In the world of cruiserland we tend to take our cues from the chopper culture and why not, because choppers are rad! Aesthetics tend to drive this corner of the motorcycle world so raked out 12” over choppers, 330 rear tire Prostreet Softails and 30” front wheel baggers are commonplace, and there's nothing wrong with that. But you should know how these changes affect your bike in real world riding situations. While I definitely want my bike to look good, I’d rather have it work well on the road. It's all too often I see folks put 6" over tubes on their Sportster or raked trees on a bagger to achieve a certain look-all and not realize the implications the changes have on the street. I'm all about modifying your bike, but it helps to have a base understanding of what implications those aesthetic changes mean. Lets cover some basics.

Rake - is the angle formed between the neck on the frame of a bike and a vertical line. The bigger the angle, the further out the front wheel will be from the frame.

It's important to understand where the rake angle comes from.

Trail - is the distance between the point of the front wheel’s contact patch with the ground and a line drawn through the axis of the steering head

The trail number impacts both stability and how quickly the bike turns into a corner.

As you modify your motorcycle stay aware that the changes you make to have the bike look cool in front of your favorite watering hole will directly affect your ride. By all means throw raked trees and a giant billet wheel on your Street Glide, just know you will have to make sacrifices to the handling gods in order to achieve your desired look. As referenced in the video there are plenty of other things that will have major implications on the handling of your machine. Raked triple trees, the offset in the claps and swingarm pivot location just to name a few. Maybe we should do a "Part 2?"