Why do shocks need so much maintenance?

Coopz

Likes Bikes
My duelie has Rockshox front and back, it recommends a service every 40-50 hours while the front fork is not too bad at every 80-100. A friend has Fox shocks and rebuilds them every 2 months. Says they feel 10 times better after a rebuild (he also rides pretty regularly)
Just wondering why they need so much attention? My motorcycle is a duel purpose with long travel Hydraulic shocks. It's 11 years old, has done 32k and I just had the forks serviced, saw hardly any change in the performance tho.

Are bicycle shocks just subpar in their construction or just a lot more susceptible to leaks and dirt?
 

SummitFever

Likes Bikes and Dirt
Are bicycle shocks just subpar in their construction or just a lot more susceptible to leaks and dirt?
I don't think you can compare a dual purpose moto with a mtb. A mtb with good quality components (eg. not some entry level POS) does have those service intervals but I spend much less time servicing my mtbs than the mx bikes. I was doing a top end every 20 hours and the USD WPs about every 10 hours to keep them performing at their peak. A 50mm stanchion moving 300mm in a dusty environment will pull a lot grime into the fork. The hard chrome surface treatment is a lot more resistant to grit than the annodized surface of a mtb fork stanchion.
 

MARKL

Likes Bikes and Dirt
Shocks tend to run at higher pressures than forks due to smaller air volumes and higher leverage ratios. We all want/now have more travel, less weight, more sensitive, more adjustable suspension. It needs to be loved
 

Nerf Herder

Wheel size expert
Dirt, water, mud.
Service intervals are recommendations that are impacted by the amount of exposure your components are exposed to the above elements

Add heat and or cold and that also impacts the intervals

Add in rider and usage variables and every fork, dropper and component ... even if the same brand and model ... will have a different life out of the box.

This is both the simplest, yet hardest thing to explain to people.
 

beeb

Likes Dirt
A large part of the difference in service intervals is that MX forks/shocks are probably mostly coil sprung, whereas most bike suspension these days is air sprung. Air springs require extra seals, and several tighter seals than coil suspension would - plus air leaks internally can cause the damper oil to aerate and lose effectiveness (design dependent obviously).
 

Plankosaurus

Hydraulic Jack specialist
I think it's a combination of a few things, mostly already mentioned.

Much stronger chrome steel stanchions vs lightweight anodised aluminium. They'll be able to handle more dirt ingress without scoring

Heavy coil springs vs air springs. Means less stiction and less seals that will cause performance issues when they fail

200kg+ bikes vs 14kg bikes. Means that stiction will have much less effect, they can use thicker materials, tighter seals etc. Also means that when performance drops it will be less likely to be noticed.



...also, your average moto rider isn't half as awesome as most of us mountain bikers


Sent from my G8441 using Tapatalk
 

Mr Crudley

Eats Squid
I have to make a public RB confession about keeping my fork stanchions and seals clean, well, at least try, borderline OCD.

Places I ride generally have a fine powdery top coat of dust on top of hardpack that ends up getting into to everything. I've added a mudguard which does help a lot and without fail after a ride I use a fine silk or fine cotton cloth to clean around the fork and shock seal and stanchions. Earlier forks generally had weak seals so I've gotten used to cleanliness. I've done this hygiene regime for sometime now and the oil is looking not too manky when I drop it for some fork maintenance so I think it is worth the effort. YMMV.
 

PJO

Likes Dirt
I would love to know how much difference those simple plastic mudguards make to the longevity of mtb forks.
Seems like a no-brainer to have them on the fork now but I spent some time riding with all sorts of crap being flung onto the stanchions...
 

Coopz

Likes Bikes
A friend I ride with had a plastic bag zip tied around his rear shock, looks crap but he says it cuts the maintenance requirements in half. Especially in summer when dust gets into everything.
 

Calvin27

Likes Bikes and Dirt
A friend I ride with had a plastic bag zip tied around his rear shock, looks crap but he says it cuts the maintenance requirements in half. Especially in summer when dust gets into everything.
Old school forks used to have the upper guards
 

EZZA 84

Squid
Proper enduro dirtbike suspension needs to be serviced just as often, motocross even more.
On my dirtbike I'll do front oil refresh every 50 hours or so and rear say every 100. Fronts more so than rears especially during winter they get leaky seals from all the mud getting on the forks and past the dust seals.

My suspension guy says the optimum oil life in both from and rear is only about 20 hours, but in reality no weekend warrior is changing it that often.
 

Mr Crudley

Eats Squid
I would love to know how much difference those simple plastic mudguards make to the longevity of mtb forks.
Seems like a no-brainer to have them on the fork now but I spent some time riding with all sorts of crap being flung onto the stanchions...
That was my bigger concern, having something ding the stanchions that could have been prevented. I like chunky front tyres that end up kicking up all sorts of trail bits too. For a small mudguard cost then it is worth a try.
 

Mr Crudley

Eats Squid
A friend I ride with had a plastic bag zip tied around his rear shock, looks crap but he says it cuts the maintenance requirements in half. Especially in summer when dust gets into everything.
Might not look to super but I'm open to anything that will help. My bikes have shocks under the seat and top tube junctions so are out of the way and easy to keep clean. A shock mounted near the BB would be in a prime crap eating spot.
 

Mr Crudley

Eats Squid
Yeah like I said it's a no brainer,
I've made five out of some plastic sheet from office works and chucked them on all the bikes that are worth protecting. Cost is negligible.
Have you had them on for long. Do you notice less fine less dust caked over your stanchions with the mud guard too?
I coughed up for the Ebay chinese mudguard specials.
 

Binaural

Eats Squid
Most engineers will specify service intervals based on worst-case scenarios. If you constantly ride in rain, through sucking mud or sandy trails (hi, there, UK readers!) then you should heed this advice. If you mostly ride in good weather, you can extend your intervals a lot longer. This ties up nicely with the desire of manufacturers to turn over plenty of aftermarket money from their install base.
 

PJO

Likes Dirt
Have you had them on for long. Do you notice less fine less dust caked over your stanchions with the mud guard too?
I coughed up for the Ebay chinese mudguard specials.
About 9 months, don't think it is as good with fine dust as it is with mud and other debris, but still reckon it keeps some of it away. I notice more dust on the front of the stanchions rather than on the rear now, must be what is thrown off the tyre after it has gone past the guard and then blown back on.
 

Ultra Lord

Beanie Fitment Specialist
Proper enduro dirtbike suspension needs to be serviced just as often, motocross even more.
On my dirtbike I'll do front oil refresh every 50 hours or so and rear say every 100. Fronts more so than rears especially during winter they get leaky seals from all the mud getting on the forks and past the dust seals.

My suspension guy says the optimum oil life in both from and rear is only about 20 hours, but in reality no weekend warrior is changing it that often.
Yep, modern mtn bikes are similiar quality to mx bikes rather than a KLR650. Everythings high tolerance performance based, and comes with appropriate maintenance schedules.

Mountain bikes are cheaper when this is taken into account.
 
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