Fork Seals Maintenance

Friction is the worst enemy of a motorcycle fork. It can be caused by dry fork seals or bushes. No matter how perfect the internal and external settings are, if the fork has excessive friction the it will always feel harsh on the trail.

It is easy to check for excessive friction: Push down on the front mudguard just in front of the number board. If the fork does not move and the mudguard bends and feels like it may break off then your fork needs attention!

As mentioned friction comes either from dry oil seals or dirty fork bushes. Dirt and bike cleaners are the main culprits for dry and damaged seals. Material worn off inside the fork causes dirty bushes.

Below you will find a descritption of how to lubricate your seals. Once you have done both forks try to push on the mudguard again to see if your forks move in and out more easily than before. If the forks still feel very stiff and do not want to move then a service is needed and new fork bushes must be fittet. It does not matter how often you change oil in your suspension. If you use aftermarket seals, cheap fork oil and do not change bushes then you will always have harsh suspension.

Seal tuning 1st version

  • Clean carefully around the edges of the fork dust seal.
  • Take a 0,2 mm feeler gauge blade. Make sure it is new and has no damaged or sharp edges
  • Turn the feeler gauge blade slightly so that a little fork oil can escape from the fork and pass the seals
  • Wipe the oil off the chrome tube with a clean cloth
  • Push the forks in and out so that the oil can lubricate the seals and inner tube

Seal tuning 2nd version

  • Pull down the dust seal so as to expose the oil seal beneath it
  • Clean the inside of the dust seal and the outer exposed side of the oil seal
  • Carefully lift the outer lip of the oil seal and spray DWF or Q20 (any oil spray except silicone based sprays) under the lip of the seal
  • Push the dust seal back into place

Feel the difference!

If you have been riding in mud I recommend that you use the second method. Mud tends to get past the dust seal and cleaning it out can help future seal leaking problems.

I am sure if you do the above after each bike wash you will be surprised how much better your fork will feel on the next ride - it may even solve all your comfort problems.

If you experience leaking fork seals then click here to read more about how to avoid leaking seals.


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