The first motorcycles were little more than bicycles with reinforced frames and spokes that had an engine in the frame triangle or in front of the front frame tube. From the bicycle - which itself was only about 20 years old when the first motorcycles chugged through the streets - engineers arranged steering and guidance of the front wheel through a fork-shaped tubular structure: the front fork. No matter what it looks like or which components it is composed of in detail, with a few exceptions, motorcycles have forks to guide the front wheels. In any case, all Harleys do.
What front forks do Harley Davidson motorcycles have?
If we reduce the forks to how they work, Harley-Davidson motorcycles really only had three different front wheel guidance:
- the rigid forks until the introduction of front suspension in 1907
- from 1908 until the 1950s, the Cushion and Springer forks: despite all the design differences in the spring arrangement, all have "pushed short swingarms", in good American terms they are leading link forks.
- introduced in 1949 the Panheads featured forks with hydraulic damping. (K-model and Sportster series from 1952, Servi Car from 1958.) No matter from which manufacturer Harley-Davidson bought them (Showa, Kayaba, ...) or whether upside-down or normal, telescopic forks work by means of two tubes that slide into each other. The springs are collocated inside the tubes and the whole setup is stabilized by the triple clamps, the front wheel axle and, if necessary, additional braces or stabilizers.
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