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Checking your bike’s suspension

Correctly functioning suspension is critical to safety.

Below-par suspension could be dangerous

Below-par suspension can:

  • hinder braking performance
  • interfere with the steering
  • reduce ground clearance in corners
  • make holding a course through a bend worryingly imprecise.

What you need to check 

Every couple of weeks:


  • damping front and rear by pushing the front down with the front brake on and bouncing your weight on the seat. There should be firm resistance and smooth, controlled rebound
  • rear suspension linkage and swingarm. Clean and re-grease as necessary
  • the front forks for any sign of oil weeping past the fork seals. If there’s any, the seals will need replacing
  • the surface of the fork’s internal legs for pitting or corrosion. It’s possible to remove small imperfections with some chrome cleaner or fine wet-and-dry paper. Larger pits or rust will ruin fork seals and will need specialist attention

Inspect the rear shock unit(s) for any weeping oil and keep them clean.


Any clonking, undamped movement or sticking in the suspension is potentially dangerous and will need immediate repair. Don’t ride the machine unless you’re sure it’s safe. Get it transported to a mechanic if necessary.