MTB Suspension Maintenance 101

To maximize the performance and durability of your mountain bike, it is essential to pay close attention to the maintenance of the suspensions: fork (front) and shock absorber (rear). Whether it's for a fork service, suspension service, or fork overhaul, here is a comprehensive guide to ensure the proper functioning of your bike.

Why Suspension Maintenance is Crucial

Suspensions play a fundamental role in absorbing shocks and vibrations, thereby improving the comfort and control of the bike on rough terrains.

Regular suspension maintenance allows you to:

  • Preserve Performance: Well-maintained suspensions offer better responsiveness and optimal impact absorption.
  • Increase Longevity: Regular maintenance reduces premature wear of components.
  • Ensure Safety: Well-maintained suspensions guarantee stable and safe riding.

Fork Service

The fork is one of the most stressed components on a mountain bike: shocks are first absorbed by the fork, and it is the element that separates the rider from the ground. Its importance is indisputable.

Fork maintenance involves regularly cleaning and checking the fork, which can be done by the owner.

A fork overhaul is more in-depth maintenance that often includes the replacement of internal parts. This type of overhaul is recommended every 50 to 100 hours of use, depending on riding conditions. The overhaul is usually done by a suspension specialist.

General Steps for Fork Overhaul:

  1. Inspection: Check the seals, fork tubes, and other components for any wear or damage. The inspection is both internal and external: checking the condition of seals, springs, cartridges, and the chassis.
  2. Replacement of Wear Parts: Seals, foams, and other components that inevitably wear out with use. This includes "SPI" seals. Do not confuse with repair parts (broken parts that are not supposed to wear out).
  3. Lubrication: Apply specific oils and greases to maintain smooth movement and proper hydraulic function.
  4. Reassembly with Torque Verification: Ensure proper reassembly with correct torque settings.
  5. Functionality Test: Conduct a functionality test to ensure the suspensions are correctly reassembled and adjusted.

Rear Shock Maintenance

If you have a full-suspension mountain bike, the rear shock also needs maintenance! Shock absorbers are as important as the fork: the rider sits on them, and the functioning of the frame depends on them. Their replacement is generally complex, and they endure even greater stresses than the fork.


Suspension maintenance, whether it's a fork service or rear shock maintenance, is essential to ensure maximum performance and optimal safety on the trails. By following the appropriate steps and adhering to the recommended maintenance intervals, you will extend the life of your mountain bike and fully enjoy every ride. For those who are not comfortable with these operations, it is always best to entrust your bike to a qualified professional for quality service.