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Old 11-01-2013, 04:58 PM   #1
Youngdragon
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Default 35mm fork tubes and damper identification

I have these 35mm fork tubes with dampers, but I can't figure out what year they are from and, consequently what legs they go with. Any ideas? The bottom of the tubes don't have the dimple I'm used to seeing, and the tops of the dampers are unfamiliar as well. The taper at the top of the tubes does seem to fit my trees just fine.

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Old 11-01-2013, 06:15 PM   #2
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Default Re: 35mm fork tubes and damper identification

The Kayaba's had a different size bolt that screws into the damper unit...Larger than the Showa....
I'll go out and measure in a minute..
RP

Edit; I have one ea. disassembled now.
Showa damper screw is about 7.5 mm
Kayaba Damper screw is more like 9mm
This is on Narrowglide H-D front end.
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Old 11-01-2013, 06:27 PM   #3
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Default Re: 35mm fork tubes and damper identification

By "dimple" do you mean the reduced diameter portion of the tube toward the bottom??
One has it and one don't...Damned if I recall which is which...and No...I ain't going out there again just now...Cold, and very wet....
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Old 11-01-2013, 07:44 PM   #4
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Default Re: 35mm fork tubes and damper identification

Groove around the tube about an inch or two from the bottom of the tube is Showa. No groove...Kayaba, first year (or 2) 35mm fork
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Old 11-01-2013, 08:14 PM   #5
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Default Re: 35mm fork tubes and damper identification

Thanks. Looks like I ended up with kayaba tubes. Where can i find some kayaba legs? Are Kayaba's alright or should I look for a complete Showa front end?
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Old 11-01-2013, 09:05 PM   #6
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Default Re: 35mm fork tubes and damper identification

A lot of brands beside HD used 35 mm tubes. But, if they're HD....

Harley used Kayaba from '73 to mid '76, and Showa from then on (in the 35 mm size) I'm not sure of the bolt size either and I'm also too lazy to go look, but I do know that the Kayaba uses an 8mm Allen wrench and the Showa uses a 6mm.

'73 Kayaba sliders are easy to identify, they're set up for the banana caliper. The '74-mid '76 uses the pie shaped caliper on the cloverleaf rotor. The easiest way to tell the difference between those and the mid '76 and '77 Showa (same caliper) is that the Showa has two bolt on axle caps, and the Kayaba has one. '77(xlcr) and '78-about '83 are all dual disc Showa. Later Showa are set up for the next model caliper (about '83-99 style caliper, though 35 mm forks were only used 'til '87 or so.)

Nothing wrong with the Kayaba forks. HD probably changed over 'cause Showas were cheaper. You do need a special tool to get them apart. You can make one from a 12 mm 6 point socket by milling or grinding 4 of the flats round and leaving 2, across from each other, flat.
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Last edited by M.O.Ther; 11-02-2013 at 01:33 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 11-01-2013, 09:33 PM   #7
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Default Re: 35mm fork tubes and damper identification

Quote:
Originally Posted by M.O.Ther View Post
A lot of brands beside HD used 35 mm tubes. But, it they're HD....

Harley used Kayaba from '73 to mid '76, and Showa from then on (in the 35 mm size) I'm not sure of the bolt size either and I'm also too lazy to go look, but I do know that the Kayaba uses an 8mm Allen wrench and the Showa uses a 6mm.

'73 Kayaba sliders are easy to identify, they're set up for the banana caliper. The '74-mid '76 uses the pie shaped caliper on the cloverleaf rotor. The easiest way to tell the difference between those and the mid '76 and '77 Showa (same caliper) is that the Showa has two bolt on axle caps, and the Kayaba has one. '77(xlcr) and '78-about '83 are all dual disc Showa. Later Showa are set up for the next model caliper (about '83-99 style caliper, though 35 mm forks were only used 'til '87 or so.)

Nothing wrong with the Kayaba forks. HD probably changed over 'cause Showas were cheaper. You do need a special tool to get them apart. You can make one from a 12 mm 6 point socket by milling or grinding 4 of the flats round and leaving 2, across from each other, flat.
Showas were used before '76.
In fact I have yet to see Kayaba's on anything later than '73..maybe early '74. My '74 XLH came stock with Showas. But If I could only recall...my FXE came with Kayaba's...But My memory there is Iffy...
Matters Not...Most Pie slice front brakes used Showas...all Banana front brakes [on narrow glides] used Kayabas that I ever saw.
Matters Not really...If you have Kayaba...that is the stuff you need.
Showa does Not interchange dampers nor lowers.
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Old 11-01-2013, 11:19 PM   #8
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Default Re: 35mm fork tubes and damper identification

The "mid '76" part came from memory. Selling parts, I remember there being at least one model year when we had to figure out if the customer had Showa or Kayaba. So I checked my '80 FX parts book just now. The book says the Showa ran from '76 and later. It also says the Kayaba ran from '73-'77. But in the years I spent as a parts guy, I learned that the book isn't always right. And that just because Harley started doing one thing, like using 35 mm Showa forks or building 80" Shovelhead engines, that doesn't mean they stopped doing the previous thing, like using 35 mm Kayaba forks, or building 74" Shovelhead engines right away.

But like Racepres sez, In the end it doesn't matter.

If all that Youngdragon has are tubes and dampers, check the tubes. if they're scratched up, rusted, or pitted where the fork seals ride, then all you have are dampers. In that case, in the long run it may be cheaper to buy a complete set of legs with sliders, and it wouldn't matter which manufacturer. Both will fit in the same set of trees, however none of the parts, except the top caps, will interchange.
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Old 11-01-2013, 11:43 PM   #9
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Default Re: 35mm fork tubes and damper identification

I worked at a dealer when this stuff came out. 73 was definitely Kayaba. 74 was the crossover year and it seems in my dim memory there was a shop bulletin about it. I have had both Kayaba and Showa pie slice brake front ends, but I never saw a Kayaba on a new bike after 74. That doesn't mean it did not happen.
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Old 11-02-2013, 05:32 AM   #10
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Cool Re: 35mm fork tubes and damper identification

I have a set of Kayaba forks with one lug on the left fork leg for the caliper...would this be for the pie slice type caliper ? Am I correct in thinking that the banana type caliper fork leg has two lugs?


Quote:
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74 was the crossover year and it seems in my dim memory there was a shop bulletin about it. I have had both Kayaba and Showa pie slice brake front ends
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Old 11-02-2013, 09:20 AM   #11
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Default Re: 35mm fork tubes and damper identification

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Originally Posted by whittiger650 View Post
I have a set of Kayaba forks with one lug on the left fork leg for the caliper...would this be for the pie slice type caliper ? Am I correct in thinking that the banana type caliper fork leg has two lugs?
Yes...That would be correct. Tho basically the "lug" for the Banana was a single, large Lug with two holes.
I may just have a set of extra tubes for a Kayaba here someplace...Will look.
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Old 11-04-2013, 02:20 PM   #12
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Default Re: 35mm fork tubes and damper identification

Thanks for the info.
I was able to find a set of Kayaba legs pretty quickly. I have the axle from the showa legs. Will that work with the Kayaba legs? It seems to fit properly but I would like to be sure.
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Old 11-04-2013, 05:21 PM   #13
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Default Re: 35mm fork tubes and damper identification

I never worried about the axle...So I guess I don't know...Been interchanging them right along.
I did have one instance where I felt the axle was too short by a small bit...Didn't give it enough thought to stop progress tho...Still running like that far as I know.
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Old 11-04-2013, 07:33 PM   #14
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Default Re: 35mm fork tubes and damper identification

I think that there are 2 basic 35mm axles, PN 43871-73 for 73-77, and 43883-77 for 78 and up. Should not matter whether Showa or Kayaba. Big difference is the length of the large diameter portion of the axle.
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Old 12-04-2015, 01:58 PM   #15
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Default Re: 35mm fork tubes and damper identification

So I've got a set of forks that I'm having trouble identifying. Here are some pictures, they seem to be machined to accept the pie slice caliper with a bolt on bracket for mounting as opposed to the cast lug. Anyone seen these before? They don't have springs and may be missing other parts so before I can assemble the parts I need I'd like to identify them. Thanks in advance






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Old 12-04-2015, 03:14 PM   #16
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Default Re: 35mm fork tubes and damper identification

That looks like a 73 Kayaba that has had the banana brake mount cut off and modified for a Pie Slice caliper. None of them had holes drilled in them like that to mount the caliper mount plate. Pull the tube out of the slider, and if there is NOT a groove around the tube about a 1/2" or 1" from the bottom, Then it is a Kayaba...... No groove=Kayaba. Groove= Showa. Also the early ones (73-74 or so) had the word Japan above the inside axle holes on Kayabas. The Showas said Showa in the same place.

Last edited by dbkp; 12-04-2015 at 03:21 PM. Reason: more info
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Old 12-04-2015, 04:34 PM   #17
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Default Re: 35mm fork tubes and damper identification

+1 on Kayaba. There's only one axle cap. Showa forks had two.
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Old 12-07-2015, 07:31 PM   #18
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Default Re: 35mm fork tubes and damper identification

Thanks for the replies. The machining and bracket fab was boggling my mind. All that for a pie slice? Kayaba it is...
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Old 12-07-2015, 08:18 PM   #19
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Default Re: 35mm fork tubes and damper identification

Too add to this my brother and I bought new 1975 XLH's both had Showa. A friend bought a 1976 Liberty FX it has Kayaba.
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