Just installed a Manitou R7 and proceeded to dump my bike hard in a rock garden. I didn’t bend the forks but I did gouge the upper tube of the left fork leg with a series of “chips” in the surface. I know the roughness of the tube will eat up my seals but am too afraid to try sanding it. Am I screwed?
We can sympathize but you’re on the right track with your plan of attack. Taking a piece of wood sandpaper and scraping away at the fork tube is a good way to make things worse but head down to your local auto parts store and pick up a pack of really fine grit sand paper. We would go at least 2000. If they have it, 3500 is even better. Next wet sand the damage area, stopping frequently to drag a finger over your work. You want to pay special attention to the elevated areas of the damage. Take these down as close to flush as possible.
Once it feels smooth to the touch, rinse the area off and dry it with a microfiber towel. Now head to the corner drug store and grab a bottle of clear nailpolish. Apply is extremely thin coats to the pitted sections and let each dry thoroughly before adding the next layer. This technique should get you back in business. And if you feel it getting hung up or fear it’s still eating up your seal, back to the wet sanding again.