Fairing and fender question

Discussion in 'Some Assembly Required' started by kellymac530, Nov 25, 2012.

  1. kellymac530

    kellymac530 motorcycle addict

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    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:
    #1
  2. Bambi

    Bambi Been here awhile

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    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.
    #2
  3. sailah

    sailah Lampin' it

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    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.
    #3
  4. kellymac530

    kellymac530 motorcycle addict

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    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?
    #4
  5. SloMo228

    SloMo228 World Class Cheapass

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    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.
    #5
  6. Bambi

    Bambi Been here awhile

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    Hello there,
    just to show you what I mean:
    [​IMG]
    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
    #6
  7. kellymac530

    kellymac530 motorcycle addict

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    Thanks for the input.
    SloMo,
    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.

    Bambi,
    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.
    #7
  8. panterg55

    panterg55 Formely panterg

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    #8
  9. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    another low fender vote...

    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

    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.
    #9
  10. sailah

    sailah Lampin' it

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    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
    #10
  11. Bambi

    Bambi Been here awhile

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    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
    #11
  12. kellymac530

    kellymac530 motorcycle addict

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    Thanks for the input folks.

    Sailah,
    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.

    Bambi,
    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.
    #12
  13. kellymac530

    kellymac530 motorcycle addict

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    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.

    JD,
    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.
    #13
  14. kobudo28

    kobudo28 Banned

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    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.
    #14
  15. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    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.
    #15
  16. Bambi

    Bambi Been here awhile

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    Hi Jerry,

    the first off-roaders with fairings were Dakar-Bikes as these got bigger (first generation were XT 500s, XL 500s and similar modified bikes without such features). Introducing twin-cylinder-bikes with 750 and more cc suddenly speeds of 100 mph + were reached. You can't stand that flat-out a whole day without wind-protection. So for example HPN put a fork-mounted fairing on the big BMWs and there were also fairings put on bikes like Suzuki's DR 600. Afaik Honda had the first real purpose-built off-road-fairing on their NXR 750 - also to make the fast trip to Dakar a bit easier for the riders. Their Trans Alp must have been the first dual-sport-bike offered to the common customer with a feature like that at the end of 1986/beginning of 1987. Has been followed by Suzuki's DR Big in 1988 ...

    Kind regards, Bambi
    #16
  17. sailah

    sailah Lampin' it

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    You might be totally right, and Enzo is a fantastic tuner for sure. I have KYB closed chamber forks on my 2012 Husky and they are simply fabulous. I don't want to give the impression that they are subpar forks, I love them. I too had KYBs off a YZ450 and was trying to get some help from James at Superplush. He was very helpful and talked me out of it for a couple reasons.

    First was the springs. He seemed to think (and maybe he was wrong) that there were simply no options past a certain weight which I can't remember. We even thought about cutting the stock springs to increase the rate at the expense of travel but this was quickly scrapped.

    The other issue you really need to think hard about is total weight of the bike. This is not to be taken lightly. KYB forks were designed for 250# motocross bikes and while they might fair perfectly well with your proposed bike donor, the braking is simply not up to par. I went round and round with this issue. Standard motocross bikes have a ~260mm thin lightweight rotor and 2 piston calipers. That won't slow a heavy bike down enough to be safe in my opinion. Sure you can upgrade everything to supermoto and run a 320 rotor and caliper relocation bracket, but now the weak link is the caliper. Plus price all that stuff out at Motostrano and you'll see what I mean. Plus the front wheels have very thin spokes to save weight. you don't want that if you are running this setup on an boxer, they weigh too much. So now you need a heavy spoke kit etc.

    After weeks of kicking it around I realized it would be cheaper and better just to spend the money now on a set of KTM 950 forks, brakes, rotors, and a new front wheel from Woody's than upgrade lightweight stuff that wasn't up to the task from the start. Yes, it's expensive to do it right I know but it's even more expensive to do it wrong, then right. I would ask Enzo to have a look at your setup and get their opinion. I think you are probably right you can get heavier springs but the braking issue is the one that would give me pause.

    On the FZ1 I have a stock KTM 950 setup, twin rotors, twin Brembos etc, heavier springs. All stock parts:deal Bike weighs about 450, maybe 475#

    On the CBR, I have KTM dirt bike forks, 320 Braking rotor, Braking master and Braking caliper which are all supermoto caliber stuff. Bike weighs 364# ready to ride. I am swapping out all of this to my new bike and running the factory KTM supermoto components which utilize a 310mm rotor and a 4 piston radial caliper

    The New Ninja I am going to rob all those components. The bike is yet to be built but will be very close to 375-400 by the time I am done. I think this is really the limit for dirt bike components on a bigger conversion, as i tip the scales at 230 myself.

    I would just encourage you to look into all the variations with your build, and some you won't realize until you get there. I made many mistakes on my first couple builds, now that I am on my third I am trying hard to not repeat them. Most of the mistakes were from trying hard to make something work that was simply not the right tool for the job. I'd waste valuable shop time and money fighting it the whole time and finally buy the right part and bam, fixed. Shoulda just done it right the first time.

    Many different ways to get to the end result and building a bike is highly personalized so I don't want to try and force my way of thinking on your build. I'm just commenting from someone who has been to the other side a few times the lessons learned I would hope to save you from making the same mistakes.
    #17
  18. kellymac530

    kellymac530 motorcycle addict

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    Hey Sailah,
    Thanks for a great input reply. I really value your experience and reply.

    To address some of your concerns, I have weighed alot of these very factors and believe I am still on a good track to balance budget and performance. I have been watching ebay and other KTM related sites flea markets and any set off WP forks that are dual disc are often in the $1000 range with the cheapest I have seen at $400, but that was just forks. To get forks, triples, wheel, rotors, calipers and all hardware would usually about $1500 baring some deep deal connection.

    I bought the KYB forks, triples, bars, caliper, MC, and brake line for $80 in useable condition, not beat down crap, reaseal and use if I so chose. I wont, but doable. I got a good condition complete straight front wheel with axle and Excel front rim and good bearings for $45.

    No matter what forks I would buy I always revalve and spring for my style, too many years racing and knowing the value of the right set up. In the late 90s I even had suspension companies sponsor me and do my suspension for free, not bragging just saying I am experienced with what I want and who is the best for different brands. So any revalving and springing is a wash because I would do it on a KTM set up or my KYB.

    On brakes and spokes, Yamaha uses larger holes in the hub and tapers the spokes down after they get past the hub. You can get a set of 1 over spokes and heavy duty nipples for $80 and I lace and true my own stuff. The brakes are very good on the late 90s n up Yamis and rival a single disc KTM set up. A supermoto 320mm rotor and offset caliper bracket kit from EBC is $180 for all. So far I am at $385 for the Yami KYB complete front end + valve and springs usually in the $300 range. I usually get forks and shock revalved and sprung for right about $500 from Enzo.

    All in all I am at just under $700 bucks which is not much more than just a set of KTM fork legs that I would still need alot of other stuff. To go with a KTM set up I see about $2000 to get me where I am at.

    I know many have struggled with heavy springs for non WP forks but I have found 2 different suppliers with plenty of high weight choices including progressive models. Most for under $80.

    $1400 goes along way with the build I am trying to do and I am confident that the set up will work. If for some reason I am wrong and it is just not up to the weight and braking I want, then I am only out $700 and the forks will work great on some other project like a nice dual sport bike like an XR400 or XR 650R DRZ KLR......and I start over with the KTM stuff you suggest.

    I really hope this does not sound confrontational at all, not meant that way and your input is taken under serious advisement, but it is where I am at and where I think I will go for now. I will let you know if it sucks....I admit my failures readily. I fail alot...just ask my wife...:rofl

    I am actually still waffling on the bike to start with, that is my biggest issue. I have a perfectly good R80G/S that I am considering build as an HPN "style" adventure bike, simple and clean easily fixable anywhere and a popular bike. Issue is low HP imho. I have a good running low mile R1100RT that I like but have gotten bored with a bit on long slab stuff. Better HP that the airhead, but a bit heavier starting point. The swing arm and drive shaft do not need to be lengthened, that is a big plus. Then Russ Dursmaa has the cool HPN style trellis front frame like the R900RR bike for about $2000. My savings on forks is more than 2/3s the cost of that frame making it a possibility, but I also think I could build my own or modify what I have like larryboy did.

    I also am really liking what JTH has done with his Sporty build.....too many choices, not enough time or money for all. In a perfect world.......

    Thanks guys
    #18
  19. kellymac530

    kellymac530 motorcycle addict

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    BTW, I forgot to mention, I always hear everyone insist that you can not put a 4 piston caliper on a 21" wheel, but I have 2 pics somewhere of someone running a Brembo 4 on a 21" wheel with a 320mm rotor. I KNOW it can be done. Not sure if they spaced the rotor over an 1/8th of an inch and made a custom bracket or what, but I have seen. I also found a Brembo caliper off of a wrecked Ducati for the left side fork that was not the radial mount style, but the verticle bracket style for $50 on Ebay, even if the 320mm set up was not enough I am sure that 4 piston would be plenty for a 450-500# scooter.....I hope. :D
    #19
  20. sailah

    sailah Lampin' it

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    No offense taken at refuting any of my points a lot of things can be tackled many ways. I think I was into my front end for about 1750 not counting revalve. The money was a factor for me too but the safety and being sure it all just works was the real deciding factor for me

    My last two builds are much lighter so I didn't see a need for heavy hardware

    I looked into adapting four piston brembos but every time I got serious a bolt on solution appeared and I used that.

    I hope you come up with a great solution for cheap lots of guys would be interested in your solution
    #20