MXA TEAM TESTED: NK SFS COIL-SPRING SUSPENDED TRIPLE CLAMP
WHAT IS IT? Have you ever seen the NK SFS air triple clamp? It has been used by the KTM, JGR and Star Yamaha teams with considerable success over the past five years. NK’s air triple clamps mount to the handlebars on tiny air shocks with oil damping hidden under the top clamp. They gave a 1/2 inch of movement to the handlebars. Test riders loved the feel of them, but they were very complex to make and thus very expensive. Now, NK has designed a less expensive version that replaces the complex air shocks with equally tiny coil-spring shocks (with air assist on one shock to act as a booster spring for adjustability).
WHAT’S IT COST? $321.95 (top clamp only).
CONTACT? Your local dealer or www.nk-neken.com.
WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand out with NK’s SFS coil-spring triple clamp.
(1) System. The NK SFS coil-spring triple clamp looks like a conventional triple clamp. All of the working parts are hidden under the top clamp and behind the front number plate. Unlike the expensive SFS air clamps, the coil-spring clamp’s Schrader valve is located on the bottom of the right-side shock body only. The air pressure is used as a booster so that the spring rate of the coils can be adjusted for heavier riders. The shock bodies support the NK handlebar mounts and offer 10mm of adjustable suspension travel.
(2) Spring pressure. During our testing we discovered that the coil springs were not stiff enough to keep the bar mounts fully extended. To solve this problem, we added air pressure to the right shock body. We started at 100 psi and used the O-ring on the bar-mount shaft to judge when we got full travel. Air pressures varied from 90 to 115 psi.
(3) Testing. The MXA wrecking crew used Novices, Vets and Pros to test the original SFS coild spring clamps. Our test regimen was to put 140 psi in the right shock so that the bar mounts had no movement. Test riders would do laps with the rigid bar mounts. When they came in, we lowered the air pressure to 100 psi and send them back out. Every test rider was amazed by the difference when the SFS coil spring clamps moved. Test riders reported not only less vibration and reduced chatter at the bars, but a more accurate feel from the bike’s front end because of the calmed-down steering response.
WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? There was not a lot of room to fit the pump on the Schrader valve, so we had to guesstimate the air pressure and then confirm it by ride testing the air pressure, an use an air gauge to rest it. We always checked the O-ring’s travel to check our settings.
MXA RATING: We couldn’t tell the difference between the expensive SFS air triple clamps and the cheaper SFS coil-spring triple clamps. They both worked flawlessly.