WITH THE NK SFS AIR TRIPLE CLAMPS
the movement of the handlebars is so fluid that there is
no sensation of motion. When we went back and forth
between rigid air pressure and 75 pounds, however, the
test riders could immediately tell the difference. To test
what would happen if the air pressure leaked out, we
sent a test rider out with only a tiny amount of pressure
in the bars—and we didn’t tell him. When he came back
in, he complained of vague steering but said that he
could still ride the bike.
Price and particulars. Back in November of 2013,
we pushed Neken’s Benoit Beaumont to give us a price
and contact number. He said that given fluctuations in
the dollar/Euro exchange rate, the price was still up in
the air, but he guessed that it would be just under $600.
As for an American distributor, he said that we would
have to use Neken’s French website for the time being,
but that by the time the Supercross season was going he
would have signed deals in place. True to his word, two
days after Ryan Dungey raced the Anaheim Supercross
with NK SFS air clamps (although no one noticed them),
Benoit told us that the price was set at $731 and that
Bud Racing would be the U.S. distributor. Additionally,
the SFS air clamps would be available for all Japanese
brands, plus KTMs and Husqvarnas.
Acronym. What does SFS stand for? We originally
assumed that it would be some technical name, like
Statically Fluid Suspension or Secondary Fork System, but
instead it was rather pedestrian—Smooth Feeling System.
In a nice touch, NK etches torque specs and other
important info onto the orange-anodized clamp to
help the end user.
Performance. The biggest surprise with the Neken
SFS triple clamps was how absorbent they were. We
experimented with different air pressures, and for fast
riders or Supercross tracks, we ran 75 psi. Slower riders
or smoother tracks favored 65 psi. Amazingly, most test
riders reported not only less vibration and reduced
chatter at the bars, but a more accurate feel in the front
end because of the calmed-down steering response.
Unlike handlebars that flex or rubber-mounted bar
mounts, the SFS clamp combines the bars, clamps and
air shocks into one unit. There is no rocking of the
handlebars, no wiggling in the whoops, and the bars
move in unison as opposed to one side moving more
than the other. Plus, the movement is adjustable via
simple air-pressure changes.
The secret. Since we had spent months testing
the NK SFS air triple clamp, we were afraid that the
information would leak out before we were ready to
publish our results. Luckily, the KTM factory team never
said a thing in the time leading up to Anaheim 1.
Contact. The American distributor for the NK triple
clamps will be Bud Racing in Lake Elsinore, California.
KTM will also include the SFS air triple clamp in its
PowerParts catalog. You can reach Bud Racing USA at
www.budracing-usa.com or (951) 245-2660. ❏