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Leg Waxing


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Several years ago while I was working in a popular men’s apparel store, I learned about how to make the ride on my bike even better. You know how when your shopping for that new shirt or pair of pants, you’re rifling thru the racks to find that perfect size or color. The metal hanger rubbing across the chrome rail often makes that sound like fingernails across a chalkboard. Well, a very wise apparel manager showed me a trick: Rub the chrome rails down with a piece of wax paper, and the metal hangers will glide along the rail effortlessly, slick as snot.


That night when traveling home on my trusty K100RT, I looked down and there it was: the fork sliders running up and down a CHROME TUBE—just like the apparel racks. When I got home, I thought, “why not?”. So I rubbed the fork tubes down with a piece of wax paper, and took the steed out for a test drive. WOW!!! I just got a new bike!!! Road vibrations gone, handling improved, life was GOOD.


Sticktion: that tiny little bit of friction that causes a sliding object to stick or hesitate. Bad Thing. Look at your fork tube assembly. Doesn’t matter if you have conventional oil valved sliders or the trick BMW Telelever, you’ve got the same problem: that rubber fork seal is trying to keep the oil below from getting past it. So the seal uses a tight spring to keep the rubber snug against the chrome fork tube. All day long the lower sliders (the part holding the wheel) is traveling up and down, up and down, over every contour and bump in the road. Big bumps are OK—the shock of the sudden rise or fall forces the slider to move quickly, and the resulting trauma is handled by the shocks. If you have good shocks, most of the impact is “absorbed”, leaving you with little to worry about. But it’s those tiny little road imperfections that seem to be most bothersome. Little flutters, expansion joints, gravel, rain grooves, the 101 freeway. All those seem to get transferred from the wheel, up the slider, (not enough movement to overcome the fork seal/fork tube sticktion resistance), then on up the fork tubes to the handlebars, seat, mirrors, everything else. You may not realize it, but this is causing a less than perfect ride.


Here’s the drill: Clean your chrome fork tubes thoroughly every time you clean the bike. Bug guts, road grime, and dirt will not only make for a very unpleasant ride, it will also wear out your fork seals in no time flat. Even fully faired bikes like an RT will have some dirt on the tubes. Then, with the bike on the center stand (forks fully extended), take a sheet of common wax paper and rub along the tubes, mostly at the lower part, right next to the fork seal. Doesn’t take much.


I’ve tried other friction reducing materials: WD40, Silicone spray, etc, but they just wash off and get all over your sliders. They don’t “stick”. Car wax is OK, but wax is wax when it comes to this, and I’ve always come back to the plain old wax paper. Yea, the kind your mommy used to wrap your sandwiches in when she packed your lunch box (before Zip Lock came along and revolutionized the sandwich wrapping industry.) Spray waxes, like “Pledge” are OK for the chrome rod on the rear shock (since you can’t get in there with the wax paper). And if you ever change your fork oil, put in a tablespoon of Molybdenum Disulphide additive to your fork oil to make it slippier underneath the seal.


Try it and report back.

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I must admit Ken, your title of this thread really perked my curiosity. Very good write-up. I will give this a try and see "what gives." Thanks for sharing. thumbsup.gif

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