Installing the SuperBrace on the DL1000
Right after I purchased my DL1000, I installed the Givi V35 saddlebags. The first time I rode the bike with the saddlebags in place, I notice a front-end wobble at high speed, starting around 70 up to around 90 mph. I posted the issue on Stromtrooper.com, and several replies said that a fork brace would probably help. I was able to mitigate the wobble by adjusting the suspension, but I still wanted a fork brace.
A fork brace will create a substantial connection from one fork leg to the other, right where the fork sliders meet the fork receivers. The idea is to reduce the flexing action of the forks in relation to each other, as well as preventing unwanted flexing of the lower fork tubes. There’s a nice graphic of a fork brake doing its job at this link: http://www.superbrace.com/simulation.html
If you think about it, the VStrom has a comparatively long stretch from the lower triple-tree to the bottom of the fork legs. This is due in part to the fact that the Strom runs the larger 19” front wheel, and also because Suzuki designed the bike to have high ground clearance. A longer tube has a greater potential for flex than a shorter one. Thus, the longer the forks, the more a bike can benefit from a fork brace. There are other ways to deal with this problem. Many bikes are now built with “inverted forks” to address the fork flex issue; the thought being that having the more rigid receiver half of the forks down low, and the more flexible fork tubes clamped in the triple trees will result in a more rigid front end. If you take a look at the latest version of Buell’s Ulysses, you’ll see they’ve put inverted forks on that bike.
A few weeks ago I began looking in to what was available for VStrom fork braces, and the choices seemed to be the Murph’s brace, or the SuperBrace. Both do the same thing, but there are some differences. Some of my observations are objective, some are subjective:
• The Murph’s brace has more pieces; it splits down the middle, and the fork tube enclosures split in half as well. I haven’t installed a Murph’s brace, but I suspect the installation process is to remove the four bolts, then position and bolt together the middle pieces. After that is in place, the second half of the fork tube rings can go into place. The SuperBrace is only two pieces; it is split down the middle. See the photos below for details
• The SuperBrace includes a locating ring, or lip, that is machined into the top of the fork tube rings. During installation, these rings fit right into a pre-existing groove at the top of the fork legs. This makes the installation extremely easy, as not only do the rings hold the brace in place as you’re bolting it together, they also make it next to impossible to install the brace incorrectly. If you don’t have the rings seated correctly, the brace will not fit together properly. The Murph’s brace does not have this feature.
• The Concours 1000 I bought a few years ago had a Murph’s brace already installed. That brace appeared to be powder-coated. The Murph’s website also shows a natural metal finish option for their brace. The SuperBrace comes in a hard-anodized black finish. The anodized finish looks and feels like “black chrome.” Hard anodized finishes are widely used for metalwork on yachts and other marine applications, and will look like new for years and years. Of course, the shiny black SuperBrace blends right in with the VStrom’s front fender.
• Murph’s offers a protective fork tube guard that mounts on top of the brace in front of each tube. These are not required for the VStrom, as Suzuki includes that feature as part of the front fender.
• I think the SuperBrace is a much better looking unit than the Murph’s brace. It’s gracefully curved, and the edges are nicely rounded. The Murph’s brace has flanges sticking out on the ends where the bolts go; the SuperBrace’s bolts are completely hidden and inset into the back half of the unit.
• The street price for the SuperBrace is around $35 more than the Murph’s brace. However, I feel that the ring that is machined into the SuperBrace, which positively locates the brace in exactly the right spot, and the SuperBrace’s higher quality hard-anodized finish, are well worth the extra bucks. I’m not the kind of guy who’s going to carve a chunk of plastic out of a garbage can and bolt it to the front of my bike for a fairing. https://stromtrooper.com/showthread.php?t=26613
I enjoy installing the best available parts and accessories, and spending $30 - $40 more on a part that will be on the bike its entire life is, IMO, money well spent!
I purchased my SuperBrace from Blair at SVRacing Parts. At the moment, SVRacing Parts is operated on ebay automotive. Blair is a terrific vendor, we had a chance to talk on the phone for a while, and you can tell he just loves what he does. Blair goes above and beyond in other ways; he shipped my SuperBrace before I did the PayPal thing, just to make sure I’d get the part in time to install it this week! SVRacingparts.com is going to the top of my vendor list for any future Strom parts. By the way, Blair is opening a new website; soon you won’t have to mess with ebay automotive to get his stuff. It will be a full-service site with all the features you expect a commercial site to have. The new site will be svracingparts.com. You can email Blair at [email protected]
. I also had a chance to talk to Chris at SuperBrace. He told me they’d been making the VStrom SuperBrace for a few years now. In addition to their SuperBrace website, the company also has www.americanmotorcycleaccessories.com
, which was originally dedicated to GoldWing accessories, but is now expanding to include other models. There is a link on the home page for the VStrom, but so far, only the SuperBrace is listed as an available part. Hopefully there will be more stuff for our bikes in the future. If you’d like more info on the SuperBrace, you can email SuperBrace at [email protected]
, or call him at 800.322.4783.
Installation starts with standing the bike up straight, either with a centerstand, a lift, or, in my case, a rear stand. Once the bike is up and stable, use a 10mm socket to loosen up the axle pinch bolts. There are two on the front of the right-side fork.
Disassemble the SuperBrace by taking out the four Allen-head bolts. I have a metric 3/8” drive Allen key set that has been extremely handy; if you don’t have a set, you’ll find them well worth the cost. Using the “L” shaped hex keys gets pretty old after a while. At this point you should put a drop or two of thread lock on the bolts; I used Loctite Red, as I don’t plan to remove the brace in the foreseeable future.
The front half of the brace has a nice engraving of the SuperBrace logo; you can use this to orient the parts correctly. Place the front half of the brace on the forks, the machined rings mentioned earlier will slip right into a matching groove at the top of each fork receiver. You can now put the back half of the SuperBrace in place, again using the grooves to locate the correct spot for the part. The grooves are very handy for holding the parts in place while you insert and begin threading in the bolts.
Keep in mind that the torque for the SuperBrace bolts is only 10 ft./lbs.! Unfortunately, 10 ft./lbs. is the very bottom of the range for my ½” drive torque wrench, a smaller 3/8” drive wrench would have been much better for this job. As always, thread and snug the bolts down sequentially, working from one bolt to another to ensure the brace seats properly in the grooves. Once the final tightening is done, you are ready to torque the axle pinch-bolts to 16.5 ft./lbs.
Riding with the SuperBrace is amazing. Frankly, I was skeptical about the extravagant claims I’d been reading in various website posts. It seemed that a fork brace cured everything from high-speed wobbles to athlete’s foot. However, these are my observations over the past two days:
1. The front end is noticeably more rigid when moving the bike around the garage or driveway. The connection from the handlebars to the wheel is much firmer.
2. At around-town speeds, the bike nips around corners with greater precision and control. Less input is required on the handlebars to make maneuvers such as lane changes
3. Any trace of high-speed wobble is gone. The bike tracks straighter, and is virtually unaffected by grooves in the pavement. I went out to a lightly traveled road in the Everglades and wound the bike up to about 120 mph. It was on rails.
4. High-speed “sweeper” turns are much easier now; where before the Strom needed a series of minor inputs to get through a cloverleaf or other fast curves, you can now slot the bike into a lean angle and keep it there, running straight and true.
5. Although the bike still gets pushed by the wind blast off of semis and other sources of gusts, the effect is much less now, and easier to correct for.
6. Lastly, and this is highly subjective, the bike feels far more solid. In fact, the bike and the front end are now so solid that I feel the need to improve the handlebars. Where before, the sponginess in the handlebars was masked by the “slop” in the front end, the bars now feel soft and sloppy. I guess new handlebars are next on my list.
If you have any questions about the SuperBrace installation, you can email me at [email protected]
, or use the PM function here at Stromtrooper.com.