Monday, March 5, 2012

Seventeen Years In The Making

If truth be told, and it is, Mongo enjoys working on my bikes almost as much as I like riding them. The trouble is...most minor wrenching projects soon turn into all-day productions. Thus was the case last Thursday.

Towards the end of last year, Mongo turned one of my bikes (LPE...for those who know) into a trainer only ride. On this bike is a Manitou 4 fork from 1994 with elastomer suspension. I have owned this fork from new and have changed the elastomers a couple of times, but I have never given it a full breakdown cleaning...and now I know why.

Thursday was a nice day and I was planning on riding but I made the mistake of pushing down on the fork while I was in the garage. The squishy travel and slow rebound told me something was wrong. I should have just moved along and gone about my ride as planned.

Instead...I spent the next three hours taking the fork off the bike, cleaning the headset and races, and finally, breaking the fork down completely...the whole shebang...sliders, crown, elastomers...the works!

The exterior of the fork is in immaculate shape for it's age. The interior, on the other hand, was a sloppy, goopy mess. Gasoline, Clean Streak, WD-40, and lots of elbow grease...were all used in large quantities to get this baby back to "better than new" condition. I now have the firmest and smoothest 1.5 inches of travel of any trainer bike around.

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