calculate motorcycle rake and trail

How to Calculate Motorcycle Rake and Trail

Oct 17, '20

A Guide and Motorcycle Rake Calculator You Can Use at Home

Whether you’re searching for your next motorcycle, interested in custom adjustments, or you just want to understand how motorcycles work, familiarizing yourself with motorcycle trail and motorcycle rake is essential. While relatively simple on the surface, motorcycle trail and rake play important roles in how your motorcycle performs, balances, and responds. In fact, you can get a sense of how a motorcycle might feel on the road simply by looking at the rake—even if you’ve never ridden anything like it. This guide will help you to better understand the importance of motorcycle trail and rake, how to calculate it, and what to do with the information.

What is Motorcycle Rake?

It’s easy to make a motorcycle rake calculator right at home. Picture the steering head on your motorcycle. Rake is the angle, measured in degrees, between the steering head and the vertical. Essentially, if you were to hold a yardstick straight up from the ground, what is the distance between the stick and the steering head?

This measurement plays a very important role in how stable your motorcycle is at stop, low, and high speeds. For the most part, if a motorcycle has a larger rake measurement, that means it’s more stable at higher speeds, which is why understanding bike rake and knowing how to use a bike rake calculator is important.

What is Motorcycle Trail?

Motorcycle trail is connected to motorcycle rake, though perhaps a little less straight-forward. Imagine the same yardstick, held up against the bike’s axel, as above. Where it touches the ground is one measurement. Now follow the line of your steering head all the way to the ground. This is your other measurement. The space between the two points is known as your trail.

Balance, stability, performance, speed, and safety are all the result of properly balanced rake to trail ratios.

Why Does Motorcycle Rake Matter?

Rake is essential to keeping your bike balanced, whether you’re at speed or standing still. It can also play an important role in what kind of riding you do. Imagine a bike with close to 0° rake and think about how challenging it would be to accelerate. On the opposite side, custom bikes with large rakes require greater radii for turning without falling over.

If you’re looking to change the rake on your own motorcycle, which requires a good understanding of trigonometry, you’ll want to keep your riding habits in mind, as they are all connected.

For more information on customizing and upgrading your bike and the parts you need to do it right, trust the team here at Demon’s Cycle today!