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First off, Talon saw a mass saving of 181g (approx. 0.4lb) over the OE 2022 Honda CRF450R Triple Clamps which is not a he deal to some but weight is weight. To achieve this, Talon has obviously carried out some heavy optimization in-terms of stiffness to weight, as you may guess by the through-hole lightening! Talon also aimed to retain as many OE features as possible whilst improving feel, functionality and obviously the aesthetics of the product, as such they retained OE anti-vibration bar mounting, mounting for plastics and other ancillaries. As you may not know but Talon currently produces triple clamps and hubs for HRC and as such they are trying to apply the lessons they learned regarding body position/ergonomics, stiffness, and design cues to consumer offerings. Additionally, Talon has several features to control stiffness in various directions.
Split clamping allows correct and even torque application, clamping and bolt preload (Talon actually found this to provide equal or better dependent on the manufacturer, the Raptor Clamps were designed for). But, in our case, Talon found that having a thinner fork clamp strap spread wider along the fork allowed them to improve rigidity and fork support, whilst reducing mass without sacrificing clamping or the possibility of fork push-through. On the bottom clamps Talon again use a widely spaced thin fork clamp strap, with a “bend-line support” on the lower edge. This arrangement allows bending control front-to-rear, prevents kinking occurring in large impact events and most importantly helps eliminate fork binding during high deflection usage.
Despite the through hole lightening, Raptor clamps are stiffer both front to rear and in torsion, to provide better control in terms of front wheel tracking. The Raptors are less stiff than the OE clamps up-down along the fork axis however, this was done to tame the modern Hondas famously harsh offering which detracts from fork feel and rider confidence. Finally on stiffness, for the Honda Talon actually set the stem characteristics (in terms of stiffness) to be very similar to their KTM offering, they found that both bikes (22 450SX-F and 22 CRF450R) were much too stiff with regard to the triple clamps and stem as a whole assembly. As such they used a 7075-T6 stem that is quite heavily ‘necked’ in the center to both provide the hardness and engagement for the offset cones and to reduce the stiffness of the link between the clamps to some degree allowing for a less harsh feel for the rider. Lastly and the most obvious is the ability to utilize the range of fork offsets provided, as you know this will allow you to affect changes in your trail to either increase stability or provide better turning response.
Ok, so now you have some the tech behind the Raptor clamps what are they like to ride at several types of tracks? The new generation Hondas (2020-2023 models) with a 22mm offset can be twitchy and tend to oversteer as you guys may already know. We’ve found in the past that between 23-24mm offset works the best and allows for a calmer Honda. The Talon Raptor clamp is a unique setup with six different offsets available by changing aluminum inserts. They offer 19mm-25mm offsets, but we personally didn’t need to test that many. We found through testing that the 24mm worked best at most tracks for our testers (yes, even on tight rutty tracks). We felt the 24mm offset helped in area 1 &2 of corners as it gave the Honda more control leading into the corner. This helped the bike keep more tire contact patch feel and improved the lean angle stability. There is a thing called cornering stability and with the 24mm offset installed the Honda gets more of that! If there are imperfections inside the rut the Honda is less likely to deflect or pop out of the rut with the Raptor 24mm offset setting.
The split style clamp offers some forgiveness feeling in the front end which is needed for almost every type of rider. Slap down landings as well as bump compliance is up compared to the stock clamp and that helps with arm pump. The Talon split clamps are wider than most of its competitors and we felt this gave the front end less rigidity feel on edge of tire conditions. The bar mount system is a little tricky however, it has many different mount locations, which can be overwhelming if you’re just an average dude. The rubber mounted lower bar mount has a grid that the bottom of the mount locks into and we felt this is a cool feature for all the different bar locations. They also include a plate that connects both bar mounts and to our knowledge/experience this will help to keep the bar mounts straight. In the past with this style of bar mounts, when you tip over, it can twist the bar mounts or even bend the stud on the mount. However, with this design/plate, it will reinforce that area for minimal twisting. The only downfall we saw was you must remove the bar mount to adjust the steering stem nut for tension, which is kind of a pain in the ass. Other than that though, the split style clamp and all the offset options Talons offers for the Raptor clamp as well as the bar mount location are awesome.