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Motorcycle Fork Oil Change
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Motorcycle Fork Oil
These days everyone's budget is pretty tight. You have options to dial in your motorcycle's suspension if you are willing to spend more time then money. Modern sport bikes come equipped with high and low speed compression, rebound, dampening and preload setting, but all is not lost for those of us riding older bikes or budget modern bikes. Firstly, think about what the bike is doing or not doing. Does the front-end wallow mid corner or is the bike squatting and causing you to ride wide as you exit turns at speed? Below are some front-end suspension options ranging from free to four hundred dollars.

If the front end of your bike feels too light, get some weight on the bike by lowering the front end. Support the front end so that the front tire is off the ground, loosen all four sets of triple tree bolts and raise the stanchions up through the triple trees. A little goes a long way so try a couple of millimeters at a time and see how it feels. Record your settings before and after you make adjustments. Warning: with more weight on the front, the bike will want to lift the rear tire off the ground under hard braking. Since you are shortening the wheelbase, the bike will fall into turns faster but you will sacrifice some high-speed stability. The cost is free. If you need some more ride height but lack preload adjusters, make your own out of PVC pipe and four washers. Buy some PVC pipe that is slightly smaller in the inner diameter of your fork stanchions. Cut sections of tubing in 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8-inch lengths using a miter box to get a perpendicular cut. Run a file or sandpaper and deburr the edges so you don't get and plastic in your forks.

Since you already have your forks apart, use the opportunity to change your fork oil. Similar to motor oil, fork oil comes in different viscosities to suit your needs. If your forks compress too much during hard braking, running thicker viscosity fork oil will slow down the compression stroke. Oil weights range from 0 weight to 30 weight and cost approximately $10. Additionally, you can dial in your front end by how much oil you pour into your fork. Your service manual will tell you how much oil each leg holds and how high the oil will settle from the top with the suspension fully compressed. Oil doesn't compress but the air above the oil does and acts an extra cushion. Adding more millimeters of uncompressible oil displaces the compressible air and makes the suspension stiffer. Consider buying a Ratio Right ($5) or using a precise measuring cup to ensure that you put the same amount of oil in both fork legs. Work the fork through some compression and rebound strokes to bleed out any trapped air and recheck oil height. If you find the front end is still too soft and you've got a little more coinage in your pocket consider upgrading your fork springs. Aftermarket suspension companies sell springs in different lengths using wire of different thickness to tailor to your riding style. Race Tech has a spring calculator built into their website. Enter the type of motorcycle, your weight including riding gear, click a box next to what best summarizes your style of riding and out pops a suggested spring rate. The cost is $125.

If all of the above doesn't cure your front suspension woes you'll have to go nuclear and buy cartridge emulators. All of the above options try to circumvent the inherent flaws surrounding cheaper, dampening rod type suspension, which force fork oil through a fixed orifice so that the fork dampens the same at low speeds as it does at high speeds. Cartridge forks use speed sensitive valves or pistons so the bike is equally supple at high and low speeds. Emulators allow dampening forks to behave like cartridge forks. Installation varies by brand but with basic automotive tools you can have the emulators installed in five hours at a cost of $250. Even if your budget is tight, suspension upgrades are always an option.

Charles bloom
Article Source:
Suspension Suggestions for Your Motorcycle
By Charles Bloom
Support the front end, remove the fork caps, being careful as fork springs are under pressure and will jump out at you. Place as large of a washer as will fit inside the stanchions against the top of the spring then insert your PVC spacer and top it off with another washer. Compress the spring using the top of the fork cap and torque to specifications. Go for a test ride and look for the right combination preload spacer and raising/lower your stanchions to find the perfect setting. The cost is $10.