Let’s Talk TaoTao TBR7 Fork Oil

There are many things out of the box; the TBR7 seems to ‘need.’ Or at least I ‘want.’ (TaoTao TBR7 Upgrades To Do List) I might be a heavier rider, 185 pounds, and the front fork is too ‘squishy.’ Or ‘soft’ as others have put it. After several web searches and forum readings, there are many options. I plan to change the preload (????), change the TBR7 fork oil, or change the forks. I’ll cover why I decided to change the TBR7’s fork oil over the other options that I read. Plus, cover extra fork information along the way.

So my goal is to ‘stiffen’ the motorcycle’s front forks, and I weighed each option here with my conclusion.

Change TaoTao TBR7 Fork Pre-Loads?

TBR7 Fork Preload? Yeah, I briefly read this and went back to look at my TBR7’s forks. There is nothing but a large nut at the top. No (+) or (-) signs or markings. Nothing. It seems after some additional research, the preloading that is being talked about is a spacer inside the TBR7’s fork that loads compression on the spring when the fork housing is assembled.  

Ah….. I realized this was out of my league since I couldn’t find any of these spaces, so for now, I am skipping changing the fork preloads on my to-do list. I mentioned Preload, and I’m sure I had a few readers scratching their heads just as I did. I hope to post photos of this ‘preload’ later as I disassemble the forks. So NOT going with changing fork preloads

Change The Whole Forks?

I have a lot of fun upgrading parts like the carburetor, the headlight bulb, and even the whole exhaust, but I am not interested in modifying the complete fork setup. The upgrade can be costly and require modifications to the TBR7 I am not prepared to do. Still a motorcyclist newbie, so this might come with time, but I might have grown tired of the TBR7 entirely by that time. So no fork changing for me.

Change The TBR7 Fork Oil?

By this time, I have done several oil changes on the TBR7. I have a long history of changing the oil on all the cars I’ve ever owned. So the idea of changing the oil on the forks seems like the low-hanging fruit I am looking for to improve the fork behavior.

Problem, ‘squishy’ forks, Solution, change the fork oil. Changing the oil seems like a winner to me.

Why Should We Change The Fork Oil?

I recall doing the first oil change. The shipping oil experience wasn’t good. I ran the TBR7 with the original oil before realizing it was just too easy to change the oil to a brand I trusted. It wasn’t a good experience seeing the condition of the drained shipping oil after just a couple of rides (Post: About My Oil Change Dilemma ). Too easy to do simple maintenance like a fluid change. The oil’s quality in the forks is a ‘mystery,’ and I should have changed the fork oil already.

Does Changing Fork Oil Make A Difference?

Based on what I read, a ‘thicker’ oil or higher viscosity oil will dampen the compression of the forks. What I am feeling, the ‘squishy’ forks, is called having a soft suspension. With the higher viscosity oil, I should have a firmer set of forks.

What Viscosity Is In The TBR7’s Forks Now?

I don’t know. I have checked the TaoTao TBR7 manual and found nothing mentioned about the forks. I couldn’t find any mentioning of the weight for fork oil that is stock in the TBR7. My goal is to firm up the forks, and I am unsure about the current fork oil weight. Deciding on the new fork oil weight will challenge choosing the type of fork oil, and actually, I am guessing. Here are my guesses;

  1. Use a name-brand fork oil. Some easy choices are BelRay and Maxima. There are others, but based on my reading, these are readily available and have good reputations.
  2. Weight? Trying to figure a weight to chose is confusing from the sources I found. Since 10w, 5w, 15w, the ‘w’ isn’t really ‘weight.’ Each manufacturer has its own designation of what the ‘w’ value means in viscosity. Meaning on brands, 10w isn’t the same viscosity another brand of the same 10w rating. So an apples-to-apples comparison might not be available.  

My guessing solution. I will pick a brand and a weight. If I do not like the fork’s responses, I will use the same brand and try a different weight. Fork oil isn’t expensive. However, changing it can be messy and time-consuming, from what I read. This is my plan moving forward.

How Often Should You Change Fork Oil?

In hindsight, a fork oil change might have been one of the first items when assembling the TBR7. Too late for me, but something new TBR7 owners should do.

As we advance, I plan to change the fork oil, but I was curious about the maintenance schedule for fork oil changes. Follow the manufactures service intervals is recommended. I looked in the TBR7 Owner’s manual and found nothing. It seems TaoTao left this information out.  

Now no information from TaoTao about the TBR7’s fork oil schedule in the manual, so had to search the web for change intervals for fork oil?  

My Guess: At least yearly. Yeah, that’s what I got. There is a range of mileage intervals depending on the source, and I cannot lock it down. But based on the number of miles (10k-25k) I’ve read, yearly sounds like an excellent way to change the fork oil frequently enough, without having to do the math in your head. Of course, I will later decide it should be done at the end of the riding season or riding season.   

I’m leaning towards the end of the season before the bike is put away. This way, the bike is ready for spring or any quick rides on warm winter days.

Which Motorcycle Fork Oil Is Best? Brand/Weight?

As I said before, I would pick one name-brand fork oil that is readily available and experiment with the weights.  

Based on a quick couple of Amazon brand searches, I can have Maxima, an Amazon Choice, and Bel-Ray delivered to my door in two days with my Prime membership. Both are locally available at my Cycle Gear shop, so flipping a coin, Bel-Ray is who I am trying first.  

If this choice is wrong, please leave feedback in the comment section below. I would love to hear your opinion. However, Bel-Ray is a more familiar name with dirt-bike riding, so going with it for now.  

So, Which Fork Oil Weight Is Best?

I’m not too fond of the stock fork oil or the fork’s softness when braking and responding to the road, going with heavier oil. I did look for a TBR7 fork oil weight chart but couldn’t find one. So guessing again, I am first trying 15w.

Conclusion: What Is My Plan To Change My TBR7 Fork Oil With?

Bel-Ray 15w Fork Oil.

This post is a long post about fork oil. I had many questions and never planned a fork oil change in my life. So I overthought this and wanted to show others my plans and hopefully get some feedback from experienced motorcycle riders.

Ride Safe, Ride Fun.

Click To See My Recommended
TBR7 Upgrades

Leave a Comment