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. zgfiredude

    zgfiredude RMAR

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    I will share my new plan:

    As I stated before, I am out of warranty. I am going to pull the forks this winter and send them and the shock to a suspension shop for evaluation. The stock stuff needs some valving and spring work anyway (read here that I am not a petite fellow). If the shop and I feel that hard anodizing and full service is the best course, then that is the approach for now.

    As I have stated before, I'd like to retain the dual brake setup, and the modified low front fender. Given that currently there is no attempted swap for that condition, I will research if and how to do that.

    Time will enlighten us all on causes, remedies, and long term results of those remedies. I look forward to the sharing of information.

    I will not be waiting for a remedy from Honda, I've got some riding to do on a bike that I enjoy.


    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
  2. Dillo

    Dillo All bark, no bite

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    I don't own an AT. I'm just hanging around and doing my research while I wait for EICMA. If no fix for the fork issue is found and/or if something comes out that fits my needs better then I'll buy something else. Otherwise there's a dealership near me with a leftover 2016 with my name on it.
    zgfiredude and michaeln like this.
  3. michaeln

    michaeln What're YOU lookin' at?

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    Due diligence. Exactly what I should have done before buying an AT.
  4. mcmann

    mcmann Motorcycle ADV enthusiast

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    Always a good idea to research bikes . . . everyone has different opinions.

    If the CB5X in your avatar is yours . . . the AT will feel HUGE in comparison :p3rry
    It will definitely give you more leg room!

    As mentioned. . . most issues can be sorted out with all the help of fellow riders.
    If I rode much off road, I probably would swap out the stock oil seal to a SKF (due to the problems noted in AT suspension Threads). Similar to swapping out the 950 Adventure red WP seal to the gray upgrade seal before the pump shaft is worn. For now, I will keep my fork tubes clean and lubed.

    "SKF seal kits consist of a new oil seal and a new dust wiper. SKF’s self-lubricating rubber compound not only enables them to keep the oil in, but to reduce static friction (stiction) by a significant amount. Less stiction means that the fork moves more accurately over small bumps and light loads–when stiction is at its greatest."
  5. chrshale

    chrshale Been here awhile

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    Lol.

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  6. MillennialFalcon

    MillennialFalcon Improvement starts with self

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    No doubt, the issue with michaeln's AT was michaeln. That's what he's trying to say :photog
    chrshale likes this.
  7. michaeln

    michaeln What're YOU lookin' at?

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    I've already put more miles on the SDR than I did on the AT. Yep, it's exciting to ride but it's also easy to ride. And it is never, ever... BORING.

    It's exactly what I was looking for to do the kind of riding I enjoy doing.
    mike54, mcmann and zgfiredude like this.
  8. Big Willy

    Big Willy Gen. Italia

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    Some people need to grow up here.

    I'm done with this thread. I'll just wait to hear back from Honda
    Benjah, 1coolbanana, Cruz and 4 others like this.
  9. XRman

    XRman Long timer

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    I guess this is the risk you take buying model #1 of any brand. Usually by the fourth model most bikes are bug free. Still on the bright side it isn't leaving owners stranded on the side of the road.
  10. ballisticexchris

    ballisticexchris Long timer

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    :tough

    I was suggesting the same thing. Those SKF seals and wipers are the real deal. A very noticeable difference. I also use a real good quality oil in the forks. The Race Tech and Motul Expert are both really good.
    mcmann likes this.
  11. michaeln

    michaeln What're YOU lookin' at?

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    Sometimes seals can leak from nothing more than dried bug guts which are easily removed with a wet (water) cloth. No abrasive necessary in those cases.
    mcmann likes this.
  12. kokos79

    kokos79 Nomad

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    No, it's not just the 45mm dia. The XTZ has 43mm USD forks and the '17 DL has 40mm USD forks but their travel is much less than the AT's. The XTZ has 190mm and the DL has 160mm, while the AT has 230mm of travel. The greater the available suspension travel, the bigger the length of the fork legs, hence the larger the flex. But I believe that the 45mm dia is more than sufficient. If you ask me all forks have flex at some point, but I insist that the problem lies in the greater overhang of the AT's inner tube, past the bushing. I am almost convinced that due to flex the inner tube is rubbing on the anodizing and damages it, instead of having the controlled friction of the bushing rubbing on it. IMHO the problem is the combination of the longer travel with the badly designed inner tube that's protruding past the bushing.

    It would be interesting to have some statistics about the weight and offroad riding style of the riders who have identified the issue in their bikes. I think the results will show that lighter riders and/or riders who don't ride offroad (not talking about gravel roads) don't have significant stiction issues to report.
    Big Willy likes this.
  13. zgfiredude

    zgfiredude RMAR

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    I am not clear on the purpose of the excess inner tube? I think I read it's a bump stop?

    Could the tube be shortened and some other form of bump stop utilized?
  14. Luma46

    Luma46 Adventurer

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    I read with interest and concern a good part of this thread and, right after, I went to inspect the chromed sliders for any signs of wear, I couldn’t find any and no traces of leaking fork oil. I have 9k kms on my 2016 AT (purchased new this year) and have not noticed any deterioration in either front or rear suspension performance. Yes, there is some stiction if you have the bike on side stand and raise the front, but there was some stiction on pretty much all previous 16 bikes I owned. When I grab the front brake and “pump” the forks either standing next to the bike or sitting on the bike, it seems to go smoothly up and down. Mind you, I have the damping set fairly low, compression 2 clicks and rebound ¾ turn from minimum. At the same time I have front preload at 8 turns from minimum ( I am ~205 lb in full gear).

    I think that most of wear anywhere and on any bike is a reflection of how hard and with how much load is the bike ridden. I ride single only and 100% on paved roads. However most of it is on rural/local roads with lots of bumps and badly filled potholes (that is why I got the AT). As well, I think that AT is rather undersprung, especially the rear. Front with enough preload can handle two up riding, but I would have my doubts about the rear, maybe two feather weights, but not two “regular” people, not to mention additional luggage. I have preload on the rear at 16 clicks and 24 clicks when riding with OEM side cases to get the right sag.

    So on the AT’s front reliability. My two recent bikes were BMWs R1200, a 2005 GS and 2009 RT, both purchased used with very low mileage. I kept worrying when reading BMW forums about rear drive failures, fuel pump controller failures, fuel level strip failures, premature shocks wear and others, Yet, I have put almost 130k kms on these two bikes combined, without a single problem. Just changed the oils and checked the valves clearance, that was it.

    So I think that similarly ATs will be just fine if not abused too much. I will check the forks oil for discoloration and metal shavings during the next major maintenance, but I am not going to worry too much about the front suspension as long as I do not see or feel a problem.
    mcmann, chrshale and twinrider like this.
  15. Zave

    Zave ******

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  16. LeeGro

    LeeGro Adventurer

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    Well, I ran in to the forkgate issue. I got a leak on a fork seal so decided to tear them down, replace the springs with linear rate springs, and put in SFK seals. Upon tear down and inspection I have a pretty nice sized area where the anodizing has worn off on both forks. The left had a larger area than the right. Time to figure out what the fix is going to be.

    Bike Stats:
    -7,500 miles mainly road riding. But when offroad and in the curves I ride aggressively.
    -did NOT seem to have stiction issues but maybe that is because I do not know what it feels like? If there was any it had to of been extremely minor
    -never changed the fork fluid prior to this.
    -never changed torque values on clamps (note, torque when removing the forks did not seem high)

    Konflict Motorsports has been a pleasure to work with while sizing and purchasing my new springs for both front and rear. Hopefully the Koshima coating they offering will serve as a permanent fix.
  17. motoman250f

    motoman250f Been here awhile

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    could you tell by the oil contamination that there was a problem or did you have to tear into the forks to know? It would be nice if folks could pull a cap off and suck out some oil to know if there is a problem looming.
  18. LeeGro

    LeeGro Adventurer

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    I completely tore down the fork. When draining the oil it looked fine until the last bit came out and that was dirty. Top of the oil level looked fine. You could possibly see the wear on the outer tube by pulling the forks from the triple clamps, unscrewing the top cap, fully extending the fork, and shining a flashlight down there to see if it has been worn. This would probably work. One thing you will notice is that the oil coating the worn portion looks different than the rest. This makes it a little easier to spot.
  19. motoman250f

    motoman250f Been here awhile

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    could you put the bike up on a block with the forks extended, pull the cap and spring and see down the outer shaft?
  20. LeeGro

    LeeGro Adventurer

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    I do not think you can get the cap off without removing the forks from the clamps. There is a lock nut under the cap that has to be held in place while unscrewing the cap from the damper rod.