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My son is smarter than me but please don't say I told you so. One of the ways he proves this is that he knows I can't abuse machinery, or people (mostly). So he knows I keep an eye on his bikes, making sure they are serviced properly. Always by me of course,something to do with the hourly rate I don't charge. But don't write off the old man as being without some cunning. Now that he is finished his Uni. studies, leaves home and starts his own life away from Mum and Dad this great little commuter (Honda XL250 Degree) will soon end up with...you guessed it...Me. And a well serviced bike it will be too.
Which gets me to the point. I changed the fork oil to-day at 35000kms. Now surprise to me it is only slightly discoloured. My 650 Strom at similar mileage had fork oil like battleship gray paint.
Is this to do with the Honda being fitted with fork gaiters? I can't think of any other reason.
 

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I doubt if gators had anything to do with your observation. If a lot of dirt was getting in past the wipers and seals wouldn't oil be getting out too?

BTW, I installed gators on my strom shortly after I bought since I wanted to keep debris off the tubes so the seals wouldn't leak (my BMW K bike went through seals every few years until I added gators).
 

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I put noj fork protectors on my last Strom from new - the oil was still foul when I first changed it. Forks never leaked in 125,000k's.

I think it's the crappy oil that goes in new to be honest. Bikes I've run ATF in the forks it's gone a bit pale with time, but not ended up smelling like a rat died in there.

Pete
 

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Gaiters definitely make your fork seals last longer but they won't have any effect on how dirty the fork oil gets. The crap in there is mostly wear metals from the bushings. Most of that wear occurs during the first few thousand miles, so if you change your fork oil then it will look very dirty but at subsequent changes it won't be so bad.
 

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Any recommendations on what brand gaiters worked best for you? Are they much trouble to install? I ask because I hope my new 650 will be a "keeper." Thanks, HB
 

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I installed gators on my Wee but didn't like limiting my fork travel. The gators will not compress enough to allow full travel of the fork. I ride some rough trails and it definitely made the ride less enjoyable. I took them off and all is well. They may or may not keep the oil cleaner, but even if they did I wouldn't ever go back to using them.
 

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Greywolf will be along shortly.......he uses them. I bought a pair he recommended, Ranchero's (I believe??) for some ridiculously low price (like $12/pair), but have not installed them yet. Wolf has a thread that shows you were to cut-off the bottom bellow or two.........clamp (zip tie) the top of the bellows to your forks, the bottom just hangs loose there (still covering your fork tube) but can collapse when needed.......and does not hamper fork travel much. Not a completely "closed system", but appears to help keep dirt/mud off the tubes. Try a "search".......
 

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I use Rancho RS1952 shock boots. When a fork brace is used, the bottoms do need to be cut off so the wide part of the pleat rests on the brace. They still limit fork travel a bit. Since I have an ABS bike with a Superbrace and like to raise my fork tubes 13mm, the effective rubber stops provided by the gaiters keeps the brace from crashing into the brake junction under the lower triple clamp. I'm a street rider only and don't need full travel. For the stock position of the fork tubes with a brace, cut around the pleat shown. For my raised forks, I cut one pleat higher.

 

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I use Rancho RS1952 shock boots. When a fork brace is used, the bottoms do need to be cut off so the wide part of the pleat rests on the brace. They still limit fork travel a bit. Since I have an ABS bike with a Superbrace and like to raise my fork tubes 13mm, the effective rubber stops provided by the gaiters keeps the brace from crashing into the brake junction under the lower triple clamp. I'm a street rider only and don't need full travel. For the stock position of the fork tubes with a brace, cut around the pleat shown. For my raised forks, I cut one pleat higher.


These are the boots I used and modified them per Greywolf. I also have ABS and as Greywolf said they DO limit fork travel. When I put them on I already knew this because I DID do a search and found that Greywolf had already done the testing and he had found this to be the case. I didn't think loosing a little travel would be a big deal, but it was. If limiting the travel was not a concern I would use the boots too. Greywolf has consistently posted reliable information, and saved me untold hours of having to weed through half-truths and out right B.S. Thanks Greywolf.
 

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My son is smarter than me but please don't say I told you so. One of the ways he proves this is that he knows I can't abuse machinery, or people (mostly). So he knows I keep an eye on his bikes, making sure they are serviced properly. Always by me of course,something to do with the hourly rate I don't charge. But don't write off the old man as being without some cunning. Now that he is finished his Uni. studies, leaves home and starts his own life away from Mum and Dad this great little commuter (Honda XL250 Degree) will soon end up with...you guessed it...Me. And a well serviced bike it will be too.
Which gets me to the point. I changed the fork oil to-day at 35000kms. Now surprise to me it is only slightly discoloured. My 650 Strom at similar mileage had fork oil like battleship gray paint.
Is this to do with the Honda being fitted with fork gaiters? I can't think of any other reason.
This is how I got my Wee, my son who decided he couldn't afford the payments anymore. And just like you, I had done all the service on it. Sometimes it pays off to maintain my son's vehicles for him.
 

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Ezrdr55 ~ if you are looking for gaiter type fork protection, but do not wish to be losing front suspension travel . . . well, there's more than one way to skin a cat.

Greywolf's method of fork protection has been mentioned in many threads, and does provide the best all-round [literally] type of protection.

You may be interested to look at one of those threads (60450). There I described a "quickie temporary" way of affixing the rubber gaiters / boots. This method also seems to give more travel, because the boot has a slit along the back . . . so the rubber has more room to squirm out of the way as the suspension compresses.
(I also assume that you have not raised the fork tubes higher through the triple-tree . . . since you seem to want long travel & presumably high ground clearance.)

So far, I haven't gone on to fit the full gaiter / boot protection that Greywolf describes . . . my motives being [partly] indolence and [partly] the desire to avoid limiting the travel.

The all-round gaiter must of course be supplying the best protection when the mud is flying every which way . . . but my requirements have been somewhat different, since the unpaved roads I ride have [usually] the problems of dust & sand . . . and flying stones [from the opposite traffic] striking and nicking the fronts of the tubing. And despite my good intentions, my bitumen riding is at least 90% of the total . . . and here the big concern is preventing juicy insects squashing themselves, at speed, onto the tubing (front-facing, of course) and drying out as hard Araldite-like deposits, which must then gnaw away at the seals.
For these purposes, a split-at-the-rear fork boot does a decent job . . . and looks halfway decent also. On a close inspection, it is not looking as "proper" as a full, conventional boot . . . but then again, you didn't buy a V-Strom for its beauty (or if you did, I hope you spent only Monopoly Money . . . and are happy to receive no more than the traditional Ten Pounds for winning Second Prize In A Beauty Contest).
.
 

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Thanks, PeteW, for mentioning the "foam" gaiters that Velcro fasten.
I had been a little wary of them, for I had pictured grit getting in at the top, and piling up around the inside base . . . and causing mischief.
Can the rubbish escape through a gap in the base? . . . or is it best to unfasten them occasionally, and wipe/blow out the region there?

Assuming you are using those gaiters ~ do they leave much of an exposure gap at the top, allowing insects (or mud splashes) to hit the upper fork tube there?
.
 

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Thanks, PeteW, for mentioning the "foam" gaiters that Velcro fasten.
I had been a little wary of them, for I had pictured grit getting in at the top, and piling up around the inside base . . . and causing mischief.
Can the rubbish escape through a gap in the base? . . . or is it best to unfasten them occasionally, and wipe/blow out the region there?

Assuming you are using those gaiters ~ do they leave much of an exposure gap at the top, allowing insects (or mud splashes) to hit the upper fork tube there?
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I've had a pair on my K6 for around 120,000k's the fork tubes are immaculate and the seals still seal. If you look at a DL the upper tube is fairly well protected anyway, they just act to scrape bug guts & dirt off the upper tubes, they only cover the bottom half. They certainly protect the lower fork legs from direct stone impacts though.

Just moved them to my 2012 DL after six years, pretty durable ;)

I do clean them , 6 monthly to yearly depending on the amount of dirt. Detergent & water, wring out, rinse, wring out, hang to dry, spray with silicone and reinstall.

They seem to be soft enough that dirt build up and scratching isn't a real problem provided you do SOME maintenance.

The "other" style gaiters have problems as well, rust spots on the upper tubes or dirt sneaking through the vent holes in really dirty conditions, a bit of maintenance stops that as well.

A serious dirt bike I'd still go for the concertina gaiters, but for a DL the Noj style work very well in my experience.

Pete
 

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Foam Gaiters..........do these work with a Fork Brace installed?? Looks like it would be a problem fitting around the upper leg??
 

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I use Rancho RS1952 shock boots. When a fork brace is used, the bottoms do need to be cut off so the wide part of the pleat rests on the brace. They still limit fork travel a bit. Since I have an ABS bike with a Superbrace and like to raise my fork tubes 13mm, the effective rubber stops provided by the gaiters keeps the brace from crashing into the brake junction under the lower triple clamp. I'm a street rider only and don't need full travel. For the stock position of the fork tubes with a brace, cut around the pleat shown. For my raised forks, I cut one pleat higher.
Count me among the satisfied users of the "Greywolf Rancho shock boot" mod. I also have an ABS bike, but only lowered the forks ~6mm, so I don't really need to limit travel to prevent contact. That said, I installed the fork boots at the same time I upgraded the front forks with heavier springs and emulators, and I've never noticed the forks bottoming out against the boots. If the bike is properly sprung, I doubt very much that the fork boots will ever be a limiter on the street (dirt may be a different story, but I don't ride the Wee in any serious dirt).

Edit: I should also note that you don't need to zip-tie the Rancho boot at the top of the fork. It's quite snug on the fork and there's no way it's going anywhere.
 

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Foam Gaiters..........do these work with a Fork Brace installed?? Looks like it would be a problem fitting around the upper leg??
Yeah, trim them a little shorter and wrap some velcro hook under the fork brace, it'll stick into the Noj material and holds them down perfectly.

Pete
 

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I too have the Rancho boots and got them through O'Rielly autoparts. I do not have a fork brace so I installed them exactly as fork boots have been installed on my dirtbikes (XR350, XR650L and DRZ400). I have never noticed fork boots limiting the travel on the dirt bikes or the Strom. I guess the rubber would compress to limit and maybe act like a rubber bumper on a car/truck suspension but how many of us are going to ride to that extreme.:jawdrop:
 

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Yeah, trim them a little shorter and wrap some velcro hook under the fork brace, it'll stick into the Noj material and holds them down perfectly.

Pete
FWIW. The reason I got the Noj wraps in the first place is that my experience with gaiters and rust on the fork legs has been bad.

In theory, if you wipe the fork leg down with oil every few months that won't happen, problem was it was also a real bitch to move the gaiters.

I didn't think the Noj wraps would work as well as they did, but I figured at least I could see the fork leg and catch any problems early. As it turns out, for me anyway, they work better than gaiters.

Pete
 
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