HOME and how to join › Forum › Open Area › General Scott topics › Hello, and Dowty forks
Hello Everyone, I’m Paul from London, and new to Scotting, but not old bikes. I have just got my 1948 Shipley running , but need some advice on the forks. Should they leak? Do I rebuild them myself or send them to an expert, and where do I get the bits? When I grease the sliders the grease oozes lower down, surely not a good thing!
Any help much appreciated
The first thing you must do is seriously question the condition of the inside of the upper tubes as upon this rests all hope of getting them to seal with any hope of reliability. If they are anything less than polished like a mirror with no pits or other marks you are pretty well wasting your time and money fitting new seals.
That said I understand that the Panther mob can be helpful.
I have been pondering this very problem for some time now as the top tubes on my kit-o-bits are pretty well scrap, not only are they rust pitted inside but they ‘aint very straight either! The chances of obtaining imperial tube of the right size in this benighted metricated country seem to be slim. (Ponder on this: The millimetre is about the same size as the human flea – and about as much use…)
The Oleomatic forks as a concept are an attractive idea and it’s a shame that they were made by the bean counters not the engineers because they finished up being rubbish. I rather suspect that not only has the inside of the tube been designed to rust but the material is not quite up to the job either and bends when confronting a pothole resulting in the tube momentarily going oval thus increasing the risk of deflation.
Short of replacing the top tubes or having the bores of the existing ones hard chromed and honed to size I can offer little succour. In the long term I think that I’ve come up with a design that eliminates the sliding seal entirely, requires a minimum of alteration to existing parts while leaving the outside untouched. There is a quantity problem regarding the material I’d choose to use for the seals, (Would sir like more than one 45 gallon drum?), and there would also be some tooling and testing required so it would need a fair number of people to be keen to make it worth the effort and spread the cost. I have some drawings, do you go to any London section meetings?
If you wanted to go really off the wall, well you are a Scott owner, I suppose you could always disguise a small compressor as a second Pilgrim pump. Attached to the engine and piped to the forks it’d keep you floating like them old ’60’s Citroen cars!
Velocette also used Dowty forks and I believe their owners have come up with a coil spring conversion. This would eliminate the problem of leaking seals
The only reservation I have regarding the spring conversion route is that, as I understand it, all damping is sacrificed. I don’t know how good a ride is to be had by going this route but I have this of mental picture of Zebedee and the “Magic Roundabout”! (I’m more of a Dougal myself but you get the idea.)
I have been told that Norton ‘Roadholder’ forks work well with the Scott’s frame and can be fitted without too much grief, that is if a pair can be found of course.
I had a pair of Dowty forks converted to spring by Gerry Howard of Pilgrim Pump fame, and they were wizard. They were damped with oil. I don’t think that Gerry does it any more but it definitely works. Good luck
Hello Paul, Are your forks leaking air or is it just the grease oozing out that you are concerned about as this is normal. You only need a very small amount to lubricate the bottom sliders. Dowty Forks are made by the same firm that make Oleo legs for aircraft and are well engineered and very strong. I have a photo somewhere showing a Scott that had collided with a van, the forks were not damaged but the frame was badly bent. I have owned my 1949 Scott for 25 years and never had any problems with the forks. I was told the secret is to makesure you keep them topped up with oil. best wishes Ted.
Hi again everyone
Thank you for your supportive comments and ideas. My biggest problem, is, that I don’t know anyone else with a Scott and therefore don’t know what ‘normal’ might be! I’m not certain that it’s MOT’able as it is, so can’t really bimble along to a meet.
So, should the forks be like that, should the clutch be so, umm, loud, how quickly should the drippy pump thingy drip? So many ponderables, such an unusual bike. But I already know that, should the garage catch fire, the first bike rescued is the Scott, blimey, I must be odd…….
Hi Paul Welcome to the clan. I suggest you visit one of the two London section club nights and meet a few members. You will find a warm welcome and all the info you want. There is a bit to learn, but not enough to be apprehensive about. Some of us, having mainly owners from remote locations in mind, have tried to put some open access info on the web. The following link might be helpful
Other info on our website.
I only had one bike with Dowty forks and I fitted a set of Norton Roadholders and Norton front brake, but than, back in those days nobody thought that doing a special was sacrilege. Best listen to those who know on this subject. Kindest Regards Roger
Hi Paul Re your comments re Drippy thing
Perhaps this from our “Technical info” section might be of interest
Read somewhere that it was not unusual to pump them once a week. Had mine rebuild with springs and oil-damper, can supply with some photos, but rebuilding this way is a rather big job.