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.