Fork brace review: not the ride changer I envisioned
I spent a few days reading all the fork brace reviews and threads that I could, and the general consensus was that it made a big difference on the way the bikes handle...especially with cross winds and tractor-trailer caused air disruptions. I ride into town on the interstate every day, so I was all for anything that could help. I ride in all weather, and rode in a small micro-burst thunderstorm where the winds really picked up a few days ago with the brace on.
Well, I installed a fork brace a week ago, and have ridden it every day to work in both stop-and-go traffic, as well as up to...um...just a "little" faster than posted speeds on the Internet (Sure officer, I heard that the Vstrom speedometer is 40 MPH off so I had to go faster).
Well...if there is any additional benefit, in my own tests it was very little. Riding in 40-45 MPH side gusts before and after the brace install, I don't really notice any difference. Following a semi down the interstate, I still get buffeted like crazy and the bike wants to jump all over...but is perhaps just a "shade" more stable. I even pulled the brace back off a couple of days ago when I got home and went right back out in the 40 MPH side wind...and I personally don't notice a discernible difference either way.
I think the issue is that I'm using to riding big fairing bikes. While the weight helped stabilize it, the large fairings made them like giant sailboats...and I've learned to adapt to the proper way to handle the bike in high winds and when around semis.
The Wee is much lighter, but with much less fairing than my Ultra Classic that has a large fairing, solid lowers, and a large square tour pack and solid sided saddlebags. I have ridden that at nearly 45 degree angles in bad winds to keep going straight. I instinctively countered the breezes when they came across the bike without getting thrown into the next lane. Same thing with the Wee before the brace install, and afterwards.
I don't know. I'm glad it helps so many others to feel more comfortable with their bikes. To me, I notice very little difference at all. Take this with a grain of salt. I know the person who sold it to me will take it back if I decide to send it. Even if there's a 1% improvement in the handling of the bike, to me it's worth it. So, it will stay on the Wee, since I don't think it "hurts" anything at all. Besides, I'm not the type that sends things back that were honestly represented and sold. I think it's a high quality product, but I think that in my decades of riding, my skill level has developed to effectively counter the effects of the wind without a second thought.
Short of doing a "no hands riding" test down the interstate with and without the brace on, I'm not going to see how I'm personally affecting the bike with the device or not. I'm not willing to do that kind of testing, thank you.
And, before anybody says anything...I don't think it's due to the brand of brace I bought. I bought one that many others here have purchased and love as one of their best farkles. So, I won't list the brand because it really doesn't matter. I believe that the placement of a brace can only help make one feel more comfortable and it does offer a critical area of support on the front forks that should be taken care of by the manufacturer, but I think controlling the bike in high winds does become easier when you have been riding a big kite in the past.
Just my own experience, and opinion.
Lighten up, Francis. If you can't take some sarcasm, an Internet forum is the last place you should be.
http://www.JourneyLogbook.com - Easy to use adventure journals