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5. Suspension

 

While you won't be able to do a comprehensive analysis of the fork and shock, there are a couple of quick tests to evaluate the relative condition of these components. First, look for any obvious fork-seal leaks. Scan the bottom fork casting for any signs of oil buildup. On some bike brands, you can also slide the wiper out of the fork leg and inspect for buildup of mud and oil. Another important check is for worn bushings in the fork. With the bike on the ground, lock the front wheel with the front brake; and by pushing down and forward on the handlebar, you will be able to feel some freeplay if the bushings are worn. Make sure you have first evaluated the wheel and steering-head bearings, as they will give the same feel. You can also do this by grabbing the bottom of the fork legs in the same way you tested the steering head bearings. Expect to spend some major bucks to repair the fork if any noticeable play is felt during these tests. To check the shock, push up and down on the rear of the bike and note any damping. If the bike springs back up, steer clear, as the shock is probably worn out. Also check for freeplay at either end of the shock, indicating worn bushings. A shock rebuild can easily top 500, so be thorough in this evaluation.

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