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fork brace effect on highway stability

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I want to do extended rides on the dr650 and the freeway is the unavoidable evil I must use.

I want to make the DR more stable at 75mph.

I have replaced the front fender.

New bearings for wheels and steering head.

gave up knobies

Will a fork brace make a noticeable difference?

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Seriously doubt it. I think they matter most in the twisties, not on the highway. Lowering the rear or raising the front helps.

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what stability issues are you having?

The wake of trucks cause a weave.

I just want the bike to be more planted.

3 hours of freeway on my vfr and I am still fresh.

I get exhausted on the DR after 1 hour due to the high level of alertness I have to maintain keeping the bike in my lane.

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a lot of people complain about and upgrade the stock seat to more comfortable aftermarket options. This reportedly has major benefits for comfort on longer trips. Makes sense as the DR seat is pretty much a dirtbike seat.

Aftermarket windscreens also help a great deal with highway comfort.

Suspension upgrades may be in order if you weigh over 175 on stock suspension components.

Some people install bar risers for increased handlebar height.

Some people upgrade the front fender to a more stiffer aftermarket option. The stock fender DOES wobble a lot at highway speed. So a stiffer fender or some sort of fender brace would certainly help your cause.

Are your wheels balanced? Are they trued? Spoke wheels need a little more TLC then your nice VFR alloy wheels. Balanced and trued wheels will definitely improve highway manners.

One last thing...the DR will never handle as smoothly as your VFR.

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Try the Acerbis front fender brace, I use it on my KLR and the difference was amazing. The front fender no longer acts like a sail, and the front wheel now stays firmly planted on the ground. The fender brace was the single most effective mod I did to the KLR, Hwy riding is no longer an experience I try to avoid. I had also thought about the front fork brace, until someone suggested the front fender brace, I'm glad they did. I have over 12,000 miles on the KLR and about 10,000 with the Acerbis brace, I have taken many extended mileage Fwy trips without any of the wind problems I used to have before the brace. Another alternative is to go with a SM front fender, I tried it for about 2 months, but like the look of the stock fender better. The fender is much cheaper, so you may want to go that route is $$ is an issue, if not go with the Acerbis, it seems much more stable than even the SM fender, IMO.

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I want to do extended rides on the dr650 and the freeway is the unavoidable evil I must use.

I want to make the DR more stable at 75mph.

I have replaced the front fender.

New bearings for wheels and steering head.

gave up knobies

Will a fork brace make a noticeable difference?

I have a fork brace from ebay on my DR650, didn't make any noticeable difference for highway riding.

:ride:

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I think the answer to your question might be when you mention the blasts from trucks. Your VFR is heavier and more aerodynamic. The DR is lighter and taller. You have mores 'sail' effect and the lightness doesn't help. Also you probably have narrower tires on the DR, yes? All factors contributing to what you feel as instability. Dirt bikes are more agile than streetbikes, that's why the supermoto guys always are wondering why the street bike guys are working so hard in the 'twisties'.

On a positive note, i lowered my DR per the factory instructions and it has made a large improvement, for me, in the handling in all areas on the road. Less movement from truck shock waves, corners better, and considerable less flex in the forks. I was going to put on a fork brace when the bike was at the original height, however now i'm not so sure i need it. That much of a difference.

I hope all this info has helped.

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Great suggestions! I've never had much instability on my DR650, it's about average for a dual sport. They all are a bit "Lite" over 70 mph I guess. I just adapted. Try a lighter grip on the bars. Holding on tight just makes it worse ... and wears you out.

I've done 4 four hundred mile days back to back, so I guess you could say my DR does not tire me out. The Corbin seat makes this possible. I don't run any sort of shield either.

I'm running stock fender but I'm sure the other ones suggested would help

stability.

I wonder if a steering damper would help or affect this? I've ridden a DR650 and DRZ400 in deep sand with a WER damper and it was wonderful. Never noticed how it affected high speed highway riding.

Make sure you've adjusted the head bearings correctly. Not too tight, not too loose!

Best of luck! Ride safe!

Patrick

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Thank you all.

I think I am trying to make the DR more than it is.

I want to cruise down the freeway at 85 the same way I can at 60....just not going to happen.

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I would agree that the brace does not help - for highway stability - great in twisties. fender and lowering do make it better. Also more aero hand protectors and mirrors will help. Not sure on the shield - I run a mid sized national deflector when touring or cold and a buell in summer. I go back and forth and really can't tell if one is more stabil in dirty air. The shield is way better in terms of cockpit noise and keeping you from being blown back, but I think w/o the shield you get blown around with it the front end does. Think of it as surfing:ride:

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When my girlfriend is on back the bike feels much more planted. Maybe some weights bolted on the underside of the frame or something? Or a skid plate which hangs a couple inches lower and some weights on top of it?

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When my girlfriend is on back the bike feels much more planted.

That is because the rear is lower giving the bike increased rake which adds stability. The weight also helps make the bike more difficult to move as well as putting additional contact patch if the tires are not inflated to account for the passenger.

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I think the answer to your question might be when you mention the blasts from trucks. Your VFR is heavier and more aerodynamic. The DR is lighter and taller. You have mores 'sail' effect and the lightness doesn't help. Also you probably have narrower tires on the DR, yes? All factors contributing to what you feel as instability. Dirt bikes are more agile than streetbikes, that's why the supermoto guys always are wondering why the street bike guys are working so hard in the 'twisties'.

On a positive note, i lowered my DR per the factory instructions and it has made a large improvement, for me, in the handling in all areas on the road. Less movement from truck shock waves, corners better, and considerable less flex in the forks. I was going to put on a fork brace when the bike was at the original height, however now i'm not so sure i need it. That much of a difference.

I hope all this info has helped.

+1 My wife's lowered DR650 is much more stable at speeds over 65mph than my stock height DR. :busted:

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Since i now ride exclusively on pavement, i handled the fender problem by just taking it off. What can i say?

Ruh Roh! :busted: What will happen now is every rock, pebble and grain of sand will be flpped up in your face. At speed these can hurt! In rain you'll get a constant stream of water on you. Even a cut back short fender can do this. No fender at all will pepper you with debris.

Hey! How about rigging a low mount style fender? I've seen this on a couple DR's. You could order one from the Euro model called the Suzuki FreeWind, it comes with a low fender and is nearly identical to the DR. Another great bike we never got in the USA!

Patrick

640099944_KjED6-X2.jpg

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