So many parts and gadgets keep a dirt bike healthy. And a moment after seemingly checking off the last box on the pre-ride checklist, another opens up.
You need a fork saver.
Or do you? And if you do, just exactly what type of fork saver?
Compared to most parts, fork savers or a fork support device don't cost that much and when used correctly save you far more in money and time later. A number of "fork savers" exist but only one serves as an actual fork saver by protecting the springs and seals during transport. But you might not even need it depending on your set up and where you ride.
When You Don't Need to Use a Fork Saver
If you have no reason to transport your dirt bike then you don't need fork support. Or, when transporting you have figured out a way to tie your bike down without compressing the forks, you don't need a fork saver. However...
When transporting a dirt bike whether in a van, trailer or pick-up truck the most common way of securing the bike tends to compress the forks when you tie the bike down. Thus you need to support the forks and prevent long term compression. Allowing any give in the straps and tie-downs means taking a big chance on the bike coming loose and falling over. Therefore, a thorough tie-down completely secures the bike and prevents any movement including the forks which if free, would absorb the movement of the road, including any bumps along the way, just as they should.
When You Do Need to Use a Fork Saver
Unfortunately, leaving the forks compressed during transport ruins the springs and blows the seals in the long term, while throwing off your suspension set-up in the short term. Repeat after MotoSport: Do not compress the forks during transport.
How to Use a Dirt Bike Fork Saver
Installing a fork saver is so easy even a caveman can do it. You don't actually install a fork saver, at least not permanently. You more or less place it between the fork and triple clamps with one end (the contoured end) grasping the front tire and the other underneath the front fender. When you tie down your bike the forks compress just an inch or two before the saver prevents them from compressing any further.
Wheel Chock System
Alternatives to the fork saver include wheel chocks that securely fasten the front wheel of the dirt bike without the need to compress the suspension like the Lock-N-Load Transport System or the MotoSport Clamping Wheel Chock. Risk Racing manufacturers adaptor plates that secure the bike by clamping on to the foot pegs. These systems require permanent installation into the truck bed or trailer.
Check out all the available straps, tie downs, chocks and fork savers on the Straps and Cargo Accessories page.
Mechanic's Tip: Bleed the forks while the bike rests on a stand after transport.
Dirt Bike Fork Protectors
Don't confuse fork savers that prevent long term compression of the front suspension, with fork protectors. These gadgets slip around the forks and should prevent the build-up of mud and debris around the forks while riding without affecting the overall suspension set-up. This also helps prevent fork seal leaks.
Some riders like them, some riders do not.
Fork protectors work far better on trails than Motocross. Most racers don't bother however if you ride off-road you might find them useful. A number of fork protector products exist and all help prevent mud and sand from encroaching on the fork seals. The SealSavers wrap completely around the forks and use a zip tie for attaching. A mud scraper kit offers a more aesthetically pleasing look, if that concerns you, and helps clean dried mud from the outer tube and reduce wear on fork seals.
If you continually experience issues with seals wearing prematurely you might find some luck in using the fork protectors.
If you regularly transport your dirt bike using a tie down method that compresses the forks an investment in a fork saver helps prevent the seals from wearing prematurely. A fork protector prevents dirt and debris from prematurely wearing the seals so if you ride off-road save your seals with a mud scrapers or SealSavers.
If you need a fork saver that means you plan to transport your dirt bike. So, check out the following articles for tips on successfully hauling your dirt bike from one place to the next: