ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Motorcycle Suspension System Maintenance

Updated on November 29, 2009

Changing Fluid

The front forks contain oil and, as you know, most oil needs changing occasionally. Several months of street riding or about 40 hours of dirt riding will usually contaminate the fork oil to the point where it needs changing. Fortunately, this often neglected maintenance step is a simple matter of opening a drain plug to let out the oil, closing the drain plug, then pouring new oil in through a fork cap hole. Safety dictates stable elevation of the front wheel to eliminate spring compression.

Changing Dampening Rate

There may come a time when the front suspension of your motorcycle doesn't satisfy you, even after you have changed to fresh fork oil. The suspension may feel too soft and mushy or it may be too stiff and harsh. The problem could be in the viscosity or type of fork oil you used. Thicker oil will often stiffen a mushy set of forks, while thinner oil will usually soften the ride of harsh forks. You can use the same procedure to change the fork oil when switching to a different grade of oil. Remember, never vary the amount of oil used, only the viscosity rating.

Alignment of Twisted Forks

A slight spill or bump can cause the front forks to twist, resulting in misalignment. That is especially the case on lightweight motocrossers or enduros with the huge 23 inch wheels. The sensation experienced in this instance is much like having bent handlebars. That is, to get the bike to go straight you must hold the bars either to the left or right. A quick, simple way to correct this problem is to grasp the front wheel securely between your knees and twist the handlebars to align at a right angle to the wheel. If the misalignment appears to be severe, you can loosen the triple-clamp fork pinch bolts a turn or so and retighten them after aligning the forks.

Straightening Bent Tubes

Your upper fork tubes may become bent in an accident, but they can often be straightened again with a good hydraulic press and some "V" blocks. Be realistic, however, because straightening forks is an unreliable corrective approach if the forks are bent 5 degrees or more. If you do the work yourself:

1. Support the bent fork on "V" blocks with the apex of the bent section upward.

2. Press the bend until it is straight, being careful not to permit the tube to rotate in the "V" blocks.

3. Release the press and rotate the tube to find the "high" spot again.

4. Press the tube straight again, or a bit "past" straight if the tube exhibits any tendency to spring back to a bent configuration after you've straightened it.

5. Gently repeat steps 3 and 4 several times if necessary until the tube is straight.

6. Examine the tube well after you have finished. If the fork is dimpled, dented, pockmarked, but straight, it will work... but you'd better be prepared to change fork seals often because a damaged surface will accelerate wear of the front fork seals. If you have strong doubts buy new tubes. Better to be safe than dead.

Continued In: Motorcycle Suspension System Maintenance - Part 2

Back To Start


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)