I'm unsure whether these scratches are completely normal wear for my 3 year old never-been-serviced Rockshox Recon TK Silver 29 because they don't feel rough to the touch, and the fork has been functioning properly, no oil leaks whatsoever. This issue appears to be mostly cosmetic, and so I would like to know what the cause is and what I can do about it. Do I need new seals? Bushings? etc.

I've only tried cleaning the stanchions before and after every ride to minimize the dust/dirt.

Attached are photos of the scratches.
Scratches on bike fork shocks

  • 1
    Do those scratches go all the way around, or are they just on that one side? Are they on both stanchions?
    – jimchristie
    Feb 24 at 13:23
  • 2
    Looks like the parts had not been properly cleaned when the leg was assembled. That there were some abrasive particles in the seal(s).
    – Carel
    Feb 24 at 13:30
  • @jimchristie the scratches can be found on the other stachion as well, in the same part.
    Feb 24 at 13:32
  • @Carel they were first assembled way back november 2017 when I purchased it, I do remember taking it to a bike shop to get air pumped into the fork, but that's about it and idk if you need to take the seals off to do that but nobody has opened the fork up since then.
    Feb 24 at 13:34
  • 2
    Is that photo of clean stanchions? It’s not just oil streaks right? If they’re clean, then yea, that’s the result of not servicing your fork. How many hours has it been ridden would you estimate?
    – MaplePanda
    Feb 24 at 16:21

The seals at the top of the leg are known as dust wipers and need regular replacement. They are a consumable part. Inside the seal is a foam donut that wipes any dust that makes it past the rubber seal. Eventually the accumulated dust starts chewing at the legs.

Service intervals depend on the amount of use the bike gets and how dusty your local area is but 50-100 hours is a number thrown around lots. Check the manual for your fork.

You or your bike shop need perform at least a "lower leg service" which is pretty easy to do at home with regular service tools. Theres lots of YouTube videos on the topic.

Dust wiper, foam seal and crush washer kit Dust wiper and foam seal kit

Since it hasn't been serviced since 2017 you should consider a full service which is better done by a pro unless you really want to learn about fork servicing and buy the special tools like C-Clip pliers, upper leg sockets and parts/oils/syringes. Not impossible, but easy to mess up and best with a workshop. If the fork feels "notchy" when you compress it thats a big clue that a full service is required.

  • 3
    A full service may very well be worth more than the fork itself. It’s a tough situation.
    – MaplePanda
    Feb 24 at 23:56
  • 1
    @SEBASSZCHAN order the kit online , search for Rockshox recon 32mm lower leg service kit. The bike store will have the suspension grease and suspension oil. Feb 25 at 9:38
  • 2
    @SEBASSZCHAN Go on the Rockshox Trailhead website, enter your fork’s serial number, and look for the correct service kit.
    – MaplePanda
    Feb 25 at 15:37
  • 1
    You are a lifesaver, I keyed in the serial number and everything I needed was there!!! Awesome, dude! @MaplePanda
    Feb 25 at 15:54
  • 2
    An oil change and dust wiper/foam ring replacement is very DIY possible. RockShox are known for their easy serviceability and well written, easily accessible (via internet) step by step instructions with photos. When I bought a used Stumpjumper FSR that came with a RockShox Duke XC air shock, I decided to learn to care for it myself. It's a very useful skill, develops a better understanding of the overall function of the suspension and the dynamic results of changes in settings. New seals to the internals is not difficult and with changing the oil & wipers, it's a full service.
    – Jeff
    Feb 27 at 1:10

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