Tech FAQ: Hangin' It Up
We just recently purchased a new (very nice) Specialized Era Carbon full-suspension mountain bike for my wife. This is the first full-suspension bike for either of us, and the first mountain bike purchase in 10 years. As I went to hang it our garage (we’re pressed for space) it occurred to me I don’t know the best way to hang a full-suspension bike: Right side up by the frame? Upside down by the wheels? Vertically by the front wheel only? Vertically by the back wheel only?
How you hang your bike is a bigger deal if it has bad seals on the front or rear shock or if the bike is not used often. Otherwise, I don’t think it’s critical, but I think it is marginally preferable to hang it by the front wheel or upside down, assuming the seals are good.
When the bike is hanging by the front wheel or upside down, oil in the oil bath of the front fork will flow to the upper seal and keep the foam ring under the dust wiper wet with oil. The fork will work well from the first movement, whereas if it sits or hangs in such a way that the foam ring is above the oil, especially for a long time, it takes some bouncing around before it gets oily and the forks moves most smoothly.
Rear shocks, on the other hand, usually have a total of maybe a teaspoon of grease on the seals around the piston and around the seal at the base of the air can, so whether it is up or down is not significant.
If you have leaky oil seals in your fork, you want to hang it by the rear wheel or right side up by the frame so oil won’t leak out around the dust wipers. And then you want to replace the wiper seals at your earliest convenience.
Technical writer Lennard Zinn is a frame builder (www.zinncycles.com), a former U.S. national team rider and author of numerous books on bikes and bike maintenance including the pair of successful maintenance guides “Zinn and the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance” – now available also on DVD, and “Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance,” as well as “Zinn and the Art of Triathlon Bikes” and “Zinn’s Cycling Primer: Maintenance Tips and Skill Building for Cyclists.”
Zinn’s regular column is devoted to addressing readers’ technical questions about bikes, their care and feeding and how we as riders can use them as comfortably and efficiently as possible. Readers can send brief technical questions directly to Zinn.
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