Jan 31, 2007

Raise your forks!

You've read that long piece on trail, right? Assuming that your front suspension was cast in concrete (as in fixed - no possible alteration in steering angle or trail), could you fiddle with it? Actually, yes. Try this. Certain Indian bikes can't do this, but on most, if you loosen the bolts holding the fork stanchions, you can slowly work the forks higher up through the triple tree. If you are going to try this, do one fork at a time, and match both sides exactly, otherwise, you'll completely ruin the handling and render it unsafe. Even a tiny change will create an impact. The higher you raise the fork stanchions through the triple tree, the quicker your bike will turn. It will trade in overall stability for being able to turn into the corners much, much faster. Overdo it, and you'll end up with a bike that's as twitchy and nervous as the typecast schizophrenic from bollywood. So do this progressively and stop when you are comfortable. In most cases, you will end up a with a motorcycle that feels more alive, a bike returning more feedback and one that drops into corners so fast, you'll be laughing all the way. Physics wise, there are two things that happen when you raise the forks through the clamps. First, it tips the bike on its nose, just a little bit. Which makes the bike turn faster. It also sharpens the steering angle and in the process, reduces trail a bit as well. All you need, to do this, is some time, and the right size spanner.

Other links on this subject: webbikeworld

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