Protecting your fork seals

If you’d been following Nick Sanders on his Pan-Am record ride (ask him about it here) you may have heard that one of the few problems he had with his Super Tenere was leaky fork seals. Luckily he was due for a service in Salt Lake City so seals were replaced there and didn’t cost him much time.

Since then I’ve heard of five four other cases of leaky fork seals. I wonder if the lower fork legs don’t get enough protection from road grime? Other adventure touring bikes with USD forks have better protection than the Super Tenere. The KTM’s, Triumph Tiger XC, BMW F800GS, all have guards that wrap around the lower fork leg. Yamaha have done it too on the Super Tenere WorldCrosser. For comparison…

Yamaha Super Tenere - WorldCrosser edition - front end

lower fork is well covered in the WorldCrosser

Yamaha Super Tenere front wheel

"bare" fork leg









After a little research it seemed to me the simplest, cheapest way of protecting the fork seals from the majority for grit that might come their way, would be to fit neoprene fork boots. There are a number of brands and styles available, the main difference being whether they are “tubes” (they require removal of the forks to be fitted), or the flat sheet style, which wraps around the leg and is secured with velcro and a cable tie. There are also variations in length.

I considered the Kiega covers for around $20, but decided on the longer Dirt Skins for $15. I’d seen some mention of shorter covers possibly acting like sandpaper on the fork legs because more grit moves through them with more of the fork exposed. I don’t know whether that’s true or not, but rather than take the risk I went for the longer covers. Not fond of the white branding on the Dirt Skins, but what can you do?

Dirt Skins fork protection

Dirt Skins fork protection

Comments (2)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Greg Brown says:

    Hi Trevor.
    If you were factoring mine as one of the reported leaky seals sets,, recalculate..
    It pans out that the bike was strapped down hard on a bench for a couple of days and forced some bypass.. Seals were fine as soon as some miles were put on the road.


    • admin says:

      Ah yes, thanks for reminding me… I knew yours had been leaking and counted them, but had forgotten they “fixed themselves”! Post corrected.

Leave a Reply

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a Gravatar.