When something is not leaking it is easy to forget or disregard it. Changing the fork fluid should be on your list of things to do. Fork oil/fluid is like engine oil, it does wear out and needs replaced, even if nothing is leaking. If fork seals are leaking, get that taken care of as soon as possible.
Always follow the manufactures recommendations. Beta says with their Sachs forks, every 30 hours the fluid should be changed and would not hurt to do the fork bushings as well. A good rule of thumb for racers is every 35 hours and a casual trail rider could get by with every 50 hours. When the fork fluid is wearing out or “dirty” it affects the handling and can prematurely wear the seals and bushings.
Fork fluid or fork oil? Fork fluid is lighter than fork oil even if they are rated for the same rate. It is recommended to use fork fluid. A good brand that we use is Maxima Fork Fluid.
Here are some pro tips on keeping your seals lasting long! After finishing a ride and before loading up, wipe the chrome tube off. This helps to keep dirt out of the seals. Don’t power wash around the seal or directly at it. Use some type of fork socks or mudscraper. We use the SKF mudscrapers on our bikes. Cleaning the seals every few rides is a great habit to be in, especially if it is the muddy time of year or if you ride a lot of sand. To do this, use Risk Racing’s Seal Doctor.
Having the proper tools to work and take apart the forks is important. If you are not comfortable or do not want to purchase the tools, take it to someone who is. At Bonecutter Off Road, we will change the fluid, seals, bushings, and springs in both Beta and Sherco forks. A suspension shop, such as Shock Zone Suspension can also do it and even help fine tune the suspension!