Technical Q and A for classic motorcycle maintenance and repair.
Editor’s note: If you’re having trouble with that old Suzuki, BSA or BMW, Keith Fellenstein is your guy. From motorcycle tuning tips to detailed motorcycle engine repair, he can draw from a wealth of experience to help guide you to success. Send questions to: Keith’s Garage, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609, or send an e-mail with “Keith’s Garage” as your subject.
1968 Triumph Bonneville Fork Gaiters Need Replacement
Q: The fork gaiters on my 1968 Triumph Bonneville are tattered and unsightly. Does replacing them require removing and/or disassembling the fork, or is there a shortcut? Thank you for any advice you may have, and I really enjoy your column! - Dudley Dunlavey/via email
A: This is a question I can answer from direct recent experience. The fork gaiters on my 1964 Triumph T100SC had fallen apart, and I thought I was going to have to take the tubes out of the triple trees to replace them. Here’s what I did instead. I propped the bike up so that the front wheel was off the ground. Your Bonneville probably has a centerstand that will make things easier. Put a small jack or blocks of wood under the engine to raise the front wheel off the ground. Then remove the front wheel and the front fender. Since the old fork gaiters are useless, just cut them off with a sharp knife, taking care not to scratch the chrome or cut yourself. Secure the top gaiter spring clamp to the bottom triple tree with a twist-tie or zip tie so it stays out of the way while you install the new gaiters. You can install the new gaiters from the bottom of the forks, carefully maneuvering them past the fender stay brackets and fender brackets up higher. They will be a snug fit over the fork seal collars, so you will need to use some soapy water as a lubricant to push them up over the collars. Once you have the top part of the gaiter over and off the fork seal collar, it’s short work to wiggle the bottom of the gaiter into position at the top lip of the collar. Then you can stretch the top of the gaiter over its collar at the top of the fork springs. Untie the top spring clamp and reposition it to hold the top of the gaiter to its collar. Push the bottom spring clamp up over the fork tube and use it to clamp the bottom of the gaiter. Repeat for the other fork and reassemble the front wheel and fender and you will be ready to ride. MC