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Thread: Best Way To Untwist some Twisted Forks

  1. #1
    Junior Member Foxtrot144's Avatar
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    Best Way To Untwist some Twisted Forks

    I lost focus during the exit of a curve and went straight off into the ditch. I was ok but the bike suffered some damages. The right fairing and the turn signal are toast and so is the windshield. Those are things I'm ok with replacing, but I don't know the best tools or way to untwist forks, or how to inspect them to make sure they're still safe to use.

    The shop I usually go to was abruptly closed so I'm hoping to get a little bit of guidance. From what I hear from people you just loosen up some bolts and you can straighten them up like a bicycle, but lots of people are full of it too.

    I've got the service manual ordered and I own a torque wrench. Any other tools I need to buy for this kind of a job?

    Here's the front and Side of it

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  2. #2
    Senior Member Best Way To Untwist some Twisted Forks
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    the way I'd do it:

    support the bike, by something other than the forks. A jack under the exhaust should be ok (with some padding to prevent scrapes)

    loosen a bunch of things: all the pinch bolts, the front axle, and the steering stem nut

    tighten lower pinch bolts

    put the bike down on it's wheels

    bounce the front end a few times

    tighten axle

    tighten the upper pinch bolts

    tighten the stem nut

  3. #3
    Senior Member Griff's Avatar
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    I agree with above although I would only loosen the top pinch bolts and the axle a little before twisting the forks back into position by either twisting against the steering stop or while holding the front wheel between my knees. When that is done and everything tightened up again I would then check if the forks are binding in their stroke and if they are then perhaps the fork tubes are bent. If not there is a good chance the forks are ok. However if there is the slightest hint of binding I would get the fork legs professionally checked.
    Last edited by Griff; 30th January 2019 at 10:17.
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    Senior Member Best Way To Untwist some Twisted Forks
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    The most likely place for the forks to bend is right at the bottom of the lower clamp.

    If you think they might be bent, pull them off entirely. Then, find a sheet of glass or a granite countertop (those are the two flattest things likely to be in a typical home). Place the upper on the flat item, and roll it. If there's any gap visible between the fork and flat item, it's bent.

    A better way is to put it on a set of V blocks on a surface plate and measure with a dial indicator, but most people don't have those tools.


    A way to measure for twist is to have a small flat object. I use a piece of glass that I got for next to nothing from a glass shop (they cut down bigger pieces for custom windows, this was scrap). It's big enough to span between the forks and maybe 6" tall (I forget exactly). With the forks on the bike, everything tightened up, put the flat object across them. It shouldn't be able to rock at all. If things are twisted, it'll have two high corners and be able to rock back and forth on the others. It's possible for the two forks to be bent the same amount and pass this test, though.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Best Way To Untwist some Twisted Forks ld_rider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Foxtrot144 View Post
    how to inspect them to make sure they're still safe to use.
    I would probably pull the forks disassemble them and do a full inspection. Forks are kinda important in the scheme of things and it looks like your bike might be tied up awhile anyway waiting on other parts.

    If you have access to a set of matched parallel V blocks you can probably rest the tubes in the blocks and run a dial indicator to see if they are out of round or otherwise tweaked. I think any local machine shop should be able to to that. For a couple of hundred dollars a competent shop specializing in fork repairs can then make them probably better than new.

    While you are at it maybe go for some bling...Diamond Coated tubes in say a gold color ;-)

    Glad you are ok, the bike can and will be fixed..
    Last edited by ld_rider; 30th January 2019 at 10:34. Reason: can't edit..post is being truncated and don't know why
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  6. #6
    Junior Member Foxtrot144's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies so far folks. I have a center stand, but since that rests on the front wheel I will locate some cinder blocks and try to prop it up. I'll report back with the results this weekend.
    Last edited by Foxtrot144; 30th January 2019 at 10:47. Reason: Remembered I had a center stand
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    Quote Originally Posted by Junkie View Post
    The most likely place for the forks to bend is right at the bottom of the lower clamp.

    If you think they might be bent, pull them off entirely. Then, find a sheet of glass or a granite countertop (those are the two flattest things likely to be in a typical home). Place the upper on the flat item, and roll it. If there's any gap visible between the fork and flat item, it's bent.

    A better way is to put it on a set of V blocks on a surface plate and measure with a dial indicator, but most people don't have those tools.


    A way to measure for twist is to have a small flat object. I use a piece of glass that I got for next to nothing from a glass shop (they cut down bigger pieces for custom windows, this was scrap). It's big enough to span between the forks and maybe 6" tall (I forget exactly). With the forks on the bike, everything tightened up, put the flat object across them. It shouldn't be able to rock at all. If things are twisted, it'll have two high corners and be able to rock back and forth on the others. It's possible for the two forks to be bent the same amount and pass this test, though.
    The italicized section above by Junkie is how to determine if the fork tubes are in alignment. V blocks, dial gauge and hydraulic press is how I straightened a tube when I worked in a MC shop when I tweaked a fork tube on my bike. To avoid any possible issues with customer bikes, bent tubes were replaced. The other thing to keep in mind is that under the front fender there is a pretty robust stamped steel X brace for the fork. Since one of the pictures shows a cracked fender, the brace is probably twisted and should be replaced.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Best Way To Untwist some Twisted Forks
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    Everything in a quote is italicized so I don't know which portion you mean. Final paragraph?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Junkie View Post
    Everything in a quote is italicized so I don't know which portion you mean. Final paragraph?
    Yep, final paragraph. I see lots of recommendations on the net for loosening pinch bolts and stroking the forks to straighten them out, but nothing about checking them to verify alignment.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Best Way To Untwist some Twisted Forks
    Best Way To Untwist some Twisted Forks
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    By the way, not looking at your path of travel is the usual reason for running off the road in a curve. In the MSF courses, we called it "looking through the turn."

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