April 8, 2010

Matt’s fork


Matt emailed me looking for a custom fork. His email contained his weight (which, for the sake of privacy, I won’t say, but he’s not tiny) and the framebuilder’s least favorite word.

“Drops”.

Yes, we all like to go off drops, whether it’s a curb or an 8′ ladder. Drops are great fun, but they’re really hard on equipment, because for every dozen you land smoothly on a nice 45 degree transition, there’ll be one that you went off too fast/slow or that was bigger than you thought – and you’ll land flat. In that situation, the bike is experiencing what your knees would if you jumped off your roof and landed with straight legs. Ouch.

In any case, Matt did say the one thing that allowed me to say yes to the project – “I’m not too concerned about weight”. I can’t count the number of clydesdale-sized, hard-on-parts riders who have emailed me asking for an 800 gram fork they can go hit drops and jumps with. Aaargh!

Solution: beef up the crown and use straightgauge .9mm fork blades. The fork isn’t light (about 1200g with a 10″ steerer) but it should hold up to some serious abuse and still ride relatively smoothly. Plus I think the lugged crown looks kinda cool. The lugs are made from 1.25x.058″ 4130, machined on the mill to the shape I want. I weld everything up, then flux up the blades/crown and braze the blades in (in this case, much stronger than welding them), and finally cut off the excess fork blade material at the top.

I’ll see if I can remember to get a picture of the fork when it’s back from powdercoat and post it. Should be quite cool.