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Evolving Curmudgeon
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I've been researching fork springs and read a post here that said the fork springs can be shortened 2-3" (cut-off) and that by adding a spacer equal to the length of the portion that was cut off, the fork spring is now effectively stiffer. Kinda makes sense to me and eliminates the need for buying a set of springs. Any thoughts?
 

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Well

Kinda depends on what shape the springs are in to start with. If they're already shorter than spec, they've started to sag. Cutting them shorter will stress them more (fewer coils to bear the load) and they'll likely really sag then. If they're fresh, it might work, but you've gotta watch out for coil binding. If the suspension travel compresses the spring sufficiently that all the space is used up between the coils, the suspension will bottom VERY harshly, and perhaps damage some parts (I doubt the top caps are designed to handle that much stress). Cutting a coil or two would probably be OK, but much more is likely to lead to trouble. You'd need to measure distance from spring seat to seat, fork fully extended and fully compressed, measure the spring wire thickness and gap between coils, deduct spacer length, and see if there will be any gap between coils at full compression. By the time you do all that (twice, to make sure there's no mistake), then cut a couple of coils, bend, grind and polish a new end on each spring (so you don't tear up the seats), clean the springs very carefully (filings in the damper assembly are bad), make new spacers, and maybe find out you still don't have enough stiffness, you might have been better off buying new springs of known stiffness that come ready to drop in. Unless you are really short of money, and have a lot of time on your hands.
 

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Is it possible to create a stiffer fork by using longer spacers than stock, but keep the springs at stock length?

In effect it should increase preload, but if the stock springs are not progressive, then would it change the fork's stiffness?
 

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Nope

The 'spring constant' doesn't change with longer spacers. If it takes 100 lbs to compress the springs an inch, adding preload will change the ride height (initial suspension position), probably, but adding 100 lbs will still compress the spring another inch. So if the springs were too weak to start (excess bottoming), they'll still be too weak. On the other hand, adding a little extra fork oil can increase the air-spring effect, if the springs are marginally too weak. But too much oil can blow your fork seals. The only real solution to weak or worn springs is new springs.
 

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If you cut your springs.....that is exactly what you end up with. Spend the money and upgrade your springs/oil, no right way to do a wrong thing.
 

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If you do decide to cut your springs, take a coil or two out of the middle. That way you still have the nice factory finish on both ends.
 

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Evolving Curmudgeon
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Discussion Starter #8
Nuff said, think I'll buy some springs.
 

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I tried cutting the stock springs on my Vee. I cut them as short as possible without getting into coil bind at complete compression. The result was stiffer than stock but still not stiff enough for my liking. Just installed Sonic's 1.0 springs and now the front end is properly sprung.;)
 
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