A fork is one of the most essential performance components on any dirt bike, determining whether riders experience smooth handling or an unresponsive, uncontrollable ride.
Oiling your fork is an effortless task that will demonstrate your mechanical expertise while producing silky smooth divisions. Most fork brands provide service schedules and easy-to-follow videos and tutorials to assist in this task.
A fork on a mini bike connects between its frame and wheel hub, acting to absorb shocks and vibrations from rough terrain and allowing riders to focus on pedaling and steering more comfortably. There are numerous upgrade and replacement fork options available; when selecting one, it is essential to consider crown-to-axle length as well as the type of front hub/headset combination.
An upgraded fork can dramatically change the handling of your mini bike. When selecting one, look for something with a similar or longer length than what is currently on it for more suspension travel and to consider the location/weight of the brake boss. Also, look out for integrated headset solutions if space is an issue.
Most pit bike forks are constructed of steel and are relatively lightweight, typically measuring 500mm to 730mm in width. Some even mimic downhill bicycle forks like DNM or Faceace forks, as shown below.
Minibike forks and shocks bear most of the load on its suspension system, which makes choosing appropriate spring rates crucial to their effective operation. RT Hi-Performance Springs work well in fork applications, while P-Series Progressive Shock Springs provides speed-sensitive damping to reduce harshness and bottoming resistance.
Weight plays an essential part in fork performance and ride quality, impacting how quickly it compresses and decompresses as well as overall performance. A heavier fork tends to be less responsive, feeling harsh over bumps or rocks, whereas lighter ones offer more excellent responsiveness while better shock absorption but are typically more expensive.
Rigid forks are constructed from one piece of metal and weigh much less than suspension forks, making them a good option for riders looking to keep the weight of their bike down while providing minimal support to the front wheel – though these forks don’t offer sufficient off-road stability.
Suspension forks utilize a spring-based system that compresses and rebounds to absorb shock from uneven terrain, making them popular on mountain bikes, BMX bikes, and some road bikes. Their adjustable design can accommodate riders of various weights and preferences for optimal use, making suspension forks an excellent choice for racing or off-road cycling enthusiasts.
Air forks use compressed air instead of springs to support the front wheel and are available with various travel lengths, as well as disc brake mounts. They’re lightweight and easily adjusted to meet riders of different ages and skill levels, plus cheaper than traditional spring forks.
Suspension forks should be regularly lubricated to prevent them from rusting. Cleaning and lubrication should take place regularly to avoid over-lubricating, which could overheat and reduce efficiency. Most knives come hard anodized, which helps protect them against corrosion; however, over time, this protection may wear away, creating friction between bearings and fork tubes, and frictional heat builds up in them, resulting in potential fork failure.
Spring rates on forks are an integral component of mini bikes, making their spring rate especially crucial to tuning. A high spring rate may be complex and cumbersome to tune, while too soft of a spring rate could leave the bike feeling unstable or unsafe. We highly recommend RT Hi-Performance springs, which are lightweight yet tuneable – ideal for providing plushness over bumpy terrain while increasing bottoming resistance.
One of the significant advantages of mini bike forks is their adjustable nature, with most divisions featuring compression and rebound clickers to customize how stiff or plush your ride feels. Brandon and the Solid crew recommend starting with the factory standard setting before riding around your usual terrain for five minutes to gauge how it feels before making further adjustments on fork compression and rebound if it feels better – if it feels worse keep making tighter/stiffer adjustments until something starts bothering you; otherwise take it back out/softer again until things feel worse before retaking your ride to determine what changes should be made and take it out for another five-minute loop before going in/stiffer on both settings until something starts bothering them then back out/softer until something else begins bothers them and back out/smoother again until it starts bothers then back out/more delicate adjustments until things feel better before backing off again until things feel bad, then go back out/smoother.
To fine-tune your tuning further, consider installing a Gold Valve Kit or custom valving kit to improve the internal damping characteristics of your forks and shocks. These kits contain valve shims with different outer diameters and thicknesses, which increase or decrease oil flow through damper pistons, thereby altering the damping force exerted.
If your engine continues to kick, switching the coil on your shock can also help reduce kicking. If your rider sag is set correctly (the distance that forks sag when fully extended and the front wheel is off the ground), but your shock keeps kicking, it could be that its coil doesn’t suit your weight – stiffer coils reduce sag while softer ones increase it. If you are upgrading to a different ring, you should also adjust your spring rate accordingly. RT Hi-Performance Springs have been engineered using state-of-the-art technologies and materials in order to create lightweight spring rates suitable for each specific model. Checking your owner’s manual or online will give you access to this recommended rate; finding it will bring significant benefits – particularly on tiny bikes with limited suspension travel.
Suspension forks are essential components of an off-road bike, acting to absorb shocks from rough terrain while providing stability for its rider. A quality fork can make the difference between an enjoyable and frustrating ride experience, and there are various types of forks on the market to accommodate different riding styles or goals. A typical fork consists of two legs connected to its wheel hub with its crown sitting atop it, connecting directly into its frame via a steerer tube.
There are two primary categories of front forks – rigid forks and suspension forks. Rigid forks are comprised of one solid piece of metal, making them lightweight yet sturdy options. Suspension forks, on the other hand, use spring-based suspension systems that compress and rebound in response to rough terrain to absorb shock absorption – an option popular with mountain bikes that’s both more durable than their telescopic counterparts and offers more comfortable riding experiences.
Telescopic forks consist of multiple telescoping tubes that encase and secure a wheel. Telescoping forks are easy to recognize by their upper and lower leg having the ability to expand or contract telescopically – common on older bikes but can also be added onto newer ones with the appropriate modifications.
Fork savers are an economical modification that can increase the performance of older telescopic forks, helping keep suspension setups intact when transporting bikes. They fit around each division to prevent long-term compression. Riders looking to protect their suspension setup when transporting can use this modification.
Installing progressive rate springs is another effective way to upgrade the stock forks of a KX 65cc motorcycle, providing both harshness reduction at the bottom of the stroke as well as bottoming resistance increases. A good spring rate can significantly decrease harshness at a bottom stroke and improve bottoming resistance – it’s, therefore, an integral component in the suspension setup, especially on mini bikes where rider weight constitutes an increasingly significant portion.