My suspension needs service? In my experience many cyclist don't view their bicycles as something that needs preventative maintenance. This can not be further from the truth! As bikes get more complex the need for routine preventative maintenance increases. Bicycle suspension systems are one of the many complexities that needs routine PM to keep operating smoothly and safely. Bicycle suspensions need for service can be very sneaky, a lot of times it is a gradual change in performance and it might take a while before the average cyclist realizes that something is wrong. While this gradual change in performance is taking place the handling of the bike is gradually getting worse. The handling of the bike could at some point be affected enough to cause the rider to lose control of their bike after hitting a bump in the trail that the bike should of handled without any issues. Depending on the situation this sudden loss of control could just make things a little sketchy for a second if you're lucky, or could result in a fall and potential injury to the cyclist.
How often does my suspension need service? This is where things get complicated. The proper service intervals on your bike suspension according the the manufacture vary greatly. Some say that this varies with the types of trails that are being ridden and how many bumps there are along the way. I agree with this to some degree, but even on smooth trails your suspension is moving with every pedal stroke. This movement is reduced while riding with your lockout engaged but the suspension does still move. With 20 years of experience in this field I feel that for most riders Rock Shox recommendations of 50/200 hour service intervals tend to keep things working very well. If you are a much more aggressive rider I would probably recommend closer to a 50/150 hour service interval.
What do you mean by 50/200 or 50/150? This means that a minor service is recommended every 50 hours while a complete overhaul is recommended every 150-200 hours.
What do you mean minor service? The purpose of a minor service is to change out the lubricant inside the fork so that it continues to slide freely and prevent excessive wear due to lack of lubrication. Ignoring the need for this routine minor suspension service can end up costing you more in the long run if the suspension gets dry and parts begin to wear excessively due to being ran dry. On most suspension systems this is a simple procedure that a qualified suspension technician can take care of for you with a relatively low cost.
What do you mean by major service? The purpose of a major service is to restore the shock back to its full operational state where all dampening systems and spring systems function as they should as well as the relubrication that is performed during a minor service. During a major service your suspension is completely disassembled and all parts are thoroughly cleaned and inspected for wear or other issues. All o-rings, seals and fluids are replaced. Shock can be tuned at this time if the rider request that the bike have a different feel to it than normal.
I don’t know how many hours are on my shock what type of service do I need? The best thing in this case is to have a qualified suspension service technician take a look at your suspension and determine the level of service that is needed to make it fully operational. This is not always an easy thing to do, many shops especially smaller shops do not have anyone on hand that is qualified to make this call. Many shops rely heavily on the hours ridden to determine the level of service needed