Leading Link or Steerite

Discussion in 'Hacks' started by Pago Cruiser, Jun 12, 2008.

  1. Pago Cruiser

    Pago Cruiser Been here awhile

    Jun 8, 2008
    Has anyone gone from standard fork, to a Steerite modded triple tree,and then to a Leading Link? I've got a 95 Triumph T Bird with a Velorex car, and am trying to decide if I should try to solve this the cheap way, or just bite the bullet and spend 3x the $ for a Leading Link. It is truly amazing to watch the stock 43mm forks flex laterally when going around fast sweeping left handers with some bumps in the middle. Actually, it's kinda scary... :eek1

    I/we (wife and dog) aren't necessarily speedsters, but we need to be able to travel at 70-75, so the hardware gets a workout.
  2. Dr Jim

    Dr Jim Been here awhile

    Jan 15, 2007
    While a good leading-link front end will have excellent rigidity, and better geometery, they aren't exactly cheap, and are a bit fussy to install and setup - especially if you have dual disks or floating calipers.

    Before you take the leading-link plunge, consider fitting a stout fork brace - I believe that there's a 'Norman Hyde' brace that fits 43mm Triumphs - http://www.britcycle.com/products/546101A.htm and also a 'SuperBrace http://www.bellacorse.com/bcc144-45.htm. Further mods would be progressive-wound front springs, and perhaps a set of Timken tapered bearings in the steering head. Getting rid of fork-flex, bearing slop, and having variable-rate springs does wonders for the front end.

    You can also improve the trail geometry by fitting longer rear shocks, I dimly remember using some 1.5" over-length Hagon shocks on a friend's Triumph rig - reducing trail by just a couple of degrees significantly lightens low-speed steering effort. I prefer to lengthen the rear suspension rather than reduce front suspension travel by trimming the fork speacers, but both methods work and are cheap.

    Also pay attention to how the sidecar loads the bike/subframe - if the sidecar sits just a bit too high, its leverage is multiplied. Acting on a tip from Claude, I lowered my Cozy sidecar about 1.25" by simply moving its front shock mount forward. This seemingly minor tweak had an immediate and frankly amazing effect on handling, the rig was MUCH more stable in right-handers, and all the fork-hop simply disappeared.


  3. Pago Cruiser

    Pago Cruiser Been here awhile

    Jun 8, 2008
    Thanks Jim. That's great info. I'll see if there's an alternate shock mount under the beast this weekend; soon as I finish pouring the new concrete floor to work on....

    But... surely someone(s) has gone from forks (A) to modded triple tree (B) to leading link (C) in search of better hack handling? Is the difference from A to B more or less than the difference from B to C? Money being finite resources around these parts, It would be great to have others' feedback on who/how many stopped at "B", and what percentage continued on to "C". Ie, is "B" good enough? Or is it a half-as solution, and most end up going onto "C"?

  4. vortexau

    vortexau Outside the Pod-bay

    Feb 18, 2008
    Just off the Warrego, S.E. Queensland
    I was quoted over $2000AUD on a set of LLs for a '77 BMW, and the shop (1000 km distant) wanted the bike for 2 weeks! I couldn't budget that. I'd bought the outfit interstate unregistered for $5000, and had already spent big on shipping - brake-work, etc.

    I looked through other options (a mod had to be done; the steering was just too heavy).

    Finally settled on a reduced-trail custom set of triple-trees. Glad I did because the existing upper had a worn headstock hole -- allowing the forks to clatter back-and-forwards! The actual fitting cost me MORE than the custom clamps, but I did need electrical work at the same time!

    I choose to go this route because the /5, /6, /7 Airhead fork design, when in perfect allignment, is quite rigid. Then again, I don't expect to pack-up too many k's, as I also have a solo which consumes 10 litres per 220km!


    How much YOU can afford is up to you. If you can spring for LLs, they'll certainly be more resistant to side-to-side flexing.
    But any reduction in trail is going to reduce steering effort.