…and fitting made easy
1 Be upstanding
If you have a centrestand, you’re on easy street, and you just need to securely lift the front. A paddock stand is best – the type that supports from the steering stem gives better access to the wheel spindle and fasteners. If you use the fork bottom lift-type, make sure it securely locates on your fork lowers. Rear stands should hold the bike rocksolid too – prong stands lifting bobbins on the swingarm are best.
2 Knock offs
Before lifting the bike, it’s wise to ease off tight bolts. You only need to get fasteners moving – a quarter turn is enough. Look for anything that you’ll need to undo to remove wheels: typically fork pinch bolts, front wheel spindles, rear axle nuts, brake torque arms and caliper bolts may all be seized or tight. Undoing them now is safer and easier. You can then put the bike on stands ready to lift.
3 Brakes out of the way
Remove the calipers. Fronts are easy: unbolt and ease the calipers from the discs. Calipers are OK to hang from hoses, so long as they’re not kinked, twisted or unduly strained. Cable-tie an old rag around the caliper body to prevent it damaging paint. Unbolt the rear caliper from its hanger, and from the torque arm (if applicable). If your bike has a front-wheel driven speedo cable, unscrew the cable too.
Chock it up 4
Find a piece of wood that just fits under the wheels when the bike is raised. Now remove the spindles slowly – wheel spacers and chain adjuster blocks can fall out, and you’ll need to know where they all come from. Clean all the parts and store in order. If your rear chock is long enough, roll the wheel forward an inch or two and unhook the chain.
Front it up 6
Make sure you have the wheel the right way round. Fit any spacer and speedo drives, and roll the wheel into place. Speedo drives have locating tabs on the fork. Slide the clean, lightly greased spindle in. If it threads into the opposing fork leg, gently wind it in by hand to make sure it’s not cross-threaded. If there’s a nut on the other end, nip that up too.
Torque time 8
With everything fitted, it’s time to torque everything up. You can let the bike down from paddock stands if everything is nipped up lightly. Workshop manuals contain torque settings for all these fasteners. Be sure you set your tool in the same unit as the manual states. Fork pinch bolts should be gradually tightened evenly to their torque value.
Reassembly is fiddlier… 5
Fit the spacers to the rear wheel, and roll it in to place on your chock, holding the caliper hanger in place too. Hook the chain over the sprocket, then roll it inline with the adjuster blocks. Slide the freshly greased spindle in slowly. Make sure all your spacers stay in place. Once it’s in, fit the opposite chain adjuster block (if applicable), fit and lightly tighten the spindle nut.
Putting the brakes on 7
Slide the caliper over the disc, ensuring pads stay either side of the rotor. If you’ve brushed a lever or you’re struggling to get the pads over the disc, use a plastic implement (plastic scrapers are ideal) to gently push the pads and pistons back. Lightly tighten the caliper bolts – if you’ve removed any hose clips or guides, refit those. At the rear, reattach the brake torque arm.
Final checks 9
Check the wheel alignment and chain tension is as it should be. Double check every fastener is torqued, and replace any split-pins you’ve removed. They cost pence, and new ones look nicer as well as ensuring they won’t fail. Finally, check the brakes – pump the levers to ensure they have correct pressure, and roll the bike to feel for any dragging.
Decent stands, quality tools and a meticulous approach will see you right