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Thread: Mythbusting the Earles Fork

  1. #1
    34769
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    Mythbusting the Earles Fork

    Regarding the article in the 6/06 BMWON on front end suspension and the statement about Earles forks I would like to say the following. Years ago I heard that these forks were slow and heavy handling. Sure I believed it! They look the part. Thirteen years ago I bought a 68 R69S with Earles and stubby bars. My wife drove me there and the last stretch to the sellers house is called Ten Curves Road (Germfask MI.). I told my wife to follow slowly at a safe distance because of what I had heard about the handling. When she caught up with me in Germfask I was grinning and she asked me why took off so fast. I have spent much time riding the bike in the State of West Virginia also and I find Earles forks to be stable and precise. They also "climb" in heavy braking which feels just great even in the corners as it makes the corner line tighter. Please let me know if I am so daft as not to know that I am riding a clunky dinosaur.

  2. #2
    bensonhurst
    Guest

    no argument from me

    I love the earles fork, and in fact the new BMW "telelever" front suspension is a variation of the earles fork concept.

  3. #3
    James.A
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    Y'know, I can see the telelever being considered a a modern legatee to the Earkes fork, but they couldn't be more different in the riding experience. The physical characteristics of the earls defeates front braking dive, The Telelever dives. The Telelever is hinkey at low speeds, the Earles is divine. There are at least 3 different factors to induce a wobble in an Earles front end. I never could figure out why my Telelever would wobble going over the lip of a concrete apron when pulling into a gas station. I will concede that the Telelever is magnificent at high speed, this is not an issue with the Earles.

  4. #4
    James.A
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    Quote Originally Posted by 34769
    Please let me know if I am so daft as not to know that I am riding a clunky dinosaur.
    BTW, you ARE riding a "clunky dinosaur". I enjoy riding an R27 with an Earles. Your R69 could be a serious runner in that, it could still hold itself up in traffic.
    Using the single in a small town, I find it to be a very good sunday rider.

  5. #5
    Cannonball Rider #52 darrylri's Avatar
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    I was waiting to get the June ON to see what was being said; it finally arrived!

    The Earles forks definitely have more unsprung mass and more mass in total than conventional forks, and are slower to turn and respond more slowly to uneven road surfaces than a lot of telescopic bikes. But because the forks retain a nearly constant wheelbase and attitude under braking, acceleration and turning (unlike the Gummikuh effects of the softly sprung forks of the Airheads, for example), Earles bikes feel more stable, even precise, in nearly all riding situations.

    Also, and this may have been more important in the old days of weak drum brakes, by eliminating much of the weight transfer to the front tire during heavy braking, more use can be made of the rear brake in a hard stop. (To the extent that the Telelever and Duolever eliminate dive, this is true for the modern BMWs, too.)

    Quote Originally Posted by woodnsteel
    Y'know, I can see the telelever being considered a a modern legatee to the Earkes fork, but they couldn't be more different in the riding experience. The physical characteristics of the earls defeates front braking dive, The Telelever dives.
    Actually, BMW themselves said that the Telelever could be engineered with any amount -- including negative amounts -- of dive, but they put a bit of dive in because riders expect it. It didn't work for them with the press, who all seem to say that the Telelever has a numb feeling.

    The Telelever is hinkey at low speeds, the Earles is divine. There are at least 3 different factors to induce a wobble in an Earles front end. I never could figure out why my Telelever would wobble going over the lip of a concrete apron when pulling into a gas station. I will concede that the Telelever is magnificent at high speed, this is not an issue with the Earles.
    Well, I don't understand what you mean about the Telelever being "hinkey", I have two of them and can often bring them to a halt without putting my feet down -- just like my R60/2. OTOH, the /2 is extremely sensitive to rain grooves on the freeway while the Telelever bikes seem to be completely immune to them.

    One thing the Telelever doesn't have is a set up for hauling a sidecar. It is not clear to me that it's rigid enough for the side forces involved, and even without any suspension in the forks, there might be significant stiction.
    --Darryl Richman, forum liaison
    http://darryl.crafty-fox.com

  6. #6
    James.A
    Guest
    Let me describe "hinkey". When I was pulling into the Casey's gas station near my house, the cut out lip for the concrete apron for the openenig of the curb would make the fork wobble. I understand that it(Paralevr) is magnificnt at high speeds, but the ins and outs of low speed maneuvering are very poor.

  7. #7
    Registered User RINTY's Avatar
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    earles fork

    In a side bar to Cycle World's seminal 1993 article on the then-new oilers, it was stated that the tele-lever was developed in England as the "Nichol" link.

    Does anyone know who Nichol is, or was? And did BMW have to acquire license rights to use the technology? I also read somewhere that the paralever technology was developed by a Swiss, and that BMW acquired the rights to use it.

    I haven't experienced the low-speed "hinckiness" with my RS, but I did meet one rider who couldn't stand the feel of tele-lever, and who had sold his oiler after only 150 kilometres of use. He thought, like some of the moto-journalists, that it felt vague. His previous bike had been a GSX-R, but his current bike is a K 1200 S, which he really likes.

    I think a lot of an individual's response to a bike relates to what they rode previously. I came to my oiler RS from an airhead RS, and felt that the low speed (and high speed) handling was razor sharp. What I also noticed was that it was now easy to hold a perfect 270 degree arc on freeway off ramps compared to my airhead. At first I thought this was a result of the more modern telelever front end, but then I realized that my new RS has a much wider handlebar, so I have way more leverage than before, and make minor steering inputs much more easily. I was so used to the narrow bar on the airhead that I didn't realize what a huge advantage good bar leverage gives you.

    Which is what GS owners have known for many years.

    Rinty
    Last edited by rinty; 06-17-2006 at 06:20 PM. Reason: move clauses around

  8. #8
    vincent52 70816's Avatar
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    so guys,
    can you place a set of earles forks on a /6-S frame ???
    i'm wanting to go do this mod [great thoughts deserve answers] as i don't know
    can one put a set of earles on a ?6 S frame??
    drawbacks??
    any more info?
    where to obtain answers about the conversion
    has anyone put a set of dual disc brakes on a set of earles?
    what rotors did you use?
    hub too??
    rotors?
    bearings?

  9. #9
    BMW MOA co-founder bmwdean's Avatar
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    Jeff Dean − Tucson, Arizona − BMW MOA Co-founder (1972)
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    2014 & 2007 R1200RTs, R60/2s, R67/3, R51/3 ↔ 1949 R24

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