What is trail on a motorbike?

Trail (B) is measured in distance (inches or millimeters) between the point of the front wheel’s contact with the ground and a line drawn through the axis of the steering head. Under normal operation, this contact point is always some distance behind the projected line—somewhere between 2 and 4 inches (5–10 cm).

What is the ideal trail for a motorcycle?

More trail is nice at high speeds (motorcycles usually have 80 mm of trail) but can feel sluggish at slower speeds. Head angle also influences wheelbase and front center, which affect weight distribution. Ideally, a rider should have 45% of the bike + rider’s weight on the front wheel and 55% on the rear wheel.

What does trail mean on a dirt bike?

“Trail” is the distance by which the axle “trails” the point at which the steering axis of a motorcycle would contact the ground (see illustration). Any vehicle-a car, bicycle, motorcycle or airplane-needs trail to ensure its steerable wheel (or wheels) is stable.

How does trail affect motorcycle handling?

The bottom line here is that the more rake and trail we have, the more stable the bike will become, although both steering and maneuverability may suffer for it. Conversely, when rake and trail are reduced, the bike will steer quicker and become more maneuverable, though it’s usually at the expense of stability.

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How does trail affect handling?

Trail is a combination of the head tube angle and the fork rake and can be thought of as the tyre contact point trailing behind the steering axis. The short explanation is a small amount of trail equals a ‘fast’ handling bike, while greater trail equals a ‘slow’ handling bike.

How much trail is too much on a motorcycle?


If the trail is more than 6 inches the bike will handle sluggishly at high speeds. It will seem almost too steady. You will have trouble balancing the bike at lower speeds or on winding roads. It will feel generally sluggish and clumsy.