How often do you bother changing your fork oil? Is it more frequently than every 5 years or 20,000 miles?
While not strictly a scheduled maintenance item, keeping your fork oil fresh keeps your bike suspension in tip-top condition. I like to aim for every 2 years or 10,000 miles.
Time for a rebuild?
At 42k miles, I had my front forks worked on by Maxton Engineering. Having multiple TT wins under their belt, Maxton know a thing or two about creating a fast road bike.
When I initially enquires about their offering for the VFR, they had this to say about the stock forks on the 98-02 VFR800:
“The forks work reasonably well for general road use but if you ride the bike hard or carry a pillion they need to be modified. The forks are under damped and under sprung , we revalve and respring them fitting harder springs to suit your rider weight and also to suit what the bike is being used for, this gives the bike a lot more feel in the corner and also alot more stability under heavy braking.”
And this about the rear shock:
“The rear unit is a Showa unit and is a unit which we can service but cannot buy any parts for. The spring on the unit is approximately about the right rate for the average weight of rider, the biggest problem with the unit is there’s not enough travel in it, it only has 3″ of wheel travel built into the shock absorber, all bikes should have 5″ approximately. As there is not enough travel the shock will bottom out on the bump stop causing the bike to launch you out of the seat. You will make the problem worse if you load the bike up with a pillion or luggage.”
To increase the travel of the forks, Maxton remove the bump stops. The re-valved and resprung forks call for a much thinner oil (5W). The spring is 0.925kg/mm. I weigh 80kg and wanted a fast road setup for solo riding.
These forks make the VFR a truly confidence inspiring ride, and while they were costly, I believe they were well worth the money.
Anyway, enough of the Maxton advertorial and onto the fork oil change.
Maxton recommend specifically Putoline 5W Fork Oil for their revalved forks.
Here’s the procedure: