How Long Do Mountain Bike Forks Last? (Read This First)

How Long Do Mountain Bike Forks Last

One of the best ways to improve the longevity of any machine is to carry out regular maintenance. 

For example, routine maintenance of your mountain bike not only boosts its lifespan but also keeps it performing at high efficiency.

One of the key components that need constant attention when dealing with mountain bikes is the bike forks because of their function.

And you may be curious to know how long mountain bike forks last.

Your mountain bike forks will last an average of 5 years of normal usage or about three years during heavy usage. However, other factors, such as the quality of forks and the general level of maintenance, play a key role in improving the lifespan of your mountain bike forks. 

In this article, I will explain how bike forks work and the importance of forks on your mountain bike.

By the end, you will understand the best techniques to employ in servicing your forks and the best ways to improve the lifespan of your mountain bike forks.

What Is the Lifespan of Mountain Bike Forks?

How Long Do Mountain Bike Forks Last

Many factors will determine the lifespan of your mountain bike forks. You will have to consider the quality of the forks, how often you use your bike, and the level of maintenance of the forks.

On average, your mountain bike forks should last about 3 to 5 years or even more with adequate servicing. 

So, for instance, a casual bike rider will end up with forks that will last longer than someone who goes bike riding daily.

Because of the role your bike forks play during a ride, it is only proper always to keep them in perfect condition. 

And lubricating your forks is one of the most important parts of maintaining your suspension forks.

Largely, manufacturers suggest you service your bike forks after 40 to 100 hours of a ride. 

However, if you ride your bike for at least 20 to 30 hours a week, you must service your suspension forks monthly.

Also, it would help to run a full service after every 200 hours of mountain bike usage. That involves a strip-down, seal substitute, and full oil change. 

It is also compulsory to run a full service yearly. If you maintain your bike forks properly, they will last longer and operate better. 

However, it would help to know that the servicing moments are not fixed. It would help if you did not wait for the time to elapse before you service your bike forks. 

The idea is to call for help once you notice minor changes in the performance of your forks.

Generally, how you ride your bike, the type of routes you always explore, and the weather conditions can affect the lifespan of your mountain bike forks.

You can always lubricate your forks by yourself after constant practice or choose to call on a professional for services.

How to Tell If Mountain Bike Forks Are Bad?

One can always uphold the function played by a bike fork.

The forks help your mountain bike absorb impacts when you ride on bumpy trails and consequently help you stay in control and safer.

Mountain bike forks virtually work by damping the spring vibration, thereby maintaining the tires of your mountain bike on the ground and preventing them from bouncing while you ride.

The presence of forks on a bike is one of the major reasons biking is exciting and fun. 

You will notice certain changes during rides once your bike forks deteriorate or become bad. 

Some of the things to look out for include the following.

  • More bouncy rides.
  • Irregular noises when you brake.
  • Leaking fluids.
  • Brakes take longer to respond.
  • Uneven wear on tires.

#1. More Bouncy Rides 

Your rides become wholly bumpy once your mountain bike forks need fixing.

In addition, you become uncomfortable during rides because your bike tires start losing contact with the ground more than they should.

Once you start experiencing bumpy rides, you should look for odd vibrations, usually caused by bad bike suspension forks.

#2. Irregular Noises When You Brake

Your mountain bike makes unnecessary squishy sounds whenever you apply brakes. You will also notice that your bike starts to drift while making whacking sounds.

You should call for servicing or replacing your bike suspension forks once you notice funny sounds or swerving movements during a ride.

#3. Leaking Fluids 

Once your bike forks become bad, you will observe oil leakage during rides or resting. Once you notice the leakages, it indicates that your folks are faulty and need attention.

#4. Brakes Take Longer to Respond

Another indicator of bad mountain bike forks is the change in the duration of your brakes. 

It would help to examine your forks quickly once you notice your brakes taking longer to respond because brake failure is particularly dangerous.

#5. Uneven Wear on Tires 

Because your bike cannot keep its tires adequately on the ground, unbalanced contact results in uneven wear on your mountain bike tires.

Is It Worth It to Upgrade Mountain Bike Forks?

Yes, upgrading your mountain bike forks is okay, especially when you have become more advanced and you’ve started dealing with tougher routes.

However, upgrading your mountain bike forks is one of the best ways to improve the performance level of your machine. 

Upgrading your bike forks can get complicated since there are many options and factors to consider before choosing the best quality.

You want to consider your experience level, the model of your mountain bike, and the cost of an upgrade.

Going for the most expensive bike forks could be a game-changer, particularly if you feel your current forks are keeping you back.

Here are some things to consider when upgrading your mountain bike forks

#1. Axle Compatibility

Choose a fork compatible with your front hub. There are many common forks available. However, the 15×100 axles are very common.

Make sure you go for a good quality that will fit your bike perfectly.

#2. Steerer Tube 

Make sure you get a standard steerer tube for an upgrade. The steerer tube for older bikes is quite different from the newer versions.

Pay attention while choosing, and ensure you get a compatible steerer tube.

#3. Travels 

Several mountain bike frames have designs that work with a bike fork marking a particular amount of travel. 

It would help to understand that the percentage of travel will change the handling charges of the bike.

As such, you should always maintain the same travel fork made for your bike. You can always contact the manufacturer of your bike for guidance.

#4. Brake Type

The type of brake on your mountain bike will also affect the upgrade of forks, depending on whether your machine has a rim or disk brakes.

For mountain bikes with rim brakes, except if you decide to upgrade both the wheels and brakes, you will have limited options when upgrading your bike forks.

How Do I Know If My Mountain Bike Fork Needs Service?

If you are observant enough, various factors alert you that your mountain bike forks need servicing.

For instance, once you notice that your bike lacks bump sensitivity, that’s an indicator that your forks are getting messy and need servicing.

Regardless, once you notice any changes during your ride, it would be best to call an expert for service, that way, you will prevent more harm to your machine.

Some indicators that your mountain bike forks need servicing include the following:

  • You must service your forks if the rebound and contraction don’t affect anything.
  • When you observe that the fork is losing plenty of air or fluid, then it’s service time. 
  • When you feel a little dryness during a ride, it’s time to check out the stanchion of your forks.
  • When you notice bubbling air noises with your rear shock, that’s a clear indication that you should service your suspension forks.
  • Once you observe that rides begin to feel harsh, you should service your forks as it could be due to added friction.

Generally, having bike forks in perfect condition is the secret to having an exciting riding experience. 

The table below shows what to expect when you have good or bad mountain bike forks.

Good Bike Forks Bad Bike Forks
You experience improved speed and control.Bad forks slow you down during rides.
Good forks reduce biker fatigue.Bad bike forks stress bikers leading to fatigue.
You have increased safety.With bad bike forks, you are at risk of accidents.
Having good forks give you more comfortable rides.Bad forks give less comfortable rides.
Josh Matthews

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