Fork Installation - Dirt

Imporper fork installation on the bike is the number one source of harshness (number two is too much spring preload.) The forks must be installed so the tubes are parallel to each other or they will bind.

If the forks are not installed parallel, not only will they be harsh, but the bushings and inner tube coatings will wear prematurely.

Follow these steps to improve the performance of your suspension and the lengthen the life of your components. 

 

 1-  Slide the forks through the triple clamps and lightly tighten the pinch bolts.
 
Note: It may seem obvious but the fork tubes and axle must be straight.

 

2- Check that both of the forks are installed at the same height. Start at factory settings.
 
This is a tuning variable for chassis geometry. Contrary to popular belief lowering the front end (raising the tubes in the triple clamps) usually DOES NOT make the bike turn better. See "Race Tech Motorcycle Suspension Bible" for details.

 

3- Torque the pinch bolts down to OEM specifications (typically
16 ft-lbs for the top, 14 ft-lbs for the bottom - but please check).

 

4- Insert the fork guard bolts.
 
Note: Make sure these are the original length bolts as on some models if you use bolts that are too long it will dent the inner fork tube and lock the fork spring into the tube.

 

5- Tighten.

 

6- Insert the brake calipers bolts...

 

 7- and tighten.

 

8- Check that the brake pads are seperated for ease of wheel installation.

 

9- Check the axle for any burrs or lips particularly at the transition where it steps up to the largest diameter (this is common and is often the source of fork bind). File these burrs if necessary.
 
An easy way to check for a burr is to reverse the axle and slide the large diameter side all the way through the right fork bottom and see if it hangs up.

 

10- Put the wheel into position and make sure the brake disk easily slides into the brake caliper between the pads.

 

 11-  Insert the axle.

 

12- Install the axle nut.
 
Note: On some models the axle threads into the fork bottom and there is no nut.

 

13- Using the RT Axle Tool (TFHD 1724) hold the axle in place.
 
You can also hold the axle by pinching it with the large diameter non-threaded (no nut) axle clamp (in this case the right side - shown) as well but you MUST make sure you loosen the axle clamp to do the next step - THIS IS THE NUMBER ONE ERROR PEOPLE MAKE.

 

14- Tighten the axle nut.

 

15- Spin the front wheel freely off the ground...

 

16- and then grab the front brake. Repeat this two more times to align the forks.

 

17- Another way to align the fork tubes is to compress the front a few times while holding the front brake.

 

18- Once the forks are properly aligned, tighten the axle pinch bolts.
 
Ready to ride!