Sunday, 15 April 2012
Bouncy bouncy (part 3)
Some progress on the suspension front, but not quite as much as I'd hoped. As mentioned in my previous post, I'd filled and smoothed down the surface imperfections on the forks, so I then gave them a couple of coats of silver top coat (I wanted the forks to match the frame tubes). I used Plasti-Kote paint, something I've used on numerous bikes before, and because the weather was still a bit cold for painting, I'd kept the forks and paint warm in the house, only taking them out to the garage for spraying. I was happy with the finish that I got, so I took them inside and left them for a week or so to harden fully (I've learned this over the years).
I got the forks out and started to clean the excess paint out of the threads with a tap, but was surprised to find the paint was still a bit soft and scratched easily. Something must have gone wrong at some point, perhaps they got a bit cold when the paint was still wet? However, as it's only about 6 weeks until I go to France and I don't have time to strip the paint off and start again, I decided to fit the new springs into the forks on the bike at present. These are the 'early' type fitted to Skorpions, so are a darker grey. The paint's very good on them, it's just that I don't like the colour as much.
I took the forks off, drained the oil and gave them a good clean. The standard Skorpion forks have a spacer above them, but the Hagon progressive springs are longer so don't need the spacer.
I also had made a pair of preload adjusters to allow me to alter the loading on the springs.
These were made from a pair of Honda VFR 750 forks tops that have rods attached to them that go down into the forks. I removed the rods and fitted a couple of large washers with screws into the threaded holes. Annoyingly, these have an non standard fine thread (M10 x 1.00) for no good reason I can see, so I had to source some suitable screws on the Web. I used 2 washers in case the forces generated by hitting bumps distorted one. Probably not necessary, but it's a 'just in case'. Screws were fitted with plenty of thread lock in case the come loose and disappear down the forks.
I replaced the fork oil and set the level as advised on Hagons website. They state that the level should be 160mm from the top with the forks fully compressed without springs. This is a bit fiddly to do by yourself, so to make things easier I made a 'dipstick'.
It's just a length of steel tube I had in the garage with a hole drilled to allow a blunt nail to pass through and a line scribed 160mm below it. I epoxied the nail in place, I could have welded it but could be bothered getting the welder out for such a small job, and this allows the 'dipstick' to sit in the top of the fork without falling in. I adjusted the the oil level until it came up to the scribed line.
Springs were fitted, followed by the adjusters.
This is the forks as they now look. Unfortunately, this is an 'on call' weekend for me and I have to be able to answer the phone, so I couldn't take the bike out for a ride to test the forks. They 'feel' a bit firmer when bouncing them up and down with the brake on, but I'll do some fine adjustments when I can ride it.
The big black thing in the middle is the mount for my TomTom satellite navigator, the strap with the clip on the right is the 'safety lanyard' in case the sat nav fall out of its mount. It's slightly disconcerting that they give you this with your sat nav, it's almost as if they're saying 'our mount's not very good, so you need the strap to stop your sat nav falling onto the road and smashing!'
Notice also the non standard master cylinder with adjustable span lever (and matching clutch lever). I'll write a separate post about these later.
I haven't had time to take the Öhlins rear shock off to have it revalved. It's not bad if I keep the damping set at maximum, so with time running out I'll leave it until after the holiday. After all, it's been on the bike for 6 years, so I'm not that worried about it.
I had also hoped to change my wheels for my spare pair which would have been fitted with a new pair of Avon RoadRiders, but I haven't got them back from the powder coaters yet. They said they'd have them ready for next weekend, so 'watch this space'.