When building a custom motorcycle from the ground up one of the first important decisions you have to make is to choose a front end style, probably among 4 styles: Glide or Hydraulic, Springer, Spring Leaf or Girder, with the hydraulic system being the most popular because of the overall perception that it works better. Not necessarily.
At the opposite of the choice spectrum, Girder front ends are perceived as the choice fondly for looks and strength, and it’s not true that a well designed Girder cannot provide excellent performance for handling and front suspension. For example, the Girders developed by Earl Durfee in 1969 and inspired by the one used on the Indian motorcycles of the 1930’s and 40’s which were of very good design, rugged enough to be used by the U.S. Army in the Sahara Desert during World War II.
Many Durfee Girders manufactured in the 60’s and 70’s are still on the road today. In addition to awesome looks, Girder strength comes from its triangular shape. The particularity of this type of front end is also that the length of the forks and the rake in the forks or frame does not determine how well a Girder works because the “suspension part” is always the same and keep working as intended. As the opposite, with a Glide or Hydraulic front end you know that a change in rake and length from stock dimensions and geometry can seriously alter suspension performance. Refined Durfee Girders are still being manufactured and if you are looking for a retro looking front suspension giving you a comfortable ride whatever the geometry of your custom frame, call Paul on my behalf at 800-971-1008. Durfee Girders.