Mountain Bike Action How to: Proper setup of a Fox suspension fork

We could write a book on all the improper suspension fork setups we’ve seen on the trails. Some of them are simply unfashionable, but others are downright dangerous.

We had the “Foxy” Fox Racing Shox support team at our disposal this month, and we asked them how to check for and remedy a couple of the most common setup pitfalls: “Clocking” your 15-millimeter quick-release lever and properly installing the brake hose guide.

Fifteen-millimeter quick-release axles are set up from the factory to be positioned correctly when closed. If the quick release looks like this after being removed and replaced, it will be necessary to “clock” the axle.

Begin by opening the quick-release lever and unthreading the axle just enough to completely disengage the threads from the axle nut on the opposite side. It’s not necessary to fully remove the axle, just unthread it.

Use a 2.5-millimeter Allen wrench to remove the small bolt holding the triangular axle nut retainer.

Once the retaining piece is removed, pull the axle nut out and rotate it in the necessary direction. Make note of the position of the numbers etched on the axle nut before removing, as they will approximate how much to rotate it.

Push the axle insert back into the fork. The splines on the insert will line up with those on the lower fork. Be sure the bolt for the retaining piece has a dab of blue Loctite on it. New ones will already have it. If you have already removed it a few times, you may need to reapply.

Replace the retainer piece. This will lock in your axle position. Be sure not to torque the bolt too hard. It’s going into the magnesium casting and could easily be damaged if overtightened.

Thread the axle back in and close the quick release. The quick-release lever should point up and slightly forward. If it doesn’t, head back to step one. This may involve a little trial and error. We haven’t found an exact formula yet.

On forks with traditional-style braces, (with the brace in front of the stanchions) brake hoses should be routed on the inside of the fork leg.

If the hose has been improperly routed on the outside of the fork leg, remove the caliper mounting bolts to allow the hose to be rerouted.

The hose-guide bolt is easily cross-threaded. Do it and you’ll be forced to use a zip-tie in its place. Before installing, remove the wheel to make it easier to ensure the bolt goes in straight. Also,be sure to use a standard Allen wrench rather than a ball-end wrench. By holding the guide from the back while tightening the bolt, getting it in straight will be a breeze.

The fork stanchions should be cleaned between each ride with mild soap and water. We also like this handy flossing technique with a clean paper towel or shop rag.

Fox’s tech rep Louis Angeley says, “Go enjoy some buttery smooth suspension performance!”

For more information: Fox Racing Shox

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