Sunday, 25 March 2012

Forking Hey!

Have you ever started a job and then wished that you had not? We have all done it, tidied out the dusty cupboard and found why it is so dusty and in need of tidying! Well think about your bike suspension forks, when was the last time you thought about their insides?

Having owned the gorgeous and glamorous Sylvie since 2008, I thought that it is about time we changed her fork oil and greased up the head bearings. A simple job you would think, not more than two hours if you go slowly. Oh I wish it was so easy...

First things to find were the seized in Allen bolts that hold the front mudguard, with the rear of the threaded aluminium attachment point open to the air, the dry fitted steel bolt did what comes naturally and bonded in place,never to let go again. So armed with numerous drill bits from tiny to slightly less tiny, I attacked the bolt. Only to screw it up and snap off the head before I could drill it out properly. Not a happy teddy!

With the forks out it was time to change the oil and what came out was vile grey sludge, pretending to be oil. Cleaned out and refilled with lovely fresh oil, the forks felt spritely and alive. Then it came to the head bearing and we discovered much to my annoyance that the aluminum lock nuts had been cross threaded and did not want to budge. It took an age to get them off and gave me skinned knuckles, a case of Tourettes and an evil scowl. Once open, the head races were almost dry, so I cleaned them up, checked for damage and was hapy to find that all was well.

Interestingly, my lovely Giant XtC Mountain Bike has a better set of head bearings than this much heavier motorcycle. The Giant has a Woodman Components triple bearing headset, needle rollers in the very bottom race and with two further sets of ball races above. The Suzuki has two simple ball races, I have not seen a set up this crude since working on cheap Raleigh push bikes! Oh by the way, the Giant is still for sale and we are open to offers!

For Sale, the Bike not the Bird!
So with the ball races greased and back together, it was time to refit the dreaded Aluminium locking nuts. Which went on smoothly and easily, proving that if you don't cross thread these things they can be fitted with the correct tool.

With everything back in place it was time to fit the forks which slid home with some encouragement and then the wheel. Sadly, it had got dark by this time and I had discovered that the Magnetic rotor that works the speedo was broken, leaving that repair for another day.

Luckily for me, my Darling Carol was about to video the process for you lucky people.


Please excuse the swearing, cursing and general debauchery of working in the garage!