Part of the thrill of being a dirt bike fanatic is thinking of ways to turn your stock bike into a racing beast. While there are hundreds of ways to outfit your machine, you may eventually want to cut down overall weight. You may even want to improve your dirt bike’s maneuverability, control and performance. Regardless of your goals, swapping out your motorcycle’s stock triple clamps for some modern alternatives is an effective way to achieve them.
Installing new triple clamps is not usually a difficult or time-consuming project. That is, you can likely improve your bike’s ride in just an afternoon. Before you attempt to remove and replace your dirt bike’s components, though, you need to know a few things about replacing the stock triple clamps on your motorcycle.
The Benefits of Installing New Triple Clamps
If you are looking for ways to improve your stock dirt bike, installing new triple clamps may not come to mind. Still, the procedure is an effective way to boost your bike’s overall performance. In fact, new triple clamps can help you shed valuable pounds. If you want to dominate the racing competition or take your ride to new levels, having lighter triple clamps on your motorcycle is essential.
Weight is not the only reason to swap out stock triple clamps for modern upgrades. On the contrary, new triple clamps can help you enhance the overall look of your machine. That is, you can color-match your triple clamps to make your bike look better. Alternatively, you may want to choose a contrasting color or finish to give your machine a custom look.
Finally, if you want to tweak your dirt bike’s handling, maneuverability and race performance, you have options to do so with new triple clamps. For example, installing billet machined triple clamps gives you more flex during jumps and turns. You may appreciate the added stiffness.
Get the Right Tools
Before you start your project, you must gather the essential tools to do the job correctly. After all, you don’t want to have to stop in the middle of the job to find a wrench, socket or anything else. While all dirt bikes are a bit different, you should be able to install new triple clamps with just a few tools. Here is a list of tools that should get you started:
- Torque wrench
- An Allen socket set
- 8mm, 10mm, 21mm, 22mm and 32mm sockets
While the above list includes the tools you likely need to finish your triple clamp installation, you may need additional tools. Keeping your toolbox handy is not a bad idea when you start any dirt bike project.
Installing New Triple Clamps on Your Dirt Bike
After you have essential tools, you are ready to fine tune the handling of your bike by upgrading its triple clamps. To start your triple clamp project, you must remove your dirt bike’s front fender and wheel. You can likely remove these items with an Allen socket or wrench. Leave the triple clamps on initially to hold the clamps in place. You do not want your bike’s clamps to spin. If they do, you may find that you do not have enough hands to adequately manage the project. Next, remove the forks and bar.
After the fender, wheel, forks and bar are off your machine, you can easily access and remove the stock triple clamp. You are likely to notice that your bike’s controls are dangling after removal of the bar. This is ok, provided you do not let lines or controls dip into dirty parts of your shop. If you can keep your controls reasonably clean, you do not need to worry about having them hang in place while you install new triple clamps.
Most stock triple clamps have a locking mechanism at their base. To remove this mechanism, simply loosen and turn until it twists free. After you do so, the bottom of the triple clamp should be removable by pulling it through the assembly.
After the stock triple clamps are out of your dirt bike, you can access the stock bearing. Remove it and clean any grease and debris from its teeth. Then, add new grease to the bearing. For professional-grade results, try to work grease into the bearing. If you coat every surface, you can be certain the bearing seats properly. Spin the bearing and take sufficient time to work grease into each part of it.
The race where the bearing sits also needs grease. Before you apply new grease to it, though, be sure you remove as much grime as possible. Greasing the race is easier than greasing the bearing. A consistent supply of grease is likely sufficient to ensure a good seal. If the race is not smooth, you may need to think about replacing it. That is, bearings can damage the housing, making achieving an effective seal incredibly difficult.
After you have greased everything sufficiently, you are ready to install new triple clamps. Simply push the lower clamp through the assembly to meet up with the upper clamp. When doing so, though, be sure you move your bike’s controls out of the way. If you catch a supply line inside your triple clamp assembly, you may cause extensive damage. Also, be sure the cables end up on the correct side of the clamp.
Your aftermarket triple clamps may not use a locking mechanism. Instead, they may rely on the steering clamp to hold everything in place. If that is the case, simply use the washer as a spacer and put the top of the triple clamp into place. Once you have a good fit on the triple clamp, you may reattach the bar, controls, fenders and wheel.
Choosing Top-Grade Replacement Parts
Perhaps the best way to ensure your triple clamp replacements go off without a hitch is to opt for top-grade replacement parts. While you have dozens of opportunities for improving your bike, you don’t want your effort to cut down overall weight to use inferior components. By choosing the best parts, you improve not only your machine but also your overall ride experience.