Fork maintenance intervals
The frequency of changing the lubricant of a bicycle fork depends not least on the road surface on which you are riding. If there is an abundance of dust, mud, sand and other abrasive material on your routes, then the frequency of service should be increased. Here are the average figures after which maintenance should be performed.
Approximately every 700-800 km, the oil seals should be disassembled and lubricated, and every 4000-5000 km the entire fork is moved and lubricated.
How to remove, disassemble and lubricate a bicycle fork
If you do not know how to remove and disassemble a mountain bike suspension fork for maintenance, repair or replacement, then this article will help you find out what you need for this, and how to do it at home. Also, such questions will be considered here: how and how to lubricate the front fork, the frequency of maintenance and other tips on this topic. All this will be presented in the form of detailed instructions with pictures for each action, as well as a video for disassembling a bicycle suspension fork. In this article, we will analyze the RST GILA 100 mm spring-elastomer fork with disc brake mountings.
Why remove and disassemble the bike fork
A bicycle fork, like all other components, can be replaced, repaired or serviced. Therefore, before proceeding with these procedures, we need to remove it from the bike, and in some cases disassemble the shock absorber for parts. In what cases will we have to remove it? First of all, this is when it is replaced by another. Secondly, it may be necessary to replace bearings and / or support cups, apply new lubricant, and also, there are times when it is necessary to align the steering tube or perform other repair work.
Disassembling a fork shock absorber is most often necessary to replace lubricant or worn components. For example, these can be oil seals (cuffs), etc.
- First of all, we carry out preparatory work, namely, we unscrew everything that is attached to the plug. In our case, this is the brake caliper, as well as the front disc brake hose, which is clamped to the fork legs. If you have V-brakes installed, then dismantle them. This also applies to the speed sensor from the bike computer, front fender, etc.
- Unscrew the bolts securing the stem to the steering tube, and then unscrew the bicycle fork anchor bolt.
- Carefully remove the steering wheel together with the stem and lower it down. At this stage, you should act carefully so as not to damage the hydraulic lines or accidentally hitting the metal parts of the steering wheel on the frame, so as not to scratch the latter.
- Remove the spacer rings and the guide sleeve (cone). To do this, carefully pry it with a small flat screwdriver in the area of the cut. Then we take out the upper rolling ring and the upper bearing. All these actions are illustrated by the pictures below.
- All operations have been completed and now you can carefully remove the steering tube from the glass. After that, it remains for us to get the bearing, the lower rolling ring and remove the front wheel. To do this, we loosen the eccentric or unscrew the fixing bolts (depending on the type of attachment). This completes the process of removing the bike fork.
How to assemble and put the plug back
The process of assembling and installing a bicycle suspension fork is carried out in the reverse order. The only thing that you should carefully and carefully perform this operation in order to avoid incorrect installation of components. After you have installed the assembled fork back on the bike, secured the stem, be sure to check that there is no play in the steering tube in the frame glass. If they are observed, then be sure to eliminate them before the trip.
After you set everything up and start riding, the first time there will be an abundant release of grease through the cuffs of the bike fork pants. Don’t worry, this is normal. Over time, excess oil will be squeezed out, and this process will stop. During this period, do not be lazy, and do not forget to wash off excess lubricant after each trip.
How and how can you lubricate a bicycle suspension fork
I use Litol-24 grease to lubricate all of the bike’s front fork assemblies, including both the shock absorber and the head tube bearings. It is believed that it negatively affects aluminum parts when moisture gets in. But using it for five seasons, no negative consequences were noticed. The advantages of this grease include good temperature resistance. It does not thicken both in severe frost up to 50 C, and in extreme heat (up to 150 C).
Many people advise pouring liquid machine oils, sewing machine oil, and others into their forks. Personally, in my experience, there was a deterioration in the performance of the fork shock absorber (jerks were observed during compression and rebound of the spring). And if liquid oils worked better, manufacturers would have filled them in initially, which they do not.
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We figured out how to lubricate a bicycle fork. Next, let’s look at how to do this. We apply grease to the spring with excess (we ram the lubricant between the spring rings), the excess will come out through the hole under the stem and, if there is an excess in the pants, it will be squeezed out through the stuffing box seals (but you shouldn’t overdo it either). We also apply grease to the grooves of the cuffs and add forks to the pants. We lubricate all rubbing parts with a thin layer.
Before installing the plug into the glass, do not forget to lubricate the bearings, rings and cups.
This completes the lubrication process and you can go back to assembling and installing the bicycle fork.
How to disassemble a bicycle suspension fork
After we have removed the suspension fork from the bike, old used grease should be removed from all of the above components, namely the bearings, cups and raceways, as well as the steering tube and other areas. It’s not worth applying a new one yet, we will add it back to the glass at the stage of installing the plug.
Next, let’s start disassembling the shock absorber for further lubrication replacement.
- Turn the fork over and unscrew the mounting bolts.
- We remove the pants from the legs of the fork. If necessary, remove the oil seals.
- We remove used lubricant from all accessible surfaces. This procedure can be left for later and performed after complete disassembly, but it is preferable to do it right away in order to avoid oily marks on clothes, tools, etc. Do not forget to remove dirt and grease from the cuffs of the bicycle fork, as well as from the inside of the pants themselves.
- Then remove the lower travel stops and stop stops. To do this, we apply a little effort and pull them off the rods.
- We unscrew the adjustments on each of the fork legs. They are unscrewed using a special key, which, unfortunately, we did not have. Therefore, we had to make our own self-made key for these cases. We will attach a photo below, suddenly someone will come in handy. We take out the springs with caps and elastomers, as well as two rods (one from each leg).
- Removing old grease from all fork surfaces.
This completes the process of disassembling the bicycle fork shock absorber. Next, apply new grease. What can be used as a lubricant, we will consider below.
What parts are worn out that can lead to a bike fork repair
Repair of the plug is carried out after identifying the cause of the breakdown. You can find out the reason during the maintenance of the bike or a sudden breakdown during the ride. Most often, repairs come after improper use or storage of the bike, therefore, it is necessary to carry out maintenance to identify the root causes of the breakdown.
During an external examination, minor malfunctions can be detected that can lead to repairs, therefore it is necessary to control:
How To Install Forks | MTB Maintenance
- air plugs need to check the pressure, which should not change in a short time;
- condition and amount of oil in oil forks;
- normal leg work in pants, that is, to prevent backlash;
- the state of the dropouts;
- external mechanical damage to legs and pants, namely scratches, dents;
- tight fit of anthers that do not have damage, leaks;
- build quality and attachment to the bike.
After studying the instructions, every bike enthusiast can disassemble and, if necessary, replace the broken part of the front fork. However, you should not start without proper preparation, as this can lead to damage to the parts of the fork and difficulties in subsequent repairs.
Removing the fork from a bike
Before repairing or replacing fork parts, prepare:
- the necessary tool, lubricant;
- cover the place with newspapers or an unnecessary blanket, as oil may leak out or other debris may get enough sleep during parsing;
- change into suitable clothes.
Turn the bike over and remove the brake mechanism from the fork. Then unscrew the wheel with an eccentric. We return the bike to its normal position and proceed to unscrewing the upper fastening of the fork to the bike.
Now we turn to the steering wheel. It is necessary to unscrew the bolts on the stem (side) and on the anchor (top). We remove the steering wheel, the positioning rings, the guide cone from the pipe. After that, carefully, so as not to lose the balls, remove the upper ring and the upper bearing. We take out the steering tube from the glass, followed by removing the bearing and the lower ring.
What to do for regular fork maintenance
External prevention will help to avoid breakdowns, but in addition, it is necessary to carry out full or partial control of the lubricants.
The departure can be divided into periods, but this will depend on the frequency of driving and the distance of the routes. Therefore, it is easier to inspect and lubricate depending on the distance traveled, in kilometers.
After 150 km of the rolled path, clean and lubricate the legs and oil seals. After passing over 900 km, disassemble and completely relubricate the oil seals. than 4 thousand km will require a complete disassembly and replacement of oil inside the oil shock absorbers. The latter is carried out regardless of the distance traveled at least once a year.
If you actively use your bike, then it is worth lubricating the fork every season, and maybe more often. You can consider the lubrication process in several stages:
- Using a syringe or other narrow hole, pour oil under the boot;
- To evenly distribute the oil, the fork is developed, that is, push on it;
- During the distribution process, excess oil will leak out. It is cleaned with a rag.
The best lubricant is silicone oil or other clear lubricants.
To reduce the likelihood of dusty entrails, wipe your feet and anthers with a cloth after each ride.
What difficulties can there be when replacing faulty elements?
Difficulties during the repair can arise of various types, from the loss of balls from the bearing to the discrepancy of the part purchased in exchange. Nobody is immune from problems. Approach bike repairs responsibly.