Motocross history is filled with examples of creative ideas that were heralded as groundbreaking, but, because of the rapid rate of change in development, sank into the swamp of forgotten technology. Although some are best left abandoned, others were truly innovative (if not ultimately successful). MXA loves to reveal motocross’ tech trivia. Do you remember this idea? The Preston Petty’s No-Dive system.
Racers from the ’60s remember Preston Petty as one of America’s fastest riders. Racers from the ’70s know him as the man who invented the plastic fender. Racers from the ’80s think of him as being responsible for the injection-molded enduro headlight, Tuff Tub, plastic skid plate and Petty hex grip. And, had the world been a more advanced place, riders from the ’90s would have remembered Preston for inventing the Preston Petty No-Dive.
Shown above on Broc Glover’s works Yamaha, the Petty No-Dive was a lever arm that attached to the front fork with a heim-jointed strut transmitting force to the triple clamps. Under hard braking, a Petty-No-Dive-equipped bike would not dive. The concept was to keep the frame geometry the same (head angle, trail and wheelbase) so that the rider could work from a stable platform.
Although the Petty No-Dive was used and tested by Roger DeCoster (seen above on his works Suzuki), Broc Glover, Brad Lackey and Kent Howerton, it never caught on in motocross. It was, however, a standard feature on many road race bikes of the late ’80s and ’90s. Unfortunately for Preston, the manufacturers didn’t buy his patent, but instead took his concept and made it a hydraulic feature of their forks. Today, Preston lives a quiet life as a computer programmer and spends his spare time developing electric race bikes.