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Front Fork Swap - The Guide

Old 09-10-2010, 11:08 AM
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Front Fork Swap - The Guide

READ THIS ENTIRE POST BEFORE POSTING IN THIS THREAD!

Ok, lets start with an announcement... I intend to fill this thread with information, parts that work, parts that doesn't work and in what combinations... And then when it's done I'll ask one of the mods to make it a sticky and lock it, so the information stays findable... The reason is that the information is spread out over many threads and all threads are somewhat incomplete...

The guide isn't intended to be a complete step by step in every detail, you will still need to take care of a number of small details on your own, but more a guide telling you what parts work together and make it easy to start building a "shopping list" for your projekt...

If people wan't to contribute, that's fine, since I'll likely forget somethings, but please, please, if you have no information to contribute keep out of the thread... Even the "Good thread, thank you" posts start to build up the clutter after a while... If you feel the need to discuss the info before or during the posting, I suggest you start another thread and we'll discuss it there...

I'll let that stand as the first post... Now let's build a guide...

See, that's a good way... Hawk8541 get's the RC51 text...

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Old 09-10-2010, 11:11 AM
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The working combinations

Honda CBR 900RR
- Honda CBR 900RR (93-97) - Link to parts fishe/parts no

Honda CBR 929RR
- Honda CBR 929RR (00-01) - Link to parts fishe/parts no

Honda CBR 954RR
- Honda CBR 954RR (02-03) - Link to parts fishe/parts no

Honda CBR 1000RR
- CBR 1000RR (04-05) - Link to parts fishe/parts no
- CBR 1000RR (06-07) - Link to parts fishe/parts no
- CBR 1000RR (08-10) (Untested/only partially usable) - Link to parts fishe/parts no

Honda CBR 600 F4/F4i
- Honda CBR 600 F4/F4i (99-05) - Link to parts fishe/parts no

Honda RC-51 (VTR1000 SP1/SP2 in Europe)
- Honda RC-51/SP1 - Link to parts fishe/parts no
- Honda RC-51/SP2 (Only partially usable) - Link to parts fishe/parts no

Suzuki GSX-R (What models?)
- GSX-R600 (01-04)?

YSF-R1 (What years?)

Universal links
- Race Tech
- ConvertiBars
- HeliBars
- Speedymoto
- Ron Ayers - Parts fiche/(reverse) partno lookup

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Old 09-10-2010, 11:18 AM
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The Planning stage & things To Do before you start moving a single bolt...

One of the smart things to do before you start tearing your bike apart, is to make a plan... I know, I know... It requires thinking and thinking requires beer and results in a headache... But it's still a good idea...

By the time you start thinking of swapping the front end of your bike, you will long ago have downloaded a copy of the service manual for the VTR... Now that you are using parts from other bikes, it might be a good idea to have the information on those parts as well... I have collected most of the Honda manuals on my site www.tweety.se/links.php ignore the Swedish text and dowload the manuals they are in English...

Once you have figured out what parts match each other to make a complete new front end, and purchased them you will probably still be missing a million small pieces... If you got a complete front end that where just unbolted from a bike at the steering stem you have all the small fasteners, clips, washers and what not... If you got parts, you will undoubtedly need at least some of the parts...

Take a look at the parts fiche in the correct link for the parts you are using, and figure out what parts you are missing and order them, you don't need to order them from Ron Ayers, just use the Honda part no and get them where it's the cheapest or fastest for you...

In some instances you can most likely get bolts from the local hardware store cheap and easy... Just make sure that the bolts you buy this way aren't in any load bearing or critical place unless you get the correct tensile strength... The OEM bolts might not always be marked, but I can promise you that they are all selected with the correct rating for where they are placed...

Another very important thing (Thanks lazn!). Measure the front end the way you have it setup now... Even if you have the front in the stock setup, having a reference length of the fork and height over the ground when you are adjusting the new fork is immensely helpful... That way you end up with the correct geometry... If you have for instance dropped the forks a bit, transfer that change over and the bike will "feel at home" to you after the swap... Then once you sort out the new parts you might alter that again, but it's a good starting point...

Another thing that might be important to think through before you start wrenching, is the brakes and brake lines... For some forks, you have no option, you need to use at least the matching calipers (CBR 1000RR has radial calipers) but in most other configurations you can reuse the stock VTR parts... The thing is, the brake lines might not match up very well, mounting points won't match and the lines might end up being tight in some places...

A solution, and also a nice upgrade is to use the complete brake system matching the fork, then it all mounts up nicely, and you get improved performance compared to the mediocre VTR parts... Which ever of these options, any and all aftermarket lines for the VTR will 99% of the time work with a swap, and other brake systems as they are usually longer than stock and have more flexible mountings and such...

Last edited by Tweety; 09-14-2010 at 02:16 AM.
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Old 09-10-2010, 11:19 AM
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Honda CBR 900RR

The fork from the Honda CBR 900RR is an RSD just like the VTR's and have similar disadvantages to some extent, but it's much sturdier and rigid, and a substantial upgrade to the VTR... According to guides on line the fork from the 96-97 model years works as a bolt on, but according to all sources I can find, all the components used are identical for the 900RR from the year 1993 through 1997 apart from internal springs and valving, so you should have no problems finding decent condition parts at the right prices with a little luck...

The 900RR front fender/mudguard is according to all accounts butt ugly (I agree!) and also more expensive in most cases, the same item and fittings from a Triumph T955 fits perfect, and looks much nicer... It's also supposedly cheaper to acquire, so it's a win-win...

Since it's not matching any other parts, you need the following parts...
Fork legs, Triple Clamps, Wheel Spindle/axle, Wheel Spacers, Fender/Mudguard and fitting kit (See above)

You will also need some clip-ons... Either aftermarket of some kind specifically for the 900RR (There are a few "old" options), or like on all others, ConvertiBars of the right diameter (45 mm) works fine...

The VTR wheel is reused with the CBR wheel spacers in place of the existing ones, and all other parts like the brake calipers and rotors can be reused as well, but upgrading to CBR 900RR parts (or others) are a good idea...

The forks for different years had different springs and valving, combined with varying weights of the different year bikes... Go check them out at www.racetech.com and figure out if you need to swap them to suit your weight...

I'll include a link to the "original" how-to, it's been around a long while and will hopefully be around a while yet... http://www.vtwo.demon.co.uk/firestorm/firestorm.htm

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Old 09-10-2010, 11:19 AM
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Honda CBR 929RR & 954RR

These two are so similar that they get a shared post...

The forks from the CBR 929RR (00-01) and CBR 954RR (02-03) are in most respects identical, with minor differences... These differences are stiffer springs and some differences in internal valving in the later 954 forks, and different sized brake calipers... The clip-ons are also different height and angle, with the 929's somewhat higher...

The triples are the most common for fork swaps, a gullwinged upper and a flat lower means it works with most forks including shorter ones... The triple works as a base for using with the RC/SP forks and the CBR 1000RR forks... It is interchangeable to some extent with the SP1 triples as they are the same width between the forklegs, but are not compatible to mix with the CBR 1000RR triples...

The only modifications needed to make the triples fit are to file down the steering stops to let them clear the mount for the gauge cluster and reach full lock... Images of modified steering stops courtesy of Hawk8541...

Front Fork Swap - The Guide-004.jpg Front Fork Swap - The Guide-two.jpg

The wheels are fully interchangeable between the 929/954 including the 1000RR, just use the corresponding rotors and calipers for the fork you are using... The VTR wheel is NOT re-usable with any of these...

If you can get a full front end, it's possible to re-use almost all parts of the fork for a swap, the one thing you will need from another source is the clip-ons, as they need to be higher than stock... The 929RR slip-ons can possibly be used if you are doing a streetfighter build as they are the highest of the OEM clip-ons, but they are too short if you keep the fairings...

Another thing to note is that these forks are in stock form good for a rider in the 70-75 Kg or 155-165 Lbs... If you are significantly heavier than this, you will benefit from new springs and valving...

Last edited by Tweety; 09-24-2010 at 01:19 PM.
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Old 09-10-2010, 11:23 AM
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RC51 SP1\SP2

Forks:
The SP1 & SP2 have very minor differences. The most noticeable is the different adjustment set up but that is mainly cosmetic. The other difference is the length of the top out springs. This also is really a non-issue as the are generally cut down when the forks are re-valved. So either will work.

Wheel:
You need to run a RC51 front wheel. The SP1 wheel is a 6 spoke set up and matches the 900rr rear wheel in appearance. The SP2 wheel is a 5 spoke and there is really no rear wheel, for the standard swingarm that directly matches it, though the advantage of it is that is approximately 1.5 lbs lighter than a SP1 wheel.

Brakes:
Any RC51 rotor will work. Also the '06-'07 CBR 1000 rotors will fit.

Triple clamp:
There are a few options here.
1) CBR 929\954 lower & SP1 upper. This is the easiest set up to use. It uses standard VTR bearings. Also only minor rework of the steering stops is required and there is no fairing interference. The down side is that you must run the forks pulled 10mm up in the triple. This will give you, as close as to not really make a difference, the same geometry as running the stock forks pulled 10mm up in the triples.

2) SP1 upper and lower. While this set up will allow you to run the forks lower, there is much more involved with getting it to work on a VTR. It requires the use of SP1 head bearings. The steering stops are in the wrong place, so you must trim the height down to get them to clear the fairing stay and either mount an angled bolt to mate up to the frame stop or fab a complete new stop set up. It also requires you to trim the inner fairing pieces (the small parts that bolt into the front fairing) in order to get the proper clearance.

I believe the stem on the SP2 triple is too lagre to work in this set up but I haven't tried it so I can't be 100% sure.

Clip ons:
With the flat upper triple you will need between 2.5" to 3.5" to get the bars back to stock height (my measurements were 3") so depending on your preferences there is a little play with final height. Other lengths can be used but will require a bit of modifying to work.

Last edited by 8541Hawk; 09-10-2010 at 12:25 PM.
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Old 09-10-2010, 12:03 PM
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Honda CBR 1000RR

The CBR 1000RR forks are very similar to the 929/954 forks, the main difference is the "new" radial brake calipers... Some parts are interchangeable between the models... There are three versions, 04-05, 06-07 and 08-to present... The 08 to present are in most cases not interchangeable, but the others mix and match...

The earlier version 04-05 have lighter springs and valving, and smaller brake rotors, the difference to the 06-07 is made up with a spacer and longer bolts so you can "upgrade"...

The triple is a gullwinged triple like the 929/954 but the width between the legs are wider, that means you cannot mix the parts of the triple with each other, but it's possible to use the triple from one and forklegs from the other in both directions... The top triple have mounting points for a OEM steering damper, so it's cosmeticly less atractive than the 929/954 or RC/SP1 triple's... Because of the added with, you need to trim the fairings if you use these triples...

Same as with the 929/954 the wheels are interchangeable, just use the correct rotors and calipers for the fork... Wheel spacers and axle's are also interchangeable... The VTR wheel is NOT reusable with the fork...

The clip-ons are lower than the 929/954's and aren't usable unless you build a streetfighter (hardly even then)... Other than that the full fork is usable for a conversion...

The 04-05 forks are in stock form suitable for a 85-90 Kg or 190-200 Lbs rider, the 06-07 fit rougly 95-100 Kg or 210-220 Lbs... If you are significantly heavier or lighter, consider changing springs and valving to suit you...

The 08 and forward parts have a different steering stem, making the triples unusable on the VTR... The rest of the fork is cosmetically different but should be fully usable... This isn't tested, so test it at your own risk...

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Old 09-10-2010, 12:16 PM
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The clip-ons

First the universal information... To be able to use the clip-ons with the fairings you need roughly 3-3.5" rise with a gullwinged upper triple and 2.5-3" with a flat upper triple to clear the fairing without rubbing it... None of the stock clip-ons are tall enough, some might be usable if you go for a streetfighter build though, where only your comfort sets the limits... The information on the height differences here are in the respective model specific texts...

There are a lot of aftermarket options, some are fixed height, some are adjustable... Most of the fixed height one's only tell you the added rise over the stock component they replace (HeliBars) which makes it a nightmare to figure out... Make sure to check that the number you are looking at is actual rise, not compared to stock...

The one clip-on that works with all of them are the ConvertiBars... They come in all clamp sizes, matching all fork dimensions, and are adjustable in just about any direction you can think, the only thing you need to figure out is where to cut the excess parts to make them both fit and not hit anything... And also where you prefer them... The only challenge here is to get both sides even as there is no fixed positions... Patience and lots of measuring is the answer...

Helibars, are a little less adjustable than the ConvertiBars, but high enough to clear the farings, the highest are for the 929RR (the increase in height "follows" the OEM height) then 954RR and 1000RR are the lowest... These two are borderline in height and might only work if you go for a streetfighter...

Speedymoto Tall Boys, more adjustability than Helibars, less than Convertibars, decent priced...

There are lots of others, help!

Last edited by Tweety; 10-25-2010 at 01:36 AM.
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Old 09-10-2010, 12:32 PM
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I am running Swatt 3.5" rise clip ons on the RC51 set up. With that I would not recommend them to anyone, even though I believe they are not making them anymore.

The reason I say this is that the center line on the mounting clamps are off by around .045" between the two sides. As you use the same clamp for each side and just flip one over you end up with a .090" difference in height. Lucky for me that I don't run them pulled all the way up to the triple and can make up the difference by mounting the clamps at different heights but it does make set up a bit of a pain in the ***.
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Old 09-10-2010, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Tweety View Post
Noted... BTW Since yoy are running around with 900RR forks, if you write the text up I'll stick it in the top post... Seems like a good idea to have someone do it that knows the details, no?
Would love to, but I basicaly followed the guidelines spelled out in the link I posted in the Knowledge Base, bought all the parts and dropped everything off at the dealer`s (no room to work, lack of tools; rather pay someone than risk messing it up).

That being said, I can add that I bought Helis for a Speed Triple and had a welder add in 1.125" inches in height to the clip-on stem in order to get the bars back up to where they were with the VTR Helis I was running before. I had the steering bearings replaced with All ***** tapered rollers while everything was apart. Finally, I strongly recommend getting the Triumph fender instead of the OEM Honda unit as the stock 900RR unit is un-Godly ugly. If I think of anything else I will add it later...
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Old 09-10-2010, 01:42 PM
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Moving the radiators

This is an optional but recommended step for all the USD forks...

Since all these forks are thicker than stock, they also take more space up around the steering stem/triple... That means when you turn the bars to full lock, the forkleg and triple will make contact with the upper radiator hose... Since you don't use full lock very often this isn't a big problem and you can just ignore it...

But if you like me dislike the idea of damaging the hose after "bouncing" the fork against it several times, you can very easily move the radiators back a bit... Just use a piece of flat aluminum and drill holes sligthly more rearward...

The hoses will then be a bit long and need trimming in some places... This can easily be done without even removing them or draining them, just loosen the clamp and slide the hose further in on the neck, re-tighten the clamp and trim the excess with a sharp knife...

This is an example, again pictures courtesy of Hawk8541... He's using a flat bar and trimmed the rubber mounts and metal spacers... I took a similar flat bar and bent it a little bit before drilling holes, takes a bit more trial and error to get right, but the effect is the same...
Attached Thumbnails Front Fork Swap - The Guide-016.jpg   Front Fork Swap - The Guide-017.jpg  

Last edited by Tweety; 09-12-2010 at 11:00 AM.
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Old 09-10-2010, 02:01 PM
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Honda CBR 600 F4i

These forks are RSU, not USD, and I have very little data on them, but two other members are/have been using them...

With these forks you can re-use the VTR front wheel and rotors/calipers... Basically the only things you need to swap out is the triple tree and forklegs and then clip-ons or handlebars to fit the new forks...

The top triple clamp is flat and the forks are marginally shorter than stock, so they are best suited to using a handlebar setup to get the same front height as stock... If you find very tall clipons that can be mounted underneath the triple (ConvertiBars) that's an option...

The geometry of the new triple tree changes the overall geometry of the bike, and the springs are correct for a light rider, a heavier rider needs to upgrade the springs...

The two little things that needs to be worked on are the wheel spacers that need an additional shim of 9mm or .230" on the right side of the wheel and a set of washers on the calipers to center them...

Last edited by Tweety; 09-10-2010 at 02:09 PM.
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Old 09-10-2010, 02:19 PM
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Yamaha YSF-R1

These forks where swapped onto the VTR by a member long time ago, I have incomplete information, but it's certainly possible with some work...

The 929/954 triple was used, and the forks fit these... The R1 wheel, axle and complete brakes where used, but there was definetly custom spacers involved... I believe the forks and other parts where of a 99 bike...
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Old 09-10-2010, 03:22 PM
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The only thing I would add is that no matter what swap you are doing, take measurements of your stock setup first (axle to frame height etc) so that you won't be experimenting with fork heights afterwords like I ended up doing.
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Old 09-12-2010, 12:58 PM
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Ok, lazn... Adding your suggestion at the top where it belongs... Updated stuff and starting to get a bit closer to a usable state... Guy's... Like I said, I'm most definetly going to miss stuff, so proofread and let me know...
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Old 09-13-2010, 01:39 PM
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Another source for adjustable clip ons: http://www.apexmfg.com/riser.htm
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Old 09-14-2010, 07:06 AM
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GSXR-600 Forks.

Mine are from a 2004 GSXR-600. At this point I do not know which other years are the same, but with some questions on other sites, I can find out.

I used the entire front end. Triples, forks, calipers, wheel and rotors.

The upper steering stem bearing was a custom bearing ordered from ALLBALLSRACING.com The lower steering stem bearing was stock SH. This is the only "custom piece needed to make the swap work.

At the time, I could not find clipons that I wanted to use, so I went with a Superbike bar conversion. Since then, it appears that 929/954 clip-ons will work, due to the flat upper triple tree, more to follow on this. Still obtaining a pair.

The superbike bars neccesitated longer brake lines. I used Spiegler braided stainless steel lines.

I didn't have the key to the Suzuki ignition, so I removed it, and relocated the Honda ignition.

To sum it up, this was a fairly straight forward swap. Multiple have ridden the bike and like it's handling. The front end dimension are nearly identical to the SH. Braking is improved due to the Radial Master Cylinder and Radial Calipers. Suspension is now tunable (maybe someday I'll know how to do it well)

Hope this helps Tweety.
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Old 11-20-2010, 02:55 AM
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if using SP2 forks, why is it necessary to use SP1/2 wheel? Is a 954 wheel diferent in axle dimensions or in brake rotor dimensions?
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Old 11-20-2010, 03:28 AM
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The axle dimensions are different... You can swap bearings/spacers/axle on the wheel and use whatever CBR wheel you like... For the rotors, all the dimensions are the same except "size" ie diameter, so pick the correct size from any CBR and it fits...
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Old 11-20-2010, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Tweety View Post
The axle dimensions are different... You can swap bearings/spacers/axle on the wheel and use whatever CBR wheel you like... For the rotors, all the dimensions are the same except "size" ie diameter, so pick the correct size from any CBR and it fits...
Hey that's my question.........lol

I will say trying to find any (Sp1 or Sp2) front wheel is a bit of a challenge anymore unless you have the $$ for a aftermarket wheel.
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Old 11-21-2010, 11:53 PM
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What is the diameter of the rc51/cbr forks?
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Old 11-22-2010, 12:37 AM
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The width that's measured and compared to others in spec, ie the inner tube is 43 mm...

The clamping diameter on the triples are 50 mm at the top and either 52 mm or 53 mm at the bottom, can't remember of the top of my head...
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Old 11-22-2010, 05:20 PM
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FYI - 2001 through 2003 GSXR600 and 750 are the same thing. Forks anyway......
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Old 11-22-2010, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by JamieDaugherty View Post
FYI - 2001 through 2003 GSXR600 and 750 are the same thing. Forks anyway......
Sure about that? I thought the 600 didn't go the USD route until 2004....
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Old 11-22-2010, 07:49 PM
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Originally Posted by JamieDaugherty View Post
FYI - 2001 through 2003 GSXR600 and 750 are the same thing. Forks anyway......
2002 750 has upside down, 2002 600 does not have upside down.
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Old 11-22-2010, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by mikstr View Post
Sure about that? I thought the 600 didn't go the USD route until 2004....
It was mid-year. You will find 2004 GSXR-600s with Standard and USD forks .
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Old 11-23-2010, 06:59 AM
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Ahhh! Sorry guys, not sure what I was thinking there.... maybe I needed more coffee or something.
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Old 11-30-2010, 04:12 PM
  #28  
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Clip-on risers

Have a look at what Woodcraft Technologies has for clip-ons.
http://www.woodcraft-cfm.com/cgi-bin...&category=CORI and http://www.woodcraft-cfm.com/cgi-bin...&category=OOOX
I use the zero rise for track days. They are lower than stock but still fit. I adjust them so they don't touch the front of the fairing when at full turn. Real good quality.
I will be doing a 929 conversion and once assembled, I will look into one of the riser types offered. I'm not sure how much rise is required at this time.
The converti bars have a lot of adjustment in all directions but the price is dear.
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Old 04-24-2012, 07:48 AM
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I'm up to 20 subscribed threads on fork swaps. There is a lot more spread across the forum. I found it in another thread, but I think that this chart by Tweety should be in the "guide".


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Old 05-30-2012, 02:10 PM
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OK so I see the interchangability info but what about performance information for each? Looking at these I'm thinking the USD RC51 or 929/954 forks would give the best performance and rigidity. I've also heard the RC51 is supposed to have some of the best brakes out there. So from an adjustability/performance and braking stand point which set of forks are going to give you the best performance and why?
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