After about 40 000km I noticed some oil on the stanchion. It was clear that the fork seal was leaking. After a while the motorcycle became unstable under braking, diving, because the suspension was bottoming out completely. A simple cable tie around the stanchion confirmed this. People often mistake the true purpose of suspension, it’s not there only to ensure a smooth ride, but more importantly, to keep your wheels in contact with the road at all times. Therefore, rebound (how quickly the shock absorber returns after compression) is just as important as the rate of compression itself.
Riding around with incorrectly set-up or damaged suspension is not only uncomfortable for the rider, but also rather dangerous because of unexpected behaviour, especially under hard braking.
As per usual, I did a bit of research and phoned around for quotes to get it fixed. Ben Hanekom referred me to Bob’s Motorcycles, because of the excellent service he received there. I phoned the owner, Alan Roberts, who gave me a very reasonable quote, and I booked my appointment. I was quite curious why his shop was named ‘Bob’s Motorcycles’. Alan explained to me that whilst working at another shop, everyone there called each other ‘Bob’, and the name just stuck. I’m a very fussy guy so it was reassuring to see how organized Alan’s workshop is and that just set my mind at ease. At Bob’s Motorcycles they specialise in engine and gearbox rebuilds, as well as electrical repairs.
Alan removed the front wheel and carefully loosened the screws holding the forks in the triple clamps, then began the pain staking process of pulling the forks apart. As suspected the fork seals were the culprit and Alan replaced those with brand new ones. The stanchions had a few pit marks which were removed using some extremely fine wet sandpaper. After pouring in some new fork oil he finished assembling them and put them back on my motorcycle. The whole job took a little over two hours, just as quoted.
On my way home I could really feel the difference. The bike handled much better. No more see-saw under acceleration and rolling off the throttle. Best part was no more heavy diving under braking at a stop street or red light.
I was really impressed by Alan from Bob’s Motorcycles and I can recommend them to anyone.