FZR600 Front End

1985 RZ350

Removing the RZ350 Original Forks

Removing the old front forks is a pretty straightforward project but I thought I'd post it here just to make things consistent through this site. My old forks were definitely in need of some help as I found that they were starting to leak at the seals once I had them removed. First place the bike on the main stand, and have a crate or some sort of other support ready for when the front wheel is removed.

The first step is to remove the brake calipers because they sit to far inwards to let the front wheel pass between them. To remove them, simply unbolt the two bolts which connect them to the forks. Unhook the brake lines from the fender clips. They can then be swung out of the way and either zip tied, or simply wedged in the frame and out of the way.

Next, remove the split pin on the axle not on the left side of the front wheel and disconnect the speedometer cable which attaches to a small hub just beyond the bottom of the left side fork. Once removed the axle can be dislodged towards the right side, and the entire front wheel can be removed with the rotors attached. Have a helper give you some assistance at this stage as the bike can easily lean forwards without the wheel in place, and drop off the main stand.

The balance of your bike will depend on how much fuel is on board, but I found that my bike would try and drop on to the forks with the slightest pressure. You can remove the tank to get the balance more on the rear wheel, or simply put something under the forks so an unexpected drop forwards only hits the support and doesn't drop the bike.

To remove the front fender, you need to remove 4 bolts that attach it to the forks. These bolts also connect the brake line clips which will fall away from the fender once the bolts are removed.

Now that the front fender is out of the way I focused on the controls and triple clamps. My FZR conversion has the same switch gear and handlebar diameter as the RZ so I didn't have to disconnect the throttle or clutch, but I did have to remove the handlebars in order to slide them off still connected to the controls. Using a hex key, remove the four bolts on the handlebar risers. Sliding the controls off is as easy as loosening the pinch bolts and off they came. I stuffed them back in the frame to keep them out of the way.

Then disconnect the tachometer drive from the back of the gauge cluster. If the speedo cable is still attached it can also be removed and pulled clear of the bike.

To release the gauges remove the hex key bolt on either side and the gauges will be able to be lifted free, although the electrical connections cannot be disconnected until the headlight is opened up.

To remove the headlight, remove the two small Phillips head screws on either side and hinge the headlight out at the bottom. Once hinged out the top can be disconnected from the clip at the top.

With the headlight clear, it can be disconnected by removing the plug at the back. Make notes on which Wires connect to which frame loom connectors. In most cases they have very specific plug blocks that only fit with the frame side equivalent, but a few are bullet connectors which could be connected to any other bullet connector by mistake upon reassembly.

To remove the headlight bucket and indicators framework, start by removing the two hex key bolts just inside the top of each fork tube.

Then move down to the lower triple clamp and remove the two bolts holding the framework to the forks. It should now be able to be lifted away, again making (and noting) any disconnections to the frame electrical loom. While down here you can remove the brake line connector which is attached to the lower triple clamp, and the entire brake system (with hanging calipers and master cylinder) can be removed from the bike

Finally the two fork tubes can be removed from the triples. Loosen the upper clamp bolts and then carefully remove the lower clamp bolt one side at a time while supporting the fork tube. It should slide down and out of the triple clamps.

The upper triple can now move independently from the lower where the steering stops are. If you have decent paint work, protect the front end of your tank just in case, as it can turn and hit it.

Remove the center bolt on the steering stem and the upper triple clamp can be lifted away. Below it is the steering head nut which was waaaay loose on my bike. If yours is tight it can be loosened with a C spanner, or in desperation, with a flat head screwdriver and hammer by placing the screwdriver in one of the slots and gently tapping it loose. Support the lower triple with your hand and loosen the stem nut. The original bearings are loose balls so you may want to put down a towel or something else to catch them if they fall out.

Carefully remove the bearing (or throw them away if you plan to use new ones) and lower the bottom triple out of the bike. I decided to replace my bearings and races with tapered bearings which are similar but have much better axial load strength (this is the load that would be put on them under heavy braking) whereas the old ball bearing don't.

Due to my tapered bearing install I also remove the upper and lower frame races of the ball bearings. I did this by placing a metal tube down the frame hole, and gently taping around the edge of the existing bearing race. It easily came out of the frame, so I did the same thing for the upper race working through the stem hole from the bottom.

With everything clear of the bike it is now time to move on to the installation of the FZR forks.

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