How to swap forks from a donor bike
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Thread: How to swap forks from a donor bike

  1. #1
    Senior Member LuvNot's Avatar
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    How to swap forks from a donor bike

    As many of you know, I recently reached out and touched a tree at high velocity. Frankenstein's front forks just haven't been the same since. Luckily, Charlotte has a set to spare, so will be donating to Frank until I can buy new ones. So before I begin, I have a couple of questions for you guys who have been there, done that:
    • What's the best way to do this? I've watched a ton of videos and think I know what to do. But is it possible to take the shocks off with the wheel still on? Or is it better to just pull everything apart, then slide it all back together again piece by piece?
    • What do you do when the forks don't want to drop? Can I use WD-40 or PB Blast to get them loose? Should I tap the top with a rubber mallet, or will that hurt the cap head?
    • Also, what do you guys use as a center stand/perch for your second bikes when working like this (swapping from donor bikes)? I have a jack under Frank, but will have to come up with something different for Charlotte since I don't have 2 stands.


    As usual, guys, thanks for the advice. I usually like reinventing wheels, but in this case, I'm on a time crunch and hope you don't mind sharing experience and pointers.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member TW-Brian's Avatar
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    Yes, you can remove the forks and wheel together as a unit but this will make it significantly harder to do, especially single-handedly. This way would require that you raise the front end quite a bit higher than if you removed the wheel first. Some people raise the front end by suspending it from an overhead beam. If you only have one lift, you might want to "borrow" a milk crate from your local supermarket. A metal one would be best, but plastic will work also. You may need a few spare boards to raise the front wheel enough to remove the wheel.

    Assuming that you are satisfied with the way that the donor bike rides, here is what I would suggest to maintain that alignment when the forks are transplanted onto the recipient bike. Take a Sharpie and make a mark on the fork caps that matches the pinch bolt slot on the upper triple clamp. This way you can line up the legs in the same orientation as they came off. Once the upper and lower pinch bolts are loosened, grab the upper fork legs and see if they can be twisted down through the triple clamps. If they will not rotate freely by hand, take a large flat bladed screwdriver and insert it in the pinch bolt slots, and carefully pry the slots open just a very small amount while twisting the upper fork legs. Once they are freed up, you should be able rotate them down through the triple clamps.

    For re-installation, just reverse the above procedure.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member LuvNot's Avatar
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    Thanks! This will be my first order of business right after work tomorrow.
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