Forks and Shocks – how often do you *really* service them?

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  • Forks and Shocks – how often do you *really* service them?
  • allaprima

    How often does everyone actually get their forks/shocks serviced? At £85 per fork/shock “per year” (as recommended by Manitou) this is a killer service program to keep going.

    I emailed Manitou who also say that my inactivity on my full suss (been off it for about a year plus) is worse than riding it – eh??

    Are there actually any fit and forget forks/shocks? Are we just playing into the manfacturer’s hands? When do you know it’s REALLY time for a service – and is it ever too late???


    Premier Icon nickc

    I go for the once a year approach. The fork was expensive, why wouldn’t I look after it?

    Premier Icon Northwind

    I just serviced my old Revs for the first time, 3 years old now and constantly used, through winter as well. Stanchions are absolutely mint, seals all good enough to reuse, lovely. Could have just ignored them for another couple of years I reckon.


    It really boils down to more than miles.
    The type of miles, the conditions you ride in..

    My pal near killed a set of recons with the salt off roads despite regular servicing. Just depends where you ride and how much.


    Toras here, three years use, never touched them.


    probably once a year, in the spring, then maybe a check over in autumn

    I put more 15wt oil in the lowers every month or so (which you should do anyway, even if you send them to TF/MOJO!)

    Full damper service about once a year. I do this myself so it costs me almost nothing and it really isn’t that hard to do. Bushings get binned whenever they develop play (but you don’t tend to get that in a service)

    Rear shock:
    Do it about once a year, or whenever the Bushings start to go. However now I’ve moved away from Fox stuff to Manitou I’ve started servicing that myself (again, not as difficult as one would think, just needs some mechanical skill and the ability to override the male urge to ignore Destruction manuals).

    Of course these service intervals go out the window as soon as something out the ordinary emerges and it gets fixed (by me where possible) immediately


    Having not kept a bike (addicted to constant up grades) long enough, I haven’t had to get either the forks or rear shock serviced.

    Having said that I now have a bike I intend on keeping for a number of years so I’m going for once a year for a service. Probably after the winter season when they will have taken more punishment so they will be fit for summer.

    I’m thinking that winter conditions will be much harder on them than summer but willing to be corrected on that!?

    I’m of the school of thought that if you look after something it will look after you…..but when money is tight and things like servicing shocks are usually the first thing to be put off.


    When they stop leaking as they have no more to leak?
    Got some ’97 Z1’s I took apart in 2003 just to have a look, fine, still using them, no issues.
    36’s are waiting for the funds to get new seals to keep the oil in.


    I have a hardtail and do my Pikes every so often, basically just replace the oil in the lowers and make sure that the seals are ok, clean the sponges etc… Need to do the motion control bit again at some point though!

    To be fair, I ran my pikes for 6 months without the non-rebound side bolt (so no oil that side!) and they don’t seem to have taken any damage from it. Not clever but re-assuring!

    Premier Icon Coyote

    Hardtail rider here so fork only.

    Oh yeah, the answer… When I feel it needs it.

    Premier Icon epicyclo

    Some forks require servicing every 20 hours.

    *EVERY 30 HOURS OF RIDING: Your fork should be disassembled, inspected, cleaned and re-grease. If the fork appears to be relatively clean, you can go 40 hours between servicing. If the fork appears excessively dirty you should service it every 20 hours. The three things that will effect the service interval and performance of your fork are water, mud and dust. How much you use your fork in those conditions will determine how much service it requires.

    Can just see stopping at the 20 hour mark in a muddy 24 hour to strip and service the forks 🙂

    Andy W

    Not touched my Fox front or rear air shox on my bike thats used in the Peaks all year round, just make sure they are nice and clean and always pop a bit of silicone on the seals after washing

    I also have some RockShox Mag21 SL Ti’s on a 1991 Scott hardtail and they have never been touched also

    Every 2 years unless something unusual happens.

    I serviced my Pikes for the first time after 2 years and they were still nice inside and I ride in some filth.

    Premier Icon Northwind

    epicyclo – Member

    “Some forks require servicing every 20 hours.”

    Fox demand “clean and inspect dust wipers” 15 hours now 😐 And no, it’s not just an external visual inspection as some think, it’s seals and rings lifted, fluids added, etc. And inspect bushings and oil change inc float fluid every 30.


    i remember when stanchions didn’t wear out, what marketing genius dreamt that up?

    Premier Icon epicyclo

    dirtyrider – Member
    i remember when stanchions didn’t wear out, what marketing genius dreamt that up?

    Probably the same one who dreamt up the idea of convincing the lads that rubber gaiters on the forks didn’t look cool.

    I wonder what the service interval is for my On-One carbon forks 🙂

    I do the lowers oil bath change on our rockshoxs every 6 months. It’s a 2 minute job, the forks cost £300-500, why wouldnt you?


    bought my Revs in summer 2008, they desperately needed a service by summer 2010.

    bought my Rebas in 2006, had to buy new Rebas in 2010.



    Every couple of months, but usually in conjuction with fiddling with something else internally 😉

    ubber gaiters on the forks didn’t look cool

    empty the air out of a fork and look how much room there is on the stanchions, it’ll be 2-3mm i.e. no room for gaitors! The lowers are longer than they used to be to make the fork stiffer.

    Unless theres play in the bushings, or an oil leak, all you need to do is change the oil in lowers and damper. Its very easy, hardest part is making sure you get the right amount in there.


    How easy are fox forks ands shocks to service? I’ve only had the bike a year and as it’s a race/nice bike I don’t often ride it through really bad conditions as I take my singlespeed.

    My revelations have just been service for the second time in 3 years. The first was under warranty as they started to leak around the motion control. This time I just took the lowers off, gave everything a wipe and put them back together with fresh oil etc. IT was rediculaously easy, 30 minutes following the instructions being very cautious. Under 15 minutes next time. I think I’ll be doing it every month or so over winter.

    I serviced my MX comps once in 4 years. Oil change, dead easy. Open bath, lots of oil meant they were reliable, not the case anymore. MY revs take 15ml in each leg and were virtually dry in 6 months.

    Someone was saying that the MArzocchi 44s come with a 3 year no service warranty?


    I mostly do my own becasue it’s easy and cheap. Just changing the damping oil and lubricating oil in the lower legs makes a noticeable difference to the feel of the fork. Same for the rear shock: A quick aircan service and I can feel the extra smoothness.

    As for professional servicing, I’ve discoverd that in general, a RS fork will go a bit loose on the bushes fairly quickly – 3-8 months or so. Then I send them off to TFT, they’ll resize the bushes as part of a service and they come back like new. I found this only really ever needs doing the once. Once the fork has bedded in and the bushings resized they seem to go on forever without it needing to be done again, as long as I keep changing the oils now and a gain. I do it once or twice a year, or before a trip to the Alps etc.

    I’ve never had any big problems with any of my forks (1x Rebas, 1x Recons, 2x Pikes, 1x Lyriks, 1x Fox 32 Vanillas) the worst being damping oil leaking on my lasty set of Pikes. I sourced some O rings for a couple of quid and fixed them myself.

    It sees RS and Fox forks are generally well built and last very well if looked after.

    My Vanillas get the most use and at about 3 years old are now showing a bit of stanchion wear, but I’ve only fully serviced them once in that time (Naughty I know!) and it’s not affecting them at all that I can see or feel, so I’ll carry on using them until they die. I have no reason to think they won’t last me another 2-3 years.



    Never serviced my Fox 90RLs in three years and around 7000 miles. Stanchions are completely knackered – DOH!

    So new forks on the way (SIDs). Not sure if servicing would have helped or not?!

    Try and look after my bikes so think I need to work out how to do DIY fork servicing. Is it possible on SIDs? One thing that put me off servicing the Fox forks is that they need sending off and cost a bomb to look at – and you are “bikeless” for at least a week.

    The SIDs appeal because servicing options seem better – I may be wrong though?!

    Anyway CRC saying they have been sent (last night) so hopefully getting them tomorrow.

    Ever so slightly excited…

    Premier Icon binners

    I’ve just this minute had the damage report from the LBS on my RS Revs. EEK! New motion control. New compression unit. Its going to cost a fair old wack.

    Oh well…. Its their first service in 18 months though. And to be fair I’ve treated them with the love and respect you’d normally reserve only for a ginger stepchild.

    And they’ll be like new when i get them back. I’ve even got some new stickers to neaten them up. Sorted

    When I get round to it.
    Service my own forks, so usually around 6 months.
    Rear shocks, when I’ve got nothing better to do it’s a 5 min job to do an air can service. Full service probably every 18 months, but I don’t seem to keep bikes that long (except for my Anthem)

    Premier Icon epicyclo

    HoratioHufnagel – Member
    ‘ubber gaiters on the forks didn’t look cool’
    empty the air out of a fork and look how much room there is on the stanchions, it’ll be 2-3mm i.e. no room for gaitors! The lowers are longer than they used to be to make the fork stiffer.

    Deliberately designed to stop a proven wear prevention method being used?


    Serviced my ’99 Z1 bombers 3 times since I’ve owned them, one change of seals and bushes. Still working flawlessly, stanchions in fine fetttle.


    coffeeking – Member

    Serviced my ’99 Z1 bombers 3 times since I’ve owned them, one change of seals and bushes. Still working flawlessly, stanchions in fine fetttle.

    My Monster T’s, from 99, are still on their original bushings. Seals been changed about 3 times too….. yet they perform flawlessly.

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