LET'S TALK SUSPENSION w/ Alex McAndrew from Green Mountain Pro Tune!
No, Im not hear to demystify your suspension set up, but maybe Alex can! Alex And his wife Ella own Green Mountain Pro Tune, and Alex is a certified FOX, DVO & MRP suspension technician. I recently had a chance to chat with him while he was servicing a customers shock. We chatted service intervals, & general maintenance, I heard horror stories, and got some awesome info!
So, let's start from the beginning, did you know that your fork and shock (and often times your dropper seat post) all need to have regular service done to them to ensure their longevity AND to make sure they are working correctly?! This service isn't included in your yearly tune-up from the bike shop, but is something you should be budgeting for in the near future!
So I asked Alex, some basic suspension questions. My Q's are labeled BSMTB (Blue Sky MTB) and Alex's Answer's are under GMPT!
...Well, I don't want to leave you in...suspense ;)
BSMTB: "When does someone NEED to service their suspension?"
GMPT: (part 1)"...how many times a week do you ride?" According to Alex, "If you ride once a week you need to get the oil in your lowers changed, and your air can cleaned and lubed at least once a year." This type of suspension service is often referred to as lower leg service (for your fork) and an air can service (for your shock). This is something that MOST local bike shops can offer you. If you were lucky enough to get a bike during or before the pandemic, this is definitely something you should reach out to your LBS (local bike shop) about now, or over the winter!
(part 2) "if you you really want top performance" you should be getting a full service on your fork and shock once a year" A full service rebuild means that you would send your suspension to a certified technician so they can completely take it a part, clean it, and rebuild it, (something that can't be done in most bike shops). This seems may seem like a LOT, but, would you drive your car with out getting the oil changed? Alex suggests getting a yearly "full service" on your suspension if you ride 2-3 times a week.
BSMTB: "Is there any general up-keep or maintenance tips you have for riders in order to keep there suspension working in between suspension services?"
GMPT: (Advice from Alex...)
Keep the mud and dirt off of your fork and shock! Dont be afraid to wipe down your suspension with a soft, clean rag.
Get a fender, which will help keep a ton of mud off your fork, especially in the fall riding conditions!
Check your air pressure! If you run too little air in your shock, the negative results can vary from annoying to dangerous. Seeing as how we're dealing with a bike/ bike part shortage right now, maintaining the suspension you have is critical to your bikes longevity!
"Don't store your bike outside (during the colder months) ...the temperatures swing and your nice suspension parts don't like to be frozen"... Bring those little beauty's in for the night! (guilty as charge)
BSMTB: "How many time should we be checking the air pressure in the fork and shock?"
GMPT: "You need to be checking your pressure at least once a week, but if performance (of your suspension) is a top priority, every ride." Alex suggested getting a digital shock pump. An analog shock pumps are not exact, and varying results of 5-10 PSI can make a BIG difference in how your bike performs!
Suspension horror stories? OH, Alex has 'em... but I'm not here to scare you. (Although 'tis the season!) The moral of the story is, the affects of not taking care of your suspension can range from small annoyances (pedal strikes, or your suspension feeling spongy), to catastrophic failures like bottoming out your shock and braking your entire frame! YIKES!! NO BODY wants that. Although Alex said that most shocks and forks can be fixed, it will always going to be better to not wait until its too late!
It was SO nice to chat with Alex, if you're interested in getting your suspension serviced this fall or winter, I would highly recommend making an appointment with Green Mountain Pro Tune.
Are you having trouble finding the right tune? Alex also offers a service to set your suspension up for your preferred type of riding experience! For $80 an hour, you can have. a professional help you adjust your suspension as you ride!! (sign me up!)