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Which costs more to own, Zeb or 38?

Or is it more cost-effective to do no maintenance and replace what breaks?

After doing the math, I can confidently say that the Zeb costs more to own over a period of 5 years than the 38.


  1. Calculations were made using service intervals referred to in the manuals of these two Forks.

  2. I used a set frequency of use (3hrs per week) to determine how many services would be required (Again, sticking to the recommended service intervals) over a period of 5 years. 3 hours on the bike per week over 5 years is 780 total hours.

  3. This does not account for rising costs over the 5 year period.

Rock Shox Zeb

Lowers Service every 50hrs with fresh wipers, bath fluids. and damper check. Cost is $100

Full overhaul at 200hrs with fresh wipers, full damper, and air spring seal kit. Cost is $200

780 hours over 5 years would, according to the Rock Shox manual, require 3.9 200hr services, and 11.7 50hr services. That comes out to a total maintenance cost for a 2023 Zeb Ultimate of $1950.

Fox 38

A Full overhaul at 125hrs with wipers, bath fluid,

damper and air spring serviced with fresh seals. Cost is $200

780 hours over 5 years would require the 38 to have

6.24 services at the 125hrs interval. This puts the

cost of maintenance over 5 years at $1248.

Of course, there are plenty of reasons

why you might want to do more services than what is recommended by the charts. For example, the caption at the bottom of Fox's chart recommends servicing the suspension more often than just at 125 hours if the conditions are worked extra hard. So if you go to a bike park for a week, you likely want to service your fork after the trip.

How about the "If it ain't broke don't fix it" approach?

Suppose you've run your fork for the entire 5 years with no maintenance and now you need to replace some parts that are compromised as a result.

  1. Air spring shaft is scored from contamination. $104 for Zeb, $130 for 38

  2. Stanchions are toasted $390 for either CSU

  3. Damper is blown. $365 for Fox Grip2 $358 for charger 3

  4. $150 to put it all together.

Total cost: $1000-$1100

That was not expected. Even if you had to get bushings installed too, it would still be just as cost effective to replace all the compromised parts in a blown fork, then maintain that fork and hope maintenance will save the internal components.

So why should you pay more in the long run to maintain your suspension?

It's about the feeling!

Your suspension will feel far more controlled, smooth, and predictable when serviced at a proper time interval. You will have more confidence in better feeling suspension and

the ride will actually be safer.

So what do most people do?

Time to Post a Poll on insta. Stay tuned!

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