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SoRt My ReAR eNd



Take the back wheel out, carefully unhooking the final drive chain from the rear sprocket. Note the position of all wheel spacers and location of the rear brake caliper bracket. Make sure that the caliper isn’t hanging in mid-air, putting strain on its brake line. If it can’t rest safely use a bungee cord to suspend it from the rear subframe. The key to successful home maintenance is not causing more problems than you’re fixing.


The condition of the shock linkage bolts is usually a good indicator of how the back end suffers from road spray. Even though it has an aftermarket hugger, the fasteners on our CBR600 have plainly seen more than one British winter. We’re going to give ourselves a bit of a helping hand by liberal application of penetrating oil, in this case our favoured GT85 – works brilliantly and smells great.

Systematically work around the linkage bolts, loosening but not removing them one at a time. Doing it this way means that if one initially proves more stubborn than the others it’s easier to get some purchase to get it undone if things aren’t flapping about randomly. Given the limited room to manoeuvre when you get into the darkest recesses of your bike’s back end, you’ll probably find spanners easier to use than socket wrenches.


It’s worth noting which way round and which way up the suspension linkages go. You might think you’ll remember but it’s amazing how different they look once they’re off the bike and cleaned up. This is where a digital camera or mobile phone cam is handy. Now we’re ready to take the linkages and shock out. The other end of the swingarm is supported on car axle stands until it’s ready to come out.


Things don’t look too good for this bearing. If that grease looks a rusty colour, it’s because it’s full of rust. If they’d been left much longer they would have seized, though the seals are still in good nick and haven’t been torn by corroded collars (next pic). We’re going to see what the bearings are like once they’ve been cleaned. If they’re knackered it’s off to a workshop to have new ones pressed in.


The corrosion on the bearing collars is on the exposed ends. That isn’t a problem as they’re fine where they meet the seals and the bearings. You can see we’ve started to clean up the one on the right with wire wool. Any pitting on the bearing/ seal surface of the collars would necessitate replacement. There are some witness marks from the bearings’ needles indicating that seizure wasn’t far off, but their bearing surface hasn’t been compromised by pitting.


10 unthreaded portions of the bolt as well prior to

Repack the bearings with grease and smear the

11 from the shock top mount down. As with disassembly put

reassembly. Ideally you would replace their locking nuts, but if they haven’t been off and on too many times a dab of threadlock will hold them in place when you tighten them up. Take a look at the bolt threads to ensure they’re in good condition and haven’t stretched. If they have, replace them.

it back together loosely then systematically tighten everything up. Double check your efforts to make sure you haven’t missed any of the fasteners before returning everything else to its rightful place. The reward for your efforts will be smooth suspension action and the satisfaction of a major mechanical overhaul well done.

Incredibly this is the same bearing you saw two pictures back cleaned up using aerosol degreaser and compressed air (you can buy this in cans if you don’t have a compressor) to clean it out. It now turns with silky smoothness with no hint of grittiness – good enough to go back into service. Check and clean the swingarm bearings as you did the shock linkages. Inspect the shock bushes for wear, too.


Start reassembly by relocating the swingarm then work

august 2009 Ride 89

“Mil e upon mil e of sw eeping bends”

Words Matt Hull Pictures Mark Manning and Matt Hull

Trying vainly to cling onto my youth with an oily hand, but with the need for a practical long-distance cruiser, I’m starting to realise that the Sprint ST suits me perfectly. To me the ST looks great, allows sporty riding up to a point, and is capable of carrying luggage in comfort. So far I’ve ridden it in Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany, and all over the UK. I seldom have empty panniers; in fact they’re often brimming, with more bungeed to the pillion seat. So after all that mile crunching it’s strange that my trip to the BMF Show in Peterborough sticks in my mind as a good ’un. You see, RiDE Towers is a kneeslider’s throw from the BMF Show, so

98 Ride august 2009

Triumph is great at covering miles quickly and comfortably

FACTS Start mileage 427 Current mileage 4976 Average mpg 45.4

the prospect of doing that same old journey on a Saturday wasn’t filling me with the joyful glee a weekend ride should. So I thumbed the soggy map to look for a more eventful route. With the weather on my side I set off down my favourite B-roads. The ST deals with the sweeping bends superbly, allowing spirited or leisurely riding with equal ease, although there’s just a little too much dive from the forks. However, when I turn onto a minor road I’m presented with some tight slow corners where the council have clearly spent the pothole repair budget on new office furniture, those forks make sense. They soak up the Norfolk cart tracks nicely, giving enough control without that sportsbike jarring. As my journey progresses we come into the flatlands of the Fens. As the road follows the rivers it turns into mile upon mile of sweeping bends, most with perfect vision throughout. And the noise – that triple underneath me gives me goosebumps with its unique growl. And have Triumph deliberately engineered that popping on over-run? Yet given such a gorgeous road and soundtrack, I find myself pootling – calmed down by the sight of all those narrowboats in such an idyllic setting. Getting closer to Peterborough I find myself on roads I use every day. The Sprint

allows me to ride on autopilot through the last few miles, until the AA signs welcome me to the BMF bike park, feeling fresh and composed after a 98-mile trip. Looking down the rows of bikes I try to see something that would suit me more than my Sprint. A Yamaha R1 winks at me, but it’s too much on the road, and where would I store my stuff? The BMW taking up two spaces looks comfy and has plenty of storage, but I don’t want a car. Honda VFR? Too antiseptic. Ducati ST4? Got one. Yes it’s not cutting edge, and I’d like a colour other than doom blue – but I like the Sprint ST. The only downside is that it’s an OAP magnet, bringing me into contact with all sorts of old boys keen to share their opinions about every British bike ever made. No sir, it’s not like your old Bantam. No, it doesn’t leak oil. And no, the gearchange isn’t wrong – it’s where they all are these days.

RiDE Aug 09  
RiDE Aug 09  

Tells it like it is