Tool Time – Forks Part 1

by Brian Mullin on April 5, 2010

I needed to do fork maintenance on my Ibis Mojo, which entailed swapping out forks (DT Swiss EXC 150 to Manitou Minute Elite), and changing the Manitou damper to the new Absolute+ that was set up with a custom tuned shim stack.

I located this very cool tool while I was ordering some fork oil. It is a fork oil leveling tool. Just fill the fork leg with oil, adjust the metal engraved tube to the desired millimeter height (top of the fork tube to top of the oil) using the adjustable ring, place the tube into the fork leg with the ring resting on the top of the fork leg, and using the syringe pull oil until you get air. Presto, the oil is exactly at the proper height, no sticking a ruler down into the tube to check. Excellent! Cost: $24

Motion Pro – Fork Oil Level Tool

In Action – Leveling the Oil

I also needed to swap out a crown race between forks, but I don’t own any of the proper tools, so I usually make a trip down to my LBS for help. The main tools I needed are a crown race puller and crown racer setter, which are $80 and $120 respectively. I spent a couple of hours exploring the web for some homemade items, and came upon a couple of interesting DIY tools.

The homebrew crown race puller is comprised of a 1.25-2.25 inch bearing splitter tool and a soft mallet. Just place the splitter on top of the fork crown, and slowly screw the bolts closed to get the sharp teeth under the crown race, and slightly tap underneath the tool, alternating sides until the race pulls free. Cost: $18

Homemade Crown Race Puller

The crown race setter is nothing more than a couple of feet of 1 1/4 inch PVC pipe, with a top cap, and some electric tape on the bottom to prevent any splitting. Just place the crown race on the fork tube, slide the PVC setter on the tube and give a good couple of whacks to seat the race. Cost: $2.50

Homemade Crown Race Setter
Homemade Crown Race Setter

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Doug Brummett April 13, 2010 at 3:41 pm

Oil level kits like the motion pro are fairly easy to find at motorcycle shops. Biggest issue is that most fork MFG are going to a volume measurement vs the oil height. Marzocchi used to use oil height, but even they are by volume now IIRC. Not the end of the world, just means that you have to figure out the correct oil height for yourself.


Brian Mullin - Gram and Pastajet April 13, 2010 at 3:44 pm


Thanks for the info. I found out from my suspension mechanics friends that the oil levelers are common! Who knew?


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