If you're anything like us you know you should be paying more attention to your tire pressure, fork compression and shock rebound. And if you we were being honest with ourselves we should also be doing a better job of tracking our hours on the bike, so we can follow the manufactured recommend maintenance intervals.
And if you're really like us then you have made this a new years resolution year-after-year and have failed miserably.
Well, all you have to do to get super jealous of the people following all the guidelines and riding the deliciously dialed in suspension whips is to give Lonewolf Suspension a follow on Instagram. We love their attention to detail and we love the fact their factory team rides Kali Protectives and we love the fact we keep promising Lonewolf we are going to drop off our bikes for some tender loving care. It's going to happen. Promise.
Interview with Lonewolf.
I'm Brian Alexander, of Lonewolf Suspension in Santa Barbara, CA It started with just me. I’m the owner, tech guy, janitor.. but now I'm lucky enough to have an employee. I started as a mechanic at a bike shop and just learned on the job and kept at it and now I'm running my own business.
How did you get into the business? How did you get into doing suspension?
I started working at a bike shop when I was 17. I worked there for four or five years and I worked my way up. We did some real basic suspension stuff there even back then, around 2008. I got into mountain biking and downhill racing. Time went on and I went to work for BTI for a while in their factory service department doing suspension. I bounced around a bit and ended up at Push Industries in Colorado. It was amazing working there for a while. It felt unreal working for one of the top service and tuning companies in the business.
Due to life complications I ended up back in California and ironically managing the original bike shop that I started at about 17 years ago. Covid hit and then things were just insane. I quit my job without a plan and everyone thought I was crazy but this would thrust me into scraping together some cash, renting a spot I was lucky to land in Santa Barbara, quietly building it out over a month and then one day just opening my doors. I had business on the first day. I officially opened my doors June 1st, 2020.
Did you ever think what if it doesn’t work?
Starting a business just felt right. It’s not like I went and borrowed 300k from someone to do this. People borrow even more money than that to start businesses and I literally started with nothing. I already had the tools so I didn’t need much. If it didn’t work I thought I'd just get a job or something. I wasn’t really scared. How things are going now, I’m busy to the point that I've had to hire somebody. I love working on suspension and I love working on mountain bikes. The parts I didn’t like about a bike shop I don’t do. I never have been big into retail so I just stock the stuff I like and ride an insane amount and people know that.
What do you love about Santa Barbara?
Riding year round is really the best part. It's like summer all year. There’s amazing places all over, but I ended up back here because this is where my family is.
What’s the riding like in Santa Barbara?
These trails are no joke. There’s gnarly rock gardens top to bottom. I learned on that stuff so it's what I know and I love it but there’s not really many entry level trails. Here there’s not much other than up and down. You climb a 3,000 foot mountain and then come down it.
How did you get into mountain biking?
When I was like 14 or 15 my friend’s dad had a Foes DHS Mono and we just thought it was the coolest thing ever. It was way too big for us but we would just go huck it off of anything we could find. We eventually saved up and got our own bikes. I had a Specialized P1 I bought for $400 at the local bike shop.
What’s one thing people should do to keep their suspension up to par?
One general maintenance suggestion most people don’t do, that makes a world of difference, is after every single ride take a microfiber cloth and just wipe down your wiper seals, the seal on your shock, wipe down the seal on your dropper post to get all the grime from outside of there. From there you can just use some kind of lube or polish. Almost every bike that comes in has a layer of grime built up along the whipper seals.
Also follow the service intervals, which come up a lot quicker than you think if you ride a lot. Basic service is 50 hours of ride time and a full damper rebuild service is 125 hours for Fox or 200 hours for RockShox. The reason it comes down to ride hours is because it’s all internal and sealed away from sight. We can’t see what’s going on in there from the outside and it could look okay, especially if you're constantly cleaning your bike.