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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I picked up my bike from its 12,000k service today. One of the fork seals had gone and the mechanic had persuaded Suzuki to cover this under guarantee. However, he said that if they had known I had fitted a fork brace they would not have covered it. He also said that he thought the brace had distorted the fork slider so that it had become oval and this would cause the fork seal to leak. In a recent post ALLinUTAH said he also had premature wear of his fork seals (after just a few months) and he removed his fork brace because he said there was too much stickion, which also suggests that his fork brace was distorting the slider. Since he has done this, he has had no problem with fork seals - now up to 50,000k. My brace is made by Cosmo (from Greece) and I bought it after recommendedations from this forum. It is very nicely finished and looks good on the bike. I am loathe take mine off because many have said that a brace really improves handling and it seems such a waste. When I put it on I did tighten the bolts up pretty tight. I now have loosened them off so the brace is touching the fork slider all around but much looser than before. So, I am hoping that this will provide enough support for the fork legs but not interfere with the workings of the fork seals.
 

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I have only owned fork braces designed and sold by Rick at adventuretech, have never had seal issues with 3 different Stroms. The overwhelming majority of issues is caused by particulate which gets under the seal, cleaning that out has saved many here a lot of time and money. I can't say whether or not other designs and vendors braces may or may not be causing issues, but I have my doubts.
 

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Yeah, I think I'm calling BS on this one (not the OP's post; rather, the idea that the fork brace is causing fork seals to leak). It's one thing to make a claim that a fork brace is causing distortion of a fork tube, but it's another to prove it. And proving it should be relatively easy with a micrometer; if the fork tube was out of round where the brace was installed, it would be easy enough to confirm.

Fork seals are a wear item, and it's pretty difficult to say that a fork seal is worn prematurely. A fork seal might be leaking and not be worn out, and a couple sweeps with a seal saver could fix the seal. If you spend a lot of time in the dirt and dust and never clean the fork tubes, you might have a leaking seal that isn't actually worn out.

This sounds more to me like someone drawing a conclusion without any supportive evidence.
 

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Every warranty issuer's main job seems to be to find a way to void a warranty.
 

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Cosmo purchased just about one of everything we made at the time and copied it (i.e., using a digital probe or by taking manual measurements). Digital probes have tolerances which add variation. Manual measurement are inherently subject to variance. He also added a strange and utterly unnecessary side to side lock to the fork brace. I can imagine all kinds of problems, but have never laid hands on one.

Still, the only way to distort a fork tube would be to put an asymmetrical clamp on it and a LOT of pressure. Like for instance tightening the side bolts on a fork brace designed (or copy of a design) intended to have gap between the halves on the outside so tight that you close the gap. But, you do not need to distort the fork tube to ruin a fork seal. Excessive misalignment of the inner and outer fork tubes (e.g., due to inward or outward force from an improper inner dimension) can accelerate wear.

However, short lived fork seals have been noted on 2012+ DL650s with or without fork braces for a couple of years now. This showed up about 2014 or so. No real data on years and numbers, just an increase in reports of fork seal problems. Most were solved with credit cards used to clean debris/grit out from between the seal and inner fork tube. Your average shop mechanic at a dealership might skip this and go straight to blaming the aftermarket part and replace a perfectly good fork seal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yeah, I think I'm calling BS on this one (not the OP's post; rather, the idea that the fork brace is causing fork seals to leak). It's one thing to make a claim that a fork brace is causing distortion of a fork tube, but it's another to prove it. And proving it should be relatively easy with a micrometer; if the fork tube was out of round where the brace was installed, it would be easy enough to confirm.

Fork seals are a wear item, and it's pretty difficult to say that a fork seal is worn prematurely. A fork seal might be leaking and not be worn out, and a couple sweeps with a seal saver could fix the seal. If you spend a lot of time in the dirt and dust and never clean the fork tubes, you might have a leaking seal that isn't actually worn out.

This sounds more to me like someone drawing a conclusion without any supportive evidence.
Good idea on the micrometer - I'll have a look at that tomorrow. In any case, I thought that the sliders were made out of cast aluminium and are pretty rigid - if under great pressure they would be more likely to crack than bend, but I'm no expert in metallurgy. I only ride on the road and very rarely in dusty conditions but I guess one only needs one particle of dust to cause a leak. Final thought - surely fork braces are machined to be exactly the same diameter as the sliders - the two halves are exerting even pressure- its mot like the slider is in something like a vice which puts pressure on two very small areas. As.GW says - any excuse to wriggle out of an insurance claim. If it happens again, I'll take the brace of before taking the bike in! Ha!
 
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If I had my life's savings to wager, I'd say the brace had nothing whatsoever to do with the fork seal leak. If it did, it was compounded by crazy amounts of force or improper installation.
 

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FORUM GODFATHER.....R.I.P. PAT
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Let's see, what are the odds the cast aluminum could have been distorted more than the synthetic rubber seal could have handled. How much more resistant to movement is rubber to aluminum anyway?
 

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One problem is that the fork braces are precisely machined, and the cast fork tubes are not machined; the surface is somewhat uneven. If the brace doesn't fit easily, it must be altered until it does fit evenly. I've bought a strom with the forks misaligned due to the brace having been hammered on. Not the brace maker's fault, just unknowable dimensions on the cast tubes.
 

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More likely a bug splat that got the seal than the brace. That said, blindly torquing the chit out of something is never a good plan. Find out why it doesn't fit. Or ask.
 

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A fake copy of a fork brace ( see richlandrick post above ) might not fit nearly as well as the original. Yet there is almost no way it could deform the fork leg casting that holds the seal. Seals are made to adjust quite a bit to alignment issues. Now if the fork brace was not exactly machined from center to center, it could and would place load on the bearing surface inside the fork leg. This could cause wear and stiction. But it wouldn't effect the seal, at least until wear was so bad it just could make up for it.

While a dealer has every right to assume an aftermarket part could be part of the problem, it would be hard to prove in this case. It would also be too expensive to take to court to settle. I will say this, any time you have aftermarket parts on a bike and take it in for repair the dealer goes through extra work to remove/replace these parts. Warranty pay from Suzuki does NOT allow for this extra work. Consider that when you take a bike in for work. Either take off the parts yourself, or offer to help with labor a bit.
 
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Had one on mine for a year, no fork seal leaks. I removed it, doesn't really make a difference to me. I think it may have caused a bit of instability at high speeds too. :confused:
 

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Properly installed, a fork brace is one of the easiest and best accessories you can add. Don't let this thread scare you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Fork brace or not

Properly installed, a fork brace is one of the easiest and best accessories you can add. Don't let this thread scare you.
Why is this? I put the brace on very soon after buying the bike and now I've taken it off I can't say I can notice much difference. Are there certain situations where one can really notice it? I seem to remember folk saying that it can help in cross winds or passing trucks, which is something I hardly encounter.
Lastly, what do you mean by properly installed? My cosmo one is a tight fit between the sliders but I can push it into position with my fingers. I guess it is could be pushing the sliders out very slightly (a few thou?) but not enough to cause any stiction. Could this cause more wear? I am now wondering whether to put it back on!
 

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A brace should not move the sliders at all. It should hold them in position, keeping them parallel. It should grip them tightly, preventing them from twisting. If you can move a brace by hand, it will not prevent twisting, the main thing that causes vague steering. The rougher the ground, the gustier the wind and the harder you turn, the more you will notice the benefits of a fork brace.
 

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Lastly, what do you mean by properly installed? My cosmo one is a tight fit between the sliders but I can push it into position with my fingers. I guess it is could be pushing the sliders out very slightly (a few thou?) but not enough to cause any stiction. Could this cause more wear? I am now wondering whether to put it back on!
A few thousandths might not seem like much, but that would accelerate wear on the bushings in the fork legs. It would have more stiction, but maybe not so much it was outright obvious. Really comes down to how much it is pushing on the fork leg.
 

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I got a salvage Wee with bent forks, the brace was fairly bent too. I gave it whack in the vice to straighten things out. Once the fork tubes were replaced the brace, one of Rick's I think, was able to be installed without drama. The brace doesn't need to be extremely tightened. Some folks have no mechanical sense and can over work stuff when they assemble it.
It just helps keep the forks aligned.
if you saw many slo mo videos of forks working at speed you wouldn't feel comfortable about riding at all. They can gyrate wonderfully scary.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
A brace should not move the sliders at all. It should hold them in position, keeping them parallel. It should grip them tightly, preventing them from twisting. If you can move a brace by hand, it will not prevent twisting, the main thing that causes vague steering. The rougher the ground, the gustier the wind and the harder you turn, the more you will notice the benefits of a fork brace.
After reading all the useful replies to my original post, I wanted to refit my brace but avoid any wear to the bushings or cause any issues with the seals. So, using an electronic file I took away a little material where it seemed to be putting pressure on the sliders until I could fit the brace over the sliders using fairly gentle hand pressure to push it down. I felt confident that this was not pushing the sliders either in or out. I then fitted the other half of the brace,tightening it until it was snug around the sliders without undue pressure. Hopefully, this will give me the benefit of the brace without any disadvantages. I do wonder if they make that much difference why they are not designed into the bike in the first place.
 

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The average rider won't realize the benefits of a brace and it would increase the cost of the bike. V-Stroms are built to a fairly low price point. Motorcycle prices vary a great deal and we pick what best suits us, then possibly add accessories we think would make our experiences better enough to be worth their cost. There is no perfect bike for anyone, much less everyone. We all do a cost/benefit analysis, at least to some extent, when we decide what to buy.
 
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