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How Long Do Mountain Bike Shocks Last?

how long do mountain bike shocks last

Mountain bikes are designed to ride on pretty much any surface. They are the perfect bike to take on an off-road adventure, as they’re built to handle every bump that gets in the rider’s way. Thanks to the shocks on these bikes, the front tire is able to absorb most of the impact from off-road conditions. This helps the rider maintain control of their bike at all times.

To keep the mountain bike working efficiently, it’s essential to take it in for regular servicing. The shocks go through a lot, and will only last for a period of time. Most shocks will last between 100 to 200 hours of riding before they require servicing. The amount of time required between servicing all depends on the riding conditions.

It’s not just time that affects how long a mountain bike’s shocks will last either. How the rider uses the bike will affect the shocks as well. A casual rider won’t need to have their shocks services nearly as often as a rider who loves to go exploring regularly on more extreme terrain.

How Often Should Mountain Bike Shocks Be Serviced?

It’s very doubtful that you will bring a stopwatch along every time you ride in order to count the hours. There are much easier ways to tell when your mountain bike needs a tune-up. While you may not know the exact amount of time you spend on your mountain bike, you should know the average amount of time you ride.

If you take your mountain bike in for servicing before the shocks completely wear out then you likely won’t experience problems with them.

Many bikers can narrow it down to an average time spent on their bike to determine when it should be serviced. If you spend less than 3 hours a week on your mountain bike then you will only need to get it serviced once a year.

Those who like to take their mountain bike out a little more frequently (an average of 4 to 8 times a week) should be getting their bike serviced 2 or 3 times a year, depending on how rough their riding conditions are.

People who take the mountain bike over more bumps and rough spots are more likely to need their bike serviced 3 times a year than the casual bikers.

What about those who ride their bikes more frequently? If you ride your mountain bike every chance you get, then you may need to take it to get serviced every 2 months. Mountain bikes that see 20 or more hours a week on the trails will need more tune-ups to stay in good condition.

Full-time riders who take their mountain bikes out for 40 or more hours a week should look into getting their bike serviced every month. That mountain bike has seen a lot and needs some care before it’s ready for the next big adventure.

How Much Does It Cost to Service Mountain Bike Suspension?

Typically you can expect to spend anywhere from $100-$250 to have your mountain bike’s suspension service. The pricing heavily relies on the condition, such as the wear and tear on your shocks.

You can get a quick feel for the condition of your mountain bike’s shocks by manually compressing the forks. A properly working suspension should always feel slippery and lubricated.

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If it is dry or your shock starts to feel jarring or rigid, then it may need some proper lubrication. A shock that feels like there is extra resistance when returning to its fully extended state is a tell tale sign that service is needed.

How Do You Maintain Shocks on a Mountain Bike?

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The best way to maintain the shocks on your mountain bike is to make sure you keep the bike’s suspension fork well lubricated. Always make sure that there is enough lubricant inside the suspension fork. It’s also important to make sure that the lubricant isn’t contaminated with dirt.

Shocks are necessary for the rear suspension of the mountain bike. The suspension fork is operated by an oil-based system where the lubricant runs down the lower area of the fork legs allowing it to move smoothly. A well-lubricated suspension fork can limit friction.

Sometimes it helps to turn the fork upside down in order to get the lubricant to run down. All you have to for this is turn the bike upside down and let it rest for 20 minutes. It’s very important to make sure that you don’t allow any dirt to get in while you are doing this, so always make sure you clean off the fork with water.

We recommend using a high quality shock oil like this one by Finish Line. It is compatible with all types of suspension designs and seals, and will not thicken or thin due to the ambient temperature. This makes this oil excellent for any type of mountain bike shock.

What Makes Mountain Bike Shocks Wear Out Quicker?

There’s one thing that you might be doing that’s wearing out the mountain bike shocks quicker. The best thing you can do to extend the life of your shocks is to never point a hose anywhere near your seals.

This is one of the worst things you can do for your shocks. Every time they get hit with water from the hose 25 hours is knocked off their lifespan.

That’s not an exaggeration. Anytime you hit one of the seals with a stream of hose water you’ll need to bring the mountain bike in for servicing 25 hours sooner.

Although we don’t recommend using a hose to wash your bike if you have no other choice always use the lowest pressure stream and wipe the seals down with a clean towel.

Do Mountain Bikes Need Shocks?

When mountain bikes first hit the market they weren’t made with shocks. For a while, only high-end luxury mountain bikes came with shocks. Once shocks were first introduced on mountain bikes they were only available in the front. Mountain bikes have come a long way since then, and now almost every model has front shocks.

Actually, it would probably be a very big challenge to find a mountain bike that didn’t have front shocks. Those who are serious about their mountain bike don’t mind paying a bit more for full suspension though. The full suspension has front and back shocks to help absorb the impact of a rough landing. 

If you plan on taking that mountain bike over any bumpy terrain that you will definitely appreciate having shocks. Off-road biking is very bumpy and it’s not unusual to go around many sharp turns.

Since you never know what these adventures may bring, taking a bike out that has shocks is a lot more comfortable of a ride than one without.

Your front tire takes a lot of hits when you go off-road, so the shocks are its number one defense against these rough conditions. In order for your tire to make it through all the beatings from trails, it’s going to need the help of a shock.

Since shocks absorb the impact of a hard hit, they make it easier for the rider to stay in control during a rough ride.

Final Thoughts

Anytime a rider hits a rough patch of terrain, their shocks absorb the hit so their butt doesn’t have to. If someone takes their bike through for many bumpy rides their shocks likely won’t last as long compared to a rider who remains on a smooth trail. On average, a mountain bike’s shocks should be replaced every 100 to 200 hours of ride time. 

Most casual mountain bike riders can get by with having their bike serviced once a year. However, those who take their bike out more often and through harsher conditions may require servicing more frequently. Mountain bikes were designed to go through extreme conditions, but they will need to be serviced in order to keep up.

Waiting until your shocks wear out to have your mountain bike serviced is never a good idea. To ensure it’s always ready for an off-road journey make sure you get the shocks replaced before they need it. 

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