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ScottRNelson

Fork brace for XR650L - why bother?

91 posts in this topic

Would any of you who feel that the XR650L needs a fork brace care to try to convince me that I need to add one to mine?

 

I'm seriously wondering if I could tell the difference.  And if I could tell the difference, I'm wondering under what circumstances I could tell.

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I debated this very issue for some several months while considering a series of upgrades to my L.  I'm no expert here, but from the research I've done, for MOST riders, there is no need for a fork brace.  I primarily ride street and have no issue with the stock suspension, adjusted for preload, of course...

 

I think if you are riding your L hard enough to need a fork brace, USD's are probably the route for most folks.  I'm not saying there are not those who benefit from a fork brace, just that for most of us there is no real need...

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Did I mention that I'm not interested in how a fork brace affects any other bike that is not an XR650L?

 

I've had bikes with fork braces in the past, back when the forks were more spindly than what we have now.  It helped those bikes.

 

But I've never noticed any behavior on my XR650L that made me want to put a fork brace on it.

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I hated to ride my bike in the dirt with the stock forks. It always felt uncertain. The combination of horrible valving, mushy springs and flexy stanchions made me want to sell the bike. I imagine that proper springs, some work on the internals and a brace might make them behave well on the trail. If you spend most of your time on the street, I doubt they'd be of much benefit.

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Scott I noticed a difference in the dirt, more specifically in rutted terrain. On the street I maybe noticed a little bit but that could have been psychological. It was worth it to me.

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For me the steering is more precise,quicker and I don't have to fight it in ruts as much.

 

Edited by jjast
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Having ridden bikes for over 50 years i think it gives me a little insight into bike behaviour. I also read with interest the threads that suggest all kinds of goodies be added to assist speed, weight reduction et al. 

Seeing the condition and looking at the mileage that is done on some bikes on this site I wonder when you ride - I put on average 12,000 miles a year, mostly off-road as The Gambia has a limited tarmac road structure so dirt it is. I ride in deep sand, deep mud, hard rutted areas - you name it dependant on the season we have it - although we don't do cold, snow and ice. 

I have a brace fitted on my present bike - I had one on my previous L, it makes a great difference to the handling - and for those who say it makes little difference I suggest you try riding harder and faster and not keeping your bikes in showroom condition with little mileage so you actually get some experience. The skill is in the rider, not the bling on the bike....... but a fork brace is one bit of bling I would recommend.

 

Rant Over

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Front forks are long and flimsy. You can feel the torsional movement when steering in deep sand or in ruts. Suppose to help it out.

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Having ridden bikes for over 50 years i think it gives me a little insight into bike behaviour. I also read with interest the threads that suggest all kinds of goodies be added to assist speed, weight reduction et al. 

Seeing the condition and looking at the mileage that is done on some bikes on this site I wonder when you ride - I put on average 12,000 miles a year, mostly off-road as The Gambia has a limited tarmac road structure so dirt it is. I ride in deep sand, deep mud, hard rutted areas - you name it dependant on the season we have it - although we don't do cold, snow and ice. 

I have a brace fitted on my present bike - I had one on my previous L, it makes a great difference to the handling - and for those who say it makes little difference I suggest you try riding harder and faster and not keeping your bikes in showroom condition with little mileage so you actually get some experience. The skill is in the rider, not the bling on the bike....... but a fork brace is one bit of bling I would recommend.

 

Rant Over

 

I have not ridden for 50 years, but I have put more than 12,000 miles a year on my XRL (last years count was a tad over 15,000 miles) and have not needed a fork brace, I primarily ride street, thus the likely difference.  Having said this, I've spent considerable time (read: nearly half my life) overseas in parts similar to your location, where roads are meant more for donkeys than 3/4 ton pickups, so I can appreciate your operating environment.  I'm going to shoot from the hip here, but I consider the probability that the OP operates his bike in a manner similiar to yours as likely being low...

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For the record, almost no sand and ruts are rare where I ride.  Lots of dirt roads and dirt trails at local OHV areas.

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Nice to see someone who gets the miles in - can understand not needing a brace for road work - suppose I would do the same - but the length of the forks makes for a fair bit of flexing on the rough 

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Having ridden bikes for over 50 years i think it gives me a little insight into bike behaviour. I also read with interest the threads that suggest all kinds of goodies be added to assist speed, weight reduction et al. 

Seeing the condition and looking at the mileage that is done on some bikes on this site I wonder when you ride - I put on average 12,000 miles a year, mostly off-road as The Gambia has a limited tarmac road structure so dirt it is. I ride in deep sand, deep mud, hard rutted areas - you name it dependant on the season we have it - although we don't do cold, snow and ice. 

I have a brace fitted on my present bike - I had one on my previous L, it makes a great difference to the handling - and for those who say it makes little difference I suggest you try riding harder and faster and not keeping your bikes in showroom condition with little mileage so you actually get some experience. The skill is in the rider, not the bling on the bike....... but a fork brace is one bit of bling I would recommend.

 

Rant Over

+10..and :lol: ..I've never had a fork brace on any dirt bike I've owned ,No one down here ever bothered with such things and I've never felt the need even though I've done a lot of sand riding in Harehounds etc..I can still accept people having one if they want one .. I specially like this bit of your post..

 

"I suggest you try riding harder and faster and not keeping your bikes in showroom condition with little mileage so you actually get some experience. The skill is in the rider, not the bling on the bike".. :devil:

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Actually I think the reason we never bothered with them down here is they'd just get jammed with mud and sticks..plus they are over priced..A lot of Enduro riding I used to do down here was in wet conditions (NZs wet,,damn wet),thick horrible mud/swamps, tree roots old branches etc..You had trouble keeping wheels unclogged of the stuff in crap conditions,,a fork brace just makes that stuff worse.. more clogging..Much in the same way any oil cooler mounted anywhere but up by the headlight would be useless in our riding conditions..clogged with crap in minutes or ripped entirely from the bike by a tree or branch.

Edited by Horri

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For the record, almost no sand and ruts are rare where I ride.  Lots of dirt roads and dirt trails at local OHV areas.

 

The ruts I'm referring to are ones I find on the dirt roads I ride from the rain.

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untitl10.jpg

 

Know what you mean about clinging mud - it was so bad we had to take our mudguards off (fenders for those who don't speak English) just to allow the wheel to turn. The bike was a BSA 350 and this was taken sometime late 79.

Edited by reduceus
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If the brace on your stone-age fork gets clogged up with mud... get a set of modern forks. :p

 

 

 

 

 

:devil:

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Nice to see someone who gets the miles in - can understand not needing a brace for road work - suppose I would do the same - but the length of the forks makes for a fair bit of flexing on the rough 

 

I put 12k on my bike this year.........so just because a bike is clean in posted pics means nothing by the way,,i do rock trails that most people would do once but avoid them after....i bent the crap out of a front rim this year.......

 

Basically what i`m saying.......don`t judge a persons bike thinking it`s a garage queen........it may be,,or may not be,,i spend alot of time keeping my bike looking good....

 

But on the flipside i know what you are saying,,i hear guys saying they only ride 1k or 2k a year,,to them it`s more of a toy than transportation...

 

B

Edited by brianhare

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But on the flipside i know what you are saying,,i hear guys saying they only ride 1k or 2k a year,,to them it`s more of a toy than transportation...

Or they have so many bikes that some of them only get ridden a few thousand miles a year.

 

Lately I can't seem to manage putting in 5000 miles a year between my two bikes and neither of them gets a significant number of miles "commuting" even though I ride one of them to work pretty much every day of the year.  October was a good riding month where I put about 750 miles on the KTM, but the Honda got less than 200 that month.

 

 

In any case, I now have an answer to my question.  Hard dirt riding, riding through lots of ruts, riding through lots of sand are all good reasons to get a fork brace.  But I'm not seeing one in my future

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