Does this sound familiar: "I ride a big bike and it feels like my front end dives at every stop light."
I’ve heard this complaint countless times from Harley-Davidson motorcycle riders and figured today’s as good a time as any to walk you through a fork dive event and detail a solution to correct it.
During initial braking, the shear girth of a big Harley touring motorcycle transfers forward and quickly overwhelms the factory suspension. The result is what we know as fork dive or brake dive.
Although all motorcycles experience this to some degree, the sensation is particularly noticeable on touring rigs and is exacerbated by their weight.
So what’s the solution? While the answer can vary a little depending on bike make and model, for the most part, a set of progressive rate springs does the trick.
These springs, which are wound tight at one end and loose at the other, results in a suspension that is compliant on initial travel and firms up as it moves through its stroke.
These springs are often combined with heavier fork oil to slow damping a bit and will substantially reduce fork dive with the added bonus of increasing ride quality everywhere else.
The answer is even simpler for the baggers. The recently released Monotube Fork Kit combines a high pressure gas sealed damper with a specifically tuned spring in one unit that replaces all of the internals on 1997 thru 2011 Harley-Davidson Touring models.
Either of these solutions will help cure your motorcycle’s tendency to dive during initial braking as well as create a more planted and better handling motorcycle.