Installing a Motorcycle Fork Stabilizer
by Jim Noss
The benefits of installing a Superbrace motorcycle fork stabilizer
You may ask yourself, what is a motorcycle fork stabilizer and why do I need one for my motorcycle. These are very reasonable questions to ask especially since you have expected the motorcycle manufacturer to have given your motorcycle the highest performance suspension components available. I hope to answer these questions and many more within this motorcycle fork stabilizer article.
I first became aware of motorcycle fork stabilizers from the Cycle Solutions (http://www.CycleSolutions.net) motorcycle forums. Several members of the forum suggested that this was a aftermarket part to install on your motorcycle. Being both curious and ignorant I asked questions. Is this just a cosmetic "Bling" piece or does it actually serve a purpose. I received responses from some skeptics saying fork stabilizers were snake oil and did not add any added performance handling to your motorcycle. The majority of responses were from seasoned riders and racers that swear by the performance handling improvements of a fork stabilizer. So now this peeked my curiosity even more since credible motorcyclists were endorsing this aftermarket suspension part.
I decided to check out the available fork stabilizer products on the market. With the help of the Cycle Solutions forum, I received several options of manufacturers. Of which , the majority of people highly recommended the Superbrace Motorcycle Fork Stabilizer. I personally never heard of Superbrace and kept asking questions and receiving advice, testimonials, and photos concerning the Superbrace. I have compiled the following information from my research with the intent to help the reader become more informed as a consumer.
Essentially, the SuperBrace motorcycle fork stabilizer is designed to stop the forks from flexing and vibrating. The brace provides better stability, superior aerodynamics and a more streamlined look than other multi-piece braces on the market. Once you install the Superbrace you will have unbelievable handling. It's a night and day difference. The best part of having a Superbrace installed on your motorcycle is the long-term effect. You will then get 20,000 miles out of you front tire. It is an investment that will pay you every year.
Now my research led me to trying to understand exactly what was meant by fork flex. How could these strong front forks bend and flex. Being very doubtful that this was possible I discovered the following about fork flex:
Fork flex is the main reason why a rider incurs speed wobbles, unstable handling, road sensitivity problems and tire cupping. Superbrace eliminates fork flex and allows the fork assembly to cycle in a straight line. Now I understood fork flex and how the Superbrace would help to eliminate this issue. Ok, so what. I install my Superbrace and the fork stop flexing. What exactly does this mean? By eliminating fork flex, you will immediately notice the following performance suspension benefits:
- Reduces low and high-speed wobbles.
- Improves stability in tight cornering.
- Improves tire life and reduces cupping.
- Decreases sensitivity to rough road surfaces and rain grooves.
So how does it work? The purpose of a fork brace is to reduce "fork-flex". Fork flex can lead to poor suspension performance, poor steering accuracy, and headshake. A fork brace can significantly reduce these issues. The reasons and benefits stated above are what convinced me to get a Superbrace for my Kawasaki ZZR-1200 sport touring motorcycle. Some of the non-performance related issues which helped me decide to purchase this brace were:
· Every Superbrace is made of 6061-T6 aircraft aluminum and machined to a tolerance of + or - .002 of an inch, with a polished finish. · Ten-minute easy installation. · Competition proven by world-class racers.
Now if that was not enough, I found out that the manufacturer, Superbrace, stands behind their product with a 30-Day Money Back Guarantee. Enough said, I order my part from my friendly online store and wait for the UPS man to arrive. Now I am thinking, how do I install this part. Surely it has to involve removing the forks, wheels, etc. I read up on the installation for this particular product and was very please to find the installation would be a quick 10-minute task. Even given my average wrenching skills. The following describes the basic installation procedures for the Superbrace fork stabilizer:
SuperBrace Fork Stabilizer General Installation Notes
1. Place motorcycle on center stand. (If your motorcycle in not equipped with a center stand, place a block device under the stand to make the motorcycle as upright as possible without it being over center.) 2. Remove any existing fork bridge or brace. 3. Remove any existing plastic fork guards (if applies). 4. Disassemble SuperBrace. 5. Loosen axle pinch bolts.
Assemble SuperBrace 1/8" below fork seals. NOTE: Should the fender prevent installing the SuperBrace at this height, place a piece of paper (such as this instruction sheet) between the SuperBrace and the fender and follow the next step.
Torque SuperBrace bolts to 10 ft. pounds. (Remove paper if used)
Re-torque axle pinch bolts to factory specification.
IMPORTANT: Before riding, bounce the front end of motorcycle and cycle the suspension to insure brake lines and horn Do Not contact the brace. It may be necessary to move or purchase after market brake lines and horn.
Once I received the item via UPS. The install went as planned. I was first impressed with the simple ease of installation on the fork. It was only a few minutes and I was ready to take the bike out for a test ride. After riding with the Superbrace all summer, I could not get over how much the Superbrace improved the handling and riding of my motorcycle. The bike felt firmly attached to the road, it held a line so much better, a lot less vibrations and wandering. The steering was noticeably crisper. I also noticed the steadiness of the bike in braking. I did notice the front used to howl at speed, with the fork stabilizer on, the howling ceased. It is a completely different feel. Overall a very positive effect on the motorcycle.
I highly recommend the Superbrace fork stabilizer if you want an instant performance item on a motorcycle. Too many times I see people throwing money away on items for looks only and are not investing in a tested peformance accessory that can add not only to the looks, but to the handling, performance and to riding stability.
About the Author
Contributing author to Cycle Solutions http://www.CycleSolutions.net http://www.KingpinCruisers.net