There is no single, simple answer to one of the most common questions we get at SuspensionWerx. When repairing suspension products, ‘how old is too old?’ varies greatly by manufacturer and application. On any given day we could be ordering parts for the Öhlins shock on a 1990 Honda VRF 750F, and also breaking the news that a ten-year-old mountain bike shock would have been fully serviceable but for a worn-out hard part that’s no longer supported. Instead, it’s a really nice paperweight.

With our factory-backed service relationships and access to a sea of products from aftermarket suspension tuning companies, if the product was made by a suspension brand we service, and parts are available, then we will get you sorted. Please reach out. Often, we can assess from a photo or a detailed description, and other times, especially with older products, our technicians will need to have them in hand for a proper determination.

With a fresh hose and a service kit, still readily available, this 34-year-old Öhlins shock has years of riding ahead.

The important distinction here is between service parts like seals and bushings and hard parts such as shafts and bodies on shocks or chassis components on suspension forks. With service parts widely available for most of the forks and shocks that come across our workbenches, the only factors that absolutely spell the end-of-life are damage or wear, either from use or lack of service.

Even with mountain bike suspension products, where weight carries a significant consideration versus durability when choosing designs and materials, we’re regularly working on forks and shocks that are over a decade old and have either had relatively light usage or continue to have excellent support for replacement parts.

We've been regularly servicing this '12 Fox Float 32 RLC Fox Float 32 RLC since it was purchased new, from SuspensionWerx, in 2011. Seals, bushings, and bladders continue to be available, but it’s important to stay on top of service as the chassis and air system are irreplaceable

Staying on top of routine service intervals, and remembering they’re manufacturers’ maximums, not minimums, is the key to extending both performance and product life from stock suspension. It’s also increasingly cost-effective for riders to boost the performance of a shock or fork chassis they already own, through upgrades, and expect performance as good, and often better than what’s available through a new in-the-box upgrade. Watch out for ‘sleeper’ forks, like a basic Fox 36 Rhythm with a Vorsprung Smashpot Coil upgrade dropped in.

We’re regularly quoting upgrades with services. On the moto side, in addition to custom valving and factory upgrades, we’re stocking fork and shock upgrades from MX-Tech and K-Tech. On the mountain bike side, in addition to custom valving and factory upgrades, we’re stocking fork and shock upgrades from PUSH, MRP, and Vorsprung. We have many more options by special order for those looking to get the most out of the fork or shock they already own.

Whether a factory service, custom re-valving, aftermarket hop-up, or replacement suspension component is the best way forward is going to be an individual decision that we help numerous riders with each day.

A CaneCreek CCDB Inline Air from 2014, fully updated to the current spec in 2024. We love making older suspension products sing.

The question of long-term ownership, not just the absolute best performance today, is also increasingly coming up when we’re asked for buying advice for new suspension products. We stock and have access to a wide catalogue of performance suspension products for all applications, but service costs and intervals vary, and we’re happy to have a conversation about different manufacturers’ long-term histories of product support.

Mountain bikes are now at an evolutionary point that many powersports applications have been for years, where riders are actively considering holding onto rigs much longer as changes in frame and suspension geometry are more minute and may not be perceived by every rider as being improved over previous generation products.

The Fox Alps 5 Air shock and RockShox/Specialized FSX collaboration fork on this 1994 Stumpjumper are collectors’ items, but no longer factory supported for service.

Whenever parts and support are available, we love to service older, and straight-up old, suspension products and keep them active in your search for traction and control. Likewise, we’re eager to engage in the conversation of how best to support your riding and performance goals within your budget – service, upgrade, or replace.

Our ongoing web series will compare various upgrade options, in terms of service parts, the services we offer, performance upgrades, and purchasing new forks and shocks for a variety of applications.

Thanks for joining us!

February 27, 2024 — Suspension Werx