Why—and How Often—Bikes Need a Suspension Check

January 27, 2022 8:14 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

If you spend a lot of time on your mountain bike, you know well the feeling of a suspension in need of service. Rather than cruising easily over the rough and rocky terrain, every bump you hit feels like a collision going through your body. It’s a jarring feeling that can make or break the experience of your ride.

But why does your bike’s suspension degrade over time and require maintenance in the first place? Is there anything you can do to prevent or slow down suspension wear? And how frequently should you be taking your mountain bike in for suspension service? We’ll cover all these questions below to help ensure your bike stays in great shape.

Suspension explained

The vast majority of mountain bikes sold today come equipped with front suspension, and it’s commonly included in hybrid and kids’ bikes as well to increase the comfort and ease of riding. The most common type of front suspension is called a “fork,” which is made up of two struts that work to connect the wheel to the bike frame’s head tube.

Mountain bike suspension is often broken into two categories:

  • Short-travel suspension: Provides great overall riding performance, and is especially good for ensuring smooth trail riding. Its emphasis is on uphill riding and more responsive steering input.
  • Long-travel suspension: This is best for giving you control when riding downhill at high speeds on rough, rocky trails. Its emphasis is on riding downhill and stabilization during descent.

Some mountain bikes offer adjustable travel, meaning you can shorten travel for easier uphill rides, then lengthen it for smooth, stable downhill rides.

Mountain bike suspension service

As with any moving mechanism, maintenance is required to keep your mountain bike suspension in good shape and ensure it’s not moving beyond the range it’s designed to. If you love getting out on the trails and exploring on your bike, regular suspension checks are key. They’ll allow you to maintain the suspension’s performance, prolong its lifespan and delay expensive replacement costs.

But how often should you get your mountain bike suspension serviced? To establish a regular schedule for suspension maintenance, you should aim to take your bike in either once a season or after approximately 100 hours, if you clock more hours than that riding in a year. If you notice any of these issues, however, you may want to make an exception and take your bike in earlier:

  • Oil leaking onto your bike’s stanchions
  • Stanchions and lower sliders knocking into each other
  • Unusual air loss in any air-sprung component
  • Resistance in any of your bike’s normal functions

It’s never too late to get on the path to regular bike maintenance. Your mountain bike is an investment in your health and overall wellbeing, not to mention a gateway to adventure and exploration. If you take care of it, it’ll take care of you—and we’re here to help! The expert team at Bicycle Doctor House Calls will come to your home and complete any routine tune-up service you need to have done. Contact us today to schedule a visit!

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