Motorcycles have a lot of dynamic engineering behind them. Most of it keeps the motorcycle strong and increases its performance under rough conditions.
One such component is yoke.
So, what is a motorcycle yoke? Motorcycle yoke is the component used for clamping the twin forks to ensure smooth connection between the front wheel and the frame.
The yoke has two parts – lower yoke and upper yoke, both clampdown the fork and the central axle connecting to the front wheel.
Let’s deep dive into what a motorcycle yoke is and the terms related to it. Moreover, this article will also tell you how important is the yoke in making your motorcycle more dependable.
Motorcycle Front Handle Design
The drive of your motorcycle connects to the back wheel for moving the entire body. It means the front portion of your motorbike has one essential task to perform: Balance the drive! It becomes necessary to connect the front wheel flexibly and solidly to the body frame.
Hence, the modern motorcycle designs use a 2-prong system to connect the wheel to the frame. It provides you the solidity, shock absorption, handling ability, and turning freedom too.
Before understanding what is a motorcycle yoke, you need to focus on the motorcycle fork. I say so because both these parts go hand-in-hand to provide you the driving ability at the handle.
Motorcycles of any age and generation connect their front to the frame in a split manner. These twin prongs connect the wheel axel, that holds the rim, to the upper frame body. The prongs in the limelight here are what you will know as the motorcycle fork.
They get their name of “fork” from the holding design like an eating fork, grappling the wheel rim. Hence, the form constitutes the longest part of the entire front connecting structure.
However, these parts do not fix themselves rigidly to the upper frame, otherwise, the motorcycle won’t turn! You need an arrangement where the forks have a dynamic position concerning the frame (on 2 axes). Hence, the motorcycle yoke comes into play.
The yoke of your motorcycle is a clamping mechanism for the twin forks. It consists of several major parts that give the connection, strength, and turning axis.
#1 Lower Yoke
The lower yoke of your motorcycle is the first solid member through which the fork passes. The Lower yoke is like the lower end of a clamp that holds the fork and central shaft in position. It is the terminating edge of the complete yoke arrangement that comes as its lower-most trail.
Hence, the first-hand effect of any shock or jerk on the motorcycle will come on the lower yoke. While the traditional designs use stainless steel, the modern lower yokes are of fiber or alloy material.
#2 Upper Yoke
The upper yoke is the top-most terminating part of your motorcycle’s yoke arrangement. It is the housing for the central shaft that is also popular as the steering stem. Hence, any sideways thrust or turning momentum will partially act on the upper yoke casing.
In the modern motorcycles available for your purchase, the upper yoke is also alloy type. This gives you a strong frame connection along with weatherproof abilities for longer life. The upper yoke is also part where the locking nut for the forks and turning shaft are available.
#3 Turning Shaft
The turning shaft runs through the center of the yoke and acts as the turning axis. It is the part that decides your turning freedom and connects it to the handle frame. The size of the handle frame along with the turning shaft decides whether your bike turns rigidly or easily.
The turning shaft is generally solid and forms out of alloy steel. A big reason for this is the weight of your motorcycle and your turning force come on it together.
#4 Locking Nuts
The locking nuts will secure the upper end of the forks to the yoke frame for solidity. The locks position the axel and also hold the turning shaft in its place without deviation. In most cases, you will have to torque tighten these nuts as per the motorcycle speed consideration.
Auxiliary Front Parts Connecting to Yoke
Now that you know what is a motorcycle yoke, many relative parts are also important. These parts are important for a smooth transition of motion and also the control features.
Shock Absorption Bars
The forks that connect through the yoke will also have shock absorption bars. These springs or cushions allow you and your motorcycle to feel comfortable at the bumps. Their elastic ability stores the dynamic energy of a shock and does not allow it to reach you.
Hence, the shockers have an integral design in the fork connecting to the yoke. Often you will see the yoke suffering damages if these shock absorbers do not work properly.
Many tuning facilities for these are also available at the service places. It uses the spring tightening mechanism to bring back the tension for a better response. Meanwhile, the modern design will give you hydraulic absorption for higher efficiency and comfort.
The braking arrangement also passes over the yoke and through the fork of the motorcycles. This includes the hydraulic unit at the top for the storage of the oil for disc brakes. Moreover, the cable and piping passing towards the front also go through this portion.
The front frame along with the headlight and the electronics also attach to this segment. This includes your monitoring tachometer readings, light switch wirings, etc. Hence, the whole-body front of your position indirectly associates somewhere with the yoke.
Importance of the Motorcycle Yoke
After knowing what is a motorcycle yoke and how it supports the front, there are other important aspects too. This includes your ease of steering and the design integrity for impacts or accidents.
The handle frame of the motorcycles attaches to the upper half of the yoke in different ways. The clamps either have them screwed-on at the top or tightened hydraulically. Hence, the yoke plays an important part to give the turning radius to your handles.
Moreover, the longer or stiff handles will also affect the flexibility of these yokes. It means the design of your motorcycle’s control will always relate the yoke size and dimension with the handle.
Connection with the Frame
The solid frame bars at the front allow the forks to pass through for a strong design. The yoke will clamp these forks in their position and hold them right there. Hence, a strong part of any head-on impact will always come on the yoke.
It means the yoke of your motorcycle should be strong enough for such incidents. Otherwise, with all other parts intact, the yoke will act as a weak link under accidents.
Clutch Yoke for Motorcycles
The lesser popular element by the name of a yoke in your motorcycle is the clutch yoke. The clutch wire and the clutch handle pass within the arrangement to engage or disengage the drive. Hence, the clutch yoke becomes an important member of the transmission elements.
It attaches to the handle frame of your motorcycle on one end of the frame. The screw tightening allows you to position the clutch level at an angle that fits your grip. The yoke also consists of pivots that allow the clutch wires to pass over safely.
Upon the clutch action, the wire pulls inwards to tug the clutch. This uses the yoke pivot to move the wire without giving any slack. The same happens when you want to engage the gear instead of disengaging it.
The yoke also has greasing points so that you can regularly lube the pivots. The cover at the top seals the yoke from any atmospheric exposure to affect it in a wrong way.
Except for the tightening crew at the handlebar, the lever also has a lock screw. This increases the effectiveness of the lever and its response instead of just allowing it to sway. The entire clutch yoke comes as a single casting for you to purchase independently.
Motorcycle Yoke Evolution
Conventional yoke designs did not have the attachments like the modern ones. Hence, you will get to see a lot of design changes available in the present versions. Many superbikes also have their handles moving inwards with right-angle support.
This means the yokes also have a direct and better attachment for the handle frame. The bottom yoke design also changes considerably depending on the fork design of your motorcycle. Hence, buying one from the independent market will need you to have a good idea.
I recommend the alloy version of the yokes for a higher lasting time and tough usage. Hence, knowing what is a motorcycle yoke helps you to understand the design features of the steering. These will help you especially if you are an adventure motorcyclist or a travel lover!