Welcome to Puck-Em.com (handcrafted wooden knee sliders) and Fork Cover.com (Easy to remove neoprene protection for inverted forks)
I'm a middle aged club racer who discovered track riding in 2016. Puck-Em knee sliders was born out of a desire to save money on my track riding addiction. Shortly after starting to ride on the track in 2016 I discovered how expensive knee sliders could be and how easy it is to burn through a pair. I began making my own leather knee sliders. Everything I read claimed that leather sliders were superior to any other slider because of the improved feel. When I almost ripped my leg off the first time my knee touched the ground with my homemade sliders I abandoned leather knee sliders altogether in that moment. 2-part epoxies were expensive, messy, smelly and didn't seem to last very long. When I discovered wood knee sliders I was hooked, but they were heavy, expensive and didn't seem to last long either. I started experimenting with white oak because osage orange and black locust (the hardest wood species in N. America) were difficult to find. After 2 years of trial and error and dozens of design changes I'm proud to offer a slider design that I believe out-performs all other sliders. Puck-Em sliders are made using some of the hardest tropical woods on the planet. Ipe and tigerwood are used to make long lasting decks and lingum vitae is considered to be hardest wood on the planet. I have simplified the design by eliminating the leather backing altogether and use Duragrip brand industrial hook fastener to secure them to the loop fastener of the leather suit.
I love the saying, "Necessity is the mother of invention." In the case of Fork Cover.com it certainly rings true. As an avid track rider and club roadracer I have had my fair share of crashes and know how much damage flying gravel can do when a bike slides off-track. Having painted my own racing fairings I am also aware of how many knicks and dings the bike suffers over time from flying debris, bugs and rocks kicked up by other bikes. I have always been concerned that my front fender didn't fully protect my front fork tubes but I was never motivated enough to install one-piece neoprene fork protectors by removing the forks from the triple trees. And even if I did install them they would inhibit me from checking the zip tie on the inner tube that measures the maximum compression during hard braking. However, when I upgraded my OEM front suspension on my 2012 R6 race bike to Ohlins Road and Track Front forks I felt the need to protect the delicate inner tube. My forks' tubes are coated so are even more delicate than your standard chrome. One rogue rock and there goes that silky smooth finish. So, I began to design my own fork covers. I started the design process with several criteria that the cover must meet:
1) The fork covers must be easily installed and removed without having to take the forks out of the triple trees. One-piece tubular neoprene products like Gybe, Tusk, KTM, Viper or perforated rubber boots for off-road vehicles would require removing the forks in order to slide the cover onto the fork. In addition to being a pain in the butt they would get in the way of checking maximum compression markers on the inner tube. I knew I wanted something that could be installed and removed easily and quickly.
2) The fork covers must completely seal out extremely fine particles including brake dust. One of *Dave Moss' videos includes an interview with a head mechanic from the Yamaha AMA Factory Team. He is taking apart Josh Hayes' front forks and talking about how brake dust gets into the oil and dust seals and causes unwanted stiction and decreases the life of the seals. As a result the forks are disassembled, cleaned and reassembled with new fork seals after every race. Again, neoprene met this criteria. The neoprene I use is a blend of 70% SBR and 30% CR. SBR is the lowest grade neoprene that is used for things like laptop covers and mouse pads. 100% CR is the highest grade neoprene used for things like wetsuits and water sports apparel. The blend was a good compromise in that it is waterproof and yet it's still cost effective. CR grade neoprene is very expensive so my fork covers would cost more than $25 if I used it.
3) The fork covers' material must protect the forks from damage by flying debris or gravel during a crash. Front fenders on modern sport bikes do a pretty good job of protecting inner fork tubes from damage caused by flying debris while riding but a motorcycle sliding in the dirt after a crash can kick up a lot of gravel, and grit. In order to protect the entire fork tube during a crash the fork covers needed to extend the entire length of the fully extended fork tube and compress with the fork as it works. This lead me to the most challenging design problem to solve which I address in the next design criteria.
4) The removable fork covers must be able to flex and compress as the fork works and not create unwanted stiction. The first designs I came up with resembled Seal Savers in that they used velcro running the entire length of the cover to close it around the fork tube. Although they met my first criteria for being removable I noticed that the stiff velcro caused a lot of stiction for the fork to work against. This defeated the point of keeping brake dust out of the seals in order to minimize stiction. The solution came to one while falling asleep one night. The design is based on mimicking the interlocking of fingers of two people playing the thumb war game. I wanted to create two flaps that could be interlocked and keep out brake dust and dirt without needing stiff velcro to do it. In addition to the interlocking flaps, the entire cover is folded over on itself to create a very tight seal that the finest dust cannot penetrate. The straps are used to keep the fork cover from coming up folded and opening. The top 2 do not need to be tight in order to allow the cover to move and flex. The bottom zip tie can be tightened very hard because the bottom of the cover never moves from that position.
If you appreciate the importance of good suspension and would like to
keep your front forks in excellent condition, consider protecting them
with a pair of Fork Cover.com brand fork covers.