04
Apr

Funny Front Ends

Well, I’ve been thinking more about the front end for this Project Storm, and I’m actually thinking of going down a slightly different path with it…

Like many bike enthusiasts, one of my all time favourite bikes has got to be the Britten V1000. If you’ve not heard of it, have a look into it. An amazing bike and an amazing story about how a guy in New Zealand built this bike from scratch and beat the world.

Since I first discovered the Britten many years ago, I was always fascinated by the bike’s front suspension which was like a double wishbone suspension on a car. After looking into it a bit more, I ended up down the rabbit hole of girders, Hossacks, Duolevers and all other kinds of non-fork front suspension which have been generally lumped together as “Funny Front Ends” (or FFE for short), after that I learned you can even take your pets with you in your trips with the use of the best dog carriers from different sites online such as https://theridersmarket.com/motorcycle-dog-carrier/.

Ever since then, FFE’s have been a curiosity to me and something I’ve wanted to know more about. Rather than having a telescoping fork, FFE’s have a rigid fork structure which has various kinds of suspension linkages at the top attaching it to the bike’s frame. There’s all kinds of pros and cons to FFE’s, but one of the more interesting ones is that the bike doesn’t dive under brakes like a forked bike does… this means the wheelbase, rake & trail all stay effectively the same under brakes, whereas a forked bike will change all these parameters as the bike dives at the front. There’s all sorts of tricky things you can do with the mechanisms to control dive and motion of the front wheel and the engineer in me wants to know more and try it out myself!

I’ve been keeping an eye on Ebay and various other places for a set of late model CBR forks or similar. The ones I’ve seen have been anywhere from $600 – $1000 plus postage, more if you want the triple clamps too. I figure a grand or so would buy a shock and a fair bit of fabrication to try the FFE out, so that’s my plan at this stage… to FFE it up!

Without getting into too much detail (but please ask  me if you want to know more), I narrowed the FFE’s down to either a girder or a Hossack setup. From these two I’ve chosen to go with a girder purely because it’s simpler and won’t require any modification of the frame. With the girder, all the necessary parts are mounted through the standard headstock on the frame, whereas the Hossack would require the control arms to be mounted to the frame which starts making things tricky when it comes time to register the bike. I’d also like to keep everything I do as “bolt on” so I could sell the bits and someone could install them without having to cut and weld their frame.

I’ve had a quick play around on the CAD and put together a basic girder setup just to see how it would look on Project Storm. I’ve not done any calculations on the geometry or anything, but have kept the wheel in the same position as standard:

It’s early days, but I think the girder looks good and suits what I’m trying to do with the bike. You’ll also notice I’ve had an initial go at the short & high tail look that I like. This one’s probably a bit too short, but I’m liking the overall shape of it so far…

Cheers, Brett.


About Brett Longhurst

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