Cycling: Suspension Forks, Rebuild or Replace ?
Bikes been out of action for a while now since the left fork seal decided to fail, which to my luck the oil ran down the fork and contaminated the disc pads ! It wasn’t a catastrophic failure but more of a persistent weep which had to be wiped down every week. I eventually had to make the decision whether to rebuild the 14 year old Bomber Z4’s or just purchase another set of forks ?
I had a look at my options mainly in the used marketplaces of Gumtree and eBay where I found similar spec forks from around £50.00 a bit beaten up like mine but described as “good condition” or “works perfectly”. I did eventually even find my exact 2001 Z4 aria’s on Gumtree for £45.00 which was very tempting. The thing about me though is I don’t like waste, if something can be fixed then I’ll give it my best shot and hopefully I’ll learn something along the way too.
So I decided to go for the rebuild option with a little extra and that was paint ! After 14 years the forks look quite battered although they look alright in the photo above trust me they need a good refurbish.
Purchase 1: Prep Bits
Sandpaper – Pound Stop/Stretcher/Crusher/Whatever £1.00
Wire Brush Drill Bits – Tool-station £3.50
These drill bits were actually overkill to be honest on the fork legs, but the pointy thin brushes are key for stripping off the paint under the MG arch and in the V-brake mounting recess areas, where sandpaper just cannot reach.
Purchase 2: Spray Paint
Hi-Build Primer – Coastal Car Spares £5.00
Industrial Jet Black Spray – Tool-station £5.10
Rust-oleum Crystal Clear Laquer – Wilko £7.00
So three stages for paint, I hope it will stay on 😀
Purchase 3: Seals
Enduro Marz 30″ – Tweeks Cycles £24.00
The important bit, and not cheap for 4 seals but it’s great someone still makes these considering the age of the forks.
Purchase 4: Oil
Stendtec 5W fork oil – £5.99
The forks rely on oil and air displacement to function so I had to get some more.
Purchase 4: Decals
Marzocchi logos x2 – eBay £3.50
I like my finishing touches and didn’t want them totally blank.
Total for parts: £55.09
Okay so I drained and stripped the forks and there was no real turning back. It was pretty annoying with the painting process these last few weeks because the rain was on and off and holding me up big time. Eventually I got there with the painting process and I could put the new seals in, which I must stress you should follow the instructions on the Enduro site. When they say put the seals in as evenly as possible you really need to Now the internal seals are pretty easy but the blue wiper seals are tricky and get really stuck if you knock them in at an angle, so do be patient if you are putting these in.
So oil in, PSI’d up and stickers on here’s the result !
I think they look pretty awesome and totally unique. I can report after an initial ride down to Hythe and back I’m still alive and the forks are working as they should without any leaks ! If you’ve owned a set of forks for years then yes it’s well worth servicing them, especially the old Marzocchi Z series forks.
Next thing coming up will be the front wheel which I’ve been meaning to do for ages. I’ve picked up a Sun Rims singtrack rim for £5.00 on eBay so finally I can run a matching front again, so I’m off to order black spokes to go with all this craziness. I gotta get some matching tyres too hmm, another DMR Moto or a Geax Blade ? I do like the green sidewall look 😀