Posted on December 18 2018
The service interval, and what it means.
The recommended service intervals for your Fox or Rockshox suspension components exist for the component's 'optimum performance and longevity' of use. Each interval allows for a varying degree of service carried out, with consideration to a fork or shocks condition, age and amount of use or service history. Whilst your fork or shock could likely move 'up and down' for many years without service, sticking to the manufacturer's service interval will allow it move in the way it was designed to, and the performance benefit, as a result, is substantial.
Suspension exists for 2 basic principles: Comfort and Traction.
More comfort = more RIDING :)
More traction = more FUN. :)
Service Intervals - Fox
Service Intervals - Rockshox
Service Intervals - Cannondale
We certainly recommend regular maintenance, but here are a few common DIY service procedures that may NOT be necessary.
Replacing the bath oil in the lowers in-between service intervals:
This is surprisingly common. The modern sealing of the latest low friction dust seals, and with consideration to the recommended service intervals for forks, there is really no benefit from removing the oil from the lower legs and replacing it between services. Our theory is that the seals will last normal riding use for the recommended period of time (ie, Fox is 125hours or annually, Rockshox is 50hrs), and that is the timeframe for when the recommended seals and fluids should be replaced. Replacing the fluids only before this time and not replacing the seals is rarely going to provide any viable improvement in performance. There are some cases where a fork may have been subject to heavy use in poor conditions, that an earlier service interval could be considered.
Our recommendation to the DIY mechanic: Each time the forks lower's are removed for an 'oil change', always replace the dust seals, foam rings, bath oil, and crush washers.
Removing the rear shock's air can, and cleaning the air seals:
Removal of the air can in order to clean the air seals only to re-install with the same seals is a common one that comes up. There are 2 main reasons that warrant the removal of a shock's air can.
- Installation or removal of volume spacers for air spring tuning.
- Service involving replacement of all the air seals and air can lubricant as a minimum.
The air can seals generally do not respond well to repeated removal and re-installation. In some cases, seals may only last 2 installations before they are compromised in the process. For example, see pic below showing where the Fox eyelet air seal sits at the end of the air can's threads. This seal is 'squashed' into its recess creating a seal, each time the air can is installed. hence, after multiple installations, there's a good chance it will lose the ability to seal.
The air can service kits from Fox and Rockshox are both around the $30 mark. For this small investment, replace the air seals at the recommended interval (50+hrs), and you'll have a much fresher feeling shock that will not only last longer but will perform better whilst doing it!
Our recommendation to the DIY mechanic: Each time the shock's air can is removed for a 'clean', always replace the air seals, dust seal, and lubricants.
Spraying stanchions with lubricants - It's not recommended by Fox, or Rockshox.
____Suspension technology (and service procedures) has progressed in leaps and bounds over the last 5 years or so. Just check out this out Pinkbike article showing an old and very much out-dated procedure for 'servicing a Fox lower leg'. Progressing anywhere past step 1 would make us cringe just a little...