Tech Series: Suspension Damper Fork Maintenance
One of the most active parts on a mountain bike is the suspension fork. Directly at the front of the bike it is the first to be covered in dirt and in the course of one ride it can slide many hundreds of metres often heating up and cooling down. With all this in mind it is important that these forks are maintained to ensure smooth operation and excellent performance, medstore leading to a long fork life.
Video – Rockshox Open Bath Damper Service
Video – Fox Fork Closed Bath Service
Suspension Damper Internal Types
There are two types of suspension internals in general use with regards to the dampers, open bath and closed bath. Open means the damper unit can be serviced and the oil is on an open system with a component of air. Closed means that the oil stays in a closed sealed system with no air present. Both have different service requirements, with open bath needing oil changes and seal checks especially if used in harsh environments to maintain performance. Closed bath tend to need less maintenance on the cartridge to maintain the same performance, but still require a service and seal check inside their recommended service periods, which changes depending on fork but ranges from 60-100 hours.
We selected a range of forks and put them through a service to see how it is done on a basic level. The videos below show some of the steps required, most important to note is that it is good to follow the official procedures and use official parts as they generally work better and are within the specifications required for these forks. We did not alter the springs or service these parts in this case, that will follow in a later series.
Video – Rockshox Dual Air Official Service
This is one of the official Sram videos showing how to service a dual air, we thought it is good to see how different fork internals are.
Maintenance carried out by Bagnoli Bike