WHAT IS IT? What is an air triple clamp? Good
question. The Neken SFS air triple clamp has tiny air
shocks, with oil damping, hidden under the clamp to
suspend the handlebar mounts.
WHAT’S IT COST? $550.00.
CONTACT? www.neken.fr. (U.S distributor TBA).
WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that
stand out with Neken’s SFS air triple clamp.
(1) Purpose. Historically, there have only been three
reasons why racers changed their triple clamps. First, to
switch to solid or rubber bar mounts. Second, to mount
oversized bars. Third, to change the offset. Now there is
a fourth reason—to add suspension travel to the
handlebars for more comfort in the chop.
( 2) System. The Neken SFS air triple clamps are
totally unique. At first glance, the Neken top clamp looks
conventional, but close examination reveals a Schrader
valve on the side of the clamp. An even closer look
shows that the steel, threaded, bar-mount bolts have
been replaced with miniature aluminum air shocks. The
Neken bar mounts have 10mm of suspension travel.
( 3) Air pressure. The MXA wrecking crew tested
with seven different riders, including Novices, Vets,
Pros and factory stars (in fact, our Neken clamps came
off Ryan Dungey’s works bike). First, we put 115 psi in
the triple clamps so that the bars could not move upon
impact. After riding with this pressure, we lowered it to
anywhere from 60 psi to 75 psi and sent the rider back
out again. The difference between solid bars mounts, as
imitated by the 115 psi, and the bar mounts with 10mm
of travel was amazing. Every test rider loved the Neken
SFS triple clamps—and the factory rider went back to his
team to get them to order five sets for the 2014 season.
( 4) Performance. The biggest surprise with the
Neken triple clamps was how absorbent they felt. We
experimented with different air pressures, and for fast
riders or Supercross tracks, we ran 70 psi. For slower
riders or smoother tracks, 60 psi worked best.
WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? We have three quibbles.
(1) Even though Neken, which is the OEM supplier of
KTM triple clamps, whittled weight away, the Neken
clamps weigh one pound more than the stock KTM triple
clamps. ( 2) Just as with PSF air forks, we had to check
the air pressure before every race day. ( 3) To test what
would happen if the air leaked out, we set the forks
at 24 psi. The test rider complained that the steering
became imprecise but said that it was not dangerous.
Given our druthers, of every top triple clamp
NEKEN SFS AIR TRIPLE CLAMP
made, this would be our first choice.
MXA TEAM TESTED