Remember the last time you changed shock oil on your trusty Subaru? Never, right? Good, as that’s not how it works. In the world of autos shocks are replaced, not serviced. However, in the world of two wheels, suspension maintenance is essential to extending performance and reliability of crucial components.
We recently caught up with FOX RACING SHOX‘s outside technician Louis Angeley for a quick rundown on the basics of routine maintenance and service required to keep your FOX forks and shocks running their best.
Now, take your ride to a technician and keep the slippery parts sliding. Or, if you have a mechanically inclined brain and an ability to follow service manuals, you can find instructions at FOX’s Bike Help Center.
Instructor: Today we’re going to be talking about different service procedures and service intervals on Fox products. All of our products have set service intervals, the first one is after every ride you need to wipe down your stanchions and just clean the outside of the dust wipers and the fork. After that we have set intervals for oil changes, damper services, and air spring services.
Today I’m with my friend, Jenn Berg, who is a professional skier for Backcountry.com. She’s been using this bicycle for a lot of cross training this summer and has spent a lot of hours on it. So we’re going to see what kind of condition everything is in and go through and do a normal service on this fork and shock.
So Jenn how’s this bike been riding? How often have you been riding it?
Jenn Berg: Oh this bike’s been awesome. I’ve had it for about nine months, riding about three days a week.
Instructor: You’ve spent a lot of hours on it. Have you done any service on it before?
Jenn Berg: I haven’t, not yet.
Instructor: So you’re probably past your first service interval so we’re going to go in and cover all those today and just make sure everything is proper order and condition.
Jenn Berg: Awesome.
Instructor: We have an oil change written at about 30 hours and a complete teardown written about 100 hours. So we’re going to go in and do the full 100 hour service today and make everything back to brand new.
Our air spring systems have two active dynamic seals up top, a U-cup seal and a scraper seal. They both have about 100 hour service life, and these just ensure that fluids stay where they’re supposed to and there’s no air pressure loss.
So our FIT damper is a cartridge system that lives inside your fork. FIT stands for Fox Isolated Technologies. It’s separated its stamping fluid from its back oil. So as it circulates through travel it’s using this bladder as a reservoir to fill up and circulate the oil back through giving you clean consistent pulls every time and great performance from top to bottom to run. This is serviced every 100 hours or annually, and we’ll cover that procedure here as well.
I just finished up our FIT damper service. I went through and replaced any dynamic part, any rubber part, anything that’s moving and has wear on it. Now the damper is just bleeding out and getting all the air bubbles out of it so it performs as good as it can. This is the flow divider that lets you have the climb trail and descent. This flow divider in descend position opens up the largest flow ports. When you turn to trail it forces the oil to flow through smaller flow ports giving you low speed compression and trail mode.
When you turn to your climb mode it takes it and flows the oil to the smallest flow port back by a flow-off piston and spring giving your climb mode characteristics.
We just finished completely servicing the port. We took it all the way apart, and we serviced the damper side, the air spring. We added new oil and dust wipers. We did check the function of the fork to make sure that everything is working properly. We just checked the full range of re-mount and through its range of compression.
Nice and fast, its full close slowest position, a nice slow return, descend position. The fork is very active and responds to every small movement. We go to trail position and we’re getting much more support. There are three different trail modes to go through and check. And there’s a climb mode that should stay nice and rigid until you put enough force on it and it opens up.
This fork checks out, and looks like it’s ready to go back on the trail.
Next we’re going to work under the rear shock. We’re going to perform an air sleeve maintenance service. We’re going to be letting all the air out of the shock and removing the air can itself, replacing all the dynamic seals, put on some fresh lube and go on back together.
Okay Jenn I just finished servicing your  on your bike. I serviced your fork. I went through the damper and took apart everything and replaced every dynamic seal. I replaced parts in your air spring. I put fresh back oil in and new dust wipers. On the rear shock I performed an air sleeve service where I went through and put all new dynamic seals in it so it’s good to go on the trail again.
Jenn Berg: Awesome, stoked to ride, thank you.
Instructor: You’re very welcome.
If you have any other questions about having your suspension serviced visit us at RideFox.com, or you can call in and talk to the Gearheads at Backcountry.com.