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Neken SFS air suspended triple clamps have landed (PICS)

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On Tuesday I received an email from Budsracingusa.com that they received 9 sets of the Neken SFS air suspended triple clamps. These have been highly touted by MXA and are used by several pro riders, including Dungey and Jason Anderson. I called Thomas at Budsracing and immediately secured one set of KTM orange. Those 9 units sold within 10-15 minutes as I followed up with Thomas to make sure my payment and shipment request went through. I'm normally not an early adopter of the latest a greatest MX accessories that come to market, but to me these represented a possible and very viable solution to the typical mid-stroke harshness found in WP closed cartridge forks in addition to the additional potential comfort on hard landings, positive steering control, and even possible vibration reduction on my 150 & 250sx 2 strokes. For $730, I have high expectations!

 

Well today I received my set and I am pretty stoked to try them out and share my findings. I have them mounted up on my 150sx and am ready for a fun day tomorrow. During installation I took note of several things to consider that have not been mentioned in the moto mags/sites.

 

Pre-Ride Impressions

  • They are beautiful and seem incredibly well engineered, pure work of art and bling-ness 
  • Compared to the stock OEM clamps, they are approx 3mm higher
  • Compared to stock, the position of the pinch bolts are reversed. They are right behind the front number plate and push up against the plate. As a plus, the side facing the rider looks cleaner
  • They are not adjustable! Since they have little fork absorbers, the upper clamps cannot be adjusted forward or backwards to suit each riders preference. OEM clamps essentially have 4 positions when varying the placement of the top clamps in the top tree. By visually eyeballing the clamps side by side, it appears the set placement for the Neken SFS would be position 2 of 4, with 1 being nearest the rider and 4 being the most open cockpit. I always preferred position 4, so this is a bit of a concern for me
  • With the lower portion of the handlebars mounts being a single piece, you have to use an open end wrench or adjustable wrench to tighten down the top steering bolt. This prevents one from using a torque wrench, though it's a insignificant issue since the top bolt is generally torque in the 10-15lb range
  • Proper setting of air pressure in the forks was and is a pain in the ass. MXA suggests running 65-75 PSI in the little SFS forks. Using and air compressor and a road bike hand pump, I am unable to set the pressure properly. The air compressor didn't work at all, I tried several different attachments and was unable to get any air into the system. Using a standard size road bike pump, I was able to inflate the forks to 120 PSI before trying to disconnect the chuck. With the forks being so small, I lost 65 PSI each time and was only able to keep 55 PSI in the forks. I'll have to try and find a small accurate pump with a short hose to prevent air loss.

I am quite surprised on some of the initial challenges I came across today, none of which we're mentioned in the articles I've read. Ultimately as long as they perform as advertised, these little issues should be very minor consequences of having additional comfort and safety. Now all I need are a set of air suspended foot-pegs and I'll be Cadillac-ing around the track fully suspended by air. 

 

I'm expecting to have a full after ride report later this weekend. Brapppp!

 

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Subscribed.

Thanks for the details, well written with a lot of info, for sure I will be looking forward to your follow up review after using them.

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Still will have harshness in the fork though.those forks are horrible and i would be skeptical thinking the clamps are gonna take that harsh feeling out of the forks. Tkstroke, i was in your shoes bud, ive spent a small fortune trying to figure out those forks. And i bit the bullet and bought the ohlins. Apsolutly the best thing ive ever did. I love ktms, but wont have wp on them for as long as i own them

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Still will have harshness in the fork though.those forks are horrible and i would be skeptical thinking the clamps are gonna take that harsh feeling out of the forks. Tkstroke, i was in your shoes bud, ive spent a small fortune trying to figure out those forks. And i bit the bullet and bought the ohlins. Apsolutly the best thing ive ever did. I love ktms, but wont have wp on them for as long as i own them

lol my wp forks are better then my mates honda, suzuki and the yamaha with the revalve but each to there own

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You need a no loss chuck to set the air pressure , try a Google search

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Looks awesome. Can't wait for first ride review. I wonder how durable they are in a crash situation.

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Nice looking units and all, but this has gotta be the biggest joke for suspension that the band-aid fix for poor-performing forks is adding MORE suspension (at a significant expense, moreso than a set of good Showas or KYBs) in a place it doesn't really belong...

 

If WP goes to air suspension, and still somehow has the same harshness problems and these clamps are popularized as a "fix" for it, does that mean riders will have to have THREE separate air filling devices for their front end?  Tire (floor pump), forks (mtb shock pump), clamps (zero loss chuck)?

 

Also curious about those things in a crash.  I envision bad things happening to them, but that's the cynic in me.

 

At least they look sharp.

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How about a good revalve for the midstroke harshness of the CC forks? I do thank you for being the test guy. While they look well engineered, that's a big chunk of money!

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I talked to a buddy who has them and he said they are really good, but its not a fix or a substitution for a revalve or poor working forks.they look insane though!

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Still will have harshness in the fork though.those forks are horrible and i would be skeptical thinking the clamps are gonna take that harsh feeling out of the forks. Tkstroke, i was in your shoes bud, ive spent a small fortune trying to figure out those forks. And i bit the bullet and bought the ohlins. Apsolutly the best thing ive ever did. I love ktms, but wont have wp on them for as long as i own them

 

I didn't buy the Neken SFS expecting it would resolve the WP mid stroke harshness by any means, though I am hoping this could be a side benefit to lessen it. I do notice the mid stroke slap, but I've set the WP forks up pretty well for me and I'm overall fine dealing with the harshness without doing a revalve or going Ohlins. My buddy has new Ohlins and while I do think they are very good, I just haven't justified going that route. As many people will attest, curing the WP harshness issue is something very few people truly know how to do. If I we're to do something, I would only let MX-Tech modigy my forks or go Ohlins...or now I'll wait to see how the 4CS forks evolve over time

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Nice looking units and all, but this has gotta be the biggest joke for suspension that the band-aid fix for poor-performing forks is adding MORE suspension (at a significant expense, moreso than a set of good Showas or KYBs) in a place it doesn't really belong...

 

If WP goes to air suspension, and still somehow has the same harshness problems and these clamps are popularized as a "fix" for it, does that mean riders will have to have THREE separate air filling devices for their front end?  Tire (floor pump), forks (mtb shock pump), clamps (zero loss chuck)?

 

Also curious about those things in a crash.  I envision bad things happening to them, but that's the cynic in me.

 

At least they look sharp.

 

To clarify, my purchasing these was based on the overall concept of having additional suspension for the bars, not to cure the WP mid stoke harshness. The Flex bars are loved by many, though i think they are goofy looking and I don't like the independent play each side has. The Neken bar mounts are not intended for the exact same purpose as the Flexx bars, as clearly evident by the handful of pros that are using Neken to improve performance by virtue of positive control and additional feeling/absorbing. The Neken's are proving themselves well in the hands of the fastest risers in the world and yet to have any known issues or failures.

 

As for "not really belong"; by that line of thinking you should be riding a vintage bike and never upgrade to any new technology. I would suggest holding judgement until you try them for yourself

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BTW, tell me you are joking about air suspended footpegs. That would be over the top. :shocked:  :crazy:

 

My buddy suggested this when he saw my clamps. At first laughed, but it's a damn good idea that could have merit and real rider benefits. I'll take components that provide additional rider comfort, safety, and control, any day over engine performance upgrades. The more comfortable I can ride without getting beat up, leads to better rider performance and safety which is all good in my book ;-)

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If WP goes to air suspension, and still somehow has the same harshness problems and these clamps are popularized as a "fix" for it, does that mean riders will have to have THREE separate air filling devices for their front end?  Tire (floor pump), forks (mtb shock pump), clamps (zero loss chuck)?

 

Having to use a pump beyond tires is a little annoying. Due to the potential benefits and unlikely issue with reliability, I'm hoping it's a good trade-off.

 

As for pump, i ordered one of these and will keep it in the ole tool box http://www.amazon.com/Fox-Racing-Shox-Shock-027-00-007/dp/B001F212OK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1399246888&sr=8-1&keywords=fox+air+pump

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I revalved my wp on the 250sxf 14 and with just a few shim changes I feel they are one if the plushest forks I have ridden

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I revalved my wp on the 250sxf 14 and with just a few shim changes I feel they are one if the plushest forks I have ridden

Did you revalve for mx?

Did you post your stacks on TT?

Wp forks can work very well if setup right.

But I think it still doesn't work as broad as kyb or showa

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The set up is as follows

For me mx setting 70kg was a expert speed rider

0.44 springs

20psi bladder

360cc

Base valve std with a 14.15 clamp shim

Mid piston drilled 1mm bleed hole

Std stack but with a extra 8.1 shim sits in the piston recess to give a float of 0.35mm

Rebound 13.1 added in high speed section

And that's it , works really good

C15

R15

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Post ride(s) update

 

I now have two rides on the new Neken SFS clamps, once each on my 150 & 250sx not that it matters much. I have been unable to reach a conclusion on how helpful or not the clamps are, simply because I have not been able to test them with varying air pressure. MXA simulated pumping the bar mounts to 120psi to emulate standard bar mounts and then dropping the pressure to the 50-70psi range and comparing the difference in feel. In order to do this, you must have a quality shock pump with a no loss air fitting. I ordered the fox shock pump http://www.amazon.com/Fox-Racing-Shox-Shock-027-00-007/dp/B001F212OK which is yet to arrive. You simply cannot use any regular air pump unless it has an accurate gauge and is fitted with a no loss chuck. With the volume of air in the fork absorbers being so small, each time you release a conventional hookup or check the pressure with a gauge, you will lose a significant amount of pressure (up to 50% in my findings)

 

Without being able to ride back to back with varying air pressures, coming to any conclusion would be shallow. Other than using the MXA recommended technique, no one is going to be able to provide any accurate feedback unless you ride the same two bikes, setup the same, on the same track, on the same day, and one setup with regular bar mounts and the other with the Neken SFS.

 

Early suspicions

 

So far, I've only been able to setup the bars with 55psi of pressure using my nitrogen tank fitted with my no loss air chuck. I had no intention of bring along my nitrogen tank just for the sake of testing. While it's difficult to give any definitive feedback, I do have a strong feeling that the bar mounts are very effective in terms of increased bump absorption (comfort) and increase in positive control. The o-ring that comes installed on the bar mount fork absorber shows I'm using about 75% of it's travel (7.5mm). Big hits and acceleration/braking bumps all seem to be less intense and more comfortable on the arms, though again I'll know for sure once I have an accurate pump for testing.

 

What I don't like so far

 

Clearly the need to have a air pump is less than ideal, though it's a small consequence for the potential benefits. The only primary downside that I see so far that has any real merit, is the non-adjustability of the position of the handlebar mounts. I prefer to use the all the way forward position on regular bar mounts, which is approx 5-8 mm forward of the standard position of the Neken SFS's. I did notice the change when riding, though you quickly get comfortable with such incremental changes. For those who like to raise or lower the height of their handlebars, like many taller riders and enduro guys, I cannot see how you'll be able to add in spaces to raise the bars. Taller bend bars is the only real solution. For my personal preference giving up adjustability will be a worthwhile compromise so long as the bars increase front end dampening and improve rider comfort.

 

I hope to come to a definitive conclusion next weekend once my pump arrives and I have been able to test back to back.

 

Brapppp!!!!

Edited by tk2stroke

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The set up is as follows

For me mx setting 70kg was a expert speed rider

0.44 springs

20psi bladder

360cc

Base valve std with a 14.15 clamp shim

Mid piston drilled 1mm bleed hole

Std stack but with a extra 8.1 shim sits in the piston recess to give a float of 0.35mm

Rebound 13.1 added in high speed section

And that's it , works really good

C15

R15

Smart set up.

Springs kind of light.

Thanks Marcus

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