Eagle Mike Fork Brace - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
1987 to 2007 Wrenching & Mods For maintaining, repair or modifications of Generation 1 KLR's. 2007 and earlier.

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post #1 of 23 Old 09-16-2019, 04:40 PM Thread Starter
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Eagle Mike Fork Brace

Hey all, I'll be installing the EM fork brace on my 03' in a few days. Two questions, Am I going to have to raise my fork boots and expose my fork tubes to install the brace? Id rather not do that.

Also, Anybody have any info to share on the difference their fork braces have made to their KLR's?

Thanks fellas.

Please do not lecture me on the effects of temperature and density altitude on an internal combustion engine -Thank you.

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post #2 of 23 Old 09-16-2019, 05:52 PM
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The brace comes with a lip to re-install the fork boots so the tubes aren't exposed. EM's fork braces are beautifully built just like everything he makes. ....as far as differences go, well, here's my last fork brace discussion;

Ahhh, the fork brace discussion. OK;

- most people will tell you that a fork brace is a good thing because of the "spindly" KLR forks and while I'll concede that the forks are indeed "spindly" compared to modern offroad offerings, it's my opinion that what most people complain about with regards to fork flex is actually inadequate springrates and damping causing diving that they THINK is fork flex. That said a fork brace does increase rigidity and reduces side to side wheel deflection. The debate comes in when you talk about the average owner's ability to ride the bike to the point that it matters.

there is also the thought (which has been professed by many knowledgeable offroad riders) that a fork brace can make the front end too harsh offroad by reducing flex too much.

Another issue is that some fork braces limit clearance to the tire and also the ones that are non-adjustable side to side could cause slight fork misalignment and binding. This problem can be exacerbated by overtorquing or incorrect installation - basically causing more problems than they fix. If you are going to install a brace, I recommend Eaglemike's unit which is very high quality (like everything he makes), is adjustable to reduce the possibility of binding and has adequate clearance for aggressive knobbies.

So, should you get a fork brace for your KLR? If you ride mostly pavement, are aggressive or ride heavily loaded and maybe run sticky street tires then yes. If you ride offroad mostly and don't push the bike that hard then probably not.....in between (like most of us) then maybe! ;-)

I have EM fork braces on both my KLR's and I'm happy with them...but then I was also pretty happy without the braces and my Cogent fork springs and DDC's and I had no instability issues. I do intend a more detailed comparison offroad next summer as I have two identical KLR's (same suspension, same tires, etc.) and can run them back to back and switch off to see what I think. I suspect that in lower speed/more technical offroad work I'll prefer to run without the brace but on higher speed stuff it'll probably be the opposite.

Anyhow,
2 cents,
Dave
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post #3 of 23 Old 09-16-2019, 06:00 PM
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Since I wrote that a couple years back, I had some time to compare the bikes back to back with and without the braces and honestly, I didn't notice much difference in stability on the road with or without the brace. I physically pushed and pulled the wheel at lock with and without the brace and the brace does add stiffness but on the road, there was zero instability with or without the brace on our Cogent equipped KLR's (full DDC's and springs up front, Moab and Ultimate shocks in the rear). We had fork seal issues on both bikes after a two day dual sport event so I removed the braces when I did the seals and haven't put them back on. I'm not saying the braces took out the seals, but it's possible (even though I was careful) that I still had some binding with how they were set up.....and since the bikes were steady at 75-80mph on the road without the braces, even in corners with one hand on the bars, I've left them off for now.

For the record, our KLR's are running light, one 2000 and one 2001, everything from single track to highway but certainly offroad biased. If your usage is significantly different, then likely you opinion on the subject will be too.

Dave
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post #4 of 23 Old 09-17-2019, 07:25 AM Thread Starter
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Hi Dave thanks for the timely response as always. I do try to find an existing thread on a topic before I start a new one but oh well. Ive heard good things about the brace, The front end of my KLR does get bounced around pretty easily when I'm cruising down the road. I don't take this thing off-road really so im hoping this suits my needs. Ill post my opinion on the brace after a few hundred miles or so on it. Thanks again.
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Please do not lecture me on the effects of temperature and density altitude on an internal combustion engine -Thank you.

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post #5 of 23 Old 09-17-2019, 09:39 AM
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It's a quality pce and regardless of the whole fork/suspension/stability discussion there isn't much in the way of downsides so I think you'll be pleased.

Cheers,

Dave
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post #6 of 23 Old 09-17-2019, 10:07 AM
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Sliding the fork tubes up thru the triple clamps causes the fork boots to 'coil bind' or pack tight before full suspension travel can cause the front tire to skid on the fender.

So I may be mis-taken that the installation of a fork brace which raises the fork boot installed height may be enough to limit full suspension travel also. But if one is Not using their KLR on off-highway dirt roads and 4x4 roads it should be a non-issue.

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post #7 of 23 Old 09-17-2019, 11:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdwestman View Post
Sliding the fork tubes up thru the triple clamps causes the fork boots to 'coil bind' or pack tight before full suspension travel can cause the front tire to skid on the fender.

So I may be mis-taken that the installation of a fork brace which raises the fork boot installed height may be enough to limit full suspension travel also. But if one is Not using their KLR on off-highway dirt roads and 4x4 roads it should be a non-issue.
There is more space (depending on the fork position, of course) for the boot than there is available travel. Right now my fork boots are about 1/2" below the lower triple - when I had the fork braces on, I had the boot all the way to the top. In either case, I don't think the boots are strong enough to stop suspension travel even if there wasn't enough room for the boots to compress properly.

Dave
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post #8 of 23 Old 09-17-2019, 12:49 PM
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The OEM boots are 'tough enough' to survive coil binding for sometime.

Do any of you guys remember seeing New Gen 1 units sitting on the showroom floors with the fork tubes 4 inches above the top triple clamps, in the Shipping Position? LOL!
(They used to stack-em 3 high in a semi trailer. There was and is more dealer final assembly required than most people ever realize.)

And on the streets? I had and still do occasionally, but usually with lowering links on the rear.
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pdwestman
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post #9 of 23 Old 09-17-2019, 01:13 PM
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I've seen some forks ridiculously "low" (high above the top clamp).....don't think 4" but way too high.

Dave
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post #10 of 23 Old 09-19-2019, 07:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DPelletier View Post
I've seen some forks ridiculously "low" (high above the top clamp).....don't think 4" but way too high.

Dave
On a Gen 2 I think you can only raise them up in the clamps 2" or less to avoid running out of clearance between the tire and fender mount bolts at full compression. The specs list the front fork travel as 7.9". On my 2017 I have my tubes raised up 1" in my clamps and when measured from the top of the tire to the fender mounting bolts with the weight off the bike on my service jack stand I only had 9" remaining. This means there is less than 1" inch left to raise them if I ever decide to change my rear links to -2" rather than the -1" that I have now. I'm leaving it where it is because I want to leave some tolerance for different tire tread heights as all tire brands vary. My bike is lowered 1" front and rear and I gained another 2" with my Sargent "Low" seat so I've gained 3" to get both balls of my feet on the ground when stopped.

Kev

Last edited by VTWoodchuck; 09-19-2019 at 07:24 PM.
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