A rear wheel swinging arm is an important part of your motorcycle's suspension. Also known as a swingarm, swing fork, or pivoted fork, it attached the rear wheel to the motorcycle's body. That helps the wheel pivot vertically, while absorbing bumps and the loads sitting, accelerating, and braking place on your suspension. They can be either single- or double-sided, and come in many types.
Types of Swingarms
- Swinging fork: this is the original version. This type features a pair of parallel pipes that hold the rear axle at one end and pivot at the other end. Shock absorbers mount to the frame, below the seat rail and just in front of the rear axle.
- Parallelogram: Introduced in 1985, this system is designed to prevent the sensation known as "shaft-jacking," where the motorcycle's rear squats during acceleration -- forcing the seat and rider to rise up. Some BMW Motorrad models feature a Paralever system that adds a second link between the transmission and the rear drive to keep the rear frame and driveshaft pivoting along the same axis.
- Cantilever: this type extends the swinging fork, allowing a triangulated frame to transfer the swinging arm's movement to squeeze a shock absorber mount in front of the swingarm.
- Extended swingarms: these keep the motorcycle's center of gravity as far forward as possible, limiting any tendencies to pop a wheelie at takeoff. For that reason, they're often found on drag racing motorcycles.
- Single-sided: with this type, the suspension runs along one side of the rear wheel so that it can be mounted to a hub -- much as a car wheel is. These tend to be much stiffer than a double-sided swingarm, allowing it to withstand extra force.
How to Spot Rear Wheel Swinging Arm Problems
Like any suspension part, a rear wheel swingarm can eventually go bad. Signs of failure include poor handling as a result of worn-out bearings, clunking sounds from the rear of your motorcycle when you roll over uneven terrain, clicking sounds when you turn, and rough rides due to cracked shafts.
Where Should You Buy Replacement Rear Wheel Swinging Arms?
Since the average cost of a replacement swingarm can run into thousands of dollars, you'll want to be sure to buy the right one when shopping online for a replacement part. Our online parts center has yours in stock and ready to ship, so buy now to complete your repair project and get back out on the road in no time!
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