How-to Build a Scrambler: Front End
You know how much we like Sportster scramblers over here and it’s that time of year to ready your rig for ripping fire roads in the backcountry. You have your eyes set on the Colorado Backcountry Discovery Route but need to make a few modifications to your front end to get it nice and stiff and ready to take a beating. We all know you want to remove your front fender, but did you know it actually has a role in keeping your front end stiff and keep it from getting FFS (Floppy Fork Syndrome)? FFS can cause abnormal tire wear, instability at high speeds and could make you the laughing stock of your homies. You can combat this by firming up your front end a variety of ways.
One way to stiffen up the front end is with a hoop style front fork brace. These usually come in 3/16″ thick steel and have a nice pattern cut out to lose some weight and add a little style. They range in price from $50 – $115 depend on who you want making them and the finish of the piece. This brace takes the place of your front fender, you cannot use a standard fender with this application.
Another way to skin the cat is to get a fork brace that attaches at or near your fork seals. In theory this accomplishes the same thing, but it does allow you to run your fender in the stock location. However, most people remove the stock fender due to height of their new knobby tire, so this would of course change on case by case basis.
Now that you have your FFS taken care of, you decide if you want to be covered in mud or not. There are a variety of ways to fasten a fender high on your triple trees and out of the way. Most of which I have found at this point, are custom fabrication. I have found only one high mount fender bracket for solid and rubber mount Sportys. The Nihilist High Fender Bracket by Hugo Moto, seems to be the go to solution for this issue. There is no doubt you can fabricate a piece of metal to mount and hold all types of fenders, however Hugo Moto seems to have done the leg work for us. If you have mounted this up and used it, leave a comment below with some info!
Next up on the list is dialing in your front suspension. Most motos come from the factory with a little too much squish, or not the right kind of squish and you might feel the need to firm up the front end by “preloading” you’re springs. This is one of the lower priced options in dealing with the amount and how your springs move in the tubes.
This list is meant to be a quick and easy way to get your Sporty ready to take offroad. There are a multitude of different ways to make your rig ready for the backcountry. Check out this link and see how you can take a Sporty to the limits of desert racing like the Biltwell team did with the Frijole 883 moto.