_ HSC are both simply called "GRIP2", so I call the dual-VVC one "2.1")
  • 1 0
 125 hours now, used to be 50 iirc. I guess 125 is probably closer to what people were actually doing.
  • 1 0
 Or there have been advancements in materials and/or further testing done, allowing optimum performance for a longer timeframe.
  • 1 0
 @justinfoil: It's probably both Wink
  • 1 0
 Service kits are very hard to find these days, after this article, good luck!
  • 1 0
 Ehh this is very fork-dependent. Fox 36 kits are very easy to source at the moment and it's such a straightforward job. The DPX2 is a little more finicky to service in my experience but that's just because I think shocks are filled with the same voodoo as automatic transmissions
  • 2 0
 @sjma: DPX2 might be the easiest shock to service, because you don't need shaft clamps!

Some crow's feet for good torques (or knipex if your internal click is good), couple chamferless sockets (or knipex again), and then the bullet is the only really custom tool (and 3d-printed options can be found from a variety of places).

Well, besides the nitrogen fill process, but the secret is that an X2 (pre-2021 only, I think) IPF fill valve fits on the DPX2 resi so you can ditch the nitrogen and just use a shock pump for easy home rebuilds.
  • 2 0
 Putting this memorial here for the Zeb owners.
  • 1 0
 My 2008 Fox RL80 should be serviced? I've been riding it since without apparent issue.
  • 3 0
 80mm fork? You could be forgiven for not noticing when it seizes completely!
  • 1 0
 @AndrewHornor: you very likely have a point.
  • 1 0
 I've been putting off servicing my 2019 Pike (it has never been serviced) for no discernible reason. I need to get on that.
  • 1 0
 Lyrik fork seals have been out of stock for months...proper timing to post this. haha
  • 1 0
 Can a home mechanic perform a COIL service? Or do you need a facy bleed tool?
  • 1 0
 as a recently employed service tech, i confirm this to be true lol. Regular lowers servicing at home pays off loads :-)
  • 1 1
 Chappetta should show us how to service that fork in her tent. Now that would be something to see.
  • 2 1
 That would be intense
  • 1 0
 Seb Stott's tech articles are so freakin' interesting
  • 1 0
 Get the MegNeg air can!!!
  • 9 11
 Service your fork once a year at most anything else is nonsense purely placebo
  • 4 2
 little boy blue, you have no clue ;-)
  • 2 0
 That completely depends on how much you're riding? Someone riding 6 days a week for 3 hours (let's say 45 min of actual riding/hammering on suspension time). Throw a couple shuttle/park days in there and you'll theoretically need a service every 10 or so weeks. I would say that is excessive, but many of the people that I know riding that often are servicing forks 3+ times a year, over a couple different bikes. Once a year might be enough if you're not riding that much, but it makes a huge difference when your stuff is blown.
  • 4 0
 Say what?! I'm guessing you're one of those guys who's bike is clapped out and doesn't know any different.
  • 3 0
 @Superbikeboy: How much you're riding, how you ride, where you ride, what weather you ride in, how much you weigh, whether you have mudguards, how often you clean your bike...
  • 1 0
 Sorry dude this is comment is not directed at you but a lot of people say that. This is totally false. Ok if you ride minimally yes, but there are a lot of riders here who ride almost daily most or all of the year. It totally makes a difference. I can literally feel the performance of the fork is off around 60-80hrs of riding. After the maintenance the small bump compliance and plushness is totally refreshed and you get a new fork or shock again.
  • 2 0
 @MT36: also, using the bike regularly means all of the internals of the fork/shock get oil and lubrication moved throughout them constantly, which is good for them
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