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  1. #1
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    Default Generally how does a springer ride compared to hydraulic forks?

    I'm new to motorcycles. I've never ridden a springer, but they look super rad. Are they stiff at hell compared to a front end with hydraulic oil / telescopic forks? For those of you that have one, what's the appeal? Just the cool look? Less maintenance?

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    I never thought I'd be one of these guys, but here it goes haha

    Learn to identify and then stay away from the cheap Chinese DNA springers (often not labelled DNA when being sold). There is a famous photo of one snapped in a real bad way, be cool if somebody had it to show here. I bought one really cheap with the idea of throwing it on a bike. After getting it in my hands, I knew why everyone was so against them. Very poor quality all around, and they do look goofy once you develop an eye for springers. Polished it up and made a few bucks off some clown who figured he could "C-clamp a brake caliper on there". There are some very legitimate aftermarket options, as well as the factory Harley ones they put on softails. As far as the ride goes, only one way to find out what you think of them.
    Last edited by AlbertaFarmer; 05-07-2019 at 5:43 PM.

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    Springers are like girls, everyone is a bit different although they all have some traits in common and in the right light they all look pretty good.

    Yes they do look cool, no they look really fucking cool, does not matter if they are stock length or way extended, they look cool.

    A cheaper one will have you wondering when it will break and turn into a lance pointed in your direction.

    A really good one will have a damper and will ride like a dream, think modern Harley.

    I have had three bikes with springers, first was a 650 Yamaha, that I bolted a 8 over springer to, in retrospect it looked like ass, but at the time I thought I was cool shit.

    Next was a shovel head in a raked frame with a 10 over springer. Turning on a city street was an experiance but it actually rode really well.

    The last one was on a '55 Panhead, that was a stock length aftermarket springer. It was not well behaved, the term pogo comes up when people talk a springer, that is the effect of the springs loading and unloading and the front end bouncing up and down. Happens a lot on country roads or highways with lots of asphalt snakes.

    Pogo in a corner can ruin a perfectly good ride. I lost that bike when I was cut off at 60 mph, hit the shoulder of the road and started to bounce around the pot holes. The panhead went into traffic and I hit the soft shoulder of the road.

    When I built my current bike, I originally wanted another long bike, but decided to build a narrow bike with hydraulic dampened front end ( aka a narrow glide ). Cosmetically I am not sure it is quite right, but ride wise I am loving it and have already pressed it a little in the curves just to see how it handles, answer, very well.

    Everyone should have one at least once in their life and if this is just a bar hopper why not. But for a long distance bike or a mountain bike, I'd go with tubes.

    Your mileage may very,
    -DB

    edit: Look at a girder as another alternative, on the right bike with the right frame they can be tasty as well.
    Last edited by DoomBuggy; 05-07-2019 at 5:40 PM.

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    I love a springer long or short and have for over 40 years....... I had one on my first Harley and I still have one....

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    I have several and love em all. Like he said above they are all different. If you buy cheap or used chances are they won’t work right. Legs that are slightly twisted or tweaked will cause a bind and the ride will seem stiff. Pogo is the result of incorrect design for setup. Read the chopper handbook and study mister bear, the man is a fucking genius.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlbertaFarmer View Post
    I never thought I'd be one of these guys, but here it goes haha

    Learn to identify and then stay away from the cheap Chinese DNA springers (often not labelled DNA when being sold). There is a famous photo of one snapped in a real bad way, be cool if somebody had it to show here. I bought one really cheap with the idea of throwing it on a bike. After getting it in my hands, I knew why everyone was so against them. Very poor quality all around, and they do look goofy once you develop an eye for springers. Polished it up and made a few bucks off some clown who figured he could "C-clamp a brake caliper on there". There are some very legitimate aftermarket options, as well as the factory Harley ones they put on softails. As far as the ride goes, only one way to find out what you think of them.
    I have bought 4 sets of DNA springers for my builds. They all looked great and worked well.
    No squeaking or bouncing. I bought my last one from DNA directly. They have a factory in California.
    Last edited by Luky; 05-08-2019 at 1:58 PM.

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    DNA have a bad reputation solely as a result of idiots with no mechanical know-how squeezing the legs together when they run these things without proper wheel spacers.
    Sure, they might not look as good as the high end stuff, but they don't snap in two if they're installed correctly.

    As for ride quality on springers, the ones I've had the pleasure of riding have pogoed a little on bumps, but they're pretty smooth overall. I'll stick one on my bike whenever I can cough up the cash just because I love the way they look.

  8. #8
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    ive run springers on both my bikes. I had an FL front end on my current bike for a while and it was ok but seemed heavier, clunkier and just more cumbersome than a springer. The ride didn't feel that much better to be fair.

    I like my springers short and prefer stock or only 2-4 over stock. You will reach your limits of riding before a well set up springer will.
    keep it tight, make sure your bearings and zerks are greased up and they are fine.

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    If only the old adage rang true for springers, as it does for women:

    "They all look pretty good swinging off your unit"

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    I have a 6 over Paughco springer on my Triumph and have never ridden springer before this build and man I was surprised. The bike is so smooth I honestly don't think i'd ever change it out.

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    I ad +10 tubes, then +19 Jammer springer...springer was much more solid, pogo reduced due to rake and inner set of springs. Now with a +16 girder, strong rigid triangular shaped legs and a shock, I won't go back to a springer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TriNortchopz View Post
    I ad +10 tubes, then +19 Jammer springer...springer was much more solid, pogo reduced due to rake and inner set of springs. Now with a +16 girder, strong rigid triangular shaped legs and a shock, I won't go back to a springer.
    What about your opinion on other types of forks TriNotz? Leading link? trailing link?

    I have heard a springer beats on the neck bearings a lot more than hydraulics.They don't function as well as hydraulics. They don't handle as well as hydraulics. So....

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by hillcat View Post
    What about your opinion on other types of forks TriNotz? Leading link? trailing link?

    I have heard a springer beats on the neck bearings a lot more than hydraulics.They don't function as well as hydraulics. They don't handle as well as hydraulics. So....
    We're talking choppers here, not sportbikes. An extended hydraulic front end turns into a rigid piece of shit when you go long, when a springer can still do its job.
    You're absolutely right, though. Hydraulic forks work really well in applications such as sport bikes.
    I wouldn't want a springer on a crotch rocket. Hydraulic all the way for that sweet, sweet performance. Then again, I don't want a crotch rocket at all.

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    i have 2 bikes with offset and 2 bikes with inline , my choppers is 4 over and rides like a dream, all my springers do.
    the 2 offsets are oem and my other 2 are from vtwin however they were made in Europe , they are reproduction.
    i had a bike with a paughco and that ran ok. If I was to buy a springer it would be a repop from tedds .
    Key to a good springer is to make sure its not tweaked, Also replace worn springs, and inspect bushings rocker studs ect.
    you can use a slider or the damper if you like, I have 2 with out those and they ride great.

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    Down - no sport bike here but an FXR built to ride.

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    Just to be clear, I think springers and girders are cool as heck.
    The question asks " Generally how does a springer ride COMPARED to hydraulics?"
    It can be answered in one word.

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    This is an interesting article:

    Springers Explained;
    Which is better a springer or conventional hydraulic fork? The answer may surprise you.

    by: Vince Costa of American Suspension

    "...a well-designed modern springer will provide a smoother ride on normal roads than any conventional hydraulic fork on a chopper... a well-designed, not an import replica...chopper at least a 45 degree rake...when setup and made correctly, springersprovide the best ride on a chopper..."
    http://www.malou-customs.ch/springer_fork.pdf

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    Quote Originally Posted by Luky View Post
    I have bought 4 sets of DNA springers for my builds. They all looked great and worked well.
    No squeaking or bouncing. I bought my last one from DNA directly. They have a factory in California.
    Did you use a shock/dampener, or upper brace or anything... or were you running just a bare springer?

  19. #19

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    Springers work well enough but there are a few caveats to keep in mind. All springers can handle like shit if they aren't set up properly. IMO they are the only way to make a long bike because once you rake the steering head or go more than 4 over, the sliders stop working efficiently on the former and the rake/trail makes handling less neutral with the latter. If going with a standard length springer (or not too much longer) a good old steel unit will be fine but once you get beyond 4 over it had better be made with chromoly steel and the rockers need to be different than what comes on the standard length ones because rake/trail will be off just like with hydraulics of the same lengths.

    As to the handling of springers they're no different than riding a hard tail... it's up to the rider to decide if it's right for them. I know of people who ride HT springers as more than just bar hoppers and they do serious miles year after year.

    Here's an example of what can be done with old world suspension vs more modern suspension. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHNZaHcP3eg

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