How To Fit Your Front Wheel

When fitting your front wheel do you know which side of the fork foot needs to be tightened first? Which bolts when over tightened will compromise fork action?

Common Mistake When Fitting Your Fork

Never over tighten the lower triple clamp bolts. Fork outer tubes are fairly thin and triple clamps these days are made pretty rigid.

During fork action the inner tube sliding bush must pass through the area of the outer tube clamped under the lower triple clamp.

If these bolts are too tight you will distort the outer tube directly under the clamps. This distortion can cause the outer tube interfere with the fork action and can even damage fork bushes.

Always use a torque wrench when tightening these bolts. Tighten them to 13Nm to be safe. Anything over 17Nm is unnecessarily tight and can cause problems with fork action. Some manuals may recommend tighter, but 17Nm is plenty tight enough.

How To Fit Your Wheel Correctly
For Perfect Fork Action

  • Refit wheel axle and wheel with both fork foot pinch bolts loosened completely.
  • Screw on axle nut (disc side) and tighten. If axle turns then slightly tighten non disc side fork foot temporarily to hold axle.
  • Tighten front axle nut.
  • Now loosen completely non disc side pinch bolts on fork foot.
  • Tighten disc side fork foot pinch bolts and torque axle nut to correct torque
  • Make sure that non disc side fork foot with bolt can slide easily along axle a millimeter or two. Tap a flat screwdriver into slit on fork foot if foot does not slide easily from side to side along axle.

The picture shows how to apply lateral force on the fork foot to make sure it can slide along the axle.

  • Face bike and hold wheel between your knees and twist bars from side to side so that the fork foot settles in its natural position on the axle.
  • Now you are sure the fork has settled in its natural position on the axle with no lateral force. Tighten the crimp bolts on the non disc side fork foot.

By doing this you make sure that the front forks can move in and out freely without any misalignment or bending due to unnecessary lateral force disturbing their action and causing any unwanted friction.

The Golden rule is always tighten non disc side fork foot pinch bolts last making sure fork is aligned perfectly on the wheel axle.

Read more about optimal motorcycle suspension performance.

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