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My bike has front suspension, which I have never done any maintenance to, and I don't plan to do so in the future either. I've owned it for 10 years now, and it's kinda stiff by now, but other than that, no problems. I don't really need the suspension since I don't off-road - I just want it to hold up and not leak any oil. Will a fork with suspension do that without maintenance?

The fork in question is Suntour NEX 4610 V2.

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    This is a coil fork. Air forks have a different answer - seals will break down, leak oil, wear stanchions and an air fork will eventually leak air loosing the 'spring' that takes the weight. – mattnz Dec 31 '20 at 20:02
  • @mattnz - You should put that as an answer and/or make an edit to the one below. I certainly don't mind updating what I put to reference what you add. – Tude Productions Jan 1 at 18:12
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    All machines where maintenance is not done at the right intervals go down the same path. Eventually! Systems never evolve towards improvement by themselves. – Carel Jan 2 at 19:16
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It will seize which is why you are feeling the stiffness you are right now. It will also probably handle rough roads less effectively.

I would recommend doing the maintenance and that way you could get another trouble free decade out of it or just keep riding it until the wheels fall off of it figuratively speaking.

I am surprised the fork seals have held so long, but at this point I think the fork oil is thicker and probably helping the seals keep the oil in place. I doubt it will leak oil unless a seal breaks from a catastrophic failure, which is hard to predict.

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    ...or just upgrade to a better fork. – leftaroundabout Jan 2 at 15:48
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In my experience with similarly priced forks for not so long but at all-winter rain:

  1. the spring action stops being plush
  2. then, as the seals wear, rainwater enters the boots ('lowers') of the fork, making it heavy and completely rigid (fixed by turning the bike upside overnight)
  3. by now the stanchions('uppers')' surface treatment is long worn; rust proliferates
  4. at some point the rust completely seizes the fork; I have never gone beyond fearing structural integrity of the bike and my bones

On the question should you service your fork. I would rather say 'no'. It's an inexpensive fork, labour cost will be perhaps 50% of it's price. Ride it until the bushings get so worn that when you stop with the front brake, a thud sounds results from the stanchions wobbling into the bushings. Then fetch 100EUR and get a nicer fork.

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  • My fear would be that somewhere around #2, the fork releases suddenly while riding. A frozen fork is different to a rigid fork :) – Criggie Jan 5 at 2:42
  • @Criggie it's not ice but rather hydrostatic pressure - if an XCR is full of water, there's nowhere for the stanchions to compress into the boots - no space for anything beyond uncompressable water. And the speed with which it leaks promises that this will happen with every next rain forever for this fork. Some LBSs offer replacement bushings for 3EUR, however. – Vorac Jan 5 at 6:51
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    I guess you are taking the "frozen" word a bit too literally :D . And with enough pressure applied (i.e. braking) and crappy enough sealings, the scenario depicted by @Criggie may be unsettling. for example, imagine doing an emergency brake because of a car cutting you in the middle of a busy, fast flowing intersection, the sudden fork release may scare you enough to fall from the bike. In the middle of a busy, fast flowing intersection ... – EarlGrey Jan 5 at 9:25
  • Agreed - I meant "a fork that has wedged up and no longer moves as it was designed to" and could still move unexpectedly. Water could lead internally to both rust and congealed oils, neither of which moves smoothly. Basically if the fork's not working right, attempting a careful refurbishment isn't going to make it much worse, and if it does, time to buy a suitable donor bike. – Criggie Jan 5 at 10:34

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