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How does hub-center steering work on bikes?

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You Asked:

How does hub-center steering work on bikes? — Reuben, Hyderabad, India

Marshall Brain Answers:

On most motorcycles today, the front fork holds a stationary front tire, and the fork telescopes in and out to provide the front suspension. However, a telescoping front fork is not the best place to put the suspension because: a) the fork is angled to the ground and b) the fork’s size and configuration limits what engineers can do with springs and shock absorbers.

In a motorcycle with hub-center steering, the front wheel can rotate left and right on its axle to provide steering. Now it is possible for engineers to do whatever they like with the front suspension, and often it ends up looking a lot more like the rear suspension. You can see two examples that demonstrate how hub-center steering works in these two videos:

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