Fork oil leak normal?

Is it normal for the fork to leak oil under hard use?

I bought a lightly used 02 XR 200 recently. Previous owner said the left fork leaks a little. So I changed the oil seal with a pair of genuine OEM and kept a close eye for leakage.

After a hard day of trail riding, I lifted the boot up and saw a little bit of oil on the left side and dry on the right side. I was pounding the bike pretty hard for about 30 miles of hardcore enduro course. I know I lightly bottomed the fork on several occasions.

Edited by Terminatr

No, that's not normal. However, we'll assume that you didn't clean the dust boot out before installing it and thus there was some residual oil left behind. Sometimes blind ignorance is cheaper and easier. It's also possible there's a burr on the stanchion (upper part of the fork, traditional forks) that's slowly destroying your fork seal and will continue to do so until it's fixed.

The last possibility is you've put too much oil in the forks and there's simply no where else for the oil to go but out.

If this continues, the next time you replace the seal, have the stanchion polished and be sure to clean out the dust boots as well as thoroughly flush the fork lowers to remove any grit that may have made it's way in.


I regularly crank my forks down to the trailer without a "seal saver" and the only time I have problems is when the fork seals were already giving up the ghost. In an off-road environment, you're going to go through seals faster because dirt is regularly being packed into the seals with each stroke of the suspension. That's why gaiters/"gators" or accordion fork boots are rather common on off-road bikes.

If there is a burr, is it visible with a naked eye?

You have to find it by feel, running your fingers over the area.

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