Save your fork seals

Ok, I need help settling a argument with a mechanic friend of mine. Today he blew a fork seal and I made the comment that if he used a fork support when tying down a bike for transport, his fork seals would last longer. His all knowing self was quick to try giving me instructions on how the design of the seal is made to withstand the force of compression and a fork support will not extend a fork seals life, period! We agreed to post this to let TT'rs decide.

So, what do you all think?



Not positive, but I don't think that compressing the forks without support would cause seal failure under normal conditions for transporting the bike. Over time it will have an effect on the springs which is why it's not a bad idea to use some type of support to keep the extent of compression to a minimum.

just my .02


This is a myth, why can you hammer down across the desert, seals are fine, but if you have them move just a bit in the back of your truck then the seals are toast? I don't go for it. I've seen were a fork support was a good idea, but that was were bikes are loaded close togather, and the support helps keep the bikes from swaying side to side in the back of the truck and smacking each other.

I don't think the springs go south so quick either, but I wouldn't keep them tied down for weeks. :)

I like the explanation even if it's against my side of the argument. You make a good point and I'm not too proud to admit my reasoning behind using a fork support might not be correct but I still do like using one. Why, you might ask? Well, I guess old habits are hard to break.

Thanks for the input.

Here is an article I got from another TT’er on this subject

Anecdotal evidence, but - I used to tie down my XR250R without any support - it never sacked the fork springs. One thing I did notice about the seals though- especially with a fork brace - was that a bit of dirt could work its way in, causing a leak. I use a dental pick to very carefully get between the fork tube and seal. This has always stopped any leakage.

Yeah, no joke that doesn't make any sense at all. I've never used any fork supports, and I had never heard of ruining your seals by having the bike tied down in the truck for a few hours or even a day or so. I have even heard from the dealer, , oh no.. don't tighten it down too much, it will ruin the seals.. Honestly, I don't believe that, HOWEVER, I do tighten the straps only just enough to hold the bike in, maybe just a couple inches of travel. I don't know, maybe I do that just in case there is some truth to all that stuff. I mean, it's ok to bottom the crap out of the forks when you're riding it, and nothing breaks or leaks, but you better not compress 'em too much in the back of the truck buddy! hahaha. . I don't buy that. But still, I only strap 'em a couple of inches down.. Maybe it's just a mental thing haha.


I see pro's/advantages on both sides of the argument.

Two weeks ago My buddie picked up one of the fork guards for $22.00 bucks. One things for sure it compressess less and it more stable in the back of the truck now then it was before. It doesn't sway from left to right like it used to.

I would have seals go out once or twice a year. So I started to use the fork brace and haven't had any seal trouble since.

I figured someone would get it before I got to the bottom, so here goes. The fork seals leak due to any one of the following and a combination therin: Dirt contamination, seal dry-out, and scratched/pitted fork tubes. Clean and lubricate them often to keep this from happening too soon. Keeping a front end down for a period of time could weaken the spring, but I don't think it would hurt the seal. If you know the bike will be "tied" down via straps for a period of time, then just loosen the bleeder screws in the sinched position to eliminate any unwanted pressure. A good bike shop told me that a hint to bleeding the forks, is to lightly sinch them down, and loosen the bleeder screws creating a little negative pressure. Motion Pro( ) sells the Pro Bleeders, that bleed at the press of a button. Nice set-up! This is just my nickle's worth, so fire away!

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