Funny front end

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week -

There’s lit­tle doubt that the next Gold Wing will ditch the cur­rent bike’s con­ven­tional fork as the bike’s mas­sive weight and size – as well as the need to ac­com­mo­date semi­ac­tive sus­pen­sion – pushes Honda to­wards al­ter­na­tive ar­range­ments.

There are two op­tions to re­place the fork, both de­tailed in mul­ti­ple patents. First is a set-up much like BMW’S Duolever ar­range­ment, it­self a take on Nor­man Hossack’s sus­pen­sion ideas. It uses a pair of wish­bones at­tached to a cast alu­minium girder via bear­ings that al­low it to steer. A sin­gle-sprung shock is mounted just un­der the han­dle­bars, which them­selves act on the fork via a sim­ple link­age.

The sec­ond op­tion is more com­pli­cated. It also uses a sin­gle shock and a lower wish­bone, but there the sim­i­lar­i­ties end. In­stead of a fork there’s a ver­ti­cal mem­ber run­ning down from the head tube to just be­hind the front wheel, and a lead­ing link from the base of this ver­ti­cal mem­ber to the front hub. A link­age con­nect­ing the lead­ing link to the front wish­bone and shock pro­vides a wide scope for tun­ing the sus­pen­sion’s be­hav­iour, in­clud­ing the op­tion of in­cor­po­rat­ing ris­ing rate into the de­sign. A sec­ond link con­nects the front brake to the ver­ti­cal part of the sus­pen­sion, and of­fers ad­justable anti-dive.

Which­ever op­tion Honda choose, the ben­e­fit is that the brak­ing forces are trans­mit­ted to the frame via a wish­bone that’s much lower than the head­stock. This takes the strain away from the head­stock area as well as re­mov­ing the need for a mas­sively rigid fork to with­stand the bend­ing forces that come into play when try­ing to stop such a heavy bike from high speed.

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