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kellymac530 11-25-2012 07:06 PM

Fairing and fender question
I am curious what peoples feelings are on the front ends on ADV bikes. I am planning a 900RR styled replica bike for ADV and off road use. Something that will carry some luggage and be decent on the hiway but also capable in the dirt and even fun without the bags in the desert.

So questions are:
A) What are the pros and cons of
1} high front fender like a dirt bike
2} low front fender like a KTM 990ADV
3} beak style front end like a modern GS/GSA

B) What are the pros and cons of
1} fixed fairing/headlight/gauge set up like a modern R1200GS
2} a gauge/headlight/fairing that is mounted on the forks and turns with the bars like an early R80G/S

In the pics I have accumulated of the 900RR they made one style with a beak and one style with a high fender.
I have some ideas on what I like and what I think are pros and cons, but I want the concensus of the assylum and YOUR feelings and experiences.

My build is still a bit off, but I am getting all of my components planned and ready and amassing parts as we speak. :wink:

Bambi 11-26-2012 10:41 AM

Hello Kelly,
a high front fender and a fork-mounted fairing can have some influence on riding-stability, especially on fast road-sections. A high-level fender won't get clogged up with mud leading to a locked wheel in worst case. A fork-mounted fairing with head-light can be turned at a standstill to have a look in different directions in the dark. A frame-mounted version can't do that for you ...
The beak ... riding the grandmother of all beaked adventure-bikes, a 1988 Suzuki DR Big 750 I still can't tell you much about it's influence. Maybe, it offers a bit of stream-lining. Up to 100 mph my bike doesn't develop any instability. At that point, it runs out of steam, too ...
Kind regards, Bambi
PS: in the 60- and 70-ies there was a story going round concerning low-mounted front-fenders here in Germany: top-riders would give a hint to their riding-skills that way, as they had to keep their wheels turning all the time. Coming to a halt, you wouldn't get on the move again as the mud would lock the wheel instantly! Herbert Schek for example on his home-built BMWs still is one of these top-riders - aged over 70.

sailah 11-26-2012 11:47 AM

High fenders can block quite a bit of radiator, they also keep mud off radiator.

Low fenders really keep crap off everything but if you ride in lots of mud they can pack up and lock the front wheel. Rare however. Low fenders usually have built in fork guards if running usd forks. High fenders you need to source plastic fork guards.

Other than that it's looks primarily for an adv bike.

kellymac530 11-27-2012 11:22 AM

So for you everyone,
What do you prefer?
If you could have ANY combination of these what would you choose?

I agree Bambi with the ability to turn the light with the forks on a fork mounted mask, but why then is the fixed to the frame fairing SO popular?

I think things like hand gaurds on the bars are just as critical as a mask/fairing on the forks or the frame. Everyone runs hand gaurds so I do not personally see a huge deterent for a fork mounted mask over a fixed one....if anyone has some input on that I would like to hear opinions.

Thanks for keeping your replys so far right on with what I asked, not giving the standard, it is whatever YOU like stuff. I am asking for YOUR feelings and opinions....

Is there a feeling that a frame mounted fairing/ mask lightens the steering feeling or is it purely buffeting on the forks and thus to your hand input that is the draw back to fork mounted?

Based the replies thus far it sounds like the KTM 990 ADV style frontend would be ideal over all?

SloMo228 11-27-2012 02:02 PM

I'd prefer a low fender and no fairing, personally. But if it's a choice between a frame-mounted fairing and a fork-mounted fairing, I'd choose a fork-mounted fairing, especially if we're talking about fairings the size of what I see on most ADV bikes (i.e., small). If I wanted a huge honking fairing it would be better to have it frame mounted, I think.

Bambi 11-27-2012 02:47 PM

Hello there,
just to show you what I mean:
This is my Paris-Dakar look-a-like Suzuki DR 750 Big. With it's original low-mounted front-fender and frame-mounted fairing. The bike is capable of something around 100 mph and I think with knobblies on it, a fork-mounted fairing and high fender there would be some influence on stability at that speed. I also own a Triumph Tiger Trail 750 from 1981. This bike has a similiar performance, a few bhp less but same top-speed. In original trim it was equipped with a high-level front-fender that I kept until the mid 90-ies. Then I switched to a low fender. From that day the bike's stability at speed was much better. Although with an old brit-bike you treat yourself to around 60 mph and crack the throttle fully open just from time to time. So there's no fairing on that classic scrambler ... and there's no need for it as you can stand the ton for a few minutes. Then wind and vibration force you back down to 60 mph again.
In my opinion it depends on the bike and your use of it wether you choose one or the other version. The Big is my bike for fast touring on B- and C-roads plus the possibility to leave the tarmac. And if necessary, you can use the motorway at around 90 mph on your trip to the twisty roads mentioned above. The Triumph is better for scratching the B- and C-roads at your door-step. Although I used to do the long trips on it, too, before I got the Suzuki.
Kind regards, Bambi

kellymac530 11-28-2012 04:19 PM

Thanks for the input.
I am definately planning a smallish fairing, just enough to cover the gauges and headlight and punch a small hole in the wind to keep a bit of it off of my chest. I am getting older and some comfort is nice these days. I am talking about a real Dakar style bike that will be very capable off road, for a 450lb bike anyway, but still have good manners, as good as a 21" wheeled bike can, on the hiway to get me to or from a great ride.

Thanks for that great pic of a very cool bike, other than that discusting sponsor...I HATE smoking. It is SO offensive for me. But other than that I would ride that Suzi till she dies.

Definately not doing a beak unless someone chimes in with some great way that it benefits the bike or the comfort.

I am thinking of a BIG tank, 7-9 gallons, and a nice fork mounted mask, and a high fender that has openings in the rear, basically a supermoto fender. The are not as much of a sail as a full dirtbike style high fender and the rear venting allows air to flow thru for any radiator or oil cooler air flow, but has angled fins to help keep mud from flinging straight up onto your motor or coolers. Think of MX bike radiator fins. But I will keep an open mind to a low fender setup if that still feels like a sail.

Is there a good manufacturer of low front fenders for USD forks? Like a KTM 990 style fender, but not SO expensive.
I will not sacrifice quality or safety for cheap price, but I am very budget oriented and always want a deal if there is a deal to be had. i do alot of my own fab and all of my own welding, carbon or Stainless steel and aluminum and I even can tig Ti, but I doubt I will be using any of that. I need a tubing bender I think, but I do have 2 of them at my availability but they are both about 20 minutes away and only available when the owners are there.

I will start a build thread once I gather most of my parts. My biggest issue right now is airhead or oil head.....I have one of each and am torn on what I want to do. there a ton of Dakar HPN style bikes out there and I prefer conventional forks on those to stick with the era/period correct style. On an oil head build I am not mentally bound to any style or looks. I have a good set of KYB inverted forks and a good front wheel with Excel rim and good spokes. I think that would fit an oil head build better than the airhead. My biggest airhead concern is the rear shock and driveshaft. I can extend the swingarm no problem, but I hear alot of issues with the shaft being welded not being strong unless you friction weld it and even if you get a good strong TIG or MIG weld keeping it straight becomes an issue. Then I am not sure I want to spend $1000-1500.00 bucks for a decent shock. Those are 2 big things I can not do on my own.

panterg55 11-29-2012 11:40 AM

KTM Low Fender
Hi ,

Airtech do a replica KTM Low Fender and I think they are based in LA -

Hope this helps

jdrocks 11-29-2012 12:43 PM

another low fender vote...

the bike can get covered with mud even with a low fender. if you add gravel and other junk launched off the front tire, the advantage goes to the low mount. if the forks you select don't have a mounting provision for the low fender, better figure out something solid, that fender has to stay put, or else.

i also like a beak for the additional protection, it's surprising how much mud and other junk gets up that high.

in my case, the bikini fairing and all the lighting are fork mounted. i don't like riding rough roads at night, but i've been caught out there plenty. having all the main and auxiliary lights pointed in the direction i was rolling saved my butt.

sailah 11-29-2012 01:12 PM

Just an fyi its very difficult to get heavy springs on forks other than ktm. I tried with kyb from a yz450 and the cost was prohibitive. Since the same basic forks from ktm are used on lots of bikes big and small you can usually get anything you want with a call to slavens. Been there thats why I only use ktm suspension on my builds.

I know there are triple clamps made for airheads on a custom basis by rdubb check the vendors for his thread. Not cheap, but neither is building a bike.

Having a tubing bender is awesome. I have the jd2 model three and I love it. Dies are very expensive though. So is driving back and forth to your buddies to tweak a bend three more degrees.

I've never converted a shaft drive, chain seems so much easier but love to see your project

Bambi 11-29-2012 02:18 PM

Hi Kelly, hi everyone,
just a short reply concerning the Marlboro Design of my Big: I'd still have to try my first smoke, honestly! And I know I won't do that. But I don't have any problems with smoke-companies putting their money into events I love: Marlboro, Gauloises, Lucky Strike, Chesterfield, more? And I think the bike looks great in it's Dakar-design ... first wanted to change the looks to yellow with black decals like the Triumph Tiger Trail. Luckily I realized, that the Marlboro-look was the one of Gaston Rahier's first Dakar-Big! So I kept this style and will refine it (white frame for example).
Kind regards, Bambi

kellymac530 11-29-2012 07:38 PM

Thanks for the input folks.

I already own the YZ forks and even though KTM forks are not too bad priced, I have been scouring ebay for a while, the cheapest I have seen is about $200.00 USD for a set with triple clamps. I own the YZ forks and the TCs. I LOVE KYB forks. Enzo is not far and they are awesome at KYB stuff and have always valved all of my YZ race bikes. I have looked and researched springs and unless I am missing something, Progressive makes up to 79kg/inch springs for these forks and stock is 48kg....I think that will be plenty if I keep the bike as light as I want to. Especially is Ross' boys at Enzo valve me the way they have in the past, I will be fine. But food for thought for sure.

I do not smoke either and never will. I have a daughter that suffers from asthma and smoke chokes her out bad. We have neighbors that all smoke in their back yard and we have our windows open in the summer and we get choked out everyday. I can not afford to run the AC all of the time nor do I want to, those jackasses piss me the hell off.
I would never and will never support any death stick companies. I do not care if Gaston Raihers trust and BMW gave me the 1st Dakar winning actual bike still with Dakar dirt on, I would peel off those crappy ass stickers or Kilz over the paint and get rid of that crap from my bike.

I do not just dislike cigarettes, I HATE smoking and people that smoke. PERIOD. Sorry smokers, I have never seen one smoke that was responsible with their butts, wrappers, boxes, cellophane, ash, matches and foils liners. They ALL throw some of that stuff in the street, in the toilets, on my lawn, out the window of their car and into my face or lap while riding....I hate you dirty, discusting, polluting, and inconsiderate fools that smoke....
Thanks for you input, off my soap box now and on to my build plan.

kellymac530 11-29-2012 07:44 PM

Oh yeah,
Glenn, Airtech is in San Diego, less than an hour away. I have bought some stuff for my Cafe bike I am close to completion on. 1965 Yami Ym1 305. 2 Stroke twin.....I do NOT hate that kind of smoke :wink:

I bought some cool old donkey dick grips and my clip ons for my Yami from Airtech.

I never saw a KTM replica style low fender, I will look again.

I love your builds BTW and read most of your build reports. Love your style and detail. That low fender is fine, but it wont work with inverted forks unless it was different and you cut it?
Not too many inverted fork bikes with 21" front wheels and low fenders that I know of, KTM of course.
I have had many KTMs and LOVe them, but I do not want a KTM with a BMW motor in it, I want something different.

kobudo28 12-02-2012 01:03 PM

I have a 97 DR650 that I bought a couple of years ago and worked around some of the same questions you have.

I don't do any off roading per say so a low mount fender works great for me to use pavement to connect all of the dirt roads. I bought a low mount fender from the Euro DR650 RSE, fabbed up a mount to attach it to my fork brace and it's done. I don't know why, but I like the look of a low mount fender on a 21 inch wheeled dual sport. A low mount fender will likely clog more with mud so heavy off road use might be a problem.

I pulled of the stock headlight and gage cluster and mounted a Lynx fairing with an HID low beam, Halogen high, mounted a Vapor gage set up and a mount for the GPS and I am all set.

I've been very happy with the set-up and get interesting looks from people who try to figure out what kind of bike I am riding. :lol3 It's pretty funny to see the WTF??? look on peoples faces.

JerryH 12-02-2012 08:24 PM

I prefer a high fender, fork mounted fairing, light and gauges, and no beak. Much like the first gen KLR. My Goldwing has a frame mounted fairing, a car like dash, and a low front fender. It is also a streetbike. To me this design is far better suited to streetbikes than off road bikes. The first "scramblers" had low front fenders, because they were modified street bikes. High mounted fenders quickly replaced those. And I have no idea where fairings came from. I have owned many dual sport bikes without fairings, to me they just get in the way, and are something else to break if you drop the bike.

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