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Old 03-30-11, 10:57 AM   #1
StarBiker
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Life Expectancy of Suspension Forks When Not in Use

I have a Scott Scale, 2006 Model the has the Rock Shox if I remember correctly and am curious about how long they will last not being used in the suspension mode?
And what is a good alternative to them that is lighter, and doesn't cost a fortune? I did a general search and I am not paying the prices I see for many shocks. I DON"T NEED THEM!
I found this bike in local thrift in April last year, and posted it on here. I really enjoy riding the bike.
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Old 03-30-11, 11:05 AM   #2
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Elastomer and spring forks will last indefinitely if not used. The wiper lip at the top may dry and harden, but those can be replaced if necessary.

Air and oil forks will likewise last a long time, but the neoprene O-ring seals do harder over time, whether used or not, so don't be shocked if it doesn't hold air or leaks and needs a rebuild Rebuild of these shocks is a normal service procedure.
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Old 03-30-11, 11:21 AM   #3
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And what is a good alternative to them that is lighter, and doesn't cost a fortune?
A rigid fork.
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Old 03-30-11, 11:49 AM   #4
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It sounds more like you're using the forks in lock out mode and riding them around rather than just having the forks in storage. If so I'm with ncfisherman and suggest you replace them with a set of rigid forks if you're looking to replace them at all.

If you leave the present forks in lockout mode forever then it's possible that the bad things will come to pass such as seals hardening and becoming leaky and other such woes. If this fork is one of the types with an internal oil bath it's a good idea to unlock it and ride it for a while in suspension mode now and then. Doing so would ensure that the seals and wipers receive some lubrication from the internal oil. And since generally forks with a lockout feature are higher end items it's quite possible that this is a fairly deluxe model you have. As such it's worth caring for it. But you have not told us which model it is so it's hard to say anything more. You NEED TO SEARCH ON THE MODEL to find out which it is and find out this stuff.

If you opt to replace it for some reason then I'd also suggest a rigid fork since it seems that is how you're riding the bike anyway. The key there is to find one with the same length or longer steer tube and a crown to axle dimension that is no shorter than your present fork by about 20mm's. If it's a lot shorter than you'll have issues with altering the steering geometry. But up to 20 to 25mm shorter is fine.

There's some very nice light weight rigid forks out there. But the nicer ones cost almost as much as some good suspension forks. If you unlock your forks and find that they work fine and if they are a higher end fork you may want to consider selling your present fork to offset the cost of a rigid replacement. But again the amount you'd get depends solely on which model the fork is. And for the rigid I would avoid carbon leg forks due to durability issues if they should become badly gouged.
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Old 03-31-11, 10:32 AM   #5
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It's a Scott Scale 70, 2006 Model. The frame is Aluminum on the 70.
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Old 03-31-11, 10:50 AM   #6
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The bike info doesn't do any good. It's the model of the FORK that you need. Study the fork to find out which one it is and then go to the Rock Shox website and find and download the manual for it. Being a 2006 model I would hope that they still have the file for downloading.

There's no doubt that this is a better than basic fork on that bike. As such it will have some proper workings inside the legs. I'd unlock it and let it bounce from time to time to keep things moving inside and keep the seals lubricated. If they sit in one spot for too long the oil eventually squeezes out and the seals stick to the metal. Then when they need to move the lips can tear away due to the sticking. Mind you that sort of thing takes a LONG time but it doesn't hurt to once a month take the lockout off and ride for a while with the forks in suspension mode. Hope off a few curbs while you're at it to get things pumping around as well.

Given that you're riding in lockout all the time that implies you're just on the roads. I'm surprised that you're still using knobbies in that case. If you're only road riding then smooth tread street tires would roll a lot nicer and squiggle less in the turns. Oh, and you can remove that little red flag of tape on the front derailleur...
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Old 03-31-11, 12:32 PM   #7
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Rock Shox J2, 80mm travel.
I am mostly riding on gravel, or sidewalks. Not smooth roads. Not in the B'more area. I would like to live a while longer.
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Old 03-31-11, 01:14 PM   #8
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Rock Shox J2, 80mm travel.
I am mostly riding on gravel, or sidewalks. Not smooth roads. Not in the B'more area. I would like to live a while longer.
Riding on sidewalks is a good way to shorten it.
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Old 03-31-11, 04:09 PM   #9
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If your route is that rough I think I'd use the forks in suspension mode and just stiffen them up to more of a road handling setup by going for stiffer springs and using a harder damping setup. That way it still soaks up the worst stuff but doesn't suck away any pedalling energy to speak of. Properly set up suspension does not need to be a black hole for your energy.
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Old 03-31-11, 04:22 PM   #10
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StarBiker, You can always run the forks in suspension mode from time to time to circulate the oil. As stated above, suspension adjusted rigid forks are available.

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Old 04-01-11, 06:44 AM   #11
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Thank you. I will ask my local BS.
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