We explore Australia's largest suspension service centre and store
In the workshop
While we are talking under the golden glow of a lamp created from Kashima coated Fox crown-steerer units (CSUs), the workshop is a hive of activity, with workstations holding unique tools that are purely devoted to suspension servicing and tuning, and of course towering drawers of spare parts.
“Sales are 24/7 online and we are servicing Monday to Friday. All those drawers are full of tiny bits and pieces that allow us to say yes to any service job from any of the brands that we service within a timely manner,” says Lefmann. With so many small parts on hand, they can make a service possible without needing to order parts from overseas. It makes a much faster turnaround for their customers.
“I'm proud of what's inside every single one of those drawers, as I know it's stuff that gets used and that is critical for a suspension service centre like us. There's no reason why a local shop can't do a service on a fork or a shock. But do they have that degree of inventory backup to cater for any problem, or any degree of tuning or upgrade that the customer might want?” And it's not just the parts, the Cyclinic workshop also has all right tools to service suspension. It's a big investment, but a key part of what makes them suspension specialists. And beyond just servicing, a lot of what Cyclinic do is about providing upgrades to existing suspension – just about no matter how good it is out of the box.
“There isn't a single suspension product in the world that doesn't have an upgrade that can be done to it,” claims Lefmann. And with Push Industries now stocked at Cyclinic, it's clear they really can take just about any suspension up a level or four in performance.
Cyclinic on the internet
Although we are sitting on a lounge and looking at a wall of suspension bling, a big part of what Cyclinic do is online. From sales, through to service bookings. And their booking system is really unique.
“We developed this system about five years ago,” says Lefmann. “We work with Australia Post and have a special contract that allows you to create your own return label online that is fully barcoded and ready to post when you do your booking. So you can jump online at any time of day or night, make a booking for your service, don't pay anything up front, download a delivery label and then you just need to pack it up and lodge it for postage.”
“We're adding some pretty cool functionality soon where you can actually have someone come and pick it up from your home, from anywhere in the country and you don't pay a cent for that. And it will get delivered to us here in Brisbane, usually in 1-3 business days.”
In today's current climate, this is a real bonus. “We are completely contactless. You don't need to come in if you don't want to! Everything can be done online, including payment.”
You'd be forgiven for thinking that the Cylinic team want to create some mystique about what they do, but that couldn't be further from the truth.
“Suspension servicing is not rocket science,”Lefmann states quite openly, “it actually can be really good to have an understanding of your own suspension. So being able to do a lower leg service in-between your major services is a really good thing for a lot of riders. Being able to equip home mechanics is a key part of what we do at Cyclinic. Many suspension service centres around the globe will encourage you to do your own basic servicing, from lower leg services on a fork or an air can service on a rear shock. It's not difficult stuff and for most people it beats sending it in to have it done. We also sell a lot of upgrade kits, RockShox and Fox are really good at promoting upgrade kits for older models and they're a popular item.”
A look to the future
With Fox and RockShox having just released new suspension items and promises of more adjustability, a plusher stroke and a whole new glossary of buzz words, I have to quiz Lefmann – where to from here?
“There has been a lot of work with accelerometers with suspension testing, and the technology behind Fox Live is pretty cool. But I think fundamentally a lot of that tech shouldn't hit the market if it's not wireless.”
“I'd like to see wireless lockouts from RockShox with AXS technology. I'd also like to see something along those lines from Fox as well. What I find interesting is there are a lot of people who don't use lock out, but just as many who do. So we have this real 50:50 as to whether people even want lock out in their suspension. If it's done properly, having lock out on the fly with wireless adjustment would be pretty cool.”
With a nod towards the introduction of coil-specific forks and aftermarket coil kits, Lefmann also looks at where coils could, or should, end up.
“I think we'll see a big push towards coil forks, but coil forks with true progression. Coil forks are super linear and supple off the top, but it means they are really inefficient as a result of that. Setting up suspension is about finding that happy medium. You can't have that ultra-sensitive feel along with ultimate efficiency. So technology in that area will be interesting. There are already brands like Push and Marzocchi and even Fox and RockShox to a degree who are doing work in that space to a degree.”
Given the changes in suspension performance that have happened since Cyclinic opened their doors, we're pretty sure there will be a lot more change in the coming years, and even more reason to call on a specialist to keep your investment working as it should.
When pushed for what service work can be terrible, Lefmann admits that there's a corner of Australia that can really give suspension a hard time.
“If it's from someone who has lived in Cairns their whole life and never even thought about servicing their suspension – it's a big job. I'm sure local stores in north Queensland will agree. Some of what we have seen come out of there is mind-blowing, we need to spend a few hours cleaning the work space after the service as it leaves that much of a mess!”
“We service a lot of older suspension items. With Cannondale we service back to 1994. That's 26 years ago and people are pretty amazed that we can service that kind of stuff. Of course we need to service items within a budget that suits the age of the product and that can be challenging with old parts. Not everyone is willing to spend hundreds of dollars on a very old Headshok.
“Fox is also really good in terms of continuity of spare parts and backward compatibility as well. So we can service back to day one of Fox suspension.”
If you want to keep your suspension running well – these are the #protips from Aiden Lefmann:
1. Get your stuff serviced. “DIY or have it done. I know I'm a beneficiary of that but at the same time service kits are pretty inexpensive when compared to the value of your suspension.”
2. Get to know lower leg servicing. “Keep up your regular maintenance. RockShox have a 50 hour service interval, Fox is 125 hours. Many other brands are somewhere in-between.”
3. Keep your suspension clean and dry. “There are lots of third party brands out there that talk about spraying different silicons on the stanchions. But Fox and RockShox don't recommend it, and we don't either.”