We wanted to take a look at one of the biggest handling problem-causers we see day in and day out at the shop, at the track, or in the field.  At the shop, we get a pile of off-road KTMs come through our doors, and just about each one has the same issue, namely fork binding.  To see if your off-road bike suffers this ailment, balance it so that it is straight up and down and push straight down on the gas cap, in a vertical direction.  Most of the XC and XCW models we try this experiment on will bounce their rear fender up and down as the shock compresses with absolutely no movement in the forks whatsoever, all while pushing down on the gas cap!  We have to actually get our shoulders up and over the number plate and sometimes even hold the front brake on to get any movement from the forks at all.

At the road race track, this same issue shows up all the time when we check for sags; where we pick the bike off the ground and measure the forks extended length, then let it down and place the rider on the bike and measure it again.  You know you have a problem when the rider hops on the bike and the front end barely moves under their weight.  At this point we call off the setting of the sag and instead turn the sag appointment into a mission to find the binding we nickname ‘stiction’.  A street bike or off road bike’s front suspension should move when you push on the top triple clamp firmly with your fingers!  If they don’t, you have a problem that will reveal a huge improvement when it is corrected.

In both of these cases above, I try to explain to the rider how this binding is affecting both the forks inability to absorb the smaller bumps, and the huge effect this binding is going to have on the running geometry of the bike.  With as much friction as is experienced with these examples, you can imagine the size of the bump you need to hit before the forks break friction and actually absorb the impact, not just transmit it into your hands.  When we correct this binding problem at the paved racetracks, the riders are amazed at how much better the bike turns and stays on line at the corner exit than it did before, with absolutely no other changes to the suspension at all!  This is due to the sticky forks tendency to operate way higher in their travel at all times than where they should be working, which changes the steering characteristics of the motorcycle dramatically.

Now lets look at the causes of this binding in order of ease of correction.  First off, I ask the rider if they noticed the poor performance of the forks and if they did, when did it begin?  Sometimes it can be traced back to the last time the front tire was changed, or maybe a fall.  Upon investigation, I usually discover that the front wheel was removed on one of those cheap front end stands that locates under the bottom of each fork leg.  I endorse these types of stands for things like tire warmers, or caliper cleaning and light maintenance only, but not wheel removal.  The static distance the arms are apart on these cheaper stands will affect and dictate the “parallelity” of your forks upon reassembly.  On almost all street bike’s front axle designs, the axle tightens to one side, holding the wheel located to one fork leg, while the other fork leg is allowed to ‘free-float’ on the axle in hopes of maintaining a parallel relationship to the other fork leg.  When you tighten the lower fork leg pinch bolt, it locks the ‘floating’ fork leg onto the axle even if your stand is forcing the fork legs too far apart or together.  Upon tightening the pinch bolt on one of these stands, you will now have ensured a much higher than normal amount of friction into the fork, which will get worse as the forks travel deeper in their stroke.  Whenever removing the front wheel, use a stand that locates into the bottom of the steering stem pivot area, this will allow the forks to hang unaffected and if everything is clean and lubricated the forks should hang perfectly parallel when you tighten everything up.

The second culprit that induces ‘stiction’ into the front suspension is a fall, which happens daily in the woods or on the MX track, but is also common on the paved tracks as well.  What happens in order of occurrence in a fall is quite predictable, usually starting with a quick intake of breath, then a curse just as the side of the bike hits the ground.  Handlebars, always being the widest part of the bike will dig in and if the bike is still moving forward, the lower handlebar will be driven backward and in towards the tank.  What stops this forceful rearward motion is most often the steering stop that is part of the bottom triple clamp.  Unfortunately the handlebars or clip-ons are located on or near the top triple clamp and the imagined leverage that occurs between these two points some 8” apart, results in a twisting force between the upper and lower triple clamps.  The machining grooves on the fork tubes will never allow the fork to move up or down in the triple clamp, but they can twist in the clamps quite easily, and in even the lightest fall, the two triple clamps almost always invariably twist out of alignment a little bit, binding the forks up like crazy.

Misalignment of the triple clamps will be noticed when removing the forks from the triple clamps.  Leaving one fork leg in place, slowly remove the second fork from the clamps, paying attention to how easy it is to remove, realizing that when new, the fork will literally fall out of the clamps when all triple clamp pinch bolts are loosened.  If the fork leg jumps to the front or back when it clears the upper triple clamp on it’s way down, the triple clamps were severely misaligned, or your fork tubes are bent.  However if the fork leg removal just gets way easier when it clears the upper clamp, then they were just out of alignment a little bit.

36 Comments

  1. berkey on November 27, 2020 at 1:43 pm

    Howdy! I could have sworn I’ve been to this website before but after reading through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Nonetheless, I’m definitely glad I found it and I’ll be book-marking and checking back frequently!|



  2. gopaymn on December 22, 2020 at 3:36 pm

    Inhouse Phyarmacy Tunseusent can you buy cialis online Tercleds Cialis Farmacia Andorra



  3. the feed on December 23, 2020 at 11:25 pm

    Hi i am kavin, its my first time to commenting anyplace, when i read this piece of writing i thought i could also create comment due to this good paragraph.|



  4. feed on December 24, 2020 at 8:57 pm

    Today, while I was at work, my cousin stole my apple ipad and tested to see if it can survive a thirty foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My apple ipad is now broken and she has 83 views. I know this is completely off topic but I had to share it with someone!|



  5. thefeed on December 25, 2020 at 12:01 pm

    Hello this is somewhat of off topic but I was wondering if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding know-how so I wanted to get guidance from someone with experience. Any help would be enormously appreciated!|



  6. feed on December 26, 2020 at 2:32 am

    Hello it’s me, I am also visiting this web site daily, this website is actually nice and the viewers are in fact sharing pleasant thoughts.|



  7. how to make an atmospheric water generator on January 6, 2021 at 10:52 am

    Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Thanks, However I am experiencing troubles with your RSS. I don’t know the reason why I cannot join it. Is there anybody getting identical RSS problems? Anyone who knows the answer can you kindly respond? Thanx!!|



  8. superbeets review on January 15, 2021 at 10:56 pm

    Hey there! Do you know if they make any plugins to protect against hackers? I’m kinda paranoid about losing everything I’ve worked hard on. Any recommendations?|



  9. tinder site on January 26, 2021 at 4:44 am

    how to use tinder , tinder login https://tinderdatingsiteus.com/



  10. cheap flights on January 31, 2021 at 2:38 pm

    Hi my family member! I wish to say that this article is amazing, nice written and come
    with approximately all important infos. I would like to see more
    posts like this .



  11. cheap flights on January 31, 2021 at 11:59 pm

    Attractive section of content. I just stumbled upon your blog and
    in accession capital to assert that I acquire actually enjoyed account your
    blog posts. Any way I will be subscribing to your augment and even I achievement
    you access consistently quickly.



  12. cheap flights on February 1, 2021 at 5:01 pm

    Woah! I’m really enjoying the template/theme of this website.
    It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s tough to get that “perfect balance” between usability
    and visual appeal. I must say you’ve done a amazing job with
    this. Additionally, the blog loads extremely quick
    for me on Safari. Outstanding Blog!



  13. JbbvTaime on February 4, 2021 at 8:59 pm

    canadian drug web medical information arthritis



  14. Kuikviale on February 5, 2021 at 10:37 am

    walgreen viagra coupon get perscription for viagra scottsdale az viagra professional scam



  15. JbnbBlarl on February 6, 2021 at 6:01 am

    erection pills canada discount drug cialis online pharmacy



  16. LbsxTaime on February 7, 2021 at 5:10 am

    canadian pharmacy viagra generic viagra uk online canada drug prices



  17. AqcfAlcomisom on February 7, 2021 at 5:46 am

    buy cialis online cialis black best price cialis 20mg



  18. AhkdTaime on February 7, 2021 at 11:38 am

    best online canadian pharcharmy mexican pharmacies online canadian king pharmacy



  19. FqhhTaime on February 8, 2021 at 5:12 pm

    canadian pharmacy viagra buy online prescription drugs canadian drug store



  20. Kbcxblup on February 9, 2021 at 2:02 pm

    online medicine to buy online medicine shopping canadian pharmacy king



  21. NncsDuash on February 10, 2021 at 12:20 pm

    picture of generic viagra viagra @ walmart viagra no prescription free shipping



  22. FvfcDuash on February 11, 2021 at 3:27 am

    where can i buyt generic viagra viagra sale viagra brisbane



  23. JbbnTaime on February 11, 2021 at 10:08 pm

    dangers long term use cialis cialis and eyesight cialis ads on tv



  24. Kbbfviale on February 12, 2021 at 11:42 am

    online pharmacy viagra can i buy viagra over the counter in canada cheap viagra



  25. JbnvBlarl on February 13, 2021 at 7:34 am

    cash advance stockton blvd loan advance on taxes cash money loans saskatoon



  26. LabxTaime on February 14, 2021 at 12:05 am

    cialis 20 mg everyday cialis for daily use insurance coverage cialis und ace hemmer



  27. AhbzTaime on February 15, 2021 at 6:27 pm

    payday loan in bloomington mn kentucky payday loan advance loans by phone



  28. FqbbTaime on February 16, 2021 at 10:50 pm

    cash loans no paperwork australia private lender payday loans payday loans cash now



  29. Kvaxblup on February 16, 2021 at 11:43 pm

    cash money payday loans edmonton first cash direct loan reviews urgent payday loans no brokers



  30. NbnhDuash on February 18, 2021 at 5:40 am

    where to buy viagra cheap viagra rx coupon viagra pill



  31. FbsgDuash on February 19, 2021 at 3:31 am

    cialis prescription for cialis purchase where do you inject liquid cialis



  32. Clarkdiumn on February 27, 2021 at 8:28 pm

    51mkn qre0s n2u5



  33. MarcosSes on March 4, 2021 at 5:48 am

    tadalafil 30 mg: http://tadalafilonline20.com/ generic tadalafil united states



  34. car buyers houston on March 5, 2021 at 8:19 pm

    It’s in fact very complicated in this busy life to listen news on Television, therefore I just use world wide web for that purpose, and get the latest news.|



  35. Wesleyfus on March 6, 2021 at 6:24 am

    order tadalafil buy tadalafil
    tadalafil 60 mg for sale



  36. houston junk car buyer on March 6, 2021 at 1:12 pm

    My partner and I stumbled over here different page and thought I may as well check things out. I like what I see so now i’m following you. Look forward to looking at your web page yet again.|



Leave a Comment