Buying a Used Suspension Fork--Request for Guidance


Turns out, the suspension fork on my mountain bike is entry-level, pre-loaded coil, pos. After a bit of research I'm persuaded a new fork is my Next-Big-Expense for this bike. To save money, I plan to shop used. I'll Google the various specs, features, tech of each make and model that piques my wallet. My present concern, though, is: How does one evaluate a used suspension fork, particularly in light of the fact that used forks are typically no longer installed on a bike.


Über Member
Ask for a service history as this will be the only way to get an idea of the state of the internals. Externally, check that there are no scratches/gouges on stanchions, no signs of anything seeping from the wiper seals (where the legs go into the stanchions) and also check no leakage at bottom of lower legs. Compress them a few times to check that out. If any orange gunge comes out - walk away. Check for no dings in lower legs. Check around the crown race to make sure there are no cracks or other signs of damage If it has a lock-out check that works. Check if it is an air sprung frok that it holds pressure. Don't buy anything too old as you may not be able to get spares/seal kits for them. Don't bother buying the cheaper end Suntour forks as they are poor. Rockshox & Fox are reliable makes - Fox are more expensive to maintain


Ride It Like You Stole It!
South Manchester
And keep to the same travel as your bike is designed for. An extra 10mm is probably OK adjusting the 'sag', but don't go from 100mm to 150mm.

As said above, make sure you check the stanchions for wear - the tubes that the suspension goes up and down on. A service can cost £100 on a fork if you need a bike shop to do it, more if parts in addition to seals and oil are needed.


We all scream for ice cream
What bike are you looking to improve the suspension on?

The reason I ask is, Are you trying to ‘polish a turd’ (as my Dad would say). If the bike itself is as poor as the suspension, you may find it better to buy a new bike with better components from the outset.

Good luck whatever you decide.


Save yourself even more money and forget about suspension MTB's altogether. One of the reasons I won't touch the things and only ride full rigids is there's no suspension to fail. The other reasons are rigids are lighter and do not sap energy in the way suspension does.
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