MXA TEAM TESTED: SEALSAVERS FORK SEAL COVERS
WHAT IS IT? A SealSavers is a neoprene fork seal cover that wipes away dirt and mud that have accumulated on the forks before it can get to your fork seals. If you are tired of blown fork seals, SealSavers are the best solution to the high cost of replacing fork seals.
WHAT’S IT COST? $19.95 (slip-on), $26.95 (zip-on).
CONTACT? www.sealsavers.com or (951) 757-0458.
WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand out with the SealSavers.
(1) Problem. Fork designers aspire to reduce stiction between the fork tube and fork stanchion (where the seal head is located). They achieve this by reducing the tension of the fork seals against the fork leg. With less seal tension, the forks move more freely, but it also opens the door for more fork-seal leaks, as dirt and debris get under the looser seal lipa.
(2) Blown fork seals. Fork seals are unlikely to blow out from the fork tubes simply sliding up and down. They need a catalyst to cause the seals to leak. That catalyst is dirt. The roost from the bike in front of you and from the back of your own front tire coats the fork leg in a gritty mist of abrasive debris. No matter how hard the stock dust seals work to keep dirt away from the fork seals, some dirt will always get past. That dirt will wear away the sharp edges of the seal’s lip or lodge underneath the seal.
(3) Neoprene. SealSavers are made from neoprene foam. Neoprene is a stretchy, absorbent and pliable rubber that is best known as “wet suit” material. SealSavers wrap a “wet suit” around your fork legs to keep dirt away from your fragile fork seals.
(4) Installation. The original SealSavers are installed with the fork removed from the bike. First, find which end of the SealSavers has the largest diameter, and put that facing downward. Next, fold the bottom of the SealSavers up 1 inch, and then slide the SealSavers down the fork leg until it gets to the fork-seal head (the bulbous part of the fork stanchion). Once it is in place, grab the part of the neoprene that you folded over and pull it down (as it unravels, it will extend onto the chrome fork leg). Slide the SealSavers down until you have three-quarters of it on the chrome fork leg and one-quarter on the seal head. Finally, secure it with the supplied zip-tie.
(5) Options. SealSavers come in different diameters to fit Pee-Wee, 65cc, 85cc and full-size fork-tube diameters. Color options are black, blue, red, gold, orange, grey, yellow, green and silver.
(6) Zip-On SealSavers. If you don’t want to remove your forks, you can order Zip-On SealSavers. They are easier to install. The best installation trick is to zip them up completely while they are on the chrome fork tube, and then pull them up over the fork’s seal head.
WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? If the zip-tie isn’t tight enough, the neoprene covers can slide off, bunch up or get torn. They can also ball up and hang at the bottom of your fork leg. Plus, as you can imagine, putting a stretchy rubberized tube on your forks increase stiction. It is important to put the zip-tie in a spot that allows the fork guard to rub against it instead of the neoprene or the fork guard will wear through the neoprene. When the neoprene gets wet, water can migrate under the fork seasl and dilute your fork oil. If the Seal Saver slides down it can bunch up at the bottom of the forks leg.
MXA RATING: In a status-backed world where coolness is accrued to the best-looking machine, SealSavers are not popular with image-conscious motocross racers. But, take our word for it, SealSavers are a $20 investment that will save you hundreds of dollars over a season. They work.