|Motorcycles > Motorcycle
Suspension and Steering Systems
Motorcycle steering and suspension can be controlled by several different
types of front end.
The most common form, by far, is the telescopic fork which
consists of sliding steel tubes with long springs inside which use
hydraulic fluid for damping shock absorbers. The front fork is one
of the most critical parts of a motorcycle. The angle of rake determines
how controllable the steering is. The more horizontal the forks are
the more laid back the handling, more vertical = more twitchy and
Girder front ends can be found on the radical Confederate
Wraith motorcycle. The Wraith has an advanced 'multi-link' girder
front end. One of the earliest types of motorcycle front suspension,
the girder fork consists of a pair of uprights attached to the triple
clamp by linkages with a spring usually between the top and bottom
Hub centre steering is characterized by horizontal forks running
to the center of the front wheel where by a complicated series of
pushrods the wheel is turned. Hub centre steering can be found on
the Bimota Tesi
2D and Suzuki
Steering dampers can be found on many modern sportbikes and
all race bikes, steering dampers are similar to telescopic forks in
that they provide a dampening effect to bumps in the road. A steering
damper provides a resistive force against the direction of movement,
giving a controlled compression and rebound. Dampers are velocity
dependent so the faster the spring moves (like when you hit a bump),
the more resistance the damper provides. If you attach a damper there
will be a dampening force that will tend to stop any steering motion.
In most cornering at mid to high speeds, your front wheel steers very
little to lean you into a corner so the damper doesn't have much of
an impact. However, if the wheel hits a groove and starts oscillating
back and forth vigorously, the steering damper will resist the movement
and dissipate the energy providing more stability to the whole bike.
The level of dampening can be adjusted quickly and easily by way of
a dial on most units.
Rear shocks usually come in three different forms:
Dual shocks. One shock absorber placed either side of the wheel
attached to the swingarm and frame.
Monoshocks. One shock positioned at the front of the swingarm,
above the swingarm pivot bolt. This type of shock is found on most
modern bikes, especially sportsbikes.
Softail monoshock. One shock mounted horizontally in front
of the swingarm below the swingarm pivot bolt.
- Stroke, 2 or 4
and Steering Systems
- Girder front end
- Telescopic forks
- Hub center steering
- Steering dampers
- Rear Shocks