Proper air bleeding procedure?

I've just recently come to the world of "real" dirt bikes, having traded my R100GS in for a XR650R. I'm heading for the hills tomorrow to try it in the dirt (and mud!) (and rocks!) (and sand!) for the first time. I'm taking the suspension "as is", fully understanding that it will need to be more properly set up for me over time. I just want to see what it will do as is.

My question is: I've been told that it's critically important to bleed the excess air from the forks before riding, using the little air bleed bolt on top of each fork. The bike didn't come to me with an owner's manual - what the proper procedure for this? Do I just loosen them, let the pressure equalize, and tighten again? Do I need to pump the forks with the bleeder screws off? Do I need some kind of swanky tool? Inquiring minds want to know!



2000 XR650R

2005 FJR1300A

First off, it's not "critical". It's good to do, but if you never did it, it wouldn't really hurt anything. That said, I bleed mine about twice a ride. :thumbsup: Extra air that builds up in your fork adds to the spring rate, making the fork compress a little stiffer. Only enough so that you feel it on small bumps. I like my forks working there best so I do it a lot. The extra pressure can put a little more stress on the seals accelerating wear, but not that much IMO. The procedure is simple. Make sure the forks are fully extended (on a bike stand is best). Unscrew the bleeders all the way out to let the air out. Then screw back in. That's it. :thumbsup:

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