Bent forks?

Had the bike parked up on a public on-street mc bay along with some other bikes. Put it on the side-stand, handlebar full lock to the left and engaged the steering lock.

Came back later in the evening to find the right side of the bike smashed (indicator, front brake cylinder, mirror, cracked front fender) and the steering lock no longer engaged. The left side was untouched. Due to the extent of the damage I imagine a car/van ran into the left side of my front tyre, thereby breaking the steering lock and dropping the bike on its right side.

I’ve fixed up the steering lock and will take care of the rest.

The issue I have is the front tyre, which is no longer pointing straight in relation to the forks. I’ve tried re-aligning the forks. I’ve loosened the stem nut, bottom yoke clamp bolts(but not the top), axle pinch bolt, axle itself and removed the front fender + calipers. Then while having the bike on the rear paddock stand and standing myself on the pegs I tried lunging down on the handlebar/top yoke (like in this video It didn’t help. I also tried propping the side of the tyre against the wall and jerking on the handlebar to put the forks straight. Again, nothing - it just pops back out of alignment immediately.

Not sure if relevant, but I also noticed the top rubber seal on one of the forks no longer aligns with the top yoke (it used to before). The top and bottom seals appear to be connected together while a metal piece that runs alongside the fork.

I’ve also checked the front axle to see if it’s bent by rolling on the kitchen counter. Appears to be straight to me.

So, is there anything else I should check? And, how can I find out if the forks are in fact bent?

Straight edge against the fork legs or use a vernier caliper or similar to check that the stanchions are constant diameter all the way down/around?
I guess the most likely place for them to bend would be where they enter the clamp.


Urgh, what crap luck mate! Bloody van drivers! Any idea who did it?

If I was a gambling man I’d wager one or both of the fork stanchions (upper tubes) are bent. Slip the front wheel off, drop the fork legs out of the yokes (triple tree) and you may be able to eyeball the stanchions or check with a straight edge, as above the weak point is just below the lower fork yolk.

If the fork stanchions are straight you need to align the sliders on the front axle, I do not understand why ‘RevZilla’ loosens off so many of the front end bolts, it really is unnecessary and possible counter productive, the stanchions need to be secured in the yokes which need to be secured on to the frame.

Now with EVERYTHING torqued up to specification, loosen the axle clamp that is on the opposite side to the axle bolt and bounce the front end half a dozen times to align the unclamped fork slider with the clamped fork slider.

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@Jay, sadly no. It’s a semi-busy but somewhat hidden street, so could have been anyone.

@monkimark, @National_Treasure.
I’ve removed the forks and checked them both against the ruler in 6 different positions around (rotating the stanchion). I’m not seeing any gaps under the ruler - it all appears to be perfectly straight.

I’m wondering if the earlier mentioned metal plate holding the rubber bushings around the fork was preventing my earlier efforts to align the forks. It’s clearly bent.

Just to confirm, @National_Treasure, you were talking about loosening this bolt?

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@Slacker Yes, that is the clamp bolt, there will be one on each fork slider, the one to loosen is the one opposite the axle bolt.

Not sure if this changes anything, but only one of my fork sliders has the clamp bolt. The other slider only has a thread for the axle.

example image:

When you put it back together leave the clamp bolt loose, torque up everything else including the axle, bounce the forks and last of all tighten the clamp bolt.

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Of course, while you have the forks off you may as well check the springs and replace the fork oil.


Bad luck matey - what a bummer…any sort of “hit and run” damage boils my piss,
It’s happened to me a few times (with a car and bike).
Once I was in my jimjams getting ready for work when I heard a crash outside and rushed out to see that a van, doing a three point turn, had knocked my bike over. I was still half asleep ( and in my dressing gown in the rain) and noticed a smashed indicator lens (Triumph Daytona 900) and since the driver was apologetic I asked for a tenner to cover it, which he gave me.
I was a fool…when I was wide awake and inspected I saw that there was much more than a lens to replace - the indicator stalk was bent and the clutch lever broken as well as a number of deep scratches on the fairing - that £10 should have been £250 at least (this was 25 years ago).
At least I got some money back - that driver was shifty enough and looked pissed off that I stopped him getting away…


Torqued everything up except for the axle clamp bolt (and front fender still removed). Sadly, bouncing the forks didn’t help at all, but propping up the tyre against the wall and pulling on the handlebar seems to have done the trick. It’s looking much better now, thank you. Still not sure if it’s 100% straight since I’ve been looking at it so many times over so many different angles the last few weeks, maybe I’m just biased. I guess, I’ll give it a test ride and see. Though, still need to repair the rest of the bike before that.

Makes sense. That being said I’ve already spent so much time and energy fixing the bike (and still quite a few things to do), I think I’ll leave it for now as is.

@Triang_Ross, I feel that. When something like this happens, it’s not easy to think straight.