How Often Should You Service your Mountain Bike Suspension?

Christine H. Groce10 Apr 2022

The suspension fork on your mountain bike plays a vital role that helps to keep your ride comfortable on the rough off-road trails. It helps absorb the shock on bumpy and rocky rides, so it's critical to keep it in good condition every time you go out riding. Therefore, servicing your suspension every once in a while is an essential step that most people don't take the time to do. If you ignore this, it will lead to saggy springs and premature wear that can't be undone, leading to a high repair or replacement cost. But how often should you service your mountain bike suspension?

What does a mountain bike suspension do?

A suspension is a device for absorbing the impact of bumps on a road or track, thus making the passage over such surfaces more comfortable and safer. In general, a bike suspension serves three primary purposes:

  1. It absorbs shocks from uneven surfaces,
  2. It prevents the rider's body from jarring due to these shocks, and
  3. It keeps the tires in contact with the ground.

What are the signs your mountain bike suspensions need servicing?

It is not a good idea to ignore any signs that your mountain bike suspensions need servicing. The consequences can be dire and deteriorate the performance of your bike. The most common signs are as follows:

Lack of control on the bike

When you go a long while without servicing your suspension, it becomes challenging to handle the bike. This means that you cannot keep the bike in balance, which can lead to all kinds of accidents, not just on the trail but also on the road.

Loud clunking noise

When the bike suspension is not in good condition, it will make noise as it hits bumps and holes in the road. This causes a loud noise and can be very annoying for the rider, and could mean that your fork or rear shocks are leaking air. If you want to avoid this problem, you should regularly check your bike suspension or replace it with a new one. 

Your bike rides too high on the front wheel

Finally, bikes are designed to work with the rider's weight. When the suspension is not set correctly, it can cause the bike to ride too high on the front wheels. If your bike rides too high on its front wheel, your fork needs adjusting for compression and rebound damping (or oiling).

What are the basics of bike suspension tuning?

Bicycle suspension tuning is the process of adjusting the suspension on a bicycle to optimize its performance and comfort. Suspension tuning can be done by a professional mechanic or by the bicycle owner with some knowledge about bicycle mechanics. The basics of bike suspension tuning are: -Basic inspection - Adjusting air pressure in the tires to suit the terrain -Valve -core replacement, - Adjusting fork and shock rebound and compression damping - Adjusting preload on rear shocks - Lengthening or shortening front forks (if applicable) - Adjusting the head angle (if applicable) **-**Oil bath (the shock is dipped in it, so the sealant penetrates),  -Air sleeve cleaning.

How often should you service your MTB suspension?

A bike's suspension is an integral part of its design. It provides the rider with a smoother ride, increased traction and control, and better handling. A bike's suspension is also one of the most critical components to consider when buying a new bike. Suspension service life varies depending on the type of suspension system and riding conditions. However, as a general rule, you should service your suspension every one year or after every 20 hours of use for air-sprung suspensions and every two years or after every 50 hours for coil-sprung suspensions. These are just guidelines, and you should get your suspension checked more closely if anything seems amiss.

How much does suspension service on your MTB cost?

Suspension service on your MTB is necessary to keep your bike running smoothly. This service includes replacing or adjusting any worn-out parts in the suspension, such as fresh air, oil, and seals. The cost for this service varies depending on what needs to be replaced or adjusted. For example, for routine suspension service, be prepared to pay about $20, and for air sleeve maintenance for your shock absorbers, you might have to part with $30. 

How can you maintain your MTB suspension?

Bikes are not cheap, and it is important to take care of them. The suspension system on MTBs can be easily damaged if not serviced regularly. Four key components make up the suspension system: fork, shock, front and rear damper. When any of these components break, it can lead to a rough ride, and the bike will feel unstable. The best way to maintain the suspension is by getting regular servicing done by a professional mechanic.

How do you keep your MTB suspension in good condition after a ride?

There are many things that you can do to maintain your MTB suspension at home, such as: -Check the air pressure on your MTB suspension. If it is too high or too low, adjust it to the correct level. -Clean off any dirt, mud, or small rocks from the bike's fork and rear shock absorber. -Apply a light coating of oil to the pivot points of the suspension. -Keep your bike in a dry place where it is not exposed to any extremes in temperature or humidity.

Final word

Bike maintenance is an essential part of owning and riding a mountain bike. The suspension is one of the most critical components to consider for regular service for a smooth and fulfilling ride. So, if you want to keep your bike in top condition, be sure to follow the above guide on mountain bike suspension service.

Christine H. Groce

Christine H. Groce

Christine formed a passion for cycling back when she still had training wheels as a kid. She wants to write about her adventures, along with tips and tricks for beginner cycling fans.

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