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My Honda CBR400RRn NC29 Project Bike Part1 - Fork Rebuild

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When I got my CBR400RR NC29 I knew I had a lot of work to do to make it presentable again in polite circles so i decided to get stuck right in and began stripping the old girls clothes off ready for a bit of much needed beauty therapy. I decided to start with her pins as its always good to see a pair of slim legs working well kitted up nicely and I had to do something. The no1 issue I had was that the garage I had my old girl stored in was more like damp leaky dungeon than a real workshop but its what I had while i hunted for something better.

The forks as you can see here were full of rust and so was everything else under the front cowling as you can see here.

The base of the legs was not in so bad a shape just a bit dirty and with the normal 20+ year marks and corrosion.

I spent a good few days searching around for a reasonably priced set of forks but there was a not a lot on offer and the ones I was able to find were also often in need of rebuilding anyway so I decided to buy a new set of fork legs. I also looked a little into the cost of replating the old legs with chrome but decided against it due to cost and the fact that I was dubious about where to get it done accurately more so after reading about chrome being put on in the wrong thickness and also getting on places it should not be.

New OEM forks were out of the question as they are over the top in pricing so I read lots about Chinese fork legs and decided to have a go with a set of those. (high risk I know) I read a few blogs from other guys who had used them on various bikes and had no issues except for small things like missing groves for snap rings. Since as i sell Chinese parts anyway I thought this would be a good opportunity to try a new product and see if they are good enough to list on my own sites.

I had to measure everything up to make sure that i was ordering the correct thing as there is more than one set of tubes fitted to these bikes but as far as i can tell only the later model bikes had the different forks with some rebound adjustment and mine being a 1992 N model does not have that.

I also had considered putting later model upside down forks on the bike, but It would have meant new triple clamps and some machine work to make a nice job of it. I also like the idea of for once in my life keeping a bike close to original as I think these bikes go good enough and look fantastic when restored back to the original 90 era of road race bikes.

The new forks arrived quite fast about a week after I confirmed the sizing with the factory and they looked pretty good. My first impression of the new legs is that they seem to have less chrome than the OEM legs as I expect that that's a side effect of cost as they are not overly expensive (cheaper than second hand forks).

I was unable to fit the forks right away as I had to move the bike from the old dungeon to a new workshop.

And off they came once again, ready to be rebuilt. I also ordered a complete set of seals and slides for the rebuild as they were totally stuffed and as budget as i can I could not bring myself to reuse them.

So here they are side by side with the rusty OEM forks.

Overall finishing on the OEM factory tubes is better, and the chromes better also and I plan to get my old ones stripped and re-coated at some point if I feel rich enough to have a go. But to be fair the new tubes are not bad and the price was good. And the hundred million dollar question; would I buy Chinese tubes again or buy a good set of second hand OEM forks?

I would buy them again, but only if the OEM stuff was overpriced or unavailable or if second hand forks were not in great nick and overpriced. In my head I was willing to pay up to $300nzd for a set of decent second hand forks but the ones i could see while I was looking were all more than that. So anyway here are the legs once i got them apart.

As you can see everything was bad, the oil was dark and 100years old, both legs have rust and pitting, seals looked 20 years old and leaked, slides were all worn out, and every c-clip was rusted badly.

Part two of this write up is located here:

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