Fork feeling dry and ropey? Well if you’ve ridden your fork for 50 hours without giving it any attention then chances are it needs a lower leg service. So follow Doddy’s tips to get your fork running buttery smooth again with just some fork oil and basic tools!
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Now, we’re using a RockShox Pike here. It’s a pretty common fork. A lot of people run this. But the principle is the same for all forks. It’s only the oil variety and the volume that changes. RockShox recommend you do this service approximately every 50 hours of riding, and that’s pretty much the same for most manufacturers.
Okay, so step one is to just make sure you’ve released all of the air from the fork. I’m pretty sure I got most of it out when I put the shock pump to it, but you can just deflate the valve manually using the end of an Allen key. So that’s all good. Next step is to remove the rebound adjuster knob from the base of the fork. Take your two and a half mil Allen key and then just undo the little pinch bolt on the rebound adjuster.
So the next part of the process is to remove the fork lowers, we’ll need a 5 millimetre Allen key, and you wanna loosen the bolts on the bottom of the fork. You don’t wanna remove them completely because you may need to shock them in order to release them.
So you’ve got the upper legs of the fork that slide into the lower legs. On the inside, you’ve got rods that are attached to the upper legs, and these rods sit into the base of the fork. Obviously during compression and use, they do manage to stick to the bottom, so I’m just gonna free them by tapping the end of the Allen key with a mallet with the two lower bolts removed, it’s time to slide the lower legs off the fork.
Okay, so your next step is to remove the foam rings. These sit underneath the wiper seals. So get the pick and very carefully just prise these out without damaging the seals or anything else.
Isopropyl alcohol is the best thing you can use for cleaning your foam rings. Just give them a good soaking with the stuff and then just pat them dry, and you’ll find that most of the oil comes out and they start looking a bit more like the new ones we just showed you.
So now it’s time to replace the foam rings into the fork. As I mentioned, I have not soaked these in oil. I’m actually gonna apply the oil once it’s in the fork using a syringe. So after you’ve oiled the foam rings, what you wanna do is just wipe some decent quality suspension grease just around the inside of your wiper seals. That just helps complete the lower leg service before you put the fork back together. So now it’s a case of sliding your lower legs back onto the uppers.
One thing to take particular care of is make sure you don’t fold the seals or damage them as they just get onto the edge of the tubing here. So just take a bit of care in doing this and make sure they line up correctly. You wanna slide these on until they contact on the inner dampening rods and air rods and pull them back about a centimetre. This gives you enough space to inject some lower leg lube. So this lube is vital to how well the fork performs and how long it lasts until your next service. So not only does it stop the seals from drying out, but it’s really, really important for initial sensitivity and small bump performance.
On this particular fork, on the RockShox Pike, it actually tells you how much oil you need to put inside. Using a syringe is the best way to apply the oil. Not only can you get an accurate reading on how much you’re putting into the fork, but it’s very easy just to squirt the correct amount in and you’re not wasting any. It’s quite expensive stuff. So with your lower legs lubricated now, you wanna replace the bolts at the bottom of the fork. Slide the lower back on until those rods connect fully. That means your threads are lined up at the bottom here. And replace the bolts.
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