American Motorcycle News

Adjusting your motorcycle rake – why it matters

Your motorcycle consists of a range of parts, all of which contribute in some way to the overall efficiency of your motorcycle. One of these major parts includes the rake, which many seem to be confused about.

Not only do they have trouble understanding motorcycle rake, but newcomers can often have a hard time identifying what it is and how it helps your bike handles steer better.

Therefore, here is an in depth guide on what a rake is, and how it helps your motorcycle work properly.

What is a Rake angle?

A motorcycle’s rake is the angle of the Head tube and the ground. You can measure the rake angle in degrees, and it generally speaking, correlates to the steering effort you will have to put in to turn.

A lower angle can offer high speed stability, as you will have a harder time trying to turn.

Of course, this is only the case when there is a lower degree of rake angle.

But if there is a higher rake angle, turning with the front wheel will be a lot easier.

With a better steering head angle, your motorcycle geometry will be better and your steering head will be more sensitive. Therefore, turning will be a lot easier.

Bikes that go fast in a straight line

While most bikes will come with a single rake, some may even come with multiple rakes. In these types of motorcycles, it is important to understanding that they have a different steering geometry.

With multiple rakes, it is harder for the bike to turn, giving it increased stability at higher speeds. However, they are not very good at turning corners, and it is why they have long, pointy noses.

A motorcycle rake can affect more than the steering head

An important thing to understand about a motorcycle rake is that it affects various factors of the bike, and not just the motorcycle steering geometry.

The fork angle can also affect the distance between the rear and front wheels, which is why faster motorcycles will often have a completely different wheel base.

Finding the right balance

It is important to remember that the fork tubes can greatly affect maneuverability of your bike, which is what affects a motorcycle’s handling.

So to find the right balance between maneuverability and speed, you need to decide on the appropriate rake angles.

How to adjust the rake angle on your motorcycle

One of the most important things you need to be careful of when you’re out riding your motorcycle is the steering axis. If you’re steering is out of axis, it can make riding your bike dangerous.

And even though some bikes can have a rear ride height adjustment device, to improve handling at much higher speeds, other bikes will have to rely on their rake angle.

Why you should learn how to modify your rake and trail

The rake and trail of your bike controls various aspects of it, essentially affecting your overall riding experience.

On one hand, a fork offset means that the bike will have more stiff handling characteristics, which evidently gives it more stability when you’re riding fast.

More trail rake on the other hand, can have the opposite effect. It can make turning corners much easier, even if it does mean that the stability of your bike will suffer greatly.

Therefore, if you’re looking to adjust your motorcycle trail while keeping the front axel in mind, here is a more detailed look on how you can do it.

Adjusting your rake and trail

There are no specific requirements that you need to meet for adjusting your rake and trail. Furthermore, there are no specific angles that are best for any given situation, so adjusting your rake and trail really does come down to your personal preference.

It also helps that the fork tubes are at slight distance from the handle bars, which makes adjusting your rake and trail much easier.

So depending on your personal preference, you can increase or decrease rake, which will affect the tire’s contact patch, affecting the maneuverability of your particular bike.

If you move the front wheel further away from the steering head, you can decrease rake and trail. But if you bring the wheel even closer to the steering stem, you can greatly increase trail.

You can even incorporate offset into your bike’s front axle, which can increase the offset for many bikes. this is a common practice among different types of off road bikes, which is what makes them easier to maneuver on different types of terrain.

Other ways to to improve rake and trail when riding in a vertical line

It is important to understand that the rake and trail of your bike doesn’t just depend on the fork angle, it can also depend on various other aspects of your bike.

You could increase the trail rake by getting tires of a smaller diameter. or you could even adjust the fork tubes to adjust rake according to how u see fit. You can also check if your steering damper is working well, which can help improve rake and trail.

but when you’re done adjusting your rake, you want to make sure that your handle axis is alright. So you can check this by trying to ride an imaginary line, which helps you see your steering head is in the right axis.

The benefits of adjusting your rake

There are many benefits that come with adjusting your bike’s rake, namely that it helps you find a better balance for you bike and you can even get better control for your bike.

Another major benefit that comes with adjusting the rake is that it can completely change the look of your bike, so you can get really creative with how your bike looks and create something that looks something unique. You can create a drag bike, or something more akin to a dirt bike. You can get very creative with your bike’s geometry and make it look completely unique from what other people are riding.