Send your hard working parts to the spa!
If you live in northern climes, and it is winter, than you probably are not riding too much right now. Most of us who are forced off the bike this way, usually rationalize this time as “healing time”. And in many cases, we really do need it! I know that my body takes a pounding during the long summers here, and the months of recovery from biking are all that keeps me working again for next year, (I’ll probably be saying the same thing about skiing by the time spring comes!)
The winter is also a good time for getting a few things done for your trusty, but worn out stead. When the spring finally arrives, I know that you won’t want to be wasting any riding time dealing with broken bikes, so I’m going to tell you an important thing to do.
You can usually keep your bike in reasonable condition by simply bringing it in to your local bike shop for a service once a year, and many problems that occur throughout the season can be fixed quickly, but one thing that is a real pisser to have happen to you during the riding season is to have your rear shock fail.
The thing about rear shocks, and this includes Fox, Rockshox, Marzocchi, and all the rest, is that they almost always have to be sent to an authorized service center for repair. It can take as little as a week, or as long as a month, depending on the season, to get your shock sent away, serviced, and returned. At the height of the riding season, when the warranty and repair centers are at their busiest, it will be along time before you see your shock come back. I have seen as long as 6 weeks to get your shock back, (not including the time I sent a shock back for a customer in April, and the service center lost it and the customer didn’t see the replacement until November! it was snowing outside, and I felt terrible for him.)
And when it is the middle of summer, and you are without your bike for even a short time, it can feel like forever.
So I really recommend you get your shock properly serviced at least once a year if you ride a lot, and you ride hard.
If your shock is less than a year old, it is usually done for free. If it is older, than you may have to pay for the service, a typical shock repair + shipping works out to around $100-$150, but sometimes less.
In most cases I would recommend your shock be sent to an authorized service center by an authorized dealer. But there are other companies offering custom tunes for mountain bike shocks, Push Industries being the most well known in North America, and their product, from what I have seen, has been very good.
Do the best you can for your full suspension bike this winter, and have your shock serviced before the next ride. If you are unsure if you need to do this, check with one of your local bike shop mechanics, they are usually pretty good feeling what a shock needs. You may also want to do your forks at the same time. Same thing, check with your local bike shop first, because most work on suspension forks can be done in your local bike shop, and doesn’t always have to go to the service center, and will save you shipping $$.