Suspension is what makes a modern mountain bike so much fun to ride fast and safely, off-road.
If you tried rolling through rock gardens or riding off small trail drops on a rigid bike without a suspension fork or rear shock, your joints would be punished.
With air chambers, oil circuits and coil springs absorbing terrain impacts, contemporary mountain bike suspension design has an amazing way to smooth out trails.
Suspension components allow the mountain bike to feel like it is floating over terrain. It also greatly increases traction, by keeping your wheels in contact with the trail, instead of wildly oscillating.
Mountain bike suspension might be part-miraculous when first experienced by novice riders but considering the forces at play when you are speeding downhill on a technical challenging trail, the wear coefficient is high.
Local trail conditions are hard on suspension
Suspension servicing is an oft neglected element of mountain biking, but without proper care, your bike will never ride to its full potential for year-after-year.
Contamination is the biggest issue, as fine dust and mud particles seep past the suspension system’s seals. Once inside the fork or shock, these trail contaminants can become a grinding agent, generating considerable component damage.
South African mountain bikers should be particularly aware of their suspension service intervals. Our local riding conditions contain very mineral rich dust.
One of the elements in South African’s environment is silica dust, which is tremendous small in size but incredibly hard – making it a prime candidate for potentially getting past seals and damaging your suspension’s internals.
You would imagine that running more robust seals would be the solution, but this can potentially degrade suspension performance. There is nothing worse than a sticky and unresponsive fork or shock. Mountain bike suspension designers prize low friction seals, to allow for the most responsive kinematics possible.
Better seals are worth the money
The skill of producing low-friction seals, that are also capable of keeping grit from ruining your suspension’s internals, is a function of precision workmanship.
Few countries have a reputation for cycling component engineering accuracy quite like Taiwan and Racing Brothers is a supplier of choice to the Motorcycle industry, based in Taichung.
Recognising that its skillset was applicable to mountain bikes, Racing Brothers also produce a range of aftermarket seals kits for the most popular suspension brands. Exact machining tolerances are the secret to manufacturing seals which keep the dust and mud out, without stalling the suspension’s inherent desire for freedom of vertical movement.
Most mountain bikes use Fox or Rockshox forks and shocks and Racing Brothers have appropriate low-friction seal kits available for both brands.
Best of all, Racing Brothers is now available locally. Next time your mountain bike goes in for an oil change or routine inspection, it might be a choice opportunity to upgrade to some high-quality seals. They will protect your fork or rear shock, and also make both components feel livelier on the trail.