Fork guards

Discussion in 'Trials' started by heffergm, Sep 10, 2019.

?

Do you run full length fork guards?

  1. Yes. I crash a lot.

    18.4%
  2. No. I never crash and never will.

    10.5%
  3. No. They make the bike look goofy, I'll take the risk.

    18.4%
  4. Yes, better safe than sorry.

    52.6%
  1. heffergm

    heffergm Been here awhile

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    So I'm curious... around here, basically everyone runs full length fork guards. I recently sold mine as part of a deal with an outgoing bike, and haven't had a new set to put on, so I've been riding without them. I quite like not using them, mainly because all that extra perceived width they give to the front end makes it look like a totally different machine without them. The first time I ground a lower against a rock kinda sucked, but hey, that's trials. I've done a bit of a 180 on the idea of all these protective bits that get thrown on bikes, essentially covering up all the nice details we enjoy about them and led to us buying them in the first place.

    Then there's the fact that literally zero trials riders in Europe (ok, maybe one or two) use full length fork guards, and as you're all aware Europe is just better. Maybe they just don't crash, or more likely they've all agreed a social contract that believes full length guards look more goofy than they're ultimately worth.

    This feeling of enjoyment will likely last right up until I bash a stanchion, at which point I'm out about $175 plus seals.
    #1
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  2. Ditch

    Ditch Long timer

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    One of our top riders nicked the upper at our event last weekend and the seal was weeping by the time he was out of the section. I run full length because I fall down.:D
    #2
  3. grizCP

    grizCP RMTA

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    Is this the proper place to complain about the thin & cheapy ones that need taped in place and crack on the first rock bump. Bring the good ones back!
    #3
  4. y4m4

    y4m4 Calvin

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    I run the full-length, el cheapo faux-carbon guards from the Splat Shop. I spend a lot of time riding trails, so I feel better about overgrown branches and the 9001 rocks I'm constantly surrounded by here in Colorado.

    I can't afford carbon fiber, and I sure as hell can't afford to break carbon fiber.
    #4
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  5. lineaway

    lineaway Long timer

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    Not having at least just the fork leg protected is just plain cruel and unusual punishment. We ride alot if knarly rock. I just hate seeing a new fork leg all beat and battered. The full length are ugly. but serve a purpose. We have gone a long time with the cheap guards for sale. I think it was the Kaydex ones vacuum formed that lasted the best.
    #5
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  6. heffergm

    heffergm Been here awhile

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    The Jitsie full length ones are horrible. Call Stu @ JacksCycles, he's got really solid ones.
    #6
  7. North ride

    North ride Long timer

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    I run them this place is mostly rock and I fall off. I even cut down a set too fit the Fox 36 on my mountain bike.
    #7
  8. 2whlrcr

    2whlrcr gooligan

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    I run full length fake carbon guards. I have rocks, lots of sharp edged, slippery pointy rocks. I'll live with ugly, not having to replace or repair sliders and lowers all the time.
    #8
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  9. Norman Foley

    Norman Foley Devotee of the Husqvarna Supporter

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    Pat Smage talks about fork guards, in one of the vids on bike set up. He recommends just lowers for higher level riders, doing big stuff with a minder. Easier to grab the stanchion for a save. Lower level riders will benefit from full length for more protection.

    I run full length because I still crash more than I should, and we ride a lot of concrete slabs and rocks. The concrete slabs have the extra nastiness, of steel rebar at the edges. It's usually trimmed off, but still there to do damage! The heavy plastic ones the Tryals Shop sells are very rugged, but definitely not super attractive. Mine definitely have some gouges in them. I wouldn't be without them.
    #9
  10. DyrWolf

    DyrWolf Long timer Supporter

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    I put them on my bike because we had three identical bikes in the class and we do peer scoring. We literally grabbed the wrong bike a few times
    #10
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  11. lineaway

    lineaway Long timer

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    Actually it was a guy called Taco that rode with RMTA that made most of the state's guards for decades. He started in the 80's and sometime around 2004 he stopped. I finally just now ran out of the fork guards and number plates. I still had a large collection in a box when he quit as that was when I quit being a dealer too.
    #11
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  12. 2whlrcr

    2whlrcr gooligan

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    Some guy in MN who made carbon paddles was also making real nice full carbon fork protectors for trials bikes. I had a pair on my old Beta and finally lost one. They clipped on real nice over the lowers, but a zip tie would ensure they wouldn't get knocked off. Of course I didn't do that. So a few years back I tried to look the guy up, or ask around if anyone remembered him and nobody did.
    #12
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  13. motobene

    motobene Motoing for 49 years Supporter

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    I run the Jitse protectors that go most of the way up the sides to protect where the seals slide. The Jitse are just plastic with ornamental carbon-looking veneer. They are simple and light. They aren't thick and I have cracked and broken some but they do the job.

    And what job? Keep the forks as virgin looking as possible for resale, and protect where the seals glide. I apply plastic safety tape on the sides of the lower fork legs before I put on the guards so dirt that inevitably gets trapped between guard and the cast aluminum doesn't scratch up the finish by the guards vibrating on the legs.

    I've dented stanchion rods on two bike despite guards from fluke hits. Fixed with super glue and baking soda and a file, but dang. It sucks to gouge an aluminum stanchion rod! I had to learn the hard way to tape the guards to the legs with wrap-around electrical tape (then zip tie over the tape). The tape keeps guards from rotating when hit, exposing the rods to the next hit. The must vulnerable type of get-offs for rod damage are when I fall back and the bike slides down rocks in its side. If anything guards should be a bit wider over the rods because when the steering is a full lock one way or the other the rods can get bunged by a pointed rock.

    I crash rarely. But there are always the few events where either a well designed event is ruined by a turn of weather, or when 'FU' section design forces an unusual number of get-offs.
    #13
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  14. Buschog

    Buschog Long timer

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    I won't ride without them. I went through a set of the Jitsie guards very quickly. The ones Stu sells are super thick and do the job quite well.
    #14
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  15. motobene

    motobene Motoing for 49 years Supporter

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    My Stu guards went with my `11 GasGas. That fellow was new to trials and was going to crash a lot more than me.

    I just thought about regional differences. I suspect riders from rockier regions will have more riders using the guards. Next up might be those who ride several regions, some of which are rockier.

    I can think of several reasons why the top level don't use them. Riding skill to avoid crashes. One-season bikes that are then sold by the importer. The importance of a bike looking like the bikes of brochures. And if a part gets damaged, a crew of folks to pop on a new one.

    Guards are more popular for the longer time frame owners like me. I still ride my 2017 and prep and get to know a bike intimately. When I acquire a great personality I tend to stick with it a while.
    #15
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  16. Sting32

    Sting32 Trials Evangelist

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    Top level riders have sponsors I think, Like Dalton Land, he cant even have a head pipe guard, with his sponsored GG. I would protest if it was me, safety issue. I also believe all trials bikes need the head-pipe guard from factory, safety reasons. But I digress.

    Like you said 'bene but to me it is like, why not protect the parts that take the heat/punishment?

    I should run full length probably by how I am talking but TBH, I have NOT (Knocking on wood as I type) nicked a fork tube in 13 or more bikes in about 18 years. BUT, I cover the tubes with a nylon tent like material that my mom sews on velcro, I am sure you have seen them, they wrap around tubes I have torn a few pairs but it has saved the tube, and it always happens with some freak get off. I have the fork tank guards always, tape or zip-tie them baby's on. I keep them, had these on several bikes before now, I have the carbon fiber ones, I have a tendency to rub tanks on rocks even to keep balance which I would have had to avoid without the guards.

    FWIW, I have the plastic frame guards too.

    only one bike dad has owned has a muffler guard, a 14 250 GG that looks like new and wanting to keep it that way.

    I hate falling, I usually get a foot down, or admit defeat and take the five standing up (angle of attack lost or whatever). I broke a footpeg attempting to not 5 a section that I should have admitted defeat in, in texas a few years ago in the CRTC, you cant get these anymore, so no more of that risky mentality lol.
    #16
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  17. Hoss Cartright

    Hoss Cartright 219.474.6657

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    Good thread.
    I have the real carbon Jitsie snap-on ones on Jesse and my bikes.
    ( we run a 1/4 inch wide strip of 3M "double-sided sticky tape" down the interior centerline of each protector to hold them in place. )
    I put the Stuart full-length ones on our demo bikes for insurance with huge zip-ties. Stu's are not the prettiest but also not ugly. Stu's are extremely rugged. So I endorse Stewie for most indestructible.
    "Taco Kachenko" is a blast from the past. Still a couple sets of his fork guards laying around my workshop and on some of the vintage Gassers collecting dust at my place. Those were a good product and he had them in red, white, and black.
    The Jitsie full length faux carbon ones are very brittle.
    IMHO all of the above.

    Our 125cc demo
    DSC03809.JPG

    Jesse's new season 2020 bike
    DSC03792.JPG

    Jesse and Ralph at MN National
    20190602_105735.jpg

    Vintage "Taco" guards
    52353346_2196663363723080_6995761685139030016_n.jpg
    #17
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  18. slicktop

    slicktop Been here awhile

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    My utilitarian fork guard from Stu. 20190911_232245.jpg
    #18
  19. slicktop

    slicktop Been here awhile

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    Knife is for cutting ribbons out of the way.
    And bear.
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  20. lineaway

    lineaway Long timer

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    That is why Taco's guards were so much better, they covered the bottom of the leg too.

    Attached Files:

    #20
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