Bounce back: Sort your rear link­age

A bit of care and at­ten­tion will keep your bike’s link­age in its sweet spot

Motorcycle News (UK) - - NEWS -

Seize the mo­ment… not the link­age

The rear link­age is re­spon­si­ble for trans­mit­ting the move­ment of the swingarm to the shock. The mov­ing parts are usu­ally roller bear­ings lu­bri­cated with grease and have seals to keep out wa­ter and grit. If these seals are com­pro­mised the bear­ings will quickly de­grade. First things first, raise the rear off the ground us­ing a work­shop stand or care­fully po­si­tioned trol­ley jack.

What needs to come off?

Work out what you’ll have to re­move to gain ac­cess to the link­age and the area around the bot­tom of the shock. These may in­clude plas­tic pan­els, lower fair­ings, bel­ly­pans and hard parts like ex­hausts. Our lit­tle Yamaha needed to have the ex­haust re­moved, along with the right-hand footrest hanger and brake as­sem­bly. Note the or­der in which you re­move parts.

Get snap happy

Us­ing a span­ner or socket, re­move the nuts that se­cure the link­age, the usual sizes are 14-17mm. Don’t re­move the bolts at this stage. Take a snap­shot of the link­age with your mo­bile phone to aid the re­fit­ting process. It may sound daft but once you’ve got the link­age in your hand it’s not al­ways ob­vi­ous which way it goes back in.

Tap out the bolts

With the nuts re­moved the bolts should tap out eas­ily – if pos­si­ble, take the shock bolt out first. The back wheel will drop slightly so it helps to take the weight of the back wheel when you wrig­gle this bolt out. If any of the bolts of­fer re­sis­tance you’ll have to drift them out with a punch – this usu­ally in­di­cates cor­ro­sion.

Cheat with heat

Bear­ings can be stub­born to re­move but a heat gun can help. Re­move any rub­ber seals then de­ploy the gun. Now drift the bear­ing out, of­ten a long-reach met­ric socket of a sim­i­lar out­side di­am­e­ter to the bear­ing is ideal. To re­place a bear­ing heat the link­age body, and fit the bear­ing straight from the freezer.

Get torque­ing

If it’s not ob­vi­ous, make sure the link­age is fit­ted the right way up – the pho­to­graph you took ear­lier will help here. Re-as­sem­ble the link­age with the cor­rect bolts and wash­ers. Once they all are hand tight, torque them up to the value spec­i­fied in your work­shop man­ual. Some grease might have been squeezed out in the process, so wipe up any ex­cess.

Take apart and take note

Dis­as­sem­ble the link­age and all of the com­po­nents, make a note of the dif­fer­ent in­ter­nal bushes as they are of­ten dif­fer­ent lengths. Gen­tly prise out any seals, clean and in­spect all of the parts – you should be check­ing for cor­ro­sion, as well as worn, torn or fa­tigued seals.

Get greased up…

With the bear­ing in­stalled, ap­ply grease and make sure that all the rollers have a good coat­ing. Work the grease in us­ing the link­age pin in a twist­ing mo­tion. Clean the bolts up us­ing emery or wet and dry pa­per to re­move any cor­ro­sion. When you’re cer­tain that they’re clean, ap­ply a light film of grease to fin­ish.

Bounce and check

Be­fore you re­fit pan­els etc, check the op­er­a­tion of the link­age; it needs to be smooth in both di­rec­tions. Check by tak­ing the bike of its stand or jack, and push down firmly on the back end of the seat or tail­piece. Do it quick enough and hard enough so you can feel the full range of the sus­pen­sion’s move­ment. If it’s OK put the rear back in the air and give the link­age a fi­nal check.

It’s ex­posed to all man­ner of road grime… so give your link­age some lov­ing

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