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How does suspension works?

Do I need to change the fork oil?

Seal Components

What can cause the leak in the fork seal?

How to replace the seal?

What do I need?

Process

How to test your sliders?

When springs needs replacing?

Progressive vs regular springs?

 

Extras

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How does suspension works?

Generally motorcycle suspensions are made up of springing and damping components. Springs hold up the bike and support both the static load of the bike and the rider, but are also sized (or rated, if you prefer) to accommodate expected bump loads. The damping parts create a very specific kind of resistance to suspension movement, aka damping. Without them the bike wheel would be bouncing like a ball. The fork oil is forced to go through specific holes and it has a resistance to prevent the wheel from bouncing.

Expert advice: You have to know the fork oil quality and quantity and the method of the measuring. There are many model specific tricks so we suggest buying or downloading a proper service manual for your bike before you start working on it.

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Do I need to change the fork oil?

Yes. The fork oil characteristic is changing by the time caused by extreme stress and some chemical reaction.  As all fluids in your motorbike the fork oil also requests regular change, usually every 4 years. Certain bikes has a draining hole which makes this job very easy.

Expert advice: Follow the manufacturer recommendation and only use good quality special fork oil. Be very accurate about the quantity as it has major effect on the performance.

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Seal Components

Forks have two different seals per leg. The dust seal protect the oil seal from dirt and the oil seal seals the fork tube and keep the fork oil in. The oil seal are held in the right position by the clip springs.These seals are described by three measurements inside diameter outside diameter and height. The most common problem is a leaking fork seal which is a straight reason to MOT failing as some fork oil on your front tyre or brake is dangerous. These seals are very inexpensive so we recommend changing them together.

Expert advice: Buy good quality fork seal and don’t try to replace it with an ordinary seal.

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What can cause the leak in the fork seal?

There are a couple of reasons behind the leaking and sometimes a simple seal changing don’t solve the problem. An OE quality fork seal can serve you for 10 years or more, but as the fork tube is moving in and out, the fork seal will wear. The sunshine, dirt and insects damage the dust seal which is not able to protect the oil seal anymore. When this happens, one just need to replace the seals . Occasionally the oil leaking is related to a bent or damaged pitted fork tube. In these scenarios you have to change your fork tube as well.

Expert advice: Keep your fork tube clean and protect your bike from sun. Your fork seals and fork tubes will have a lot longer lifetime if you use fork boot or fork socks which protect them from harmful environment.

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How to replace the seal?

What do I need?

To replace your fork seal you’ll need a service manual as you have to know the changing method, the fork oil quality, volume and how to measure the oil level. You’ll also need a set of new oil and dust seal. If your old clip springs are rusted or damaged change them as well.  A fork cup removal tool could be very handy, some of them are made of plastic so they don’t damage your sensitive fork cup. Removing the damper bolt is much easier with a damper rod holder tool. A fork seal driver can help you to press the new seal to a perfect position and it’s indispensable if you are working on an upside-down suspension. A fork oil level tool helps you to set up the accurate fork oil level.

Expert advice: Before you start, make sure that you have all the right tools, parts and knowledge.

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Process

Follow the instructions in the service manual, clean all the parts before re-assembly.

Expert advice: Make some photos when taking it apart to make sure that you have some reference for assembly.

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How to test your sliders?

Test your fork sliding bushes. These guide your inner tube in the outer tube. If they are worn your fork will have some free play. It can spoil your bike handling so it’s time to replace them as well.

 

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When springs needs replacing?

Your coil springs soften overtime as well as with usage.  Occasionally,  you just find your springs too soft or hard. For some models many types of springs available in different rate or linear and progressive too. Forums can help you to find the best spring rate for your bike and your needs.

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Progressive vs regular springs?

Progressive spring is wound with its coils closer together on one end than the other. As the spring compresses, the close-wound coils eventually touch and take themselves out of the equation. The spring rate starts out light and becomes progressively stiffer. This causes a much better suspension compared to regular springs.

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