MXA TEAM TESTED: PC RACING NEOPRENE FORK SKINS

June 7, 2012
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WHAT IS IT? PC Racing fork skins are neoprene sleeves that fit over your fork seals to prevent contamination and extend the life of your seals.

WHAT’S IT COST? $19.95.

CONTACT? www.pcracingusa.com or (951) 698-4962.

WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand out with PC Racing fork skins.
 
(1) The dilemma
. One of the major goals of every suspension designer, whether he is at Showa, Kayaba, WP, Ohlins or Marzocchi, is to reduce stiction (static friction). Static friction?caused by the mechanical interference of the fork wipers, forks seals and surface tension drag?lessens the responsiveness of the forks to small bumps. One of the major differences between works forks and production forks is that works forks are more fluid because of less seal drag. To reduce stiction, fork manufacturers decrease the spring pressure on the fork seal. The looser the seal fits to the chrome fork leg, the less stiction. It is a simple formula. The downside is that the looser the fork seal fits, the more likely it is to leak, get grit trapped under it, or blow out from wear and tear. Blown fork seals, sometimes in the first week of usage, are common on modern forks.

(2) The solution. PC Racing fork skins are neoprene sleeves designed to fit over the fork seals. Because they are made from wet-suit material, they form a skintight bond with the chrome fork legs. You don’t need to be Stephen Hawkings’ handmaiden to realize that fork skins greatly reduce the mud and dirt contamination that is the enemy of all seals. Whenever MXA has a test bike with suspect seal integrity (think Honda CRF250 Showa forks), we put PC Racing’s fork skins on each leg to increase the life of the stock fork seals.

(3) Application
. PC Racing fork skins are easy to install?if your forks are already off your bike. The fork skins slide down over the fork stanchions until they bridge the gap between the stanchions and the fork legs. If the fork skins are hard to slide down over the larger upper tube of the fork, you can wet the fork skins to make them slippery. Once you have the fork skins in place, put a zip-tie around the top to keep the motion of the forks from pulling the fork skins down. It is important not to leave too much of ther neoprene sleeve hanging down on the fork tubes. If you do it can bunch up and become a bottoming cone when the forks get full travel. This could cut the neoprene and/or effect the last inch of travel.

(4) Performance. Make no mistake about it?this is not a performance mod. PC fork skins push stiction off the chart. This might matter to Kevin Windham, but the average racer has to balance the cost of replacing fork seals against the potential for a little extra drag. Not every MXA test rider chooses to run fork skins, but every MXA test rider wishes that he had chosen to run fork skins when fork oil dribbles onto his front brake rotor in the middle of a race.

WHAT’S THE SQUAWK?
Two quibbles: (1) We do wear them out in the course of a racing season, but at $19.95 a set, they aren’t a hardship to replace. (2) You can’t run a holeshot device with the fork skins in place.


MXA test riders gave PC Racing’s fork skins everything from one-star to five-stars. We couldn’t get the performance-oriented and durability-oriented test riders to agree. In the end, if you are haunted by blown fork seals, this is a four-star product.

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