Africa Twin Premature Front Fork Failure (Current Owners and Prospective New owners Must Read)

Discussion in 'Land of the Rising Sun: ADV Bikes from Japan' started by bumbee800, Sep 1, 2017.

  1. bumbee800

    bumbee800 Been here awhile

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    There has been a lot of discussion in the CRF1000L Africa twin suspension thread about the premature failure of the front forks. These failures look to be affecting the majority of people who have inspected their forks so far. It affects all years of the CRF1000L model years 2016 and newer, as far we can tell so far. The purpose of this thread is to bring attention to this problem so current owners can get their forks inspected before they are out of warranty and new prospective owners can make an informed decision about buying this bike. Ultimately we want to put pressure on Honda to acknowledge the problem and ultimately engineer a fix to the issue. The only way that this will happen is if they end up feeling it in their bottom line.

    The Problem

    The Upper fork tube (the gold tube on your forks) will show premature wear of the anodized hard coating on the inside of the fork tube where the lower fork tubes upper bushing rides. It is roughly at the location where the lower clamp of the triple clamp holds the forks but on the inside of the upper fork tube. The wear is evident as low as 200km of hard riding, but most normal riders are seeing it after about 3000km. To put that in perspective the fork anodizing is supposed to last the life of the bike.

    Why does this matter

    The upper fork tube has an anodized coating applied (the gold color) to the outside and inside of the tube. This coating has two main purposes. It protects the base aluminum metal of the fork tube from corrosion and it also creates a hardened layer that allows the lower fork tube to be able to slide inside the upper fork tube without wearing away the aluminum base metal of the fork. Without the hard anodizing the aluminum base metal would wear away a lot faster and would also create a lot more friction which would severely decrease the forks ability to slide smoothly up and down. Once the anodizing is worn away exposing the aluminum base metal, the added friction causes what is called in the suspension business “Stiction”. Stiction is the friction that tends to prevent stationary surfaces from being set in motion. Stiction is the enemy of a well-designed fork, because it decreases the performance of the suspension. Small bumps and undulations in the road will not be able to overcome the stiction and will end up transmitting those imperfections to the rider. It can also have a detrimental effect on dynamic maneuvers like cornering. This could, in the worst case, cause your bike’s suspension to not react to the road surface properly and lose traction.

    What should you do? Current owners

    If you own a 2016 and newer Africa twin and you have more than 4000km and you are noticing increased amounts of stiction or your warranty is about to expire, then you should get your forks inspected by a Honda dealer. If they require a reason you can explain you are feeling a lot of stiction in the front forks. If you inspect them yourself or via a 3rd party, and bring the evidence to Honda, then you may be denied warranty. If you do this reassemble the forks and put them back on the bike and then bring it into a Honda dealer to get them to inspect them for warranty purposes. If I were to bring my bike in to the dealer, I would explain to them that if they do not find any evidence of the wear that I would like to be called so I could come in and inspect the forks before they reassemble them. Again, so far the majority of owners who have had their forks inspected, have found this problem. It however is not a problem most shops look for as it is very rare for the forks to wear in this manner. If my dealer said they found no issues, then I would want to see that evidence myself. Also even if they replace the suspension with new parts, it will happen again until they engineer a proper fix. So keep getting it inspected until they get it fixed permanently. You may also want to get the extended warranty.

    Once your inspection is completed please add a post to this thread with following info so we can get some statistics of how many bikes are affected.

    CRF1000L Africa twin fork Inspection form
    1. Model Year:
    2. Country you are in:
    3. Odometer at the time of inspection (specify miles or KM):
    4. % On/Off road riding you do:
    5. Inspection results:
    6. Was it covered by Honda Warranty? (If no please specify why):
    7. Rider level (Expert/Average/Novice):
    8. Honda dealer name:
    9. Other relevant comments:

    What if you are a prospective new buyer?

    I personally would not buy this bike without knowing that this issue is fixed. It is a very expensive part of the bike to fix out of warranty and a very crucial part of the bike. I would ask the sales person or manager if they know of this problem. I would ask if there is a fix to the problem. Most likely they will either deny knowing of the issue or will try to placate you with the fact you have a factory warranty should this problem arise. I would tell them unless Honda has a fix for the problem I will not be buying the bike. I would then say call me once Honda has a fix. If enough people do this the dealer will put pressure on Honda to resolve the issues, because they are losing sales.

    Extra Reading

    The majority of the discussion is buried in the Africa twin Suspension thread. That is in part why I wanted to bring light to this problem, in case some people are not watching that thread.

    Here are a few links to some key posts. But I suggest you start reading from this post (#686) on page 35 onward.

    http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/africa-twin-crf1000l-suspension.1155122/page-35

    Other key post

    Post 1046 Page 53

    http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/africa-twin-crf1000l-suspension.1155122/page-53

    Post #1078 Page 54

    http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/africa-twin-crf1000l-suspension.1155122/page-54

    Post 1557 Page 78

    http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/africa-twin-crf1000l-suspension.1155122/page-78
    #1
  2. bumbee800

    bumbee800 Been here awhile

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    Also if any one know how to get the Moderators to pin this thread to the top of the "Land of the Rising Sun: ADV Bikes from Japan" forum please ask them to do that. I think this should be in the face of all new and current owners until this is fixed.
    #2
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  3. JagLite

    JagLite Long timer

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    Very interesting! :thumb
    #3
  4. MillennialFalcon

    MillennialFalcon Improvement starts with self

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    Checking in to this awesome new thread: I have severe fork stiction in the area between full extension and ride sag, so I anticipate my forks are already experiencing the premature anodizing wear. Thank you so much bumbee800!

    Speaking as an owner to prospective owners, given that I bought a brand new ~$14k motorcycle while Honda has yet to acknowledge the issue (that is well known by two acclaimed independent suspension shops already) much less provided a fix under warranty, I absolutely would not buy this bike until Honda does their part.

    It pains me to say that because this bike is practically magic: it is so well balanced both in handling and capability and it's almost bulletproof (for a big bike) except for this fork issue. Right now it's not even 100% clear what the issue is, therefore a 100% solution is yet to be identified...so no matter how you see the resolution playing out if at all, buying this bike is a gamble until all this fork nonsense is cleared up.

    Thank you, Honda, for making such an amazing motorcycle in such an under-supported market segment. You really knocked it out of the park except for this one fork issue. I have zero complaints about this bike beyond that, in fact I used to rave about it until my forks developed stiction and I read here what others were experiencing and discovering with their forks...how incredibly deflating. If you were another manufacturer, maybe this wouldn't be such a big deal but you have purposefully cultivated a customer base that demands excellence that other manufacturers struggle to provide. The name Honda is synonymous with build quality...these fork issues stand in direct contradiction to not only the quality of the rest of the Africa Twin but the brand equity that your company has spent decades building up.
    #4
  5. todd900ss

    todd900ss Been here awhile

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    Watching.
    Thanks for starting this!
    Not spending my hard earned dollars until Honda sorts this. Sold a bike last weekend to make room.
    #5
  6. redrider650

    redrider650 Been here awhile

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    Perhaps a pole or survey at the top of the thread so that owners/suspension shops that have verified that their forks have this problem can be counted. It will be a lot harder to say it's not a known issue when the number is there for all to see.
    #6
  7. neanderthal

    neanderthal globeriding wannabe

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    You should probably note that the problem manifests if the bikes are ridden in the dirt. I went 24k on mine in one year without a single issue. Mostly road miles. Maybe three miles on a dirt road.
    #7
  8. Motociclo

    Motociclo Without motion, nothing.

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    Makes no difference. Dirt or tar.
    Forks are still subject to the same action.
    The wear may be delayed by being mostly ridden on tar, it will still happen.
    #8
  9. motomuchacho

    motomuchacho Been here awhile

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    So if I use the bike for it's intended purpose, the problem will manifest? :muutt
    #9
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  10. Motociclo

    Motociclo Without motion, nothing.

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    Top idea Mr bumbee800 starting seperate thread for this.
    Good luck to all you lads chasing Honda. I do hope you get resolution.
    I won't be chasing warranty claims myself.
    This is certainly not an isolated issue.
    #10
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  11. The_Precious_Juice

    The_Precious_Juice 2013 DR650

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    I wondered if these owners are getting biggy air or are loading the bike down too much with moderate air.

    Kind of like the upper chain roller on the DR650.
    Folks swear that all of them need to be removed,no matter how easy they are ridden.
    -------
    However
    The AT has an amazing amount of travel for her mass. Honda may have pushed the envelope too far.

    I hope this does not reach silent recall propertions
    #11
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  12. huero

    huero Been here awhile

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    I have been in the market for a new adventure. I am keeping the super tenere. So, I have been looking at the Africa twin and the Ktm 1090. After reading about several known issues about the KTM, I thought I would get the Africa Twin. But, two people I know have the same fork problem. Guess I will wait and see how this plays out before I pull the trigger.
    #12
  13. bumbee800

    bumbee800 Been here awhile

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    First of all have you or a competent mechanic inspected your forks for this issue? If no then you can not be sure that you do not have this issue? If yes then let's start gathering some info so we can derive better statistics. Let's start by getting people to fill out this simple inspection template once they get their forks checked

    CRF1000L Africa twin fork Inspection form
    1. Model Year:
    2. Country you are in:
    3. Odometer at the time of inspection (specify miles or KM):
    4. % On/Off road riding you do:
    5. Inspection results:
    6. Was it covered by Honda Warranty? (If no please specify why):
    7. Rider level (Expert/Average/Novice):
    8. Honda dealer name:
    9. Other relevant comments:
    #13
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  14. Squily

    Squily Squily

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    1. 2016
    2. Oz
    3. about 27kkm
    4. 1/3 unsealed roads
    5. 1-1.5" wear spots at dynamic sag point.
    6. Unsure - Matter referred to Honda Japan. Can't get anything in writing out of Honda
    7. Better than some and not as good as others
    8. WA
    9. I reported drop of suspension performance and stiction to dealer. They indicated a service and upgrade was required. They did not believe any of the reported wear claims. Stripping the forks identified the issue. Another friend's bike was inspected as well - same issue found. Dealer registered two warranty claims as tech-department would not take the matter seriously. One fork was sent to Honda Australia for inspection. reportedly, they indicated "normal wear that would not impact performance". Fork leg reportedly sent to Japan.
    #14
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  15. Motociclo

    Motociclo Without motion, nothing.

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    1. 2016
    2. Oz
    3. 25k km??
    4. 30% off road
    5. Elliptical wear points both outer tubes. 40mm approx.
    6. Never bothered with warranty claim. Fix issue myself with reanodised.
    7. Fast enough.
    8. N/A.
    9. Some stiction present. Not as bad as others seem to have experienced. Both slide bushes in good condition. Oil not discoloured.
    #15
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  16. neanderthal

    neanderthal globeriding wannabe

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    Here, but lost. Am I lost if i know i'm here?
    I did. I didn't have the issue as I previously said. I also hardly rode off paved surfaces. That was my first bike. 24000 miles. This current one is one week old. No issues yet.
    If it's "intended purpose" is going off road and everybody is doing it (intended purpose, duh!) surely there should be a far higher number of incidents. There isn't. Not yet anyway. Not based on the number of bikes sold vs reported fork issues. Be that as it may, I am not here to play devils advocate. I'm simply here to add a data point to the information being collected.
    #16
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  17. chrshale

    chrshale Been here awhile

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    No one has any idea of the number of "reported" fork issues. Many dealers simply dismiss reports of stiction. And Honda will not report warranty claims...no manufacturer reports them for anything unless forced by the NHTSA or foreign equivalent.

    Sent from my HTC 10 using Tapatalk
    #17
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  18. neanderthal

    neanderthal globeriding wannabe

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    Exactly. But since we know the propensity of human beings to complain about something negative versus speak up about something positive and we have an idea of the number of complaints here, it'd be easy to say the number of fork failures is small. But we can't. The data isn't out to support such a hypothesis. All we can do is keep collecting data and see what the results tell us.
    #18
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  19. michaeln

    michaeln What're YOU lookin' at?

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    Most people don't even know what properly operating forks feel like. Those people are never going to report a problem with their AT forks.
    #19
  20. craighkzn

    craighkzn Been here awhile

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    Same issues as above....forks been getting steadily worse since 10k km....now at 25k...bike is basically un-rideable....forks don't even move pushing down on them......Honda rejected the claim because I stripped them.....given up with Honda....actually disgusted........busy fitting KYB sss forks... I admit.....I ride her hard, off-road.......but "True Adventure" is a stretch Mr Honda..
    #20