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Installing A Fork Brace (Read 301 times)
stewmills
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Installing A Fork Brace
08/12/16 at 09:06:27
 
If you are interested in a fork brace, there are a few options.  The least expensive seems to be TKAT (http://www.tkat.com/forkbrace.html) with US delivery and brace at $120 total as of this posting.  If you have the funds, Superbrace (https://superbrace.com/) is an option as well with US delivery starting at $180 and up depending on style and shipping method. I chose TKAT because of the price point, and turnaround was a couple of weeks as most are made to order. Just email TKAT with your bike year/make/model and he most likely has the specs in his system as he’s been making these for ~30 years. That’s all I did, and fitment was near perfect!


To begin…on later model bikes, there are the black plastic fork protectors that must be removed before installing the fork brace.  If you are careful, you can also save these for future use should you ever need to reinstall them. So…don’t just go ripping things apart. Be patient (this really only takes about 10 minutes) and you will have a nice finished product…meaning your forks not all scarred up and fork protectors that can be reused.

FIRST, protect your front fender from accidental slips and dings. You can either remove it (not required) or simply place some protective paper, cardboard, or rags over the fender.  I chose several layers of really thick packing paper.


SECOND, get yourself a hammer and a small piece of wood.  Use wood because the wood will deform before the fork tube and will not scar or damage your fork.  I used a wooden clothes pin.


THIRD, start by lightly hammering the wood against the bottom edge of the plastic fork protector. Once you have a few hits in, you will see the fork protector starting to shift up and you should start seeing the channel that it sits in. The channel is only about 1mm or so deep, so it doesn’t take much to get it to start sliding up.  


FOURTH, once you have the protector sliding up, make sure to keep working all the way around the fork to nudge the protector up somewhat evenly.  You can’t get all of the way around to the inside of the fender area, but as long as you get as reasonably close as you can it will work itself up.


FIFTH, if you have patiently worked at it, you should have the protector all of the way off of the fork tube. To completely remove it from the bike, you can slide it all of the way off the top IF you are already planning to take the triple tree apart.  In most cases, you probably aren’t taking the forks apart, so all you need to do is get a sharp and sturdy utility knife (not a cheap one that will break) and carefully make a cut down the backside of the fork protector to split it apart. Be careful to place something under it so you have something to bear down on besides the top of the fork. You don’t want to slip and either gouge the fork or possibly cut into the rubber fork seal. *Note: I do not have pictures of this cutting process as I left mine on as I am experimenting with reusing them with my fork brace installed.  If I find a viable solution, I will post that in this tutorial accordingly.


SIXTH, you can clean the tubes up with some cleaner or polish and this is your finished product with the fork protectors removed. Yes, you will be covering most of this area up, but no sense in not cleaning it up.



SEVENTH, here is the TKAT fork brace, complete with allen screws. Make sure to note that each side of the tube clamp is a matching pair.  If you look on the underside of each, you will see matching letters or numbers to make sure you don’t get them swapped.  In my case, the side pictured had “N” and the other side had a different letter.




EIGHTH, start by clamping the tube clamp on one side loosely. Don’t tighten down yet as you will need to realign everything once all pieces are on the bike.



NINTH, install the tube clamp on the other side loosely.



TENTH, install the cross brace and get the allen screws finger tight.  At this point, once the allen screws on all components are finger tight you can begin wiggling things a bit to make sure they are lined up. It may take a bit of forceful wiggling as these are made for a tight fit, and even with just finger tight allen screws it can require a bit of force to twist the tube clamps if needed.



ELEVENTH, make sure that you have the tube clamps sitting down on the fork tube firmly.  They may try to wiggle up a bit when you are aligning things, but you can usually push them down snug by hand.  Proper snugness looks like this;



TWELFTH, work your way around tightening things down firmly while ensuring proper alignment.  Don’t tighten the living snot of it and strip the screws as it is aluminum. Get it snug, and be sure to recheck it after the first few rides.




Enjoy!

_________________________________________
UPDATE as of 10/24/2016

I was able to keep my stock fork guards intact.  I did not take pictures of the process, but here's what I did to get the end result that you see here (below).  Remember that through the above process, I did NOT cut my fork guards off. I just slid them up out of the way. After the fact, I realized how I MIGHT work out a way to keep the fork guards, but it requires pretty much removing and reattaching the whole thing. What I did is get some black electrical tape (the stretchier and resilient the better). With a piece that is about 8" or so long, starting on the upper OUTSIDE edge of the ring with sticky side towards the plastic, start taping around the ring and make about 2 rounds. This should leave you with a piece of tape that is dangling down, sticky side towards the fork tube. Do this 5 or 6 times around the side and back of the ring until you have covered the rear 1/2 (short side) of the ring.  Yes, it gets tricky not letting it all stick together, just be easy and patient until you get it.  Now, keeping in mind that you need to attach the fork brace and it's height. attach the tape to the fork tube carefully and smoothly and don't allow overlaps of the tape. Don't worry about length right now. Once it's all stuck, and keeping in mind that the tape is stretchy and you want it snug/taught, start working the fork brace tube clamps back on. It will be very tight because of the addition of the tape, but it'll go back on with some gentle persuasion and maybe a tiny bit of lubricant.  You will have to work the tape into the right position to cleanly pinch and line itself up so the fork guard sits up there all nice and pretty, but once done you just trim the excess tape that is sticking out of the bottom of the clamp and it looks nice and the black electrical tape blends right in. Yes, they will wiggle a wee bit if you tug on them, but if done right with the right tension on the tape you should have no issues.  Been riding mine for a couple of months now over 500+ miles and no worries so far.  Cool

Sorry I didn't get pics along the way of the "process" and if this doesn't make any sense whatsoever.

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« Last Edit: 10/24/16 at 12:48:32 by stewmills »  

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Kenny G
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Re: Installing A Fork Brace
Reply #1 - 08/12/16 at 09:29:37
 
Stew,

That is a good job.

Are you by chance a teacher by trade?

Kenny G
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stewmills
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Re: Installing A Fork Brace
Reply #2 - 08/12/16 at 09:34:26
 
Thanks!  

Naa, not a teacher, but a lot of my professional work (systems development, project manager, business development, etc.) has required me to write manuals for software systems, processes, procedures and the like so I guess it's in my blood.
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Re: Installing A Fork Brace
Reply #3 - 08/12/16 at 10:06:45
 
You can remove the fork protectors w/out cutting by dropping the top part of the fork down and slipping it off.

You do this one leg at a time.
raise front end so the tire just off the ground.
remove the cap.
remove the washer and spacer inside.
loosen the turn signal mount.
loosen bottom clamp.
The top tube should be able to slip down.

I've forgotten if this will clear the bottom tree or not.
It will need to clear the bottom to remove the protector.

Last time I did it was to change the forking fluid.
So I had the wheel and fender off.
Flipped the tube upside down, pumped it a few times and it was empty.

Then reverse the procedure to install.
Rinse and repeat.   Cool
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Re: Installing A Fork Brace
Reply #4 - 04/02/18 at 09:53:20
 
Here's the fork brace on my RYCA bike.

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