The Truth about Rake and Trail 

Description How to get your's
Author P.O.L. Mafia Date Fri Jan 20, 2006 10:20 am Type Type 1
Category Tech Tips
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The Truth about Rake and Trail

Rake and trail boils down to one thing, Caster. There are no hidden secrets and crazy mumbo jumbo about getting it right. If it is not right, your bike will handle poorly at best or deadly at worst. Cruiser motorcycles are, any make or model, are normally set from the factory at between 2 and 3 inches of trail. This translates into 5 to 6 degrees of caster. You can find your trail very easily, simply stand the bike up and ensure it is straight up and down and not on the side stand. Do not use the center stand it elevates the rear and will give an incorrect reading, have someone sit on the bike and keep it level. Locate the front axle and using a framing square go straight down from the center of the axle to the ground. Mark this area on the ground. This is your axle line. Now you will need a straight edge to line up with the neck of the frame. From the center of the side of the neck use the straight edge to go down the neck all the way to the ground. It should hit the ground around 2 to 3 inches in front of the axle center. That will give you your “rake and Trail” or also know as Caster.
I have read where many people try and throw in other numbers and dimensions to try and make it look like rake and trail is rocket science. It is not. If you do the prescribed way above and the neck line falls a minimum of inch (min) to 6 inch (max) in front of the axle line then you should be good to go. Anything less than inch and you will have a high speed wobble, anything more than 6 inch and your steering will be heavy at low speeds and you will have “Chopper Flop”.

Hopefully this will clear up some misconceptions and myths about rake and trail and shed some light on why your ride rides like it does.

Most factor settings
Cruisers = 2 to 5 inches of trail
Crotch rockets = to 2 inches of trail

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