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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, - some advice pls if I may?

I covered some 1500 miles last year on my newly-acquired 73 TR7RV with no (known) fork issues. Rebuilt the bike over the winter but left the forks alone - other than taking them out of the yokes and having the front wheel respoked etc. If it ain't broke.... Fitted the forks back in the spring and the bike MOTd OK. I've had the springs out a couple of times so the stanchion caps are OK. I've changed the oil a couple of times (10W atm) and it comes out filthy! Mechanically the forks seem fine - no fore and aft play and they work well AFAICT.

About 400 miles ago the DS leg began to weep at the scraper sleeve and now it's past ignoring.

I need to change the seals (at least) over the winter. Looking at earlier posts on here, I see there's a later seal and a retaining washer that I should use and that heat may be necessary to get them out. That should be OK. LP Williams seem to have the parts. I have the WM and the parts book. I'd like to do the job myself as then I know what their condition really is, but I've not had this design of fork apart before.

I see that to get the slider off the stanchion I have to hold the damper valve nut deep down the leg and that a 14mm spark plug socket on extensions will do that.

Is there anything else I need to know, or elephant traps I might fall into? Anything else I should change whilst I have them apart? Anything in particular I need to look out for? FWIW, the stanchions have some very fine scoring, but nothing that you'd catch with a fingernail - nowhere near that, and in places the surface is smooth and polished. Absolutely no pitting either.

Finally, there are no bushes inside the legs? Do the sliders simply slide up and down the stanchions?

Thx. Not a job to be done anytime soon, just getting prepared. I could take them to my tame classic restorers, but then I'd not know what the innards look like, and since they are in Wrexham and I'm in Cheshire you can just see another total COVID-19 lockdown coming for Wales, probably the day after I drop the legs off with them. Keeping the legs where I can see them looks like a plan to me.

Many thx

Andy
 

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Refurbishing my 73 T150 front end ( I believe identical to yours ) I used Ariette seals from LPW ( working happily now ) and some plastic rings instead of original o rings to reduce friction. Also I used light oil - 5W to lessen a harshness in them what worked to the point, also used much lighter T140 springs than original T150.
All this improved their feel, but they are still a lot harsher than my much more sophisticated BMW K75 front end. I didn't have to use any heat during seals changing.
Yes this design doesn't use any bushes between stanchions and sliders, so if you have sliders worn, you have to exchange them for new / better ones.
 

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Hi Andy, I have a few thoughts. I've had some experience with these forks now.

There are no real traps. One thing I'd recommend is making a tool to hold the damper rod from the top. I used 1/2" steel rod from hardware store. I made mine 20" long. Ground fat straight screw driver tip 1/16" thick. Grind flats on top end to hold with wrench. You can use a long extension & socket as well. Tape the socket to extension(s) together. It just makes your life really easy to remove & torque allen bolt. Allows to feel exactly how tight it is without rod spinning.

The lower allen bolt is sealed with a dowty washer inside a recess in leg. Even new these tend to seep. Seal bolt head with your favorite sealant. Hylomar works as does any other.

The spring retainer plug in top of fork leg needs sealant on threads or it will seep. Non hardening so it will unscrew without a fight. Loosen allen bolts at top tree that supports legs as this allows the plug to unscrew/tighten easier.

Remove wheel & fender.

Unbolt caliper & hose bracket, slide caliper off studs & hand to the side out of the way. Put a wedge of wood between pads to hold pistons in place in case lever is accidently pulled.

Remove fork caps. Pull out spring. Insert tool down from top to hold rod from turning. I don't drain forks, just let the oil by removing allen bolt. Legs will drop right off.

You'll see the damper rods. They will feel very loose & sloppy. This is normal. There are floating plastic bushings in the retainer, so it's really loose & feels worn, when it's not. The holder is hex, but has rounded corners. You may or may not have suitable ring spanner. Large adjustable wrench usually works fine. These can be very tight so be careful. Once you remove the retainer, the rods will pull right out the bottom. ( actually you can push the damper rods & pistons up out the top of fork with a long skinny rod if you don't want to remove the retainer). I usually remove the retainer to clean inside of leg.

In USA we have dust wipers, not boots so the forks get water in them. I don't know about UK. The inside of legs often have rust. I take 3/8 wood dowel & cut slot in end. Put strip of emery paper in slot. Put dowel in electric drill & sand off the rust.

The damper pistons came with rubber o-ring from factory. Odd size so has to come from parts sellers. This ring gives huge stiction. The old worn one, not so bad, but new will give stiff operation of fork. As was suggested LP Williams Triumph spares UK, sells phenolic split ring which I feel works much better. So far as I can tell he's only seller of them. Not cheap, but very much worth it.

Regarding the actual fork leg seal, I can say with certainty the original type black seal is the very worst seal you could use 97-4001. I've use pretty much every brand sold in USA. However I've not used the grey Ariete seals. LP Williams 97-4001A. Some have had good results with the Ariete.

You are correct, there is no bushings in slider. The fit is fairly loose & even worn they seem to work fine. The tubes wear as well. They seem to work ok, so long as the chrome is not cracking or peeling. You can polish light scratching on uppers as needed. I feel it helps sealing. The sliders are a fairly loose fit on tubes, even new. In operation oil is forced up the clearance & fills it with oil. I can't really feel the wear when riding even with quite worn parts. I'm not a high performance rider though.

I've a fair amount of experience with "LeakProof" seals. Triumph used these in later T140 to good results. Basically cured the leaks. They were retained with snap ring. On our old forks they are retained by a thick flat washer driven into top of slider. A press fit. The seal however is a very loose fit & must be free to float up/down a huge amount.

Even with very worn uppers & sliders so long as upper chrome was not peeling or rust pits the LeakProof have worked quite well. On the same bike with new Emgo seals forks leaked horribly. I've gained confidence in the LeakProof. I've only used genuine LeakProof brand. This is exact set I use. Shop around, price varys wildly.


I see Tbird spares UK sells some. I don't know if they seal good or not. I've only used genuine LeakProof.


The retainer is a fairly tight press fit. Warming fork with heat gun or hair dryer until very warm to touch, but not hot helps. Polish top edge of seal bore. Grease bore & outside of ring to ease assembly. I have fork seal driver, most use big socket or piece of pipe.

Don't over fill forks even a drop. 190cc is it. Fork oil thickness is very much personal preference. Also depends on your weight. I'm about 155-160# ready to ride. I prefer 5w. Most ATF is about 7.5w. I use Belray fork oil. Supposedly good oil.

The bottom of fork leg & nut can be sharp & have burrs. Smooth these. Oil seal & all surfaces well. I wrap page protector plastic round upper such it 100% protects seal from cuts. Do this no matter the seal type. Not so easy, use minimum overlap on plastic, but with a little practice not hard. A helper makes it easier. Plastic will pull out, but it can get stuck or tear, so it takes a little fiddling, practice. Even tiny scratch on seal will make it leak. So I'd use the plastic.

Use a long screw driver or rod to drop dowty washer into lower. Put some grease on lower side to help it stay put. Put washer on rod. Stick end of rod into lower & let washer slide down.

Here's some photos of what the LeakProof install looks like. Notice the seals have several sealing lips. Notice the end float. Open side of seal goes down. Notice retainer ring is right at bottom of chamfer. This my seal driver, home made. Really long pilot so it drives very straight & easy.
Don
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Adam, Don, that's extremely helpful, very many thx.

I watched Lunmad's videos on the T140E fork seal replacement, and one of his commenters has a video about the plastic bag trick and I've watched that too.

I've looked at LPW's website and I can see the parts to which you refer. I like the idea of those phenolic rings.

My stanchions still have most of the chrome, but in places I think it's worn but there are no scores or pits so I suspect they'll be OK. There's absolutely no slop between slider and stanchion that I can see, but I may splash out on new stanchions anyway to minimise the potential for future leaks.

Lunmad shows him making the damper tool - looks easier than making the long screwdriver, but now I know the size can have a think about that. I have 2 blacksmiths local to me so I can easily get some 1/2" steel rod and I have a bench grinder to make the flats.

Now I know that there should be no real traps, I'll wait for the cold weather to kick in and force me off the road for this year and I can then get the legs stripped and work out what parts I need. Doesn't look like too difficult or expensive a job. I'm relieved that I don't need to drop out the stanchions (unless I change them) as one of them is tight in the bottom yoke.

Once again, many thx.

ATB
Andy
 

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I have always had gaiters on my bikes forks. Some of them have looked like Norah Batty's tights, ((Hinckley) Tiger gaiters on my Trident spring to mind) but they keep the stanchions clean and protect the oil seals.
 

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I replace the damper O-ring with a pair of teflon back-up rings. The splits are placed 180 degrees apart.
736947

Check the size of the damper tube seal in the slider. There is a recess and too large diameter seal will not fit.
The difference between the stanchion diameter and slider bore is 0.002"-0.004". Too much and the seal will not work.
T160 forks use 230cc and use a slightly shorter damper tube but not 40cc worth. The more oil, the higher the spring rate from the trapped air. Too little oil and the damper will suck air at full extension due to oil on the spring and upper stanchion wall.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hi Dave, many thx. AIUI what I have is the damper on the L in your pic.I've not come across the Teflon O rings you show - LPW have the phenolic damper rings though. 1 per fork. My WM says 190cc per leg. Mind you, some of that is now waterproofing my left trouser leg and the DS airbox cover.....

I'm slightly confused - maybe someone can elucidate? Lunmad's video shows him fitting a peg across a 1/2" bolt to hold the top damper nut. Don has indicated to grind flats on a 1/2" dia steel rod to drop into the slots in the top damper nut - AIUI those 2 methods are contradictory - Lunmad suggests a 1/2" bolt drops down inside the damper nut - but Don's advice tells me that a 1/2" bolt can be made into a blade to locate in the nut.

Have I misunderstood something? I could buy a nut and then I'd know, but given the astonishing depth of expertise on this forum, someone will know.

I'll talk to LPW before I order any parts anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Forgot: I've been getting a mist of fork oil on the front of the gas tank, oil blowing out of the top of the forks. What does that tell me and how do I stop it. Both the stanchion nut and the top nut are assembled dry, no jointing compound.
 

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Hi Andy,
About 400 miles ago the DS leg began to weep at the scraper sleeve
have always had gaiters on my bikes forks.
Absolutely. Definitely. Commando gaiters specifically from Andover Norton. Dog's dangly bits. (y) :)

see there's a later seal and a retaining washer
"Leakproof Seals" aka "Super Seals". Again, dog's dangly bits. (y) Get the 'soft' ones if you can; aiui, they can be pulled out through the stanchion hole in the interference-fit retaining washer although I've never had to do it.

see that to get the slider off the stanchion I have to hold the damper valve nut deep down the leg and that a 14mm spark plug socket on extensions will do that.
Mmmm ... depends on the socket OD; ime some fit down stanchions, (y) some don't. :(

anything else I need to know, or elephant traps I might fall into?
Allen key socket in the stanchion top nut. Don't use an Allen key - apart from they're expensive in that size, you really need to be able to push down absolutely centrally against the spring pressure when refitting the nut - it's a very fine thread and, if you cross-thread it, you burger the nut. :(

The nut hex. should be 7/16" AF but some are 10 mm. :( I've a ~1" length of hex. bar in each size (offcuts), drop the correct one in the nut socket and use the corresponding socket on the end of an extension and T-bar to turn it.

Also press down against the spring pressure when unscrewing stanchion nuts. Correct-length springs pop out about an inch above the stanchion top, that kind of pressure is quite capable of ripping the last one or two threads off the (ally) nut. :(

Because the thread is so fine, before refitting a nut in a stanchion, degrease both threads surgically clean and inspect closely for any lingering bits of swarf; they'll bugger the thread given the chance. :(

Anything else I should change whilst I have them apart?
Phenolic rings on the damper rods instead of standard O-rings already mentioned. (y)

Progressive springs specifically from Progressive Suspension. (y)

Proper dampers - standard ones are crap. As we're both in GB, I recommend Richard Darby at 3D Motorcycles in Wolverhampton, he has a Wastebook page. If you go this (expensive-but-imho-worth-it) route, the jury's hung on whether the Progressive springs are also required, I'm for, Richard's against.

Hth.

Regards,
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thx Stuart. I'll talk to Richard about dampers. I have imperial Allen key sockets and one of them fits perfectly. My springs only just contact the u/side of the top nut so I think they are past it. I'll check the free length. Mine definitely do not stick up above the top of the stanchion. I'll have a look at the progressive ones - LPW sell them but I'll contact your suggested supplier.

The forks are the last bit of the bike to be looked at, everything else has been refurbed. Nice bike, I love the relaxed ride, and a good pair of forks for next year should be the icing on the cake. I'm no hard user of a motorcycle, but it would be nice to get the ride quality to be as good as it can be.
 

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Hi Andy, When the seals get really bad the oil will actually squirt out just as yours is. I'd done 4 sets of conventional seals of various brands. I went over large bump & oil squirted all the way to may face shield. I needed to do different. Looking a web I decided to use Leak Proof. They worked good. Still good. Been in many thousands of miles & some years now.

I don't know how worn your forks are. I put set of Classic LeakProof in '76 Bonnie that sliders were very worn. Upper tubes chrome worn, chipped. Sanded the tubes smooth so much of chrome removed. Deep scratches sanded out. You can imagine how loose the slider fit. Owner did not want to spend any more $ on bike. This is horrible practice!! However the seals did not leak! I specifically payed attention to feel of forks, bike, handling. If I hadn't known how loose things were I wouldn't have known it. Seems left seal leaks sooner/more, slider, tube wears more. Forces from left disc brake seem to be cause. I don't know what dual discs would do.

I would not replace parts unless you really need them. Seems most aftermarket parts have quality/tolerance issues.

The original axle caps were cast alloy. They are weak & many have cracked. Mine did & was never ever overtightened. 100% of my T140 friends had to replace theirs if not already done. The aftermarket billet caps are many times stronger. I've never seen one crack ever. This is a case where aftermarket is indeed way better. If you look closely at metal where it's not polished you can see tiny pores in metal. Very tiny. The billet ones are totally solid metal without a trace of a pore. If you still have cast original I'd recommend replacing them. When they break all the way it leaves nuts loose which can fall off. On my bike I noticed was broken. Nuts were a little more than finger tight. Were properly tightened prior. Never over torqued like shop manual spec.

I've seen a few bikes that leaked from the spring retainer plug 97-4387. It is obvious as oil seeps out from the top of fork at crown & runs down upper shrouds. Luckily unlike brake fluid ATF or fork oil doesn't ruin paint. So if your slider seals are dry, they are not leaking. If slider seals are leaking, you'll seal the top anyway. (You should)

There are lots of ways to skin a cat. You choose the way. The illustration in the '73 manual tool 61-6113 has an odd looking end & T handle. Doing web search various tools are shown under this #, however you'll find the one that looks like fat screwdriver actually works.

This is what top of damper rod looks like: A screw driver slot.


So you have wheel, fender, caliper etc removed. Depending on your bars they will have to be lifted. I undo the P clamp bolts under top tree & lift bars just enough to access the top plug. My brake hose will only allow so much lift. My bike was built April '73. It still has the early type top plugs that use C spanner. Later has the allen wrench plug which is much nicer. Remove plug.

You can leave spring in or not to use tool. Spring will guide tool directly into slot.

From top of tree to the screw slot is 18-3/4". That's why I made tool 20". It sticks up above top of spring & not too much so it doesn't foul handle bars as easily.

The bar will cost $10 US. You make it, you have it forever. Easy to sell tools should you leave the hobby. I've done it various ways. The tool make skinning the cat easier. Your choice. I don't think it's a waste of time to make tool.

It takes me about all day to reseal the forks with polishing inside of upper, deburring & smoothing sharp edges. It's a lot of work. No matter how long it takes. I find it very fun.

Here's detailed photos of my holder tool.
Tip is .467" wide. I put a little taper to it. Tip is .105" thick. I hold top with adjustable wrench. Nothing fancy.
Don
 

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Hi DMadigen, Nice damper you made!!

I wonder if wavy washer or conical spring on clack valve would help. So of the guys modified the by pass holes in rod also. I've wondered what a better sealing bushing in the 97-4076 bottom plug would do? I've had lots of mountain bicycle forks apart. They are really fun to tune. When you find the sweet spot it's amazing the difference. Spring rate/sag is the first step of course. These forks have the right idea, but needed a little more development. I'm light at 155-160# ready to ride. My friend is well over 200#. Needless to say with stock forks T140 type the handling is much different between us. He likes mine better. Only difference is I have 5w oil.

According to my log book my damper piston clearance is .004". I experimented with home made teflon rings & the backing rings. I found the teflon didn't move nearly as freely as I'd planed. The solid one pieces actually worked worse. Cold was ok, but on hot day after riding they expanded & bound up. Hard to say why , but the backing rings I got fit rather loose. Didn't seem to seal very well.

I think for the average owner hard to beat the LP Williams rings. Simple to fit. But don't force them. Work them over easy using oil. They might break otherwise. They should slide freely in uppers, again oil well. If they are tight fit in uppers, that's not right.

Here's is one thing to be mindful of. Reverb got a set & they were a tight fit in upper. Like, had to force them into upper leg. They gave very harsh poor ride. After much testing, turned out the seals were made not to spec, too large. LP Williams sent a new pair & all was well. Apparently there was a bad batch. That was a few years ago. The only case of problem I've heard of. I feel this is a tried & true product & recommend them over the rubber o-ring in every case.
 

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You have not come across my teflon rings because I have only sold them to a few people.
Damper head uses reed valves like modern dampers. Stack on top controls compression, stack on bottom controls rebound.
737005

Progressive holes in top nut allow external adjustment.
Stock damper slots allow the oil to bypass the damper head once they move above the stanchion bushing making the damping virtually nill except for the flow through the slots. On the rebound of the stroke the washer with four small holes restricts the damper. On later damper tubes there is only one slot near the bottom which greatly increases it effectiveness. However, holes and slot damping are more affected by velocity than reed valves.
737006

The holes in my tube are at the bottom so all the flow is through the head.
737007

When I get time to make adapters I will put it on a shock dyno and compare it to stock.
The top nut of the damper changed at some point to a through hole so you can hold the tube directly instead of poosibly turning the nut off the tube. The slot is 0.130" x 0.5".
737008

OiI quantities are all over. BSA 650 manual gives 190cc, Haynes gives 200cc, T160 manual (from CBS) gives 230cc. Point is you have to try different amounts and see the results.
 

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Hi Dave,
OiI quantities are all over. BSA 650 manual gives 190cc, Haynes gives 200cc, T160 manual (from CBS) gives 230cc.
'Fraid no idea what manual CBS has; however, with respect:-

T160 workshop manual, manual page GD7 (.pdf page 18):-
CAPACITIES
...
Front forks (each leg) ... 210 c.c.
T160 Owners' Handbook, page 37:-
CHANGING THE FRONT FORK OIL
... add 210 cm3 of the special oil to each leg, ...
... also you might remember I've owned a T160 from brand-new? The printed aluminium sticker on the top of each fork leg says "210 C.C." I've also had paper copies of both manuals for decades, first copy of the Workshop Manual was a bound one bought from the boot of Les Williams's car after a TR3OC AGM at the Coventry Museum of Transport. :)

BSA 650 manual gives 190cc, Haynes gives 200cc,
Manuals for Triumph conical-hub and disc-brake bikes also say 190 cc., so no idea where Haynes gets 200 cc.; :confused: mind, they aren't nicknamed "Heinous" for nothing ...

However, it all becomes irrelevant if Progressive's springs are fitted; their fitting instructions advise setting oil by height.

Hth.

Regards,
 

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Hi Andy,
oil blowing out of the top of the forks.
stanchion nut and the top nut are assembled dry,
Of my six disc-brake stanchions and top nuts, five don't leak after assembly dry ... :rolleyes: I suspect I'll assemble 'em with Hylomar in future ...

I'll have a look at the progressive ones - LPW sell them but I'll contact your suggested supplier.
I wasn't completely clear, apologies. Progressive Suspension are both maker and retailer; so you can buy from them direct but obviously you'll be paying retail plus p&p plus - because PS are in the US - whatever 'Er Maj's Cussems sees fit to add when they arrive in GB. If LPW are retailing actual Progressive progressive springs, they're likely to be cheaper from there? What I advise avoiding are progressive springs that aren't made by Progressive Suspension. This is based on my experience of Progressive springs from LPW vs. others' posted experience of 'progressive' springs from the well-known suspension specialist eBay ...

Seems left seal leaks sooner/more, slider, tube wears more. Forces from left disc brake seem to be cause. I don't know what dual discs would do.
Can't say what high-mileage single disc does to the stanchion and slider but I used to find the left-hand standard seal on my T160's lasted barely past the 3,000-mile service interval, to the point where I simply added changing the fork seals to the tasks at that interval. :(

I do know if you fit Leakproof seals and Commando gaiters with dual discs, you don't get any more seal leaking problems ... ;) Dual discs do bend both sliders back the same at the stanchion-slider joint; at some stage, I'll take some forks apart to see if there's any stanchion/slider wear.

original axle caps
I've three bikes with disc-brake forks - T160 I've owned from brand-new still has its original caps, T160 I've owned since 1982 still has the caps it came with, T100 has the same caps it was built with in the mid-1980's.

Possibly significantly, I've never torqued any of 'em - the T160 workshop manual came out years after I got my first so I was used to just nipping up the nuts - there's a bloody great gap between cap and slider, simply nipping up the nuts equally (can't remember why now but I've always done outers first then inners) will bend the cap elastically, microscopically but enough to generate significant friction on the nuts' and sliders' threads even without the spring washers. Given that, I've never seen a need even for the corrected "15 ft.lb." in later twin manuals.

Hth.

Regards,
 

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Triumph Trident Factory Manual 99-0963, 1969 model GD8 Capacities: telescoping fork legs 200cc.
1971 model GD9A Front Forks (each leg) 230cc
The steel legs require a different amount of oil than the aluminum slider. Since there are bushes between the slider and stanchion there is more volume.
BSA 650cc Factory Manual May 1971 GD10, Capacities: Front Forks (each leg) 190cc.
However, I do not understand why people are fixated on a particular volume for the forks. Measuring from the top is more reliable method of filling.
Changing the oil volume changes the air spring rate. The harder the forks are worked the more oil is coating the upper stanchion and spring which can cause the damper to suck air if the level is too low. This is more true with the later top damper nut with the tube hole pointing straight up compared to the earlier nut with the hole on the side.
The axle fixing on the aluminum slider is a poor design. All modern forks that I am aware of have the axle through a hole in the slider with a pinch bolt. Using approximate numbers, machine 460lb, rider 160lb, wheel radius 13", disc friction radius 4.5", disc offset from stanchion centreline 1.125", stopping at 0.8g:
(460 + 160) * 0.8 * 13 / 4.5 * 1.125 / 12 = 134 ft-lb of torque on the slider
The axle sits in a slightly less than half round slot. The torque is camming the axle out of the slot, not just applying a torque to the slider.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
And it came to pass.......

The adjacent area to me, Wrexham in N Wales, where my go-to restorer is based, is now locked down. Essential journeys only, and taking your forks to be overhauled is not going to cut it with the Plod roadblock.

Fortunately, given the support of the forum, I'm going to do the job myself.

But, this COVID-19 management is way out of control. We, as a nation, cannot go on like this. I was going to say more, but I don't care to fall foul of the forum rules. I'll just have another gin instead.....
 

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%i DMadigan, I don't know if there is a market for your custom valves or not. Doing web search back in the day, guys like you were modifying the dampers for racing. Looks like they are all retired or passed now.

No question they would improve for operation. Takes some practice for owners to learn how to tune the forks. On our bicycles the have external knobs. 90+% of riders don't run enough sag & set both compression & rebound too slow. We spent weeks experimenting/learning using trial & error. Since I'm pretty light I find the front fork "good enough" with 5w but hitting pot hole the high speed compression damping is very lacking. I guess back in the day we didn't know forks could get so much better. I have Fox steel spring fork in front on my bicycle, Fox air shock in rear. They will buck each other. Rear would be better with titanium spring. Air is ok, but just not the same.

Are you thinking of marketing your damper? Seems there is a movement for owners to actually ride these old bikes more. I've noticed street trackers, semi café racer bikes showing up at rides & the rest stop lately. There might be a developing market? These owners seem to have plenty of $$ to spend on improvements.
Don
 
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