One of my concerns with suspension in mountain bikes is that it needs a lot more maintenance than a rigid bike. In the course of my squishy MTBing career I’ve had my share of poorly performing components. I won’t name any names, but they’ve almost all come from 1 company R*** S***. When I was shopping for my last full suspension MTB I decided I would buy something top of the line and not try and save $$$. I bought a Santa Cruz Nomad MK2 with a Fox Float fork and a Fox DHX Air 5.0 rear shock. The price was north of $5000, which frankly still blows my mind, but in its defense that bike has been totally solid for me for several years of moderately hard use.
Most importantly it hasn’t been a bike that’s needed a lot of attention to keep it performing well. Most of the time I can just grab it and ride without a second thought. Given how complex the suspension is that’s cool. However, lately the rear shock has not been holding air 100% or performing as well as it once did. It’s still been fully functional and I haven’t been denied a ride due to equipment failure, but I couldn’t ignore a decline in awesomeness. Until this week my sum total expenditure on my Nomad’s suspension has been $0.00. So I figured I should take care of the rear shock.
I have a few LBS’s I use in Victoria. I’m lucky that we have so many great shops and I go to the specialists in whichever area I need help in at the moment. Oak Bay Bikes [OBB] is the local Santa Cruz dealer so they work on a lot of Virtual Pivot Point [VPP] rigs and they seem quite dirt-centric so I trust them with suspension maintenance. I dropped off the Nomad to have the rear shock overhauled and the rest of the suspension checked on Monday and got the call to pick up my bike on Wednesday.
My bike had been quite dirty when I dropped it off – embarrassingly so! I would normally clean a bike before leaving it at a LBS for service, but I forgot so I hastily wiped down the affected parts with a rag before rolling the cruddy Nomad sheepishly into OBB. I had a chat with the mechanic and told him that besides the rear shock work I wanted my rig’s suspension inspected and any problems serviced while I had her in the shop.
I didn’t need the bike back so fast, but rapid service is one of the great features of getting your bike worked on in the winter when all LBS are quiet. I was surprised to get back a squeaky clean bike and I was surprised how different my rear suspension felt on a test ride near the shop. Stuff degrades slowly sometimes so you don’t appreciate how far gone it is until you hit the reset button.
I’m stoked to have my Nomad back in tip top shape for a modest service charge. OBB were fast and they were friendly. Thanks OBB!
Notes to self:
- appreciate the rocking local bike shops I have access to
- don’t skimp on suspension components
- don’t make a bike mechanic clean your bike for you – shameful!…=-)