Honda CRF1000/1100L and ATAS Africa Twin Forks
The stock fork is a Showa 45mm USD unit. It’s closer to a late 80’s Honda MX bike than a 2020 CRF450R but that still puts it above or at least on par with its sales rivals. Honda have designed the bike to be comfortable and do everything. The fork is approximately 30% lighter in compression damping than a KTM 1190R, while having a similar spring rate, so it’s not supposed to be a CRF450R. And plenty of people love that softness.
If you find the forks are just too soft and dive a lot, check the spring preload. From stock the fork has very little internal preload and you can make the fork sit a lot taller by winding 8-10mm (Turns) on the blue preload adjusters on the fork tops. I’d suggest you run the rebound adjusters on the fork caps at 1.0 turn out from full hard and the compression adjuster at the bottom 5 click out from full hard.
The stock springs are 0.54-0.56kg/mm progressive, and we don't change them for riders under 100kg. The stock cartridges are limited on preload adjustment, only 10mm, and it's this lack of spring preload that causes the sag, not a light spring. For heavier riders we offer harder linear springs in our 19-145 Series Fork Springs. Please remember to remove 30mm from the stock spacer when fitting our springs.
The ATAS fork is 33mm longer and has a stiffer damping setting internally.
Fork Revalve & Service
If you want more performance and are happy to forgo some softness, send us your forks & shock, plus info on your height, weight, ability, terrain, and your complaints. We will give you back the customised results from our dyno settings bank and experience. Our modifications to the stock cartridge are aimed at giving more damping support, so you lose the floaty feel. Brake dive is significantly reduced, feel is improved. You get more feedback so you know where the front tyre is. Getting some air becomes fun, not crashing back to earth.
We have tested every aftermarket cartridge available for the AT. We get a very high level of performance from the modified stock cartridge including some in-house designed parts, higher than the aftermarket performance kits.
Upper Fork Tubes Wearing (Both early gold tubes and later brown tubes including ATAS)
The internet had a melt down over AT upper fork tubes wearing the anodising off where the lower fork clamp is, lots of talk of over tightening the lower clamp causing the wear. We measured it, checked every set of AT forks that come in the door and talked to Honda Australia.
The wear is above the lower clamp, so it’s not tightening torque. The wear happens on the front of the tube so it’s the pressure of the bush causing the wear. If you spin the top tube 180 degrees the wear still happens at the front.
Our answer to this is a performance coating called Kashima Coating. Only available in Japan, Kashima coating consists of lubricating molybdenum disulfide deposited via electrical induction into the billions of micro-pores on the surface of hard-anodized aluminum to provide better lubrication and less abrasion and wear. This process can take some time to get done due to shipping time frames ex-Japan. We have 6 sets of exchange Kashima coated fork tubes in stock plus a set of ATAS tubes to allow a fast turnaround because no-one wants to have their bike in pieces for long periods of time.
In order for Kashima coating to be performed the fork tubes must not have any significant scratches or gouges as Kashima is microns thick, it won’t fill holes. Keep it in mind for your bike, because stock replacement fork tubes are going to end up with the exact same problem.