We’ve covered so many blogs on why servicing your motorcycle is important and why motorcycles require regular maintenance to get optimum performance and keep the parts running longer. Without proper servicing, small unnoticed problems can build-up over time and lead to bigger, more expensive issues. In this blog we are going to get into what can go wrong if you don’t get that service done on your suspensions and all the parts that are inside it.
Parts on the front suspensions consist of two fork tubes, bushes, springs, fork & dust seals and the oil that’s inside to help with the damping. At the rear there is either a mono or dual shocks that have a coil over spring and a swingarm with bearings.
Why is regular servicing of the suspension so important then?
Let’s face it the suspensions are still the most “not cared” for parts on a motorcycle. It’s a fact that it does take a while to come to a point where the suspensions are going to fail, and that is the reason for it to be serviced so you can look for factors that are going to cause it to go faulty. A service is a good time for all the internal parts to be inspected and if needed to be replaced.
What you should be looking out for?
- Fork oil – Just like the motorcycle engine, the suspension has oil to lubricate each component and prevent friction. Without regular servicing, the oil may be contaminated due to metal shavings produced when the spring compresses and rebounds through the fork’s valves.
Accumulation of these metal shaving over time can cause the springs to get stuck. Viscosity affects the damping performance, which helps restrain the vibration of the spring. Oil viscosity is checked during servicing. Over time, fork oil deteriorates, being squeezed through a hole many thousands of times is really hard on oil. Bad fork oil can make your motorcycle’s front end “bouncy” when you go over bumps. It might even be squeaky and adjusting the damping has no effect
- Fork & Dust seals – Seals that are loose or damaged may also be out of position, which causes them to slide up and down the inner tube and leak over time. All of these can affect the movement of the suspension. Fork seals are good (unless they leak!), but they’re never a perfect seal. Some muck will seep in and get into the oil and cause it to leak
Broken fork seals start a vicious cycle because more contaminants will get in and make the oil worse and the oil will seep out (meaning less oil = even less damping). If you have upside-down forks, then your oil will leak out more quickly.
- Damaged bushes – Bushes are Teflon-lined rings that serve as a bearing to the fork stanchions and shocks. It constrains these components in the desired motion. Without regular service, you may fail to see the damage in the bushes.
But what is a faulty suspension?
A bike with a faulty suspension is guaranteed to have poor handling which in turn, causes accidents.
If your suspension is stuck or the spring is rigid, the rider could get thrown off the bike by the upward force caused by hitting a big bump. As the fork oil’s viscosity level falls the spring now doesn’t have any damping and it will keep the bike and the rider bouncing up and down for a longer time.
When turning corners, a soft rear spring and a stiff front spring can lead to a wide turn, while a stiff rear spring and a soft front string can lead to a narrow turn.
So how often do I need to service them?
We spoke to a few experts and garage owners and they say race bikes should have suspension servicing every 20 hours due to the high amount of strain it receives. Meanwhile, track bikes are fine with at least an annual service. For road riders, they must service the motorcycle’s suspension once or twice per year, depending on the mileage and road conditions. Make sure to check your bike manual and remember the conditions your riding in and accordingly service those forks
We agree that it is one of the most important parts of a motorcycle that can keep you safe if serviced regularly. It’s not as simple as changing your fork oil & seals but also checking on all the other parts and components that make it work properly.
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