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Installing Progressive Front Springs

Installing Progressive springs was surprisingly quick and easy. About an hour at the outside. Of the two bikes I did, one came with Genmar risers and the other (mine) has Heli-bars. Here's how it went. Do one side at a time.
On both bikes, I first remove the handlebars. On a bike with stock bars, I think you can get away without this step and save a few minutes. This is really straight forward and only allen wrenches are required - one for the main mounts and a much smaller one for the screws on the handlebar uprights in the case of the Genmars; one size wrench only for the Heli-bars. Cover the tank with a rag and lay the bars with everything still attached over to one side so you have a clear view of the top of the tube and preload adjuster.

With a 19mm box end wrench or deep socket, slowly loosen the cap at the top of the fork tube. A regular socket won't work unless you have the preload cranked all the way in. In that case, hang on tight when the cap comes to the end of its threads.  I covered mine with a rag folded over several times and held it in place with my free hand. When the cap comes completely unscrewed there will be some pressure on the cap so hang on a bit. Once the pressure is off, that's it.

There is a round metal plate about the size of a quarter below the cap, on top of the spring. The bottom of the preload screw applies pressure on this piece.

Next, I slowly pulled out the old spring without any loss of oil. I didn't check the oil level or change it as the bikes were quite new.

Insert the Progressives; the instructions say that on the Concours, it doesn't make any difference which end is up or down. I put them in the same way as the stock springs came out. Check the o-ring on the cap before putting it back in to make sure it's still in good shape.

Put the little quarter sized plate on top of the spring. Now is when you need the 19mm deep socket. Trying to apply pressure on the cap while trying to turn and get the threads to start is damn near impossible. I didn't have a 17mm deep socket but found that a 13/16ths spark plug socket works just fine. I backed off on the preload all the way. This reduces the spring pressure that you have to overcome and the job goes very smoothly. Don't use the spark plug socket to initially loosen or to put the final tightening on the cap as the fit is not tight enough and will round off the corners. Just snug the plug down and finish it off with the box end wrench.

Reinstall the handlebars.

Article By: David J. Morrow

August 2001 

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