Today's Hi-Performance Suspension Forks:

Maintenance Easy, NOT Maintenance Free!

Today's high end shock forks (i.e. Judy, Mach V) offer so much performance, and are so much easier to maintain than those from a few seasons ago that it seems a lot of people have begun to regard them as being basically maintenance free.

This, however, is far from the case. If you really want to get the most from your high-performance fork, a regular schedule of maintenance is needed...but luckily for you it's not the nightmare you might think.

Forks should be cleaned and lubed regularly. This will require removing the outer legs from the fork crown and stanchions. The manual that came with your particular fork will describe this process in detail. If you are mechanically inclined, it should pose little problem. (If the job seems too involved, don't worry; this task is easily taken care of at a pro-level shop for a very reasonable cost.)

When working with any suspension unit, always use a torque wrench. There are several reasons why this is not an area where one wants to rely on "feel" or a good guess. The big issue is safety...you simply don't want any slips or failures when you're screaming downhill because you didn't properly fasten something. The other issue is protecting your investment...many of the bolts on your forks have torque values a lot lower than you might think; and they don't take kindly to being over-muscled...so be sure to follow the torque values listed in your manual.

If you are not already using them, now is the perfect time to install a set of boots. They will help to greatly reduce the amount of trail crud that makes it past the dust wipers. Next, clean the upper stanchions, inner part of the lower legs, and elastomer stack.
 

The areas that require lube on the upper and lower tubes; the upper stanchions, and the upper and lower bushings in the lower legs. The lower bushings can be reached with a long screwdriver wrapped in a rag coated with lube. (Take great care not to scratch the inner portion of the lower leg.)
This simple routine, repeated once every month or so, will greatly increase the performance and longevity of your forks...and here's another hot tip for you: Even if your fork is brand-spankin' new, you should perform this procedure at once. Most forks come from the factory under-lubed...so this is an easy way to make your new fork feel even sweeter!

Now that you have ensured that your fork can continue to function properly, you might want to consider having its performance tuned to meet your particular needs. Forks come out of the box set-up for the "average rider." Well guess what? Chances are good that that is not you. To really get the most out of your fork, not only do you need to keep it working properly...you got to get it set-up for your weight, riding style, and local terrain.
Today's forks are very tuneable...but if you don't get it done, you're not really getting the most out of your equipment.
See ya on the trails!

 

 

 

 

 

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