Suspension Maintenance

Suspension Maintenance

Ever walk out into the garage and see a puddle of oil under the forks of your bike? 

Leaking fork seal! 

We've all been there and its usually the night before a ride that you notice it which sends you into a panic!

At this point theres not a lot you can do for the next day, but there are things that can be done to prevent getting to this point.

We generally dont recommend to "clean out" fork seals on assembled forks with a feeler gauge or advertised cleaning tools.  The reason for this is that if your seals are leaking, they're already compromised and will have grit inside them.  Any method of cleaning out seals on assembled forks will push some of this grit past the seals and into the internals of the forks.  This will guarantee extra wear on the bushes and possibly the sliding surfaces (inside the fork uppers or on the chrome legs) resulting in a drop in performance and permanent damage.

To get the longest possible life out of your seals its critical to keep them clean and bleed the air regularly!
Grit and built up air are the enemy of seal life and suspension performance.
We understand that they’re called dirt bikes for reason…we ride them in the dirt and mud, but there are things you can do to make sure your seals don't leak prematurely.
At a minimum its crucial that you make sure that all the mud/dirt is washed away from the seals and chrome tubes when you wash your bike
Low pressure water is best for this.  High pressure cleaners are great for washing most of the rest of the bike, but never use high pressure on your fork seals…it will push mud/water past the seal and cause the seal to leak.
If you ride in very muddy conditions, its a good idea to move the dust seal down and wash it out gently when you wash the bike (a flat blade screw driver or gasket scraper works well to lever the dust seal down)
Leave the seal down for a few days and once dry give it a light spray with some lubricant and then push the dust seal back into location.
Always make sure you wash all of the chrome tube as well.  Mud drys on the front side behind the plastic fork guard thats out of sight and then gets pushed into the seal the next time the fork is compressed on the next ride.
During the ride it can also help to brush off any built up mud, or wash it off with a bottle of water if possible.
Another cause of seal leakage is air buildup. Air will constantly build up inside your forks as they get used and even from temperature fluctuations. This buildup puts extra pressure on the seals and also negatively impacts the performance of your suspension.
Using the flat blade screws on the fork cap to release the air is the best method to release the air.  We’re not huge fans of the push button bleeders, but understand not everybody has the time or motivation to use the screws so push bleeders are better than nothing.
The downside of push bleeders is that they will let a certain amount of moisture into the fork if you’re not careful.
Never push the bleeders if the top fork area is muddy or if you’ve just washed the bike (blow the bleeders off with compressed air first)
It can also be a good idea to bleed the air out if the bike is going to tied down for a long time during transport to take the pressure off the seals…just remember to rebleed them when the bike is back on the ground and the forks are extended.
By keeping your fork seals/chrome legs clean and releasing built up air you'll be giving your seals the best chance of a long service life.

 

Rear Shock:
Rear shocks are less maintenance than forks but its a good idea to move the bump rubber up the shaft and wash out the mud, then spray the area with water dispersant (CRC, WD40 etc) and allow to dry.  Mud/water can collect under the bump rubber and cause the shaft to rust which can damage the shock seal and cause it to leak.
Even if you're suspension isnt leaking we still recommend it to be serviced regularly to keep the fluids and wear parts fresh and performing at its best.
10-20hrs for racers and 30-40hrs for recreational riders

If you have any questions please feel free to click the following link to "get in touch" and we'll do our best to answer your questions
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