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How Tight Do You Get Your Tie Downs?


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Hello all, Yesterday I went to strap my bike down in my pickup. I hooked the straps to the handle bars and then to the front hooks on the pickup. I was using pretty big ratchet straps and I tightened them up to where my front forks were about 1/2 the way compressed. Is this about right? Am I compressing my forks too much? Thanks in advance!

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This post is going to open a can of worms about 'fork savers'. 

Personally I use fork savers.. not necessarily to save the forks, but to ensure I have the bike as secure as possible. I also go around the fork tubes, not the handlebars. I crank on the ratchet straps until there is very minimal side to side movement.

The main reason I do it this way is because I'm using a hitch mount bike rack. I literally have zero room for error strapping down. And any bike movement (front, back, left, right) makes for a nervous drive. 20211009_095948.jpg.74588506688f11e0c8d2562f4002af1b.jpg

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18 minutes ago, Adam7 said:

Hello all, Yesterday I went to strap my bike down in my pickup. I hooked the straps to the handle bars and then to the front hooks on the pickup. I was using pretty big ratchet straps and I tightened them up to where my front forks were about 1/2 the way compressed. Is this about right? Am I compressing my forks too much? Thanks in advance!

That is fine.

You cannot compress them too much unless you bottom them out. Riding, the forks compress all the time so no worries. Using the partially compressed forks keeps tension on the tie downs and the bike cannot shift. Using a 'brace' means only the tire can compress and if the brace were to fall out, chances are, your bike will too.

The most you'd want to do is open the air valve on the forks after you tie it down to vent the pressure and then again after you unload to let air back in. Make sure all is clean first!

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In regards to the comments saying to buy fork savers, I live on a farm therefore pretty much all of my riding is on our land around our house. So I rarely haul my bike, on average I probably haul it 3-4 times a year and I will never need to haul it farther than 4 hours away. So this being said it really doesn't make sense to me to buy something I will barley use. I just wanted to make sure tightening the bike to 1/2 of its compression didn't hurt anything.

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2 hours ago, William1 said:

The most you'd want to do is open the air valve on the forks after you tie it down to vent the pressure and then again after you unload to let air back in. Make sure all is clean first!

Yep,  if y'all are that worried about it,  bleed the air out of the forks after you tie it down....you can get some Motion Pro Micro bleeders for less than $20 and Bob's your uncle. (I think they say that in the UK) 😀  (you should have quick bleeders on your bike anyway, right?) 

Cheers

Edited by ss-racing66
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1 hour ago, Adam7 said:

In regards to the comments saying to buy fork savers, I live on a farm therefore pretty much all of my riding is on our land around our house. So I rarely haul my bike, on average I probably haul it 3-4 times a year and I will never need to haul it farther than 4 hours away. So this being said it really doesn't make sense to me to buy something I will barley use. I just wanted to make sure tightening the bike to 1/2 of its compression didn't hurt anything.

It won't hurt anything. 

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I have seen more bikes tip over in trucks and dent bed rails and put holes in the walls of toy haulers from the use of "fork savers."  It doesn't save your forks, but it will destroy everything around it.  

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22 hours ago, S.O.A.N.Z said:

Always strapped from the handlebars

Never used a brace

Never lost a bike  :D

Likewise.  Just cinch it tight enough so it can't wobble into anything else and it is pulled forward into a chock or whatever.  Did this in a Ford van for 13 years of flat track racing and "never lost a bike".

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10 minutes ago, jeffrey sisti said:

I agree, always use the handle bar, it offers much more lateral support, not the fork tubes.

I tried strapping at the fork tubes i think once - didnt like the side to side movement the bike was doing

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The history of fork savers was never to 'save' your forks. They do nothing to save seals. Your suspension during a ride is cycling up/down 1000s of times, and should be bottoming out a few of those times alone, and the seals are under constant stress from heat, lateral and vertical movements... Tied into your bed is marginal in terms of stress on your seals. 

Back in the day, tie-downs didn't loop like they do today. They just hooked on. So it was possible that if you hit a big enough bump, hole, or such that the forks would compress unhooking the tie-down, causing the bike to fall over. Hence where fork savers came in. They wouldn't allow the forks/bike to compress pass a set pint.

Today's tie-downs loop and hook back into themselves so the possibility of that happening today is slim. 

 

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I used my fork saver for a year until I realized how useless it was 😮 Gave it away - I think that the fork springs pressuring against the tie-downs is a much more secure setup than the “fork saver” setup. I pull my tie-downs pretty darn tight but don’t go crazy 👍

Edited by Durango_Dave
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