MBA TECH

Unlocking RockShox Fork Secrets
Lower fork service for air-sprung sliders

ty of rk requires a varie Servicing your fo eter hex as a 5-millim basic tools, such cket, 24-milli, 12-millimeter so wrench propyl , rubber gloves, iso meter flat wrench l bucket, bike stand, , oi alcohol, shop rags thead l or sharp pick, fla plastic mallet, aw ll tire lever, wood or hi screwdriver, down , fork oil and a ruler. se plastic dowel, grea

Tools you’ll need

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ut of the box or off the showroom floor, your bike will ride fine, but it will not have optimized suspension performance. Dedicated downhillers are known for meticulously tuning their suspension and always looking for performance advantages that come through regularly servicing their forks. Also, well-serviced and clean suspension components simply last longer. We’ve chosen the popular 2010 RockShox Boxxer World Cup and will take you step-by-step through a few basic maintenance tips that will unlock improved fork performance. Although we’re working on a downhill fork, the lower leg removal, seal servicing and lower leg installation steps will apply to most RockShox Solo Air trailbike forks, like the Lyrik and Revelation, for example. Before working on your own suspension, we recommend checking out the tuning guide for your fork that can be found on RockShox’s website. This guide is easy to understand and is a good starting point for helping wrap your head around what the moving parts inside your slider are up to when you’re bombing a trail.

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After you’ve removed the fork from your bike and have placed the fork in the bike stand, use a pick and a flatbladed screwdriver to remove the retaining clip. Be sure to place a bucket below the fork to catch the old fork oil.

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Remove the beginning and ending stroke rebound adjusters and use a 24-millimeter flat wrench or crescent wrench to loosen and remove the rebound shaft bolt. Remove the crush washer and retainer from the bottom of the bolt, and then reinstall the shaft bolt a few turns. Take note of how the rebound assembly comes apart to make reinstallation easier later on.

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Speed and style: Specialized’s Brendan Fairclough is on the short list of World Cup racers who have style at full speed. In this photo, Brendan and his RockShox Boxxer World Cup launch the GLC drop in the Whistler Mountain Bike Park.

Place a 12-millimeter socket over the rebound adjuster shaft and against the rebound bolt. Use a rubber mallet and firmly strike the socket to free the rebound shaft from its press-fit inside the lower leg.

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Once the press-fit is broken, remove the rebound adjuster completely from the bottom of the fork leg.

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Remove the lower leg from the fork by pulling out each upper tube. Spray the fork legs with isopropyl alcohol and wipe down with a clean, lint-free rag. Allow any remaining oil to drain into the bucket. This is a good time to inspect the upper tubes for damage. Scratches can lead to oil leaks and allow debris to contaminate the fork internals.

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Use a 5-millimeter hex wrench to loosen the spring shaft bolt, and back it out four turns. Use a rubber mallet to strike the shaft bolt and break it free from its press-fit in the lower leg. Remove the shaft bolt completely.

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Position the fork upside-down in the stand and allow the oil to drain into the bucket. At first, very little oil flowed for us, but after three attempts to break the rebound and shaft bolts free from the press fit, all of the oil drained into the pan.

Use a “spoon-shaped” tire lever or a large flat head screwdriver to pry underneath the lip of the gray seal. Stabilize the fork leg and use a downward force to remove both seals at this time.
March 2010 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION

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After we cleaned the fork seals, we used our homemade seal installation tool, which is simply a piece of 1-1/4-inch PVC pipe to firmly press in the seals. Wipe down the outside of the seal with isopropyl alcohol and install them dry. Do not use grease for the seal installation.

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Spray isopropyl alcohol inside the fork lowers, and use a clean rag and a dowel to wipe the inside of the fork clean. Do this a couple of times on each side.

Apply liberal amounts of waterproof grease to the dust wiper and oil seal.

INSIDER TIPS

GT’S FACTORY WRENCH
John Canepa is Eric Carter’s personal wrench and a factory mechanic for GT Bicycles. John knows the ins-and-outs of the RockShox Boxxer and has given us some of his personal tuning tips for a buttery smooth fork. Lubing the seals: The grease of choice is Liquid-O-Ring PM600 Military Grease. It is smoother than anything else I’ve tried. Better than Phil Wood, Park or anything else usually found in bike shops. It is red and comes in a cylindrical tube. I have found it at select auto parts stores, but not everyone carries it. Apply a healthy dose of grease to both the inner and outer seals. Do this before lubing the bushings in the lowers. Lubing the lower legs/bushings: Do this after applying grease to the Maxima, commonly found at most seals. The reason is that grease will motorcycle shops. I prefer 3wt, but stay in place, whereas oil will get all 5wt is acceptable. over the place if not handled correctly. Hold the lowers in a horizontal position and squirt about 20cc of lube inside. Be careful to keep the lowers steady, or the oil will drip out the bottom holes, use a 50/50 mix of 3wt or 5wt shock oil with RockShox Red Rum. The trick to making sure the bushings have full oil coverage is to rotate the legs in a 360-degree motion while keeping horizontal at the same time. You can look inside the lowers while doing Factory GT mechanic John Canepa (left) helped us this and actually see the oil out with some of his tuning tips for the RockShox cover the bushings. The Boxxer World Cup. Here he tweaks a bike setup with brand of shock oil I use is Eric Carter at Mammoth Mountain.

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Gently slide the upper leg assembly into the fork lowers. Be sure to install the legs in the proper side for the fork. Slide the legs in until you feel the spring and damper shafts make contact with the inside of the legs, and then pull the upper tubes back out a few inches to make room for oil and lubrication. Place the fork back in the stand and carefully clamp the fork lowers in at about a 45degree angle. This allows lubrication to coat the inside of the fork lowers and bushings.

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Rotate the fork 360-degrees a few times so the oil coats the bushings inside the fork.

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Measure 20cc of a 50/50 mixture of 15wt fork oil and RockShox Red Rum lubricant and inject the mixture inside each fork leg. RockShox says 15wt oil sticks to the bushings better than lighter weight oil, but we know of race teams that run 3wt or 5wt oil in their Boxxers. The lighter-weight oil is said to make the fork more sensitive and active, but requires more frequent servicing.

Slowly slide each upper tube completely into the lower leg until the shaft threads are visible through the shaft holes. Be careful, and slide the legs slowly, because sliding them too quickly will cause oil to shoot out of the shaft bolt holes. Check for oil on the shaft threads, and use the corner of a clean rag to dry the threads if necessary.

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Install the ending stroke rebound knob, washer, and beginning stroke rebound knob on the rebound adjuster shaft.

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Thread the rebound damper and spring shaft bolts into the threaded shaft ends. Use the 5-millimeter hex wrench and crescent wrench to properly tighten the bolts.

Lightly push down on the rebound adjusters to access the retaining clip groove. Place the retaining clip into the groove and push it into place with a small flat-head screwdriver. Wipe down the entire fork with isopropyl alcohol and reinstall the fork on your bike. Voila! Your fork lowers and seal service is complete. ❏

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