Well set up suspension will make a huge difference to your bikes performance, but setting it up once & never performing basic maintenance, is pretty futile, especially during the british winter. The maintenance side of things is often overlooked until its to late but there are a few basic & uncomplicated things you can do to keep everything working well, until its service time. So lets look at some of the basics.

Keeping the shock and forks clean is a big must. After a ride wipe them down with a rag making sure theres no dirt or grit on the moving parts as this could cause major problems with scoring to the forks or shock and could turn into a costly repair. It's as simple as using some warm water to clean them down, then a bit of GT85 to remove any moisture thats hanging around after you dry them. Make sure you clean all the dirt from around any travel indicator rings too, so they dont scratch your stanchions.

You dont have to "lube" your forks after cleaning, as most will have oil inside that takes care of this. The above goes for the front forks & rear shock alike.

You should also check your sag (preload) & shock pressures before every ride, its best to refer to the manufacturers guide for the best setup for your bike style and rider weight and if your lucky enough to have a bike with 2013 and Fox suspension you can download the Fox IRD app and this will tell you how to set up your Fox kit. This takes a few short seconds before every ride, but if you check that your gear is set up the same every time, you're more likely to spot if something isn't right.

So outside the above checks is the full strip down & service. If you are confident, you can tackle this job yourself but it can require some special tools, which of course is why we are here! We have the full array of parts, spares and service items you need to service both front & rear suspension units. Worth mentioning at this point that we are also a recognised Fox service centre too.

Full servicing should be carried out more often than you may think so check with you owners manual as to what's recommended for your kit. Also check out any custom tuning that can be done to your front & rear shocks, some tweeks are fairly inexpensive, & you never know they may make you faster!

What to look out for: Any scratches scores or discolouration on the shock ofr fork leg is something you'd want to get looked at, as this could cause problems with the internals. Rubbing on one area of a fork leg (first picture below) can often be a sign of twisted lowers, so if you have a wee crash, keep an eye on your forks over the next few rides. Big scratches are pretty rare, as the stanchions are pretty hard, so if you see a scratch developing (second picture below) it's more than likely a bit of debris, cought under the seals. This means it's service & replacement time!

Dougie's winter suspension tips

Dougie's winter suspension tips

Leaking oil: Most suspension runs with oil inside, so if you see a lot of oil around the seal this will also need inspected. You can get a slight residue line after suspension has been compressed but oil pooling is not good. If you start with your suspension in good working order, then a developing problem should be very easy to spot.

Check your seals make sure they don't look "baggy" round the edges & they are tight against the surface of the stanchion. If they are not, the oil can get out & dirt can get in.

Remember a smoother suspension setup equals a smoother ride, also seals & oil are not expensive but a new set of forks could be!