Gen II fork bushings

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Oct 26, 2012
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I just took a fork apart to replace a small leak I couldn’t remedy with sealmate. Surprisingly to me after 47k original miles on the forks, and the first time a seal leaks, the tubes came apart fairly easy with just 5 whacks.  The middle bushing is in better than expected shape it shows very little wear if any with the teflon intact. I’m debating leaving the middle bushing out and just replacing the worn out lower and upper (not worn out either).  I know there’s a debate on the middle bushing need.  Anyone encountered issues leaving it out? I was going to add pics but didn’t see an option to do that.

That is typical for the middle bushings. The bottom ones take all the wear. 

some suspension shops do leave the middle bushing out. I believe their theory is it helps reduce the fork stiction.  Not sure most people would ever notice the difference in feel. As I understand it the middle bushing is there to help keep the forks from flexing under heavy suspension loads such as breaking. 

I haven’t personally left the middle bushing out so I can’t give you any personal feedback, but I would put it in as that’s how they were designed to operate.  Changing springs and/or the cartridges have a far greater affect on performance. 

I bought my 2011 used and it came with Traxxion Dynamics AK20 fork innards that were installed by the original owner.  I recently had to do seals and bushings (Seal Mate didn't work anymore) and discovered that he did the installation WITH the middle bushing.  I did it without the middle bushing (as Traxxion does) since I didn't have the tool needed to set it in place and found no discernible difference in the "feel".  As to if it would make a difference in wear rate, in rough road riding or in hard braking, I don't really know.  Most of the bushing wear is in the lower one although middle and upper can be damaged if you have difficulty getting them apart.

I don’t have a saw to cut pipe and no tool to drive the middle bushing.  I’m gonna go with lower and upper bushings.  I think it should be ok. 

Update:  I put it all back together and used belray 10w oil.  Tweaked suspension settings and went for a ride. Its like a new bike! No more leaks and it rides great!  

I believe that the Belray 5W is a little closer to the OEM but I think you will be fine.  Play with the fork adjustments if it seems a bit harsh.

I always used the 5W in my 07.  It had Hyperpro upgraded springs.  As mentioned,  play with adjustment.