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Discussion Starter #1
First, let me preface this by saying I only have 2 days of riding my new bike in the wind, today and Saturday.

Both days were very heavy wind, probably around 20-25mph, maybe gusting higher.

Saturday I handled the winds fine, there were a few gusts that threw me around a little but nothing I felt like I couldnt handle.

Then I installed my fork brace on Sunday, and rode for the first time today since installing it. It was also extremely windy like Saturday but I felt completely out of control of the bike many times during the ride. I actually felt scared at many times and had to get off the highway because it was that scary to me. I ended up taking back roads all the way home and still felt like the bike was a mess.

So basically I am wondering if a fork brace could have made the bike feel so much more out of control in the wind? Or, could it be that without the fork brace it would have been even worse (or the same)? It's possible the wind was heavier today than Saturday, I can't say for sure. I almost took the brace off in the middle of my ride but decided to leave it on just incase it was helping.

So what I was feeling normal in that kind of wind with or without the fork brace? Could the fork brace have actually made the bike worse in the wind?

Thanks
 

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Double check you have it installed properly and didn't mess up the front end alignment in the process. I've never heard anything worse than "made no substantial difference" with regard to a fork brace on any bike unless the installed messed up somehow
 

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My 650 can sometimes feel like a bucking bronco in a high wind; probably a combination of side cases and the fact that it isn't a really heavy bike. I've never heard of a fork brace making a bike handle worse (mine handles a lot better in the wind since I put it on), so I have to go with Dark Angel; make sure it's installed properly.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Double check you have it installed properly and didn't mess up the front end alignment in the process. I've never heard anything worse than "made no substantial difference" with regard to a fork brace on any bike unless the installed messed up somehow
It's possible then the wind level was above my riding skill at the moment then.

How would I tell if I messed up the alignment? I double checked after my ride and it's properly aligned (the brace itself). It was slightly off when I installed it, then before I rode I noticed one side was slightly higher than the other so I adjusted it before my first ride.
 

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Go through the front end and check everything you loosened to fit the brace. Check the sliders aren't uneven in the brace in particular. It might also be worth loosening everything off and starting again to make sure the brace is straight and even on the sliders and that they're not twisted out of line with the front axle. Get the bike level and on the centre stand (or equivalent, but not the side stand) with the front wheel off the ground to take any side stresses off the assembly. That might be nit-picking, it's just a thought.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Go through the front end and check everything you loosened to fit the brace. Check the sliders aren't uneven in the brace in particular. It might also be worth loosening everything off and starting again to make sure the brace is straight and even on the sliders and that they're not twisted out of line with the front axle. Get the bike level and on the centre stand (or equivalent, but not the side stand) with the front wheel off the ground to take any side stresses off the assembly. That might be nit-picking, it's just a thought.
I didnt loosen anything to fit the brace. I am not sure what you mean by sliders. My brace was just 2 pieces i bolted together. I didn't install it on a center stand (I dont have one) but I do have a rear lift and spools installed so I could lift the bike with that and reinstall it.
 

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You should do as Dark Angel suggests. I'm curious if you are influencing the steering during the wind gusts and with the fork brace the subtle movements are more effective at causing counter steering than without the fork brace.

I am one that has never had a problem with wind gusts on any motorcycle that I have owned, fork brace or not. I have a fork brace but for a different reason.

You need to be loose and gentle in the wind. When gusts hit you from the side your bike should just lean into the wind and not move left or right. If you are white knuckling your handlebars then you are making it worse.

Wind gusts that give me the most problem happen in the White Mountains and when they are from my right or left rear when I'm leaned over. Even those don't make me move around much, they just make it where I can't hold my line like I want.
 

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Have to chime in on this.

I don't have a fork brace on my 2013 650. I've been in *very* high winds over the last couple of weeks, gusting up to 40mph, while that tornadic storm passed north and south of Atlanta.

Perhaps the 2012+ handles a bit differently than ≤ 2011 models, due to the stiffer fork configuration, but it handled SO well, I felt it had a built-in gyroscopic self-correcting script. I had to make ZERO conscious corrections. Is this an anomaly, or am I just sub-consciously correcting.

For the OP, I would definitely re-visit your installation. Remove the fork brace, and take it out again. See if the control is back. If not, and if you loosened the pinch bolts during the install, I would suspect one side may have slipped just a bit...
 

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I didnt loosen anything to fit the brace. I am not sure what you mean by sliders. My brace was just 2 pieces i bolted together. I didn't install it on a center stand (I dont have one) but I do have a rear lift and spools installed so I could lift the bike with that and reinstall it.
By "slider" I mean the part of the forks that goes up and down, carries the wheel and guard, and now has the brace attached at the top.
 

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That would depend entirely on the design of the fork brace, not the age of the bike.
 

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I didnt loosen anything to fit the brace. I am not sure what you mean by sliders. My brace was just 2 pieces i bolted together. I didn't install it on a center stand (I dont have one) but I do have a rear lift and spools installed so I could lift the bike with that and reinstall it.
That may very well *BE* the problem (that you didn't loosen anything). Recommended procedure (I believe -- I haven't bought one, so I may be full of kaka) is that you loosen the pinch bolts when you install... loosened too much you can inadvertently misalign the fork.
 

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I might add that wind direction, and weather it's constant or gusting, plays a major role in handling. It's possible wind speed or direction were different after the brace install.
At least on the pre '12's, raising the fork tubes helped considerably in the wind with ours.
 

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I might add that wind direction, and weather it's constant or gusting, plays a major role in handling. It's possible wind speed or direction were different after the brace install.
At least on the pre '12's, raising the fork tubes helped considerably in the wind with ours.
You prolly just hit the nail on the head for me... and very possibly for the OP.

When I lowered the bike 3/4", I also raised the fork 19mm for balance. I forgot that has a positive effect on stability...
 

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You need to be loose and gentle in the wind. When gusts hit you from the side your bike should just lean into the wind and not move left or right. If you are white knuckling your handlebars then you are making it worse.
Real important advice. Let the bike move around a bit under your stable upper body. Countersteer into the gusts. If a gust comes from the right, push on the right grip to make the bike lean into the gust.

There is no way a fork brace made things worse unless it forced the forks out of their normal parallel alignment. If the brace slipped on easy for you to bolt into place, no problem. What else could have changed?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks guys, this is all very helpful. I am going to try on the next windy day without the brace to see if it helps.

Talking to my girlfriend when she got home from work she said the wind was so bad today that it was blowing her nissan cube into the other lane and she had to constantly correct to deal with it. Perhaps the wind was just stronger than I realized and beyond my current skill level.

Every flag I saw was fully extended, it was damn windy. Other flags were going nuts.

I think perhaps I need more practice in the wind, that being saiod even when it was less windy I just didnt feel like I had good control, it felt massively different than the first few times I rode the bike.

I didnt loosen the sliders or do anything like that though, the fork brace I used (I am hesistant to say which one as I dont want to give the seller bad publicity when its possible it has nothing to do with the brace at all) just is too pieces and you slide the back piece in and then clamp the front piece, its just 2 pieces that can slip on without loosening anything on the bike.

Is there anything else I should check? I was going to check the air pressure before I ride next.

Hopefully next time I ride there wont be much wind and I can take it on the highway and see how it feels. I know already that it rides fine on the highway normally so if its still feeling weird on the highway I will know something is up.
 

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Strong side winds are a bitch.

I don't know whose brace you bought, but I can't imagine any of the braces that you might have purchased discussed on Stromtroopers making riding in side winds worse. Eliminating the effects of side winds is one of the big advantages of a fork brace.

If you have any doubts about it, take the fork brace off. Ride for a few weeks or until your comfortable on the bike. I would avoid strong side winds until you are comfortable on the bike. Heck, I avoid riding in strong side winds and I've been riding for more than four decades.

Anyway, after your comfortable and know your bike well, put the brace back on. I'll bet a box of donuts that find out that the brace helps in all situations and especially in side winds.
 

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I think your problem is that it is just too flat in New Jersey. :biggrinjester:
 

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Thanks guys, this is all very helpful. I am going to try on the next windy day without the brace to see if it helps.

Talking to my girlfriend when she got home from work she said the wind was so bad today that it was blowing her nissan cube into the other lane and she had to constantly correct to deal with it. Perhaps the wind was just stronger than I realized and beyond my current skill level.

Every flag I saw was fully extended, it was damn windy. Other flags were going nuts.

I think perhaps I need more practice in the wind, that being saiod even when it was less windy I just didnt feel like I had good control, it felt massively different than the first few times I rode the bike.

I didnt loosen the sliders or do anything like that though, the fork brace I used (I am hesistant to say which one as I dont want to give the seller bad publicity when its possible it has nothing to do with the brace at all) just is too pieces and you slide the back piece in and then clamp the front piece, its just 2 pieces that can slip on without loosening anything on the bike.

Is there anything else I should check? I was going to check the air pressure before I ride next.

Hopefully next time I ride there wont be much wind and I can take it on the highway and see how it feels. I know already that it rides fine on the highway normally so if its still feeling weird on the highway I will know something is up.
Honestly, if it's windy enough to blow cars around you should really be considering whether you NEED to ride, and you can be sure it's going to be hard work and quite possibly hairy. I'm starting to think you just under estimated how windy it was.
 
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