How long do mountain bike shocks last?

bike shocks
Last update:

Mountain bike shocks, including suspension forks and rear shocks, help with smoothing out rough trails, improving control, and absorbing impacts. 

Like any bike component, they have a limited lifespan and require proper care. But how long can you expect your mountain bike shocks to hold up before needing maintenance or replacement?

Let’s find out… 

How long do MTB suspension forks last?

How long a mountain bike suspension can last will vary depending on certain factors like riding conditions, frequency of use and the quality of the fork. 

However, a high-quality and well-maintained MTB suspension can last for up to 10,000+ miles of riding or up to 3 years. 

Keep in mind that suspension forks need regular maintenance to last longer. And most manufacturers suggest routine maintenance like cleaning, lubricating, inspecting seals and bushings, and replacing worn-out parts. 

Also, how you ride and where you ride affects how long the fork will last. If you ride hard, take big hits, or tackle tough conditions like mud or extreme temperatures, it can wear out the fork faster.

So, make sure to give your suspension fork some TLC and adjust your riding style based on the terrain to keep it in good shape and performing its best.

How do I know if my bike shocks are bad?

There are a few signs that can indicate your bike shocks (suspension fork or rear shock) may be in need of attention or potentially “bad.” Here are some common indicators to look out for:

Loss of Suspension Travel

If you notice that your suspension fork or rear shock is not compressing or rebounding as it should, or if it feels overly stiff, it could be a sign of worn-out or damaged internals.

You also need to take note of excessive sag or lack of sag. Sag refers to the amount of suspension travel that compresses under the rider’s weight when they are seated on the bike. 

If you’re not experiencing the recommended amount of sag or if the sag is significantly more or less than usual, it may indicate an issue with the shocks.

Oil Leakage

Bike shocks can leak oil due to seal failure, damaged or worn seals, overheating, and inadequate maintenance. 

These issues can lead to oil escaping from the shocks, resulting in reduced performance and potential internal damage. 

It’s important to occasionally check your shocks for any signs of oil leakage. And if you notice oil on the stanchions (the smooth tubes on suspension forks) or around the seals, it could indicate a seal failure or damage to the internal components.

Any oil leaks should be promptly repaired by a qualified professional to ensure that your shocks are in good shape. 

Unusual Noises

Another obvious sign that your bike shock should be checked is if you hear unusual noises coming from your suspension while riding. 

Bike shocks can make unusual noises due to various factors, including worn-out bushings, loose bolts, air or oil leaks, insufficient lubrication, or internal components that are damaged or out of alignment. 

These issues can cause creaking, grinding, or clunking sounds during suspension movement. 

If you hear any unusual noise, then it’s time to carefully check and address the problem promptly to prevent further damage and maintain optimal performance. 

Reduced Performance

If you notice a significant decrease in the overall performance of your suspension, such as reduced responsiveness, diminished control, or increased vibration, it could be a sign that the shocks are not functioning optimally.

Also, if your shocks rebound too quickly or too slowly, or if they feel overly harsh or soft, it may be due to a problem with the damping system.

Which suspension is best for MTB?

When choosing the best suspension fork for your mountain bike (MTB), you need to consider the amount of suspension travel. The appropriate travel range for you will depend on your riding style and the type of terrain you usually encounter. 

Shorter travel (80-120mm) is suitable for cross-country riding, while longer travel (120-160mm or more) is ideal for aggressive trail or enduro riding.

You also need to look at the wheel size and axle compatibility of the fork to ensure that it’s compatible with your MTB’s wheel size (e.g., 27.5″, 29″) and axle standard (e.g., QR, thru-axle).

Best MTB suspension forks on Amazon

Rockshox Recon Silver
RockShox Recon Silver RL Suspension Fork - 29", 100 mm, 9 x 100 mm, 51 mm Offset, Black, Straight, D1
  • Wheel size: 27.5″, 29″
  • Travel: 100mm to 130mm
  • Axle: 15x110mm BOOST

Rockshox 35 Gold RL
RockShox 35 Gold RL Suspension Fork - 29", 140 mm, 15 x 110 mm, 44 mm Offset, Black, E-MTB, A2
  • Wheel size: 27.5″, 29″, 29″+
  • Travel: 100mm to 160mm
  • Axle: 15x110mm BOOST

Bucklos Air Fork
BUCKLOS 26/27.5/29 Travel 120mm MTB Air Suspension Fork, Rebound Adjust 1 1/8 Straight/Tapered Tube QR 9mm Manual/Remote Lockout XC AM Ultralight Mountain Bike Front Forks
  • Wheel size: 26″, 27.5″, 29″
  • Travel: 120mm
  • Axle: 9X100mm

The best suspension for your MTB will also depend on the type of riding you do, the terrain you ride on, personal preferences, and your budget. 

Do you lubricate bike shocks?

Bike shocks, like suspension forks and rear shocks, are sealed units that don’t need regular lubrication from riders. They’re designed to work smoothly without extra lubrication. 

However, they still require regular maintenance to ensure they last long and perform well. This maintenance involves cleaning, inspecting, and lubricating specific parts of the shocks.

Qualified bike mechanics or suspension specialists can perform this maintenance and use specialized lubricants to reduce friction and protect the internal components. 

If you have any concerns or need maintenance for your bike shocks, it’s best to seek help from a professional shop or specialist to ensure optimal performance and a longer lifespan.

Do bike shocks need maintenance?

Yes, bike shocks, including suspension forks and rear shocks, do require regular maintenance to ensure optimal performance, longevity, and rider safety. Here are some key maintenance tasks typically involved:


It’s important to regularly clean your bike shocks to remove dirt, mud, and debris that can accumulate on the stanchions, seals, and other components. 

Use a damp cloth or a specific suspension cleaner recommended by the manufacturer. Keeping your shocks clean helps prevent premature wear and maintains their performance.


You need to periodically inspect your shocks for any signs of damage, oil leakage, worn-out bushings, or loose bolts. Check the stanchions, seals, and adjusters for wear or scratches. 

Also look for any abnormalities in the operation or movement of the shocks. If you notice any issues, it’s advisable to have them inspected and serviced by a professional.


Certain parts of the shocks may require lubrication during maintenance. This typically includes applying suspension-specific lubricants to the seals, bushings, or pivot points. 


Over time, the internal components of bike shocks may wear out or lose performance. A rebuild or overhaul may be required at specific intervals. 

This involves disassembling the shocks, replacing worn-out parts, and reassembling them with fresh lubrication and proper adjustments. 

Rebuilds are usually more involved and require specialized tools and expertise, so they are typically performed by professionals.

When should shocks be replaced?

Shocks should be replaced when they’re not doing their job properly anymore. 

If you notice that your shocks are leaking oil, making weird noises, or feeling super stiff or mushy, it’s a good sign that they’re on their last legs. 

Or if you’ve tried getting them serviced, and they’re still not up to par, it might be time for a replacement. 

Also, if your shocks have seen better days, and they’re just worn out from lots of miles and abuse, it’s probably a good idea to swap them out. 

Remember, shocks play a crucial role in keeping your ride smooth and your bike under control, so it’s not something you want to neglect.

Photo of author
BikeCrunch offers the best riding tips and guides to help you get the most out of your cycling adventures. We offer in-depth bike and accessory reviews, unbiased buying guides, how-to guides, and much more. Mountain biking, road biking, commuting, touring, and recreational cycling are some of the topics we cover.