Rebuilding Bike Suspension


Whether or not it’s from a long time
of neglect or a dutiful service interval of absorbing potholes, the day will come when your suspension pukes its guts out. Rubber seals have a finite lifespan, fluids break down over time and the chrome in your fork tubes and shock shafts will ultimately fail and corrode. The telltale sight of a leaking seal brings with it the choice to restore/change inventory parts or undertake a serious suspension improve.

Rebuilding Honda CB550 Forks
Whereas there’s no scarcity of mono-shock conversions and front-end swaps round right here, the theme of our everyman Honda CB550F tracker mission requires an accessible and inexpensive method—one thing anybody might accomplish in a weekend to get an outdated bike on the street once more.

Overhauling Classic Motorcycle Suspension
Rebuilding Telescopic Bike Forks If you wish to mess around with outdated bikes, you’ll both change into proficient at rebuilding forks or get used to paying another person to do it. A uncared for basic will virtually definitely include an oil leak on the left aspect, and also you’ll need to tear the fork down utterly to repair it. The excellent news is that it’s not that difficult, as a result of what your basic motorbike lacks in experience high quality, it often makes up for in simplicity.

Each design is slightly completely different, even amongst telescopic forks, however our Honda CB550F is definitely the best rebuild I’ve executed. Actually, you’ve acquired six main items per aspect, and driving the brand new seal in doesn’t require any specialty gadgets.

Overhauling Classic Motorcycle Suspension
Disassembly is fairly simple, however there are a few items of recommendation that go a good distance with this model fork. There’s a small Allen-head cap screw within the fork decrease that’s hid the place the axle is housed, and it pays to knock this unfastened earlier than eradicating the fork tubes from the triple clamps. A small influence driver works properly, and also you solely must loosen it barely at this stage. Additionally, in case your bike is as tough as ours, a dead-blow hammer or a picket dowl is a should to free the fork tubes from the triple clamps.

With the forks on the bench, you’ll have the ability to break every tube down in simply a few minutes. The massive cap on the prime loosens simply with an influence, and then you definitely’ll need to take away the hex-head drain bolt on the fork decrease. Stroke the fork slowly a number of occasions with a catch pan to extract the nasty outdated oil. After that, utterly take away the Allen-head bolt on the backside, and also you’ll have the ability to take away the spring and dampener.

Overhauling Classic Motorcycle Suspension
Subsequent, it’s time to take away the outdated fork seal, and our CB550’s unique seals put up one hell of a struggle. After eradicating the snap ring, it took a big pry bar to free the seals from the fork decrease. With the outdated seal out, you’ll have the ability to knock out the oil lock from the fork decrease.

Overhauling Classic Motorcycle Suspension
Earlier than reassembly, you’ll need to clear and examine all of your elements, and our uncared for CB550 was a reasonably robust case. Our fork tubes had severe pitting and rust across the triple clamps, and the lowers had heavy corrosion and trashed clear coat. If in case you have the means, a few of these elements benefit changing utterly, however within the spirit of creating one thing from nothing, we did our greatest to wash up what we had.

Tidying up the fork lowers wasn’t dangerous. I plugged the holes with rags and popped them within the sandblaster to wash off all of the outdated clear coat and corrosion, after which completed them off with WD-40 and crimson Scotch-Brite for a extra OE end. For those who don’t have entry to a blaster, a brass wire wheel ought to do the trick, and clear-coating these elements afterward might be worthwhile.

Overhauling Classic Motorcycle Suspension
Corrosion in your fork tubes is extra regarding, as these items are plated and must have an ideal end towards the fork seal. In case your tubes are pitted in anywhere the seal interfaces, they need to be utterly refinished or changed. Our scenario was solely barely higher, because the corrosion was restricted to the triple clamp space, removed from the fork seal, however the pitting was by means of the chrome.

Name it doing the improper factor the appropriate manner, however I chucked each of our tubes within the lathe and frivolously sanded and polished the affected space. This received’t hurt the fork seal, because it’s outdoors the seal’s journey, however you’ll need to coat that a part of the tube with some kind of protecting end to stop corrosion later. If the distinction within the end catches your eye, a dirt-bike-style mud boot (or gaiter if you’ll) utterly conceals the world, and we could swap our mud covers later.

With all the things prepped and cleaned, drop within the oil locks and the brand new seals could be put in. As all the time, coat the seal with slightly oil and you should use the outdated seal to drive the brand new one in earlier than putting in the snap ring. From there it’s straightforward. Set up the dampener and spring into the fork tube and change the drain bolt and Allen head screw within the backside.

Overhauling Classic Motorcycle Suspension
For oil, Honda recommends 10W30 motor oil, and even ATF for our CB550 fork, however we had one thing heavier in thoughts. The oldsters at Widespread Motor Collective advocate 15W40 for heavier riders, and we’re hoping that provides us improved dampening when our CB (inevitably) sees some mild hooning. 170 cc of oil fills every fork, after which we’re prepared to switch the highest cap and refit our fork tubes.

Overhauling Classic Motorcycle Suspension
Changing Bike Rear Shocks After servicing the entrance fork, changing rear shocks is a a lot easier nut-and-bolt affair. Rebuildable shocks are price having serviced, however in any other case, you’ll be searching for new ones, and the best method is an application-specific shock. For those who don’t thoughts procuring round or need to change the stance of your bike, you’ll want to determine your required experience top, spring fee, journey, and many others. to choose a common shock. Understand that your bike’s mounting model (eye-to-eye, eye-to-clevis, and many others.) and bushing measurement will slender your choices.

Overhauling Classic Motorcycle Suspension
Ultimately, we settled on a budget-friendly, distant reservoir shock from Tec Bike Elements. It’s nothing fancy, providing solely preload and top adjustment, however we needed to give it a shot for the worth level. In case your funds permits, a rebuildable shock with compression and rebound adjustability is the most effective cash can purchase on your outdated twin shocker.

Overhauling Classic Motorcycle Suspension
Unsolicited Last Ideas What our CB550 tracker mission lacks in glamor, it definitely makes up for in low cost thrills. Our funding within the bike and the elements we’ve sourced is so minimal, however it will get incrementally higher with each job accomplished. There’s little doubt we might have coughed up for pricer shocks, or executed one thing extra thrilling with the forks, however within the spirit of creating one thing from nothing, I feel we’re getting someplace.

I’ve a bunch of unfastened ends to tie up subsequent, together with some trimming to tighten up our seat fitment, tabs to take away and brake elements to switch. I’ve a number of concepts to enhance the outdated aftermarket exhaust our bike has as properly, however we’re nonetheless up within the air on that. We’re additionally nonetheless feeling out the entrance fender scenario, and I must get round to reducing up our inventory one. The purpose is, there’s nonetheless work to do earlier than we get to the thrilling stuff, and we’ve a number of surprises in retailer as properly. Keep tuned.

Overhauling Classic Motorcycle Suspension

Bike EXIF thanks MotogadgetTuffsideBridgestoneLowbrow Customs and Biltwell Inc. for supporting our Honda CB550F tracker construct.


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