The Golden Wrench

A blog about bicycle repair and maintenance by the mechanics at Freewheel Bike.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Same sad story...

We here at Shockspital see this a lot: a fork comes in that hasn't been serviced in a while and doesn't get cleaned very often, and instead of wiping it down, installing new seals and fresh oil and sending it back out on the trail, we have to pick up the phone and say things like "strictly financial perspective" and "new fork."

Pictured at top left are a set of Enduro wipers that came off a Fox fork that required a bit of hosing down. Enduro does many things very well, but in our experience these fork wipers can cause more problems than they solve, and some people try use them as a substitute for regular service, which doesn't work. In fact, it often does just the opposite. You can plainly see the dirt that has collected under these, which through use and additional neglect result in stanchion damage like you see below.

This flat spot on the stanchion will allow dirt and oil to bypass the wipers, which completely negates their purpose, which is to keep the oil in your fork clean. Now, instead, dirt has turned the damper oil into a gravelly, nasty mess which is certainly doing bad things to the old TerraLogic damper in this fork. This is a sensitive damper on a good day, but with grit in the oil, you can pretty much forget about this working like it should.

So now this customer faces a tough decision: have us put the fork back together and make it work as well as we can, but know that it won't work well for long. Or, cut their losses and buy a new fork, which is far more expensive but will be a more reliable piece of equipment provided they take care of the new one better than they did this one.

Save yourself the headache of this predicament by getting in the habit now of wiping off your fork after every ride and having it serviced once a year or so. With care like that, it could last decades! And with donor forks like this one, we're sure to have replacement parts for these old forks when something on yours breaks in 2025 (as long as you don't need replacement uppers or an inertia-valve damper).