Informational Guide

How To Repair Motorcycle Shock Absorbers

In this guide, we show you how to repair motorcycle shock absorbers for front and rear suspension.

For a superior ride, you want to know that the motorcycle shocks are working at top levels. If there’s a problem, you want to know how to perform the right motorcycle rear shock absorber repair.  

We walk you through the steps so you can get back on the road.  

The motorcycle shock acts as a damper. Its job is to slow down and control the spring action. It does this with the help of hydraulic fluid traveling through the passages in the body. The size of the passages and the weight of the fluid determine how fast the piston travels.  

When your motorcycle hits a bump, the shock absorbers slow down the spring compression and control the rebound while pushing hydraulic fluid through the various passageways. The rear shock generates more heat because of the added weight being supported, but both are needed for a better ride.  

yamaha motorcycle shocks

How To Tell If Your Motorcycle Shocks Need To Be Replaced

Bouncier Ride

Because the shocks are meant to control the bounce, you will know something is wrong if the ride becomes a little rougher. As the tires fail to remain connected with the road, you could start bouncing or notice unusual vibrations.  

Swerving & Noises When Braking 

If you apply the brakes and the bike starts to swerve, it might be time to consider motorcycle shock absorber repair. Worn shocks also create a knocking noise when braking. Because you want to be safe while stopping, you should never ignore these symptoms.  

Brakes Taking Longer To Work 

When your stopping time increases, it’s a tell-tale sign that you should learn how to repair a motorcycle shock absorber. As the shocks get worse, the stopping time only gets longer, putting you and others in danger on the road.  

Uneven Wear Of Tires 

When the tires are bouncing on the road surface because of worn shocks, you are going to see uneven tread wear. For your safety, it’s important that the tires wear evenly. Otherwise, you are at risk of a blowout when you least expect it.  

Leaking Fluid 

Shock absorbers contain hydraulic fluid that can leak when there is a problem. If you see an oily substance running down the shocks, it’s time for repair. It’s a clear indication that the shocks can’t perform normally.  

harley davidson motorcycle shocks

How To Repair Motorcycle Shock Absorbers (Guide For Front & Rear)

In some cases, it's possible to repair the motorcycle shocks instead of just replacing them. However, you want to ensure you have the right tools and parts to get the job done right.

Otherwise, it's best to trust a professional mechanic with the task. Also, the directions aren't the same for all motorcycles. You want to reference the service manual to be sure you have the right instructions.  

1. Front Shocks

Learning how to repair the motorcycle front shock absorber isn’t a difficult job if you have the right parts. Here are some things to have on hand. 

  • Fork dust and oil seals 
  • Inner and outer bushes 
  • Snap rings 
  • Oil  

All of the bushes and seals should be replaced in pairs, even if the other side isn’t showing issues. To perform a motorcycle front shock absorber repair, you also want to replace the snap ring on both legs, which holds the oil seal in place. With some motorcycles, you can purchase an entire rebuild kit that includes all of these components.  

If the fork leg is bent or damaged, now would be the time to replace it. In some cases, you might be able to straighten it instead. You also need the correct weight oil to top off the system.  

2. Rear Shocks

To perform a high-quality motorcycle rear shock absorber repair, you may need the help of a professional. However, if you choose to learn how to repair a motorcycle rear shock absorber, you will want to pay attention to a few things. 

A typical rebuild service is going to include the disassembly and inspection of the shock. This step is important to ensure it is worth repairing. It will be completely rebuilt with new parts, and the bearing surfaces will be polished before it is regassed with nitrogen.  

yamaha rear motorycle shock absorber

People Also Ask (FAQs)

How long do motorcycle shocks last? 

Motorcycle shocks should last 30,000 to 40,000 miles. It’s best to inspect the shocks at 30,000 miles to see if they are ready for a rebuild or replacement. You will want to inspect them sooner if you are noticing symptoms that they are failing.  

How do you disassemble & rebuild a motorcycle shock absorber? 

You can dismantle the shock by removing the collar at the top of the upper shrouds. Otherwise, you will want to remove the locknut under the top shroud. Rebuilding it requires you to replace the seals and oil for a fresh start.  

How much does it cost to repair motorcycle shocks? 

To have the shocks professionally serviced, you might spend about $200 for each one. However, if you can learn how to do it yourself, you only need to invest a little bit of time and pay for the parts.  

How long does it take to repair motorcycle shocks? 

Dismantling the shocks and rebuilding them will take you several hours. You could set aside an afternoon to give yourself enough time, just in case you run into any trouble during the process.  


Learning how to repair a shock absorber of a motorcycle isn’t a simple task, but it can be rewarding once you have finished. If you want to save some money and learn more about your bike, do your research and service those shocks.