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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Have trek 08 fuel ex 8 and was wondering why in the old days the rock shox and any mx dirt bike i ever had had boots on the forks to prolong seal life and no mtb except for cannondale lefty's have boots. I also observe that fox recommends rebuilding your rear air shock every 20 hours with new seals etc for $20, seems like a racket not to have protective boots.
 

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Stay thirsty my friends
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The reason is that boots cover up and hold crap much better than protect your shock from it, boots have to be vented by design and this venting is where the problem starts.

Cannodale still uses one because they use roller bearings in their lefty's and any large particle in there could potentially ruin the shock surfaces or bearing needles, I believe most Cannodale forks now use a foam ring blocking the vent to help prevent dirt intrusion into the fork bearing area from the vent hole.

Most modern fork and shock seals use a foam ring behind the seal to help prevent dirt from entering the oil bath and bushing area, I would rather be able to give the seal a wipe after every ride than have it covered by a boot where I couldn't service it easily.

Besides, boots look gay.:p
 

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droptopchevy said:
Especially during a 24 hour race. :madman:
That's hillarious!

So, the site says every 8 hours under wet/muddy conditions, and every 30 hours for dry/dusty conditions. This seems a bit overkill for the average weekend warrior rider....right?

How often are you guys having your shock serviced?
 

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Mi nombre es Austin
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I've had lizard skins boots on my fork and I found that not only did it trap crud in and around my seals but the rough back of the velcro used to secure the boots around the stanction rubbed and scored the surface of my forks. as soon as I noticed this I stopped using them and will continue to warn people of this problem.

and as to rebuilding the fork so often, in a 2005 Honda CRF250X owners manual it instructs you to rebuild the engine every 100-75 hours of use!!! obviously people don't rebuild their engines that often and they work just fine, if you were to follow the maintenance schedule according to the manufacturers then by the time someone had finished breaking in their engine they would have to rebuild it!

this is the same for the fork on high performance dirt bikes.
 

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4JawChuck said:
The reason is that boots cover up and hold crap much better than protect your shock from it, boots have to be vented by design and this venting is where the problem starts.

Besides, boots look gay.:p
I moved to S Nevada with an older Manitou SXR, with boots and had no problems until I had to replace it with a newer model with no boots. I just pulled up the boots every couple of weeks on the old fork and wiped them down. The seals lasted for years.
I never get more than six months out of my newer forks, Fox and Manitou, before they need new seals.
The newer ones also suffer from major amounts of stiction in the dry dust without boots.
They also get major rock dings without boots. I never had rock dings with booted forks.
Moto riders have told me the same kinds of complaints about booted vs non booted.
The older more experienced riders I should point out.

The younger ones think boots are "ghay"
The manufactures sell more seals and rebuilds without them.
The manufacturers sell more forks in general, because of rock damage to the stanchions.
The manufacturers can claim a lighter weight without boots.
It's one more way to cut production costs, at the expense of the customer in the long run.

Once again, the manufacturers are taking advantage of mechanical ignorance, and what is perceived as "cool" or "not cool".

The older forks only had problems with boots, when their idiot owners never pulled them up once in awhile to wipe under them. And, that certainly wasn't more than a couple of times a month.
It never took me more than a couple of minutes with my old booted forks, to unsnap them from the lowers and wipe, then snap them back. My seals used to last for years.
 

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Mi nombre es Austin
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what kind of boots are you running? Whatever you are using I would love to try out.
I think my Dart 3 could take one more hit before I replace the uppers if it is a fail.
 

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Ericmopar said:
The manufacturers can claim a lighter weight without boots.
It's one more way to cut production costs, at the expense of the customer in the long run.
The weight claim is almost meaningless ..... the boots on my old SX-R weighed maybe 2 ounces total.... took them off, got enduroseals, never had a problem (with or without boots). New fork has no boots, no problems as well... Boots applied more in the earlier days of mtb forks technology .... seals today don't really require boots. If boots were needed, I'd use them... but they do look a lol silly, in this day and age.
 

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As for boots making seals last longer I would have to disagree, the last bike I had that had boots was a 1981 Yamaha IT175...the standard seals didn't last long on it because the boots trapped dust and there was no wiper seal or foam wiper to keep the dirt from hitting the main seal.

The modern method of external rubber seal with an oil soaked foam wiper under it with a spring loaded compression seal is far superior than all that came before it, thats why it is standard across every product you can buy today...it has nothing to do with whats cheaper since a boot setup would be less expensive.

Stanchion protection is about the only thing a boot does better than the modern method but modern hard coatings don't flake when impacted like the chrome of old so there is less chance of a ding causing a leak from cutting the seal and a simple honing stone will "repair" a hard coating ding...honing chrome plate won't last long and leads to flaking no matter what you do.

Perhaps that why boots were so common on older products because the chrome is delicate if damaged.:cool:
 

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Many older shocks had the foam ring mentioned. I have ridden with suspension since the early nineties and all of the shocks had foam rings at the bottom of the boots. Never had a problem. Have only had problems with new 700 dollar fox shocks. It is a racket. They know that nobody will follow service guidelines and that they will not have to abide by their already horrible warranties. I had fox rebuild the shock themselves and it was dead in less than a year. You must service your forks. It is very easy, but if you ride like me, the cost of maintenance at a shop in one year would be higher than the cost of a new fork each year. The biggest issue with fox is that the bushings wear areas that are not visible without disassembly and by the time you know, the cost of reapair of the "uppers" is 300+ dollars. Learn how to do it, and fox seals are softer so they will not erode the paper thin coating of anodization like enduros do. The enduros will however seal a fork that leaks with fox seals. My rear shocks have never had a problem and I do not maintain them as per fox, I only take them apart once a year and wipe out the inside. My conditions are mud for six months and dust for the others. about 2k + miles a year. I think boots are a great idea, just not fashionable, because remember those of you that said dust is trapped in there obviously had too much faith in the boots. Fork legs "upper stantions" should be wiped every ride, at least once a week and it is recommended that the bikes be stored upside down so that the oil baths keep the foam rings under the seals moist at all times.

G
 
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