EICMA 2011: The new Moto3 custom made front forks from Öhlins

Öhlins Racing loves the challenges thrown up by a new form of racing, and so when the announcement that the two-stroke 125GP series would become four-stroke Moto3 its engineers instantly got to work creating a brand new fork for these prototype race bikes.

The results can now be seen as Öhlins unveils a new generation of fork ready for the debut of Moto3 in 2012 – the FG385.

The FG385 fork has been specifically designed for use in this new and exciting series by the Öhlins Racing Department. Using the same pressurised damping system as the forks Öhlins supplies to the entire MotoGP grid, the new FG385 features titanium nitride coated inner tubes for reduced friction and better damping characteristics as well as twin radial brake caliper mounts. In addition to performing with very low hysteresis, this design of fork has proved not only very easy to tune, but also simple to service while either at a racetrack or away in testing. To further support Moto3 riders, Öhlins supplies each set of forks with a complete setting library. Tool kits that allow for cost-efficient self-servicing of the forks can also be purchased separately.

As with all forms of racing, weight is a key factor in Moto3 and the new FG385 forks weigh just 4,450 grams including the springs – an amazing achievement considering the wide range of damping adjustment available. With low speed rebound and compression adjustors located on the outside of the fork for ease of use, Öhlins has managed to incorporate 18mm of adjustment in the preload valve, ideal for a creating a perfect set-up.

The arrival of Moto3 has spurred the Öhlins engineers to create a new generation of forks to meet the challenges of this fresh series in World Championship Grand Prix racing. If the success of Öhlins’ MotoGP forks are any gauge, the FG385 should be heading straight to the front of the Moto3 grid.

Mats Larsson, Racing Manager R&D Öhlins Racing commented, “While it is sad to say goodbye to the last of the two-stroke GP race bikes, Moto3 looks likely to be a superb class and a great place for new riders to learn their race craft and crucial bike set-up skills. With the new Öhlins FG385 borrowing so much of its technology from the equipment used in MotoGP, this new generation of GP stars will have the chance to cut their teeth using the very latest suspension available in preparation for their transition to MotoGP.”