January 31, 2011

Greg’s fork, featuring all kinds of neat new stuff

Greg is a big fella, and he wants to ride his rigid bike aggressively (more about the silly-overbuilt frame tomorrow), and as such, he needs a pretty burly fork.

Now, in the past, I’ve had a bit of a conundrum in this kind of situation. I could use a butted blade similar to those I use for smaller riders (ie, 28.6mm diameter, 1.2mm/.7mm/.9mm double butted) but the .7mm center section scares me for big guys. Or I could use straightgauge .049″ 4130, but that’s godawful heavy.

I finally got some blades that are perfect for bigger and/or abusive riders in, which is pretty nice. They are 1.3mm/.85mm single butted – so they’re not as light as a double butted blade, but they’re not so thin below the crown that I’d worry about putting a bigger rider onboard. Greg’s fork will be plenty strong enough for anything he wants to do, and it’s 1070g with an 8″ steerer, so not stupidly heavy.

Oh, and I can make nice long (500mm) forks with these blades without resorting to any silly trickery, because I made sure to get them extra-long just for that reason.

So that’s interesting thing #1.

Second up is that I’m switching over to using the Paragon hooded dropouts for bigger fork blades (ie, ones that don’t taper) like this. Why?

Several reasons:
-They’re made in the USA, unlike the Long Shen units (part number LE13-1: for you framebuilders out there, please note that I’m not stocking these anymore, so call Peter at Ceeway if you need them). That’s a good thing.
-They are machined from solid (1018, I think) steel, rather than cast. Much nicer to weld.
-They look cool. Then again, who am I to judge?

On the downside, they’re more work (gotta miter the blades to the correct angle, not just slap in the plug-in drops and then bend as needed) but that’s ok, because there is one other HUGE plus, in my book:
-They work perfectly (or really close, anyway) with the awesome Paragon “Willits Style” ISO disc tab. I love those tabs for a number of reasons (spreading out the load from the brake being #1), but with the Long Shen dropouts, they simply won’t work. With the Paragons, game on.

As an aside, it’s supposed to get down to 20 below over the next couple of nights, so I may be doing mostly computer/indoor work until later in the week. Progress, in other words, may be a bit slow. Edit: They canceled school! Holy crap! It was 68 degrees 4 days ago!