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  1. #1
    Blood, Sweat, and Gears
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    How long do fork bushings typically last?

    I bought my 29er HT about 3 months ago. Since then, I have ridden about 250 miles, I am a beginner so I don't think I have ridden this thing too hard. I took it back to my LBS where I have free lifetime tune ups and I told them I have a bit of front & back play with my fork and a mild clunking noise when you apply the front brake and push or pull the bike. (SR Raidon 29" (Custom for Giant), Alloy Steerer, 15QR w/ Lockout, 100mm travel)

    They told me the bushings were bad. I questioned what would cause this to happen in such a short period of time and I was told it was because I ride it a lot. Really, is that a lot? The bike still looks like brand new. I clean my bike after each ride, including being very careful to wipe the sliders in an effort to save the seals, check all my hardware for tightness, lube the chain etc. They didn't offer to do anything until I questioned what they were going to do about it and what about my 1 year warranty? He said they would talk to the owner to see what he wanted to do and he would call me, so far i havent heard anything. He also said perhaps Giant would just replace the fork but it was up to the owner. Does this should right or normal? Do bushings go out that quickly?

  2. #2
    EDR
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    Does this should right or normal? Do bushings go out that quickly?
    Normal? No. Possible? I suppose, but I will say that in my 8 years of mtb'ing (or so) I've never had a fork with bushings falter to the point I've ever noticed. Some of these forks I rode for years. Maye I've just been lucky.

    From your description of what is happening it could very well be a loose headset causing the symptom. Don't expect the (less than) average lbs Joe to figure that out.

  3. #3
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    I've got a 2009 Fox F29 100mm that I've ridden pretty hard for a year and a half that is starting to develop noticeable bushing play, and a 2010 Fox 36 RC2 160mm that I've beat the crap out of and still is nice and tight. So, who knows, but I agree with edr that it could quite possibly be your headset. In fact, I would look there first, adjustment is simple.

  4. #4
    Blood, Sweat, and Gears
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    I thought it may have been the headset as well and in fact there was a very small amount of play that adjusted right out. LBS thought it was the headset as well until they looked at it for the second time. This play and noise is definitely coming from the slider / stanchion area.

    Hopefully LBS or Giant will stand behind it, just have aa feeling I may be getting the run around after not hearing anything back from the owner last week.

  5. #5
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    Fork seals are a wear/tear item. I get about a 1-1.5 years out of my seals in higher end forks like a Fox 36. Entry level fork parts are going to wear out much faster and are really not designed for "real" mountain biking.

  6. #6
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    #1- sack your bike shop and find another Giant dealer. I am not asking you to "out" them to us- just run away as fast as you can. If your customer service experience from a shop where you purchased the bike was exactly as you stated- bad (unless you were there on a Saturday-Giant is closed.) Still suspect- I would have told you to not ride the fork until it was disassembled and checked for cracks etc.
    #2- Fork seals are definitely a wear item (as are brake pads/tires/etc) and are very hard to warranty, and so too are fork bushings technically-it's up to the manufacturer. If there is a material defect it should be covered by warranty.
    #3- Looking at the bike you bought (a Talon I presume)- the fork used is pretty cheap. If you are a heavier person (>180) and/or ride aggressively- this is not the fork for you. If thats the case see if they will warranty the value against a fork better suited fromthe Giant/SR line.
    #4-Even at 250 miles-unless you are doing big drops or are big yourself, the bushings wearing out is kind of suspect even with this fork. Like I said, If I were that shop, I would have had you leave the bike so we could inspect it- sounds like something other than worn fork bushings.
    #5- I would not ride this until figured out. When I was 11, my DG bmx bike flet like the head bearings might of had a little play. I did a real fast and ineffective look over then hit the next double landing on my chest holding the front wheel, fork and bars in my hands as the rest of the bike went cartwheeling past! Keep us informed on what you find.
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  7. #7
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    Good luck with the LBS, Fletch. It's all going to depend on whether they want your repeat business, or figure that they gotten their money out of you already. A warranty is against production defects, not against "riding it so much". As MonkeyButt said, entry level components are not really meant for "real" mountain biking, and AZ trails are pretty real. Unfortunately, even a bike spec'd with entry level parts can be quite a financial reach for many, and it can be tough to justify a $3-5K bicycle. Again, good luck, I hope that your LBS comes through for you, they really should. (if not, find a new LBS)

  8. #8
    Blood, Sweat, and Gears
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    Thank you cstem and the detailed explanation and the others for the insight. To address cstem in order.
    #1. The LBS up to this point has been square with me and this was my third bike purchase from them. Biggest issue is I need to talk directly to the owner and not his employee, he just isn't there as much as he use to be. I think to be fair I will speak to him directly because you got me thinking, I don't know for sure his employee ever did call him like he said he would. If I don't get a good feeling from that conversation I will seek out another Giant Dealer. I didn't even think of that.

    #2. Makes sense to me and I knew it wasn't a high end fork I was just surprised by the time frame and mileage.

    #3. It is a Talon 1 and I am about 185 pounds but I would consider my riding style as "old and slow", I only wish I could describe it as aggressive. Lol. When I spoke to the employee I asked about Giant's component warranty because I had read on here they stand behind their frames very well. He said they may or may not cover it but I couldn't upgrade it if they did. He said that they may put me in another model only if mine was no longer available. I told him I was will to pay the difference for an upgrade because I didn't want to go through this all over again in a couple of months but he said they would not do that?? I thought it was strange they wouldn't take my money...... I will ask about the SR Model.

    #4. Biggest drop is no more than 8 inches.

    #5. I won't ride it again until I take it back to them tomorrow. Never thought about it coming apart but that a great "heads up" that I appreciate it.

    I will post their findings and how the saga unfolds here once I know what's up. Thanks again for the sanity check, I thought I may have been incorrect on how long these should last or at least how they should at least attempt to correct the issue.

  9. #9
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    Fletch_1,

    1) I suggest you read the warranty information that came with your bike so you understand what Giant needs to cover and for how long.

    2) I suggest you check your credit card information to see if they have warranty extenstion. If yes then you have a back up.

    3) I suggest you talk to the lbs owner and if you do not get what you are looking for then request to talk to the Giant rep.

    I'm sure I will get poo for this but any fork should last longer than 250 miles of riding. I believe you have a defective fork.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fletch 1
    I bought my 29er HT about 3 months ago. Since then, I have ridden about 250 miles, I am a beginner so I don't think I have ridden this thing too hard. I took it back to my LBS where I have free lifetime tune ups and I told them I have a bit of front & back play with my fork and a mild clunking noise when you apply the front brake and push or pull the bike. (SR Raidon 29" (Custom for Giant), Alloy Steerer, 15QR w/ Lockout, 100mm travel)

    They told me the bushings were bad. I questioned what would cause this to happen in such a short period of time and I was told it was because I ride it a lot. Really, is that a lot? The bike still looks like brand new. I clean my bike after each ride, including being very careful to wipe the sliders in an effort to save the seals, check all my hardware for tightness, lube the chain etc. They didn't offer to do anything until I questioned what they were going to do about it and what about my 1 year warranty? He said they would talk to the owner to see what he wanted to do and he would call me, so far i havent heard anything. He also said perhaps Giant would just replace the fork but it was up to the owner. Does this should right or normal? Do bushings go out that quickly?
    Most all bushings have alittle play in them ( you can not have them tight ) bushing's will last several years in bicycles , I replace bushings all the time in the KYB and Showa suspension for the indoor and outdoor race bikes I do, but I replace or make bushings rarely for bicycles . ( I have made some nice snug bushings for bicycles and they cause alot of stiction , you do not want stiction)

    If you know how to check you will find alittle play in any bushing in any fork , ------with a good service and adding "Slick Honey" you can dampen out the play for afew months but it will come back , this is normal, you should learn how to correctly service you suspension and you can keep it all fresh all the time

  11. #11
    Blood, Sweat, and Gears
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    I guess I am going to have to go down to the LBS tomorrow and motivate them. This all started last Wednesday and when I called today for an update, I was told that they were going to try and call Giant today and call me back. I guess i dont understand why they didnt make the call last Thursday or Friday? I still haven't heard anything and meanwhile I am leary to ride the bike. This sucks, I checked my receipt today and I purchased the bike November 23, 2010. I will post my findings......

  12. #12
    Blood, Sweat, and Gears
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    Update. LBS called today and after they spoke to Giant they we told they needed to speak to the fork manufacture (Suntour) who said they needed the serial number off the fork to proceed. They also said they will only be willing to replace the lower stanchions not the whole fork. Even the LBS employee thought that was strange and said he would talk to the owner on my behalf. Does this sound normal? I checked my receipt and I purchased the bike 11/24/10.

  13. #13
    Meatbomb
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fletch 1
    Does this sound normal? .

    Nope and neither does the fact you purchased the same bike on 2 different days


    A fork that is less than 3 months old (give or take a day ) should not be giving you trouble. Ask the LBS to replace it and let them deal with the Suntour or Giant to get their satisfaction.

  14. #14
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    Phillbo is pretty much right on that one. Although if you do not have confidence in the shop for whatever reason- you may want to try and contact Giant or Suntour customer service. Sometimes, a shop may lose something in translation when they talk to the reps. It happens- they have many other things on thier minds, other warrantys and the your personal issue might get muddied up in the process. I have also seen in my days managing other types of shops, one of my employees either trying to be the reps buddy and downplaying a customers situation, or just going with the rep's say (which mayy be predicated on some kind of loss they may incur) to butter the rep up. Hey it happens- hopefully this is not happening in your case and it probably is not-but YOU cannot be too careful becuase no one cares about your money/value more than you.

    Replacing just the lowers would be totally acceptable to me on say a 11 month old bike- but on one just barely over 3 when you noticed the issue should be a whole new fork. I mean really, retail on that fork if sold in OEM condition is not more than $250. Cost to Giant/Suntour is generally about a third to half that. So just doing the lowers is cheaping out in my opinion-but I always have been an advocate for the customer and that is probably why I did not find a lot of sucess in some of the shops I managed! Sleep>$$!
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  15. #15
    Blood, Sweat, and Gears
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    Philbo, sorry I thought it was the 23rd from memory but after looking at my receipt I purchased it on 11/24/10. I fail to believe that my LBS purchased the bike from Giant and the fork directly from Suntour. If I was the bike shop making that call and was told from Giant that they needed to call the fork manufacturer I would have said "no" you need to call them because I bought it from you as a complete package so you need to deal with them. I asked that the owner call me directly so I can state my case. Again, just trying to get a sanity check on this, I hate drama, this just doesn't seem correct and I do appreciate your input. Thank again.

  16. #16
    Daz
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    Hi all,

    I work with SR Suntour in product development and OEM sales. I was forwarded this thread and feel obliged to offer some help.

    Fletch 1 sorry for your troubles. The LBS should have been able to fix this up rather quickly either through service on the fork of if there is indeed a more serious issue they could easily contact service@srsuntourna.com. We typically deal directly through dealers but are more than happy to help you out if that isn't working.

    The SR Suntour forks are lubricated with grease from the factory. This eventually needs to be cleaned and lubricated again. Over time the grease can get pushed off of the bushing area and this creates an ever so slight gap between the bushing and the stanchion tube. A proper lubing would most likely cure your woes and it is also possible the factory didn't get a sufficient amount of grease on your fork from the beginning. Lubrication intervals are spelled out in your forks owners manual (which the LBS should have given you at time of purchase).

    An outside possibility is that your bushings are out of tolerance from the factory. This is rare but it is certainly a chance happening. If that is the case then you're fork will need new bushings. Given the low usage of the fork I'm confident that this would be taken care of under warranty. You should try the lubrication first and if there is still a problem have your shop contact service@srsuntourna.com or contact directly if the LBS can't Git R Dun.

    Also there are a number of "how to" videos on www.srsuntour-cycling.com that show how to do these types of things (you can also download the owner's manual if that is lost). We invite people to go to their LBS for service but if you're mechanically inclined servicing SR Suntour forks is really easy.

    Cheers,
    Darren Salsbury
    SR Suntour
    OEM Sales and Product Development

  17. #17
    Blood, Sweat, and Gears
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    Hello Darren,

    Thank you to you and whoever forwarded you the thread to begin with. Can you confirm if there was a recall on this model? I did speak to another Giant dealer that was extremely nice and seemed very knowledgeable on the subject. He said a letter was sent out to all the dealers informing them there was an issue and Suntour would either send parts, repair or replace the fork at their discretion. I think the biggest frustration for me and probably not Suntour's but it has taken over a week to even get this far.
    1) LBS employee waited a couple of days to speak to owner on what to do.
    2) Another couple of days after I hadn’t heard anything for them to request frame number off of bike that I assumed they would have already had in their system from purchase.
    3) Another day for them to call me and ask for the serial number of the fork itself.

    Each time it's "we will get back to you in a couple of days” Meanwhile I don't know if I should ride it or not? So I haven't been and I am getting anxious because I want to ride......

  18. #18
    Meatbomb
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    Time for a new LBS.

  19. #19
    Daz
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    There are no recalls on SR Suntour forks for any models. We had a service issue on an XCT model but this was related to Trek not Giant. We had a batch of forks made with the wrong sized bushing. It was not a safety issue but still needed to have the correct bushing installed. The XCT a few steps below your Raidon fork. XCT's use plastic bushings the Raidon uses a metal bushing.

    If your not able to get through to us through the LBS then feel free to email or call our service line. 360-737-6450. We want to get you back on the trail real soon. Generally speaking we typically turn things around within a day.

    On another note I'll chime in with some other points in regards to our forks:

    As a company we put out millions of forks. Our competitors put out thousands. Given the numbers you will hear of more of our forks on forums having problems simply as a matter of quantity. If you were to look at our fork warranties as a percentage it is incredibly low.

    We make a range of product being used at the highest level of competition through our Werx program (check out http://www.srs-werx.com ). We have riders at the highest level in World Cup XC (French, Swiss and Mexico national teams) and 4X (Rinderknect won Val di Sole and qualified 1st at World Championships), dirt jump (check out this insanity (http://www.pinkbike.com/news/bienve2flip.html) , and enduro (we helped launch Megavalanche). That said, we also make forks used on mass market...we like everyone to ride no matter their level of ability or what they can afford.

    Also we have a lot of people use products out of category. You wouldn't believe how many people I've seen who buy a bike intended for cul de sac riding and use it like a dirt jumper...we don't build for out of category use but those people still seem to feel free to anonymously slam on us in a forum setting. Such is the world we live in eh?

    Cheers,
    D

  20. #20
    mtbr member
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    Neat to see the customer service from Suntour. That definitely sent me to thier site, I liked a couple things there, and I I can expect this kind of service- I am really inclined to buy.
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  21. #21
    Blood, Sweat, and Gears
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    LBS owner called me yesterday and apologized for the lack of communication from his employees and confirmed what we have seen on this thread. SunTour's customer service is good and has already shipped new lowers that should be here next week. I will post final thoughts once repairs are made and hopefully the play is gone.

  22. #22
    Bloodied but Unbowed
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    Awesome. This is how it should have been from the beginning. Good to see SunTour taking the point here, but too bad it took so long for your LBS to do the right thing.

    Glad to see it is sorting out for you.

  23. #23
    Blood, Sweat, and Gears
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    Just wanted to conclude this. I was out of town for a couple of days but I picked it up yesterday. SunTour and LBS took care of swapping out the new lowers and everything seems okay again. The LBS really stepped up the level of customer service and did take care of everything in the end. The whole experience did make me evaluate the type of riding I enjoy and where I ride. I ended up buying a FS 29er for the times I want to ride a bit more aggressively and I will keep the HT 29 for less aggressive rides and locations. I guess if I spread the hours out on two bikes, in theory they should both last a little longer.

  24. #24
    FKA Malibu412
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    Daz, great to see you respond to this issue. We often see or hear that SR has no CS, will not back their products and service parts are not available. Sounds like this is not the case.

    Looks like your office is in Vancouver, WA?
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