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Thread: Fork Oil Questions

  1. #1
    SMSW's Avatar
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    Fork Oil Questions

    I have no doubt this is the wrong place to put this thread, but if so, someone will move it.

    I bought some 5 wt Honda fork oil (SS-7) at a dealership this morning. It was $6.00 a pint. Everywhere else that I looked (googled Fork Oil) it (not necessarily Honda brand) was costing up to around 30 or $40 a quart. The dealership did not have a sale going on, and they quoted me standard list prices for another part. What gives? Is Honda brand fork oil cheap?

    Are all fork oils created equal? What do you get in so called premium fork oils? OK, guys, from my pov, if any one of two dozen mc oils can be used long term in a bike without significant wear problems then they are equal. If garbage grade store brand oil meeting industry specs can be used and causes no wear, then I am hard pressed to acknowledge that it is less good than the premium, top of the line, name brand oil costing 4 times as much (I admit, I never use the former, and usually pick a name brand in the middle of the pack).

    Do premium fork oils last longer? Are some all synthetic, blends, or dino based?

    Are fork oil threads as contentious as standard oil, filter, and battery threads?

    Have you seen this chart (why did they not include all of Honda's oils when I wanted that info)?: Fork Oil Chart



  2. #2
    Bush's Avatar
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    Re: Fork Oil Questions

    Unless a "premium" fork oil is synthetic, I doubt there is anything better about it. I've chosen to go with Motul synthetic fork oil, just as I also use synthetic oils in the engine and final drive, since synthetic is proven to be a superior product.

  3. #3
    ArTravlR's Avatar
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    Re: Fork Oil Questions

    I like to change the fork oil in my bikes at about 35K. Usually upgrade to Honda's 10 wt. However, at about 70K on my ST1100 I ran low on the 10 wt & mixed it 50-50 with the 5wt and was mildly surprised by the result. I have done one other oil change since & now have 169K & have no complaints. Then again, I went with a medium wt fork oil from AMSOIL for my VFR. I did not like the result at all. Too stiff. Removed a few cc's per side & live'd with it the last 15K. Next time the VFR gets the same mix as the ST1100. I hope this helps but we are talking alchemy & a dark science.

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    Bush's Avatar
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    Re: Fork Oil Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by ArTravlR View Post
    I like to change the fork oil in my bikes at about 35K. Usually upgrade to Honda's 10 wt. However, at about 70K on my ST1100 I ran low on the 10 wt & mixed it 50-50 with the 5wt and was mildly surprised by the result. I have done one other oil change since & now have 169K & have no complaints. Then again, I went with a medium wt fork oil from AMSOIL for my VFR. I did not like the result at all. Too stiff. Removed a few cc's per side & live'd with it the last 15K. Next time the VFR gets the same mix as the ST1100. I hope this helps but we are talking alchemy & a dark science.
    Not sure if the 1300 fork internals are similar to the 1100's, but the 1100 forks are each different and there is an improvement in performance by using different weight oils in each. This was explained to me by a m/c suspension specialist and basically, cartridge and damping rod style forks have differing oil orifices and different flow rates, so using the same weight oil in both does not produce ideal results. On the damping rod side (these differ between ABS and non ABS 1100's), I use a 7W synthetic and the other side gets a 10W-15W synthetic. Seems to work very well in my bike.

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    Be Thou My Vision dduelin's Avatar
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    Re: Fork Oil Questions

    Any one of two dozen fork oils probably has different objective qualities and performance from Honda SS-8. In many threads on the subject it has been covered many times that weight is not a good way to chose fork oil. The chart is a good way to compare fluid qualities even though it's fairly dated.

    The Honda branded fork oils are not cheap as in poor performing rather they could just be considered a good value in a field full of over priced oils.

  6. #6
    STOC #687 dwalby's Avatar
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    Re: Fork Oil Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by SMSW View Post
    I bought some 5 wt Honda fork oil (SS-7) at a dealership this morning. It was $6.00 a pint. Everywhere else that I looked (googled Fork Oil) it (not necessarily Honda brand) was costing up to around 30 or $40 a quart. The dealership did not have a sale going on, and they quoted me standard list prices for another part. What gives? Is Honda brand fork oil cheap?
    I went to revzilla and all the usual suspects were there for $10-20 a quart, so what did you find in the $30-40 range? Based on my recent search, and lots of prior experience, the Honda oil @ $12/qt. is in the normal price range for fork oil.

  7. #7
    QuickBlue MajorTom's Avatar
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    Re: Fork Oil Questions

    $12 a quart? Here at my local Canadian Honda shop Bel Ray fork oil is $24.95 for a litre (1.05 qt.) bottle. The Honda SS-7/SS-8 is $18 for 500 ml, so practically $36 a quart. I'm trying out the Bel Ray 7 wt. in my next fork oil change. Also will be switching to flat rate springs as a suspension upgrade, so I won't be able to compare the SS-8 that's in there now with the Bel Ray 7 wt.
    Barry


    Keeping the blue side up.

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    Kevcules's Avatar
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    Re: Fork Oil Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by MajorTom View Post
    $12 a quart? Here at my local Canadian Honda shop Bel Ray fork oil is $24.95 for a litre (1.05 qt.) bottle. The Honda SS-7/SS-8 is $18 for 500 ml, so practically $36 a quart. I'm trying out the Bel Ray 7 wt. in my next fork oil change. Also will be switching to flat rate springs as a suspension upgrade, so I won't be able to compare the SS-8 that's in there now with the Bel Ray 7 wt.
    Why may I ask are you going to switch to a flat rate spring on your bike? I'm going through a suspension game of trying to get a smoother response from my front shocks detailed in this thread.http://www.st-owners.com/forums/show...val&highlight=

    I'm going to try the suggestions given to me first, but certainly would like to try the other springs if necessary.
    Kevin

  10. #9
    QuickBlue MajorTom's Avatar
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    Re: Fork Oil Questions

    Unfortunately, at 210 lb. I weight a few pounds more than your reported weight, so adding more preload to my front forks isn't going to be enough. Simply put, the bike is undersprung for my weight, with a (reported) 0.85 kg/mm stock spring. So I started to look around at spring options and came up with Hyperpro, Sonic and Race Tech here on the ST1300 suspension forum.

    Hyperpro's offering is a progressive spring, but the other two offer flat rate springs and I'm persuaded by the info on their websites and by discussions on this site that while either will work, dialing in the sag will be much easier with a flat-rate spring. To avoid guessing my total cost due to currency exchange fees, brokerage fees, customs fees, etc. I'd prefer to buy from a Canadian distributor, but I've only found one vendor for bike springs in Canada, fortnine.ca, who carry Race Tech springs for the ST1300 for $166 with free shipping. Sonic springs would come close to that with shipping/currency exchange, but for the extra $10-20 I'd rather order from a Canadian distributor. It will be quicker not having to go through customs and if there's any problem, easier to fix without dealing with international shipping.

    Of course nothing's that simple. Once I made the decision yesterday I went onto fortnine's website to order the 0.95 kg/mm spring (as spec'ed from Race Tech's website for my weight) only to find they don't have that size listed. 0.90 kg/mm? Sure. 1.00 kg/mm? No problem. 0.95 kg/mm? Nowhere in sight. So now I'm waiting for them to open on Monday so I can call and inquire about the availability of 0.95 kg/mm springs. If they don't carry them I'll either order them from Race Tech, who don't quote shipping costs during their order process, making the total cost from them a mystery, or order the cheaper Sonic springs. For some reason Sonic's online calculator gives me a 1.1 kg/mm spring for my weight and the ST's 700 lb. weight. I'll need to discuss that with them if I decide to go that route.

    Lots of choices and lots of info here from people who've tried all three of these options (four if you count adding preload and changing fork oil weight). You makes your choice and you takes your chances. Good luck with your journey. I'll certainly post my results when i get done, although that likely won't be until the fall, what with camping and other vacation pursuits filling my time until mid-September.

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  12. #10
    STOC #687 dwalby's Avatar
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    Re: Fork Oil Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by MajorTom View Post
    Once I made the decision yesterday I went onto fortnine's website to order the 0.95 kg/mm spring (as spec'ed from Race Tech's website for my weight) only to find they don't have that size listed. 0.90 kg/mm? Sure. 1.00 kg/mm? No problem. 0.95 kg/mm? Nowhere in sight.
    Since the forks are mechanically constrained to work together as a pair, you could put a 0.90 in one leg and a 1.00 in the other for a net result of 0.95.

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