Trust your gut feeling!


A few months ago I had all the bearings replaced on the ZZR as part of the preventative maintainance plan. Whilst the mechanics were carrying out this task I noticed a leak from one of the fork seals. Not an unusual happening on the ZZR as owners will know. As I had a spare set I asked them to do this as well. I was busy watching the bearing removal as I wanted to see the condition of the old bearings and their seats. When all was done I rode of from the shop and immediatley noticed that the bike felt very different to ride. I put this down to the new head bearings. We all get used to the gradual wear of componants as bikes age and it is often a shock when we ride with new parts fitted because of the large change we feel compared to before. Think of the difference when we put on new tyres.

As the weeks passed I was getting more and more concerned. The bike felt very different and not in a good way. Gone was the high speed stability, turn in was erratic and and the bike wanted to wander. Even worse was the fact that the movement of the bars at high speed indicated that the bike was about to go into a tank slapper. Not good! I spoke to the mechanics that something was not right. They asked me to come in and they checked everything, re- tightened the bearings, checked the wheel alignment and pronounced that they could find no issues. Mmm! rode off and realised that the problem still existed. I wondered if riding the ZX14 so much had influenced my opinion of the handling of the ZZR. I discounted this theory because well, I have been riding ZZR's since the 90's and I KNOW how they should feel. After one more near tank slapper at speed I stopped riding it and used the ZX. I spoke to the mechanics and they agreed to do a home visit and duly arrived at my house. All 3 of them. I told them I wanted everything stripped back down and checked. I was determined to find the problem. It did not take long to find the cause of the handling woes. When they had put the forks back together they had put the washers(as indicated by the red circle in the picture) on the wrong side of the spacer. So there were two washers on the top and none at the bottom. This caused the spring to force themselves up inside the spacers. Each fork leg had done this to a different length there for creating mismatched forks. Bloody hell!! After putting everything back together I took the ZZR out and everything was how it should have been. It was perfect again. I am grateful that this did not end in an accident because this was a dangerous error. I have used these mechanics for over 3 years and they are really very good. This was an untypical error. Two lessons I have re learnt from this experience. 1. Go with your gut. If you think something is not right dont listen to others, get it checked. 2. Every one can make a mistake but on a bike it could have serious consequences, so check and check again.


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