Well Dropbear I don't think you understand how I'm looking at this. Let me explain... .
Actually, I DO understand how you're looking at it, and I still say you're looking at it wrong.
Ignoring the rest of it where you're talking about damaged forks etc...
The lower half of these forks (the sliders) move independantly
of each other on their respective tubes. This includes rotational movement as well as perpendicular movement. It is the axle that actually does the aligning of the sliders. Not the other way around.
With the bike completely unloaded, ie with the wheel in the air, then the two fork legs will each try to extend to their fully extended lengths.
situation, it's possible that because one leg can extend further than the other (remember we're talking about when one tube is higher than the other in the triples) in relation to the bike, then
get an axle that is not quite true with respect to it's lateral orientation. in other words, not exactly horizontal.
Though even in this scenario, you would need to have excessive slop in the way the tubes are fitting into the sliders.
Once the wheel is back on terra firma, the independant nature of the way the sliders move will put the axle in it's correct position. You will then only have the imbalanced preload situation as described. Again, all this is assuming the forks are in good condition to start with and that we're only talking about 10 mil or so difference from one side to the other.
After any crashes etc, all bets are off. But then you'd only be doing this "mod" if your forks were in good condition anyway right?
Having said all that, if you feel better removing the wheel to do it, (shift the tubes in the clamps, that is) then go ahead. no harm can be done. It's just simply not necessary. I know.. I did it!
I did mine by putting the bike up on it's center stand, placing a jack and a block of wood under the header pipes, use the jack to just take the weight off the front wheel, loosen the clamps bolts, lower the jack to slide the tubes up into the triples and do up the clamps. Easy. No wheel removal required. I did have to give one of the tubes a helping hand to slide upwards a little, but because the tubes move independantly of each other,
this was very simple to do. I just had to wrap my hand around the tube and twist it slightly back and forth while it slid itself up into the triple because of the pressure form the spring.
Axle and wheel alignment completely unaffected.
Originally Posted by drivit
the correct way to reassemble forks is tighten the front axle first.
I'd argue this point too. Otherwise you'd be reassembling your forks every time you changed your tyre. Because tightening the axle is done while the forks are still assembled on the bike, yeah?
Please note that I am in no way trying to bag anyone here. I mean no disrespect to anyone. Just trying to correct a couple of misconceptions.