Le Mans 24H Moto: Funny Front Ends

Posted: 14th April 2017

Two different approaches competing this year – Metiss vs TTS Excent – Traditional Hub Centre Steering vs Semi-Girder Saxon Style – 2 seconds difference on track...

There are two different alternatives to conventional front forks competing at Le Mans this weekend; the single sided Metiss hub centre steering Suzuki we've all come to know and love over the years, and the Kawasaki ZX10R based TTS Excent which uses a pair of vertical legs connected via linkages and a single shock absorber to a small subframe which attaches to an unmodified frame via the normal steering head.

The Metiss, above, braces braking forces against the frame using the lower mount (there's a horizontal arm on both sides) and then provides steering input via the vertical arm which attaches to the centre of a large bearing allowing the wheel to rotate and swivel. This connects vertically to what looks like a conventional steering head.

The TTS, above, uses a different approach best illustrated by the sub assembly shown below. The linkage between the vertical legs connected to the wheel and the upper fork-legs held in the yokes should be stiffer than conventional tubular forks and adjusting the linkages offers the chance to change the trail and steering angle, and so on.

We're hoping to talk to the riders of both machines tomorrow, but at the moment the arguably more conventional TTS system has proved itself quicker in practise – and in practice – with a best time in qualifying of 1:38.664 by Gabriel Pons, against a best time by Christophe Michel of 1:40.754.

Words, Photos: Martin Gelder