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Why does my fork feel like garbage when a wheel is in it??

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Why does my fork feel like garbage when a wheel is in it??

Old 08-26-15, 10:14 PM
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eicca
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Why does my fork feel like garbage when a wheel is in it??

I scored a 2004 Boxxer Race 180mm dual-crown for $20. It's beautifully smooth... Until I put a wheel in the dropouts and then it feels like crap. I don't even have to put the axle in it, I just set the wheel in the dropouts and suddenly there's stiction all through the first few inches of travel and it's nasty. What on earth could be causing that?
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Old 08-26-15, 10:19 PM
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Overhaul it and find out.
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Old 08-27-15, 04:21 AM
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+1 Guessing at possible causes is useless. You still have to check things in person, and the fork you have is irrelevant - you say nothing about the headset, what type of wheel is installed, etc.
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Old 08-27-15, 04:45 AM
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Sounds as if something is causing binding when the wheel is installed. First thing I'd check is locknut spacing. Too long or too short which either spreads or compresses the fork legs.
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Old 08-27-15, 04:54 AM
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Originally Posted by reddog3 View Post
Sounds as if something is causing binding when the wheel is installed. First thing I'd check is locknut spacing. Too long or too short which either spreads or compresses the fork legs.
+1

without a wheel the lower stanchions are free and align perfectly with the upper, so action is very smooth. With the wheel in, they are constrained and so may not align perfectly causing stiction. Check the axle width, and for anything that might be causing misalignment, and correct so that the lower stanchions are deflected as little as possible and you should see real improvement, though it may never be as nice as whn there's no wheel.
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Old 08-27-15, 05:59 AM
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First off- I don't know squat about suspension forks nor do I have any experience with them. Just trying to think logically.

I realized these may be a thru axle type, so I'm not sure how one mounts a wheel without the axle. So, what happens if you clamp the axle in place without the wheel? If it's still smooth you can verify that nothing is wrong alignment wise (legs out of plane, crowns bent, fork brace bent or broken, etc). If it's the wheel itself causing the problem, measure the dropout spacing in the position it works, and duplicate this width at the wheel, whether it's locknuts or inserts. A couple thou difference will bind the fork. I'd also check DO alignment. Since it's dual crown, I'd also check crown alignment, and correct as necessary. You just gots to do your thing.
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Old 08-27-15, 08:46 AM
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Ok. Thanks for all the responses. I was planning on a complete overhaul but just wondered if anyone had experience with this kind of issue and knew of a most-likely cause. I'm hoping realigning everything will do the trick because the front wheel is brand new and I don't see the fork being bent. I'll keep y'alls posted
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Old 08-27-15, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by eicca View Post
Ok. Thanks for all the responses. I was planning on a complete overhaul but just wondered if anyone had experience with this kind of issue and knew of a most-likely cause. I'm hoping realigning everything will do the trick because the front wheel is brand new and I don't see the fork being bent. I'll keep y'alls posted
So you know, it all can be on or very close to spec and still cause the issue you have. Sometimes it's actually better when the thru -axle is in place and all is tight. But a small variation between fork and hub width can cause some (acceptable) stiction, that may feel bad wrong in your hand, but be fine in the field.

I wouldn't sweat it for now, and analyze it when all is together and tight.
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Old 08-27-15, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by eicca View Post
What on earth could be causing that?
Originally Posted by eicca View Post
2004 Boxxer Race 180mm dual-crown for $20.
Chances are whoever you scored it from had the same issue?

Sounds like some kind of alignment issue.

Rebuild and replace seals and bushings.

Could be the upper and lower clamps are torqued out of alignment somehow -- with the wheel in the slider, undo the pinch bolts holding the stanchions at the upper clamps, then re-torque to spec.

When you have it completely disassembled, use a flat surface to double-check that the stanchions aren't bent.

On that same flat surface, check that the lower isn't torqued out of plane as well.
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Old 08-27-15, 07:09 PM
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So I secured the wheel, loosened the lower crown stanchion bolts and upper crown steerer bolt, cycled the fork a bunch of times, and it's much better. It's still a little bit sticky, but also in need of an oil change. Thanks for all the help, I'm excited to have it working.
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Old 08-30-15, 12:52 AM
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Update: I changed all the oil today and came to the realization that the Boxxer just couldn't do it anymore. So I traded it and my old dropper post for a 2009 Domain 318 which I haven't even gotten on the bike yet and I already love. Smooth as a Pike, I'll tell you that.
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Old 08-30-15, 07:40 AM
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Originally Posted by eicca View Post
I scored a 2004 Boxxer Race 180mm dual-crown for $20. It's beautifully smooth... Until I put a wheel in the dropouts and then it feels like crap. I don't even have to put the axle in it, I just set the wheel in the dropouts and suddenly there's stiction all through the first few inches of travel and it's nasty. What on earth could be causing that?
Take a look at this: https://www.sram.com/sites/default/f...rviceGuide.pdf

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Old 08-30-15, 09:12 PM
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See my previous post
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Old 09-08-15, 03:46 PM
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So thread revival, interestingly my friend's Totem Coil and Domain Single Crown both do the same thing. Buttery when empty but choppy with the wheel. I wonder if there's something related to the fact that it's a coil fork causing this behavior
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Old 09-08-15, 10:33 PM
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Originally Posted by eicca View Post
So thread revival, interestingly my friend's Totem Coil and Domain Single Crown both do the same thing. Buttery when empty but choppy with the wheel. I wonder if there's something related to the fact that it's a coil fork causing this behavior
No, it's related to the overall precision of the parts involved. Smooth action depends on excellent alignment of the upper and lower struts. Unloaded that's not an issue, since each strut can float to the aligned condition. But when you tie the ends together at the bottom using the axle or QR, that can pull one or both off the aligned condition, and cause binding.

If nothing else, it should make you appreciate the skill involved in making trombones.
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