Suspending the Front End of my Bike with a Ladder!


It’s rather low-tech, but sometimes you’ve gotta work with what you’ve got. Repairing my Honda Rebel has led to a lot of innovative fixes, and the last time I had to bring the front end up, I used straps to suspend it from a rafter, rather than a ladder. Ladders are a little more portable than garage rafters, though, so when you don’t have rafters in your garage, a ladder can do quite nicely.

Using a ladder for my Honda Rebel repair, I’m able to fix my forks a lot easier than it would be with blocks under the bike. Often, blocks are used to support the front end of a Honda Rebel, because the pipes are lower than the frame. The centerstand wouldn’t help, if there was a centerstand on the Rebel. As they say, necessity breeds invention!

bike-on-ladder

A few things about using the ladder, though – the ladder is rated for an up to 250lb load. The Rebel 250 is heavier than that, of course, but the wet weight of a Honda Rebel is 320lbs, if memory serves, and I’m only lifting up half of it. The maximum that the ladder is probably supporting is around 200lbs, which a 250lb ladder should be able to handle just fine.

If you’re going to use a ladder to suspend your motorcycle, then please look at the safety label to see that it can support at least 2/3 of your bike’s weight.

As you can see, the ladder is doing a decent job holding the bike up. I really like doing that for fork and brake work, but it gets a little cumbersome after a while. It’s definitely not the best solution but if all you have around is a ladder, and you don’t feel like doing the block trick with a bike lift and the front end definitely has to be suspended, then throwing a ladder on it isn’t going to hurt anything. It wasn’t easy getting the cylinder head and the jugs outta there with that ladder in the way, and it was even more difficult trying to figure out how to do a decent helicoil when the best location was taken up by the ladder’s legs. But it’s not too hard to deal with, either.

 

The one thing that was kind of difficult was dealing with how the cinch straps would turn and twist when I was tightening it down. I’m not sure if there’s an easy fix for that, but since it’s a relatively rare occasion that the front end gets suspended anyway, then it’s just something that will have to be dealt with when it comes to it.

 

 

Repairing the Fork Seals for the Millionth Time

It hasn’t been very long since I last replaced my fork seals. Apparently the problem was more than just the fork seals. I had some pitting that I fixed last time, sanding, then filling with JB Weld, and sanding again.

While I believe those repairs worked, what I didn’t account for the last time that I took my Honda Rebel’s forks apart was that the fork bushings could be in bad shape, too. I’m not sure why I never got to changing the bushings the last few times I’d replaced the fork seals, but at least I’m getting to it now.

Draining the old fork oil from the Honda Rebel's forks.

The biggest issue I have with replacing the bushings and all is that it gets a lot more expensive than just replacing the fork seals. That, and I’m not an expert at Honda Rebel repair so I kind of fudge my way through it mostly, and then remember that stupid screw at the bottom after ten minutes of trying to get the damn things apart.

My latest ratbike fix for my leaking fork seals involved tying a bandanna around and between my forks. It looks a lot cooler than the clamped shirt sleeve I had before. In any case, it kept me from getting the fork oil all over, like it had in the past before I decided to cover the leaking fork seals. Not a permanent fix, but with new fork seals failing even three weeks after they’re installed, it was frustrating.

The fork oil leak was gradual, but I think the fork oil is practically gone at this point, because the handling had changed. I’ve got a little bit of a wobble in the front at this point, and I’m pretty sure it’s just the lack of fork oil pressure that’s doing it.