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Old 04-20-2011, 01:27 PM   #1
240sx4u OP
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Aftermarket triple clamp for airhead.. what are the advantages?

I see lots of talk about these beautiful triples! I understand they do improve rigidity but do they make the forks basically idiot proof to align?

Just curious, the San Jose unit is very reasonable at 119 and I am considering buying one next month to finish up my front end work.

Thanks!
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Old 04-20-2011, 01:46 PM   #2
Renner
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 240sx4u View Post
...do they make the forks basically idiot proof to align?
No. In fact they can introduce error.
I'm currently installing an SJ brace on a friend's /7. The center to center distance in the yoke bores for the tubes is slightly wider than that of the brace. Installing the brace causes the forks to splay outward. I'm placing .002 shims at the inboard radius where the brace captures the tubes in order to meet parallelism.

Best to true the yoke and tubes per Randy Glass' article then check again with the brace installed.

I like both TT and SJ braces and believe they're a well-worth the money but they're no cure-all.
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Old 04-20-2011, 02:30 PM   #3
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That being the case, I can't see the logic in me "upgrading" at this point! Sounds like it may make things more difficult.
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Old 04-20-2011, 03:09 PM   #4
bikerfish
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I have one of the old san jose triple clamps, have it on my /7 along with a fork brace. once properly set up, they do make a nice difference in the front end.
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Old 04-20-2011, 03:24 PM   #5
Renner
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is there logic in upgrading(?)

it's good to have the front end working properly.
checking the fork geometry is worthwhile and not difficult.
adjustments aren't as tedious as one might expect after reading Glass' article.

Once the forks are true, adding a top brace will minimize flexing.
If the brace and yoke don't quite agree with each other then a little attention will bring them into compliance.

Probably you would like the results, but without it you wouldn't necessarily miss it.
Those cheap top plates have seen lots of Airhead miles.
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Old 04-20-2011, 03:38 PM   #6
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years back I was told to just run two stock top plates stacked.
Never did it, but that is what I was told to help stiffen up the front without big bucks.
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Old 04-20-2011, 04:04 PM   #7
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Two stock units adds up to more bucks than a San Jose tree.

Steel is a lot stronger than aluminum. The stock steel tree is not thick enough around the stem or tubes as it is. They stretch out of round there ALL the time. IMO, the additional thickness of the SJ tree is barely enough around the stem in order to compensate being made out of a weaker material. It's whole advantage is in that it actually holds on to the tube in a much, much more positive way than the stock unit. Therein lies the big diff! Just like the lower tree and a Telefix, it helps to hold on tight!

I think the bottom tree needs beefing up as well. Look at the lower trees on newer bikes. They are often five times the tree! I think a lot of "frame flex" is actually the forks. Some modern super stiff upside downers like on someone's project bike? There is a reason airheads have over seven inches of travel: Boxers have a great low CG for hacks. Too bad they have to be a mile high to go around a corner in a solo machine for dragging the cylinders! If the tire in those upside down forks don't lock up on the front engine cover first, I hope he goes into his first corner very slowly because if he doesn't he is going to drag his cylinder so hard he might be launched into low orbit! It looks fast but I wouldn't try to ride it fast. Anyway, unless we pretty much start with a whole new frame, we need our super long and flimsy forks!
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Old 04-20-2011, 09:00 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 240sx4u View Post
I see lots of talk about these beautiful triples! I understand they do improve rigidity but do they make the forks basically idiot proof to align?

Just curious, the San Jose unit is very reasonable at 119 and I am considering buying one next month to finish up my front end work.

Thanks!
Installing a billet upper triple clamp wont make an alignment job idiot proof but you'd be an idiot not to align your forks!

Make no mistake...

Adding a billet top clamp is a proven way to upgrade your Airhead's handling because the stock steel plates distort but to get the full effect, it's best to do a complete and thorough fork alignment, to make sure that your fork legs are dead straight and that the system is stiction free. That ans someattention to the springs and and adjust the sag and you can end up with a superior handling Airhead.

Theres complete and detailed alignment info on Duane Ausherman's web site, so check it out.

PS: The Toaster Tan top clamp is surely the best ever made but they're hard to find right now, so buy the one from San Jose. I've had both and functionally, you cant really tell the difference.
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Old 04-20-2011, 09:25 PM   #9
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or ...


run it just as it left the factory. just run at a mellow-yet-semi-quick pace and enjoy

--S
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Old 04-20-2011, 10:47 PM   #10
Hawk Medicine
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or ...


run it just as it left the factory. just run at a mellow-yet-semi-quick pace and enjoy

--S
Yeah but if you ride it just like it left the factory, heres a good chance that the forks will be misaligned and sticking and the spring rates will be wrong for you.

Oh well. Different strokes....!
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Old 04-21-2011, 07:06 AM   #11
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Wow, this thread is actually very useful beyond my expectations. Thanks guys I didn't really think the new upper would make it automatically align but had hoped it would keep everything lined up better during the tightening etc..

Sounds like a worthwhile consideration!
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Old 01-17-2013, 07:13 PM   #12
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Time to dredge this thread up from the depths...

I'm looking at installing one of the sturdier billet top clamps. I have looked at the Toastertan and SJ/CC units and there does seem to be some differences apparent. Google also produced an offering from Boxerworks, although it is not presently available. It kind of looks like the Toastertan top clamp.
There is about $50 difference in price which is not a deal maker or breaker, but I'm just looking for any first hand experienced with either unit since this thread was last active. Both on installation and functionality.

T.I.A.

Mike
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Old 01-17-2013, 07:20 PM   #13
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Mike, I did buy the ToasterTan brace. Wonderful piece that pretty much quashed my woes immediately. It was expensive but worth every darn penny IMO. I ended up having a twisted lower that was replaced by a unit given to me by a wonderful ADV member.

Would I do it again? Absolutely. I bought a new oem top plate and still couldn't get my forks straight. This bike sat for over a year with the forks out due to sheer frustration. Now it's sitting due to bad cylinder pitting.
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Old 01-17-2013, 09:53 PM   #14
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I picked up one on ebay about a year ago, dont know what brand it is but it made a huge difference, really tightened up the front end, the old steel top plate was oval in the centre
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Old 01-18-2013, 07:09 AM   #15
DoktorT
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A tale of two Airheads. 90/6 bought new. Forks were amazing. Learned to use the machine for a year or so then started running into the rubber cow. Skills were now beyond the machine. Replaced the fork fluid and installed the SJ upper triclamp. Did nothing re: alinement. Still supple no stiction, and rock solid now with Lesters as well. Like a train on tracks.

More recently, bought a 79 RS. 14.5k. Forks were massive sticktion, just flat dangerous. Ordered an SJ clamp immediately. Pulled the sliders. Expected to see it all gooed up with dissolved bushings. Nope, pristine clean inside. Bit of web search and found the Randy Glass article. Tubes were out some 5 mm at the ends.

Took me more than a week in rigging the tension and waiting, then heat, to massage the lower triple into alignment. Slapped on the SJ clamp and reassemble. Beautiful sticktion free supple perfect BMW function again. Added the Wilbers springs from Porter and the driveway clunk is resolved as well.

Could be those forks were foul when new and explain why so few miles were put on it. Is it possible a nOOb could screw up a wheel R&R enough to warp the clamps?

Two Airheads. One perfect and couldn't be fouled up even by a DIY'er just paying attention to nuts and bolts. The other fully out of wack, but fixable by following the procedures, then enhancing those procedures, but now with a few decades of daily shop work skills in my tool bag.

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