Ohlins Fork Install
This is a discussion on Ohlins Fork Install within the Grom Talk forums, part of the Honda Grom Forums category; So here are my thoughts and experiences installing the Ohlins Fork Kit on my 2013 Grom. Firstly big massive thanks to Hard Racing for their ...
Ohlins Fork Install
So here are my thoughts and experiences installing the Ohlins Fork Kit on my 2013 Grom. Firstly big massive thanks to Hard Racing for their installation video, if you are going to tackle this then that video is perfect. So this isn't an instructional on my part just me documenting a little bit of the experience. Their brilliant video for reference:
This is the first time I've worked properly on USD forks so was a bit of learning for me. I started well by forgetting to remove the black cap on the top of the forks to get to the bolt and started by unscrewing the top bolt. I discovered my error almost immediately but had to refit the fork to the bike and retighten the nut before loosening the bolt and then finally the top nut. And while we are on the subject of the top nut that's a 36mm nut which I wasn't expecting. Thankfully I had the socket in an impact version but its not one that you'd get in a standard tool kit.
Draining the oil showed the left fork cleaner then the right. The left was still slightly red in colour compared to the dank right oil. I expected both to be that used fork oil colour as this is a 10,000 mile bike and the first time the forks have been opened.
Now for fork holding. Pulling the stanchion out of the body its fairly obvious where the holding holes are and there is a bit of fork left in the body so as long as you're careful there is a low risk of the entire fork coming out. I had the Tyga holding tool, but while it did the job I wouldn't recommend it as I had to hold the fork horizontal rather than vertical as it wasn't possible to grip the fork and tool vertical as the tool didn't sit square. But thinking about it horizontal holding reduced the risk of the fork separating, however I'm still not happy with the tool.
Removing the fork bottom was far more difficult then I expected. I heated as per the video and using a length of 10mm steel about 500mm long could get no movement. Nothing, and I was starting to apply a little bit of force. So all I could do was add more heat from a blow torch, and more, and more. There were distinct popping noises as the heat took effect and broke to corrosion that was holding the fork bottom on. This was on the right. The left was far easier and similar in heating to the video. I can only put this down to the fact that my bike is no show pony, is 6 years and 10,000 miles old.
Also top tip some WD40 and scotchbrite (green scouring pad from the kitchen) clears up and surface rust and corrosion on the forks, but keep off the swept area.
A slight question I have is the tightening of the lower fork cap, its torqued and then the fork bottom is screwed on (don't forget that oring) before being torqued again, but I'm not sure why?
Finally masking tape and or electrical tape can be used to protect the top nut but is not foolproof. Remember pull towards your junk, not away. Ask this fool. Thankfully my local Swedish Gold dealer is assisting me, its not cheap so I don't recommend this approach.
With the bike reassembled I was out for a a test ride. First impressions were positive. Now its worth noting I wasn't pushing the bike as here we've just began winter so the roads aren't the best. But I found the front much firmer with more feedback, immediate night and day difference. I have a YSS rear shock but can't feel anything different with that against the stock, these Ohlins forks have changed the bike. But there is a downside, I find the front brake wooden, and without feel. I think this is due to the forks not compressing as much as before so I will look at what I can do here.
At the end of the test ride I put the bike back on the healing bench as it looked like I'd being eating ice cream. Well not really, I'd just blown a seal, the right fork seal. That's the risk you take when disturbing oil seals. Thankfully I already had an All Balls fork seal kit in the stores.
Disassembly was the same as before apart from the fork engaging bukkake mode while draining the oil as I think I over extended the fork to early exposing the holding holes. Apart from that I found the seal change process easier than the conventional forks I've worked with before. Rebuilding them was simple the only issues I found was the new dust seal was hard to initially get onto the fork and I had to use a zip tie to get the seal driver tool small enough for the diameter of the forks to get the seal started.
And one final thought a good measuring device for the fork oil would be good as apposed to the kitchen measure and syringes that I resorted to. But with the fork back on the bike the next ride was good, with feeling coming back to the brakes, shame I've already put something into action on that part...
Good to hear about your experience while doing this job based on the how-to video. In regard to the brake feel, did it end up just being from the fork oil dripping on your disc? Otherwise, the stock fork-dive was probably making the braking performance seem better than it actually was, having a properly suspended front end would not hinder braking, should actually allow you to brake harder without losing traction.
I don't think any oil got onto the disc or pads thankfully, so I would agree it was probably the fork dive that I was used to and then not having that lost the feeling I had for them. I've since been out again with the rebuilt fork and braking performance has returned. But even with the brakes feeling like they were before I have made a small purchase of some Brembo shaped metal...