Covenant Re-visited

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Mar 21, 2006
Not long after I bought my 850 I fitted the Covenant front fork kit to overcome topping out and provide a full compression hydraulic stop. The mod seemed to do this ok and most noticeably the clicking on full extension over hump back bridges etc was cured.
Since then other posts have argued about the additional sleeve ie. whether to fix or allow to float. I had followed RGM instructions which stated " the alloy sleeve sits on the fork stanchion below the top bush, being free to float ...."
In Peter Crispin's original thesis he states that this sleeve "will need to be prevented from falling down inside the slider" and suggests Loctite.
I have just overhauled my forks again but this time I have modified an old top oilite bush by grinding off the top hat and reducing the overall length to about 1.5". I have Loctited this bush into the slider directly under the top bush. I left the assembly overnight to cure and then removed again, to make sure that the Loctite was not too strong to dismantle. Happily it came apart ok, needing more stanchion slide hammer action than before, but perfectly do-able nonetheless.
So with more confidence I reassembled it for the second time, using Loctite Nut lock (fairly weak grade) and did the other leg the same.
The ride is now more supple and compliant.
RGM imply that the mod with floating bush "controls the front end better under racing condition when patter can sometimes upset the steering".
If you study the workshop manual you will see that a floating bush will always rest at the bottom of the stanchion next to the circlipped steel collar and will completely cover up the large and small stanchion holes. This must have a significant restricting effect on the oil flow and materially affect the action of the fork. Maybe it is an advantage when racing but for road use I feel these holes should not be restricted in this way.
Perhaps I am missing something here, but I have reverted to a fixed bush as per Crispin's design and all seems well.
Strange...have driven that stinker for a number of years now, and just after reading this thread, I go for a spin, pass some convertible with some young thing behind the wheel and up over a hump in the road and wham...the forks extend and send a shock to the wrists and a "Oh, S**t" to my brain. Never, never had this happen before, in all those years. Goes to show. :lol:
Stock Commando set up has the dampener rod and it's valve attached to the end as the travel limiting stop for top outs. It's not Ideal. The slipper bushing in the covenant kit backs up this system and adds some oil dampening. It does not help the oil system for bottom out much. Fresh top caps for the dampener body and new oil will band aid it for a while. It depends on the problem you are trying to solve. This was the basis for the kits I have built for years now. Getting the front end to work right has it's challenges . As always there are some who say "problem what problem" why would I want 6 inches of travel when 4 and 1/2 have worked all these years. Do what you want you will anyway.
Norbsa48503. I think you are absolutely right. When Norton did a half- baked copy of the old Matchless fork they lost the potential full 6" travel. If they had done it right, the top bush would have worked properly as a full extension hydraulic stop and the full compression would have been ok too. I had done my Covenant conversion before I got clued up about your full travel kit.
Maybe once I have lived with the current overhaul for a while I will be tempted to fit your kit. Perhaps you would send PM with prices etc to UK. Cheers.
norbsa48503 maybe you could post a link for your fork kits. I am also interested in the mod kit you make.
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