The suspension system in your motorcycle performs the unenviable task of absorbing the impact of the rough and hard surfaces and protecting the rider from the shock of the ride. A good suspension system is both rigid and smooth to maximise safety and comfort to the rider. The standard fork features the front brake and the suspension, and it is crucial in steering and handling.
The shock absorbers in your standard showa motorcycle forks include the spring and the damper. The spring will cushion the impact and also determine the posture of the frame, while the damper works to suppress the vibration.
The motorcycle fork does more than connect the frame to your front axle. It also helps:
- Ensure that the frame is balanced and stable
- It promotes the rotationality of the vehicle
- Ensures rigidity of the frame while you brake or change directions
- Absorbs and reduces the weight when you apply the brakes or close the throttle
- Cushions ride on rough surfaces
Types of Shock Absorbers
1. Upright Telescopic — The upright telescopic type has three types
- Free-valve type — You can also expect consistency from the free-valve type due to its straightforward structure. But it is very flexible in the sense that it is installed on small scooters to big cruisers.
- Dual Bending Valve — In the dual bending valve, the disc valve and check valve are positioned separately for better damping force control. The valve can quickly transition from the low-speed to high-speed without affecting performance.
- Cartridge type — The structure of the fork is very rigid, which guarantees consistent and stable damping force. Large cruisers typically have this type of telescopic fork.
2. Inverted Telescopic — There are five types of the inverted telescopic showa motorcycle forks:
- Pressurized separation type — As the name suggests, the damper is pressurised, which will drastically boost performance. It is the reason why motocross models use this type of fork.
- Cartridge — The same with the telescopic fork where you can expect the damping force to be consistent.
- Big Piston Front Fork — The damping force is boosted by the large piston size. As you might expect, large motorcycle models would benefit from the BPFF.
- Separate Function front Fork — The two tubes work independently from each other. One tube features a spring mechanism while the other one features a pressure separation damper on the other. Since they divide the function, you can expect a lighter weight and high performance. You will see this installed on racing motorbikes.
- Balance Free Front Fork — The balance free structure is a unique technology from showa motorcycle forks, which improves the damping force response. The damping force is not generated inside the cylinder (across the piston). Instead, the force is generated outside the cylinder while also being pressurised.
There is another technology called the Electronically-Equipped Ride Adjustment, which guarantees optimum stability and superior ride comfort. These hydraulic valves were often used on four-wheeled vehicles, but manufacturers have found a way to convert them for motorbike use.
Each type of motorcycle fork has its distinct pros and cons. But it does not take much to modify your motorcycle by buying and installing a new set of shocks. You must take into consideration the way you ride, your skill level, the surfaces, and how regularly you use your motorbike.