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MXA WRENCH TECH: HOW TO REPLACE TRIPLE CLAMPS WITH PRO TAPER’S CHARLES CASTLOO

April 14, 2012
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Several shortcuts can be taken when installing new triple clamps, such as keeping the front wheel attached to the forks, but these shortcuts aren’t recommended and could potentially cause serious problems. Do not rush when replacing triple clamps. During this installation, the lower steering stem bearing was already pressed into the stem. Also, always work on your bike when it’s clean and free of dirt. This makes mechanical work much easier. 

TOOLS REQUIRED:
? Hammer
? Metal punch
? Lint-free rag
? Hex axle tool
? Socket driver
? Bearing grease
? Torque wrench
? Phillips head screwdriver
? Appropriate Allen wrenches
? Spanner/steering stem wrench
? T-handles (8mm, 10mm, 12mm)
? Appropriate open-ended wrenches
WHAT YOU NEED TO BUY:
? Grip glue (optional)
? Safety wire (optional)
? Handlebars (optional)
? Triple clamps
? Handlebar mounts
? Grips (optional)
 TIME TO COMPLETE: 30-35 minutes



STEP 1
With the bike clean and firmly planted on the stand, remove the handlebar pad and front number plate and pull the gas cap hose out of the steering stem hole. Remove all bolt-on components from the handlebars (clutch perch, front brake assembly, kill switch and throttle assembly). Be sure to note the cable routing prior to removing these components. With a 10mm T-handle, carefully loosen the top bar mount clamp bolts. Remove the bolts and the handlebars from the clamps.


STEP 2
Using an 8mm T-handle wrench, remove the bolts holding the front fender to the underside of the bottom triple clamp. Only then should you remove the front wheel using the appropriate open-end wrenches. When removing the front axle, do not use a hammer, as it will damage the aluminum axle. Instead, use a Hex axle tool and socket driver. Once the wheel is off the bike, use the appropriate wrench (Allen or T-handle) to remove the front brake caliper from the fork leg. Using an 8mm T-handle wrench, remove the front brake line guide from the lower triple clamp and set it aside for reinstallation on your new clamps. Loosen the fork guard brake line clamp bolts and slide the front brake line out of the housing. Completely remove the front brake from the bike.


 

STEP 3
Loosen the bottom clamp pinch bolts on the right fork tube using a 10mm T-handle wrench. Then, loosen the upper clamp pinch bolts while holding on to the fork tube with your left hand. As the clamp loosens, the fork tube will begin to slide down. Carefully slide the fork tube down through the clamps and set the tube out of harm’s way (standing up). Follow the same procedure with the left fork tube.

STEP 4
Loosen and remove the steering stem nut with a 32mm open-end wrench. Then remove the washer, followed by the upper clamp. Take extreme care when loosening the steering stem nut, as the top clamp can rotate violently and dent the gas tank.

STEP 5
After the top clamp has been removed, the upper stem seal and bearing will be exposed. Using a hammer and punch, very carefully loosen the lower stem spanner nut. Once the lower stem spanner nut is removed, the lower clamp will drop out of the steering stem, so hold the clamp while removing the nut. Gently remove the lower clamp, followed by the top bearing and seal.

STEP 6
Inspect the top bearing and seal. If these parts aren’t damaged or worn, they can be cleaned, regreased and reinstalled. With a lint-free rag, clean the bearing race surfaces where the bearings contact inside your frame and the steering stem itself, removing any built-up dirt and grime. Using OEM-specified bearing grease, carefully grease the lower bearing located on the base of the new triple clamp.

STEP 7
Slide the new bottom triple clamp through the steering head of your frame. Install the greased top bearing and seal into the top bearing race. Make sure that the bottom bearing and seal are fully seated into the lower bearing race. Install the steering stem washer (if one was removed with your OEM triple clamps) and spanner nut. With a spanner wrench, tighten the nut to the appropriate torque specification suggested in your owner’s manual.

STEP 8
Install the new bar mounts on the new top triple clamp. Make sure that you keep the mounts slightly loose. You will tighten the bar mounts later. Slide the top triple clamp onto the steering stem. Place the washer and steering stem nut on the stem and hand tighten. The nut will be torqued in a later step.


STEP 9

Reinstall the right fork leg into the new clamp assembly. Make sure that the triple clamp pinch bolts are loose enough to allow the fork leg to slide into the clamp. Pay special attention to cable routing. Set the fork tube at the proper height in the clamp and tighten the lower fork tube pinch bolts to the recommended torque specification found in your owner’s manual. Install the left fork leg using the same procedure. Make sure that the fork leg height on both tubes is the same.


 

STEP 10
Using a torque wrench, tighten the steering stem to the recommended torque specification found in your owner’s manual. Only then should you tighten the upper fork pinch bolts to the proper torque spec. Slide the throttle body onto the new handlebars.It is important to do this before securing the handlebars to the bike, as the throttle cables are not long enough to do it once the handlebars are mounted up. Install the handlebar in the mounts and finger tighten. The bar clamps typically have a mark or arrow noting which side of the clamps should face forward.


STEP 11
With the handlebars installed into the bar mounts, you can now torque the lower bar mount nuts to the recommended spec. Move the bars to the preferred riding position and torque the top bar mounts to the recommended spec. Reattach the front fender to the new lower clamp using the proper bolts.


 


STEP 12 
 
Reattach the front wheel to the forks, making sure that the axle doesn’t bind up. Use a hex axle tool and socket wrench to tighten the axle. Using the proper routing, install the front brake caliper. Tighten the fork guard brake clamp bolts around the brake line. Reinstall the stock brake line guide to the left side of your lower clamp, and be sure to run the brake line through this guide as well.

STEP 13
Reinstall all your handlebar’s bolt-on components (clutch perch, front brake assembly, kill switch and throttle assembly). Check to make sure that the cable routing is correct and that the cable moves freely. Install new grips if you replaced the handlebars during the triple clamp installation. As a safety precaution, double check all nuts and bolts before riding to ensure tightness. Pro Taper recommends that you re-torque all hardware associated with this project after your first ride. 

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