“I had my fork and shock serviced in October of last year, so when should I do it again?” This query has crossed the mind of every mountain biker at some point, whether they took action to answer it or not. If you ride your bike in the dirt, and I sincerely hope that you do, you’ll need to have your suspension serviced at least once every season. Soil particles can sneak past the seals and contaminate the internal parts, and simply cleaning that out and changing the oil will keep your bike’s expensive squishy bits sliding smoothly. Fortunately, the oil changing instructions for most components are fairly painless to follow.
I spoke with my friend, Lionel Saez, who has worked in the MTB suspension tuning and repair world for several years now to find out how riders can determine when we need to service our precious suspension components. The best bet is to mark service intervals on your calendar so that you can’t forget when you last changed the oil and wipers, but even sticking to the intervals isn’t always sufficient. Depending on dust and mud conditions, you may need to clean the internals more frequently. Here are some indicators that your fork or shock needs a closer look.