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Posted (edited)

Up front is a Rockshox Revelation. Rear is a Rockshox Deluxe. Both are entry level I believe. I've put 800~ miles on them so far and they are starting to just feel lame and boring instead of buttery smooth like I remember them. Maybe it's all in my head though.

Questions:

  1. Should I have these shocks serviced?
  2. Roughly how much will it cost me?
  3. What happens if I don't service them as often as suggested?
  4. Who in town does it best, cheapest, and quickest?

 

Edited by tomreece

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 Wipe your seals and stanchions clean and lube the seals with a little fork oil of any kind and a qtip. Not a substitute for an ohaul if that's what they actually need but doing this every couple rides will keep your shocks clean, lubed, happy and feeling like they should.

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yes, your shocks should be serviced. its in the user manual. its just a matter of how much you actually want to do it/pay for it. i've been on a once a year routine, and it seems to be working ok. but if you own multiple bikes, it can certainly add up quickly.

typical prices at BSS: $125 for the fork; $75 for rear shock.

my understanding is the seals and oil get dirty, and the system does not perform as well (similar to oil in you car). If your seals are leaking oil, it would need to be refilled eventually. In extreme cases lack of service could lead to scratched stanchion or other damage. (never actually seen this)

 

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Posted (edited)

Since we rarely have rideable conditions that you could call "muddy," service schedule is not as crucial. Muddy stanchions are bad news! I've seen fancy Fox Kashima stanchions scratched to hell because the rider didn't clean his fork and rode with dirty seals. I've also seen some forks that had to be replaced outright due to neglect.

Regardless of how important longevity is, dropping the lowers, cleaning the wipers, and reassembling with fresh bath oil should be done every 6-12 months around here just to keep the fork smooth. That basic service is darn easy to do with really basic tools. It just sounds scary because there are fluids involved. It's easier than bleeding brakes.

I can do my fork in about 20 minutes so it's not that hard. I know shocks are even easier but as a hardtail guy, I've never had to do one.

Edited by mack_turtle
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TrailLabs looks cool thanks for sharing!

I need to buy a new bike before I get this one serviced so that I can keep riding. Haha. I almost went crazy waiting 5~ days for a wheel build recently.

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1 hour ago, tomreece said:

TrailLabs looks cool thanks for sharing!

I need to buy a new bike before I get this one serviced so that I can keep riding. Haha. I almost went crazy waiting 5~ days for a wheel build recently.

At risk of sounding like a broken record, you would not have to wait all the time and spend all that money if you do it yourself. Bring some dark beer by my house and I'll walk you through it.

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I echo Mack Turtle’s sentiments. Servicing suspension components is easy. That is of course assuming you have some hex wrenches and a ratchet/sockets. If you’re replacing the seals, then it’s worth getting the seal driver tool as it makes that part of the job stupid easy.


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If you ride a lot, you should do the lowers service yourself. At the shop, the tech is usually going to pull up the pdf instructions for video and follow the steps, just like you would doing it at home. If you make less than $60/hr spending money, it makes sense to do it yourself.

For damper service and seal replacement, you can find a good shop or diy.

You should have an Excel spreadsheet with all your suspension units listed - their model year, date purchased, and ride time. Yes, ride time updated at least monthly.

Follow the manuf. instructions on service interval at first. If your oil or foam rings still look pretty good, you can fudge on that. If they look terrible, go more frequent.

Riding in the dry with a mud guard protecting the stanchions, my foam rings and oil still look good at 2x the Fox recommended lowers interval. But I service my shock more often than recommended.

Air suspension performance begins to degrade from the moment you throw a leg over the bike. It's not in your head.

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6 hours ago, Teamsloan said:

If you’re replacing the seals, then it’s worth getting the seal driver tool as it makes that part of the job stupid easy. 

A few inches of the right size PVC pipe will do the job too.

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True, and that’s normally the route I go. But you can find the tool cheap and it’s foolproof in guiding it on straight. The fox seals are much stiffer than the older ones and they like to go in crooked.

Normally I make my own tool, but in this case I found it to be worth it. I’d recommend it to someone who was less handy.


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16 hours ago, mack_turtle said:

At risk of sounding like a broken record, you would not have to wait all the time and spend all that money if you do it yourself. Bring some dark beer by my house and I'll walk you through it.

I'll gladly buy you some beer if you wanna help me service a fork or two 🙂

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21 hours ago, circuitbreaker said:

 In extreme cases lack of service could lead to scratched stanchion or other damage. (never actually seen this)

 

I had to replace my CSU on my Talas due to the Kashima coating being worn.  $200 for the part.  It cost me $400 for Fox to do it for the full service including new CSU.  My biggest problem was not the stretching of the maintenance interval, but rather not wiping after every ride with that fine dust we have here.

Does Fox still specify 25 hours?  That's a ridiculously low amount of time IMO (that's anywhere from 1-2 weeks for those that ride a lot).  I probably do more like 100-200 hour service intervals.  I clean-up and re-use the foam rings once.  Now that I wipe things down more often I'm seeing less wear.

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6 hours ago, mack_turtle said:

 

I recall sitting in a classroom where Fox was hosting a class for mechanics to learn some basic suspension maintenance. Someone asked that exact question, something like “your service intervals indicate that some of my customers should bring their bikes in more than once a month for a bath oil service. Is that really realistic?” the tech rep from Fox didn’t even flinch when he said “yet, your customers should bring their bikes in to have the fork and shock serviced once a month if that is the case.”

This surely makes the suspension component last longer but it also covers Fox’ butts for warranty if they want to. They can say about any failed product that you didn’t keep up with the service schedule, so it’s your fault. I get the impression that they are pretty generous with warranties if you are persistent about it, but the overly-aggressive schedule can be used against the customer in some situations.

A rider will have to do the math- how much does it cost to constantly yank the fork apart and clean everything, replace oils and seals, even if you do it yourself? How much does it cost to pay someone else to do it over time? How long will that fork last with or without that aggressive maintenance schedule? How much does a new fork cost in two years when axle spacing, dampers, springs, steerer stiffness, weight, and all that have “improved” in that time? My experience is that nothing lasts for years and years of hard riding, regardless of how carefully you maintain it.

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33 minutes ago, mack_turtle said:

They can say about any failed product that you didn’t keep up with the service schedule, so it’s your fault. I get the impression that they are pretty generous with warranties if you are persistent about it, but the overly-aggressive schedule can be used against the customer in some situations.

I think the overly conservative service interval Fox recommends could be used against them too.  They should give us a realistic service interval for:  clean conditions, muddy condditions, dusty conditions.  How about with lizard skins covers?  Cars do that.  I think even lawmowers do that.

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11 minutes ago, AntonioGG said:

... I think even lawmowers do that.

Yep, and some new lawnmowers have a "check and fill" feature regarding their oil where the oil never has to be drained or entirely replaced. From an engineering perspective, I imagine they have planned for a regular consumption of oil that is fast enough to remove oil volume before the oil is overly contaminated.

I'm sure shock manufacturers know the abrasive difference between (on average) fine, dry dusty conditions versus (on average) muddy conditions. Maybe it's really not that large a difference w.r.t. seal performance.

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I know that I looked at service intervals as a major factor when selecting a fork for my trail bike.  The Pike had a better interval and was just as easy to service so I went with it.  Granted, I considered the performance of them to be equal at the time and I couldn't detect any differences anyway.

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22 hours ago, tomreece said:

TrailLabs looks cool thanks for sharing!

I need to buy a new bike before I get this one serviced so that I can keep riding. Haha. I almost went crazy waiting 5~ days for a wheel build recently.

if you are going to use a service or bike shop, get the process started right before you go on a vacation. Then, when you return home, your bike will be all ready to go. No real downtime.

or during winter/spring, when the forecast shows 5 days of rain, this is also the perfect time to bring your bike in.

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15 hours ago, circuitbreaker said:

if you are going to use a service or bike shop, get the process started right before you go on a vacation. Then, when you return home, your bike will be all ready to go. No real downtime.

or during winter/spring, when the forecast shows 5 days of rain, this is also the perfect time to bring your bike in.

Yeah, heading to Chicago for 2 weeks, getting set to drop my full suspension bike off to have the bearings replaced. Rather have that done at their pace then be anxious that it is supposed to be done by Friday (for the weekend) only to find that something came up and now it is Monday...

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On 7/22/2019 at 5:21 PM, mack_turtle said:

Bring some dark beer by my house and I'll walk you through it.

I’ll take ya up on that! Will message you soon.

I did some quick math. Strava says I have 900 miles on my bike. I usually ride 13 miles at a time over around 1.5 hours. 900 / 13 is 69 rides. 69 rides times 1.5 hours is 104 hours. That would mean in theory I should have already serviced my suspension twice. That’d be like $400!?

Id rather ride them until they fall apart and then buy new ones.

 

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12 hours ago, tomreece said:

Id rather ride them until they fall apart and then buy new ones.

That's not too far from what one shop owner/rider mentioned to me in frustration with the manufacturer maintenance intervals.  

FWIW, I should have mentioned I put 10k+ miles on my Talas before I had to replace the CSU.  I never used the full bottle of shock oil I bought.  I doubt I serviced it 10 times.  If I'd wiped things down I might have never had to have the CSU replaced.  That's why I think just changing the lowers oil every 200-250 miles or so and rinsing the foam rings is fine.

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In 2.5 years of riding on my primary bike 8 to 15 hours per week, I've had the Fox Factory fork and shock serviced once at the shop. Just recently I took it back in due to a little play between one of the stanchions and the lower on the fork, and they sent off to Fox for a complete servicing. It came back like new, and there has been no indication that I've been damaging the fork beyond repair by not having it regularly serviced. So for me it's once every 18 months for shop service unless something doesn't feel right, in which case I'll have it checked out. I simply don't have the time or patience to be doing it myself and don't believe in paying for more than I really need.    

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