Getting Forks Straight

Ok, had a small fall 3 weeks ago which caused my forks to turn in the clamps, this is a fairly common occurence, I think....... Well its happened to several guys I ride with. :D

Anyhow this of course caused the front tire to ride offset in one direction more than the other.

I loosened the lower clamps, took the front fender and number plate off and straightened the wheel out to line up with the bars etc......

Went riding last week and I could still feel the bike favoring one direction and making me fight to turn the other direction, although this time the problem was much less then the initial crash.

I went through the same steps as above trying to eyeball the forks, bars, into a straight allignment.

BUT I went for a ride yesterday the mother Freekin bike still was not perfect, Its very subtle now but im still fighting to turn right, specially quick fast turns, I actually missed two turns yesterday and shot out into the sage brush :) Left turns feel great.

What else can I do other than droppin it off at the shop and spending $50 bucks an hour, is there a way to mesure the alignment, or a tool I can get, I got a big ride planned in a week and need to get this resolved..........Help. :D

Oh yeah, Im riddin all stock stuff, execept Renthal Bars, which are not bent or otherwise damaged.

You can start from scratch and see if that helps. Loosen all of your tripple clamp bolts and turn the bars lock to lock a couple of times with a moderate force at each side (a trick I learned here). Then torque everything back to spec. I don't think that the axel would have slipped in the pinchers but you can always realigh that to be double sure. Just loosen the axel pinch bolts, hold the front brake and pump the forks a few times to aligh the forks and then tighten them back up to spec. If something is still bent then I'd guess something might actually be "bent".

You can crash on the oppisite side :) If all else fails.


As SirThumpy points out start from scratch, I will include::

loosen the front wheel also, by loosening the four bolts cinching the axle.

I agree with Sirthump.

Start over and build it up as if installing new forks.

If this doesn't correct it, you'll have to break the forks down and take some measurements.


By the way, I had a major head-on one day on a blind corner two-way trail. The forks were bent so bad the front wheel was touching the engine.

Cool, ill give that a try, I never thought about the axle, mybe upon close inspection I will see it out of alignment.

I would try to crash on the other side, but for some reason I always fall to the right, :)

I had the same deal. I ended up doing what was suggested, and something else too. Make sure the fork isnt bound at the axle. I was pulling my hair out trying to adjust the harshness out of my fork when all the while it was just slightly binding through the stroke. Pull the axle out and make sure is slides through easliy. No pounding, you should be able to push it all the way through, and snug it with the nut. Snug the nut and pinch bolts on the left side and then grab the front wheel and shake it back and forth just to make sure something hasnt bound, then sinch the pinch bolts on the right side. Before you jump at the axle, go ahead and loosen everything above and reset the entire clamp. Just like you would had you replaced the bearings or something.

Good luck.

Also, use a scale to measure the fork above the clamp. Dont rely on the little mark. Stock is 10mm above the clamp, I set mine at 12mm and noticed quicker steering, but no headshake.

I'd also loosen the top clamp nut on the steering stem, tighten the bottom triple clamp nuts first, then the top clamp nuts, then the top clamp nut. Some times the top clamp twists a little on a hard get off.

Sometimes when my son crashes, he tweaks the front end. I stand in front of the bike and he'll point which way it needs to go. Most times, I can see it anyway, cause the front tire is outta line with the fender. I put the front wheel between my knees, grab the handlebars, and give it a swift twist. I'll hear the triple clamps creak & pop slightly as it racks back in line. If he crashed in a race & loses alot of places while he gets going, I know he's gonna stop by me when he comes by. He'll stop quickly, I'll give it a twist, & he's back on his way... maybe 10 seconds later. He says it's distracting to ride with the front end outta line. You may try this little "opposite direction" twist & see if it helps.

[ July 26, 2002: Message edited by: Fireball ]

Set your bike up on a stand and loosen the pinch bolts, get two yard-sticks and place one as low on the forks as you can (crossways- through the spokes), the other as high as you can. Sight down these to make sure your forks are straight. This is the best way I've found to do it and you'll be surprised how much they can ge tweaked and still look straight otherwise.

I had a major get-off on my old XR400 from a harsh, and I mean harsh (observers said I performed a freestyle scorpion at the height of my trajectory, unintended of course), landing. The forks appeared to be tweaked. The problem turned out to that the steering stem was bent in the lower clamp. Might want to check that out.

Was it actually bent or just twisted and you could twist it back? I'm just trying to picture it. :)

Hi all

I recently had to untwist my WR's fork, and yesterday evening, my friend's DT needed some untwisting too, after the newly fitted Magura SX handlebar refused to bend and twisted the fork instead ;-)

Back from my XRV days, i remembered a cheap trick to check if fork legs are parallel:

"The mirror test"

Put the bike on some kind of center stand, have the front wheel off ground or at least free of the bike's weight.

Loosen all triple clamp and axle bolts, then hold the wheel between your knees and twist and untwist the fork a couple of times to make sure it's stuck nowhere in its clamps.

You may notice the fork legs "falling" down out of the clamps, no worries.

Push the tubes back up to their desired position and tighten the bolts on the lower clamp.

Now get a glass (or mirror) plate (or steel or whatever thingy - of say 8"x15" (roughly 20x40cm) - you have which is rigid and flat) and holt it against the fork legs, between lower triple clamp and wheel.

If the fork legs are parallel, the glass plate will lean neatly against the tubes, no spaces, just two lines of contact surfaces.

If the fork legs aren't parallel, the plate will only have points as contact surface, and you will

be able to "klicker" it against the tubes.

Hold the wheel between your legs and work the handlebar until the fork tubes are parallel again, then tighten upper clamp and axle bolts.


I had first tightened the upper clamps and the worked to get the thing straight and then fixed the lower clamps second, I think i doesn't make much difference.



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