Monday, 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!


Dave said...

Not to embarrass him or anything, but what does "big fella" mean in terms of lbs? Just wondering the tipping point, if you will, is between the two fork blade wall approaches in terms of rider weight.

Walt said...

Dave -

Well, I'm not going to tell you how much Greg weighs, but I'll say this - he made it very clear that he wanted strength over light weight, and that he planned to ride the bike *very* aggressively. So he is not a gigantic individual, though he's solidly above average size.

I should probably do a blog post about the various fork blades I use, and what I like to use them for, at some point. There are a lot and I get questions all the time about what blades will work for what applications. So look for that (maybe in the next few days while the temps stay way below zero).

Tom Purvis said...

I love your bikes and know lots of folks who have them and love them, but I need to add a few points of dissent with regard to those dropouts, I have a bomber custom fork made with them, and here are three downsides (2 important, one niggling):

1. They will not work with an Old Man Mountain Cold Springs rack. My fork is on a dirt tourer. I lucked out and my builder put an eyelet down there, so I was able to get creative with a hack saw and make it work.
2. They will not fit in many car-rack fork mounts. It was immediate deal over for me to mount the bike on the ghetto rack on the back of my camper, had to stuff it inside.
3. (niggle) QR levers will not close backwards unless the QR is flipped to have the lever on the non-drive side.

Just a note of caution, my builder had not anticipated that the fork would foil my plan to use a Cold Springs front rack.

Anonymous said...

Dave, no need for shame or embarrassment. I'm 6'4", 215lbs, thick brown luscious mane, desirious baby blues, five o'clock shadow, no tats, vertebral column issues...

Anonymous said...

Dave, no shame or umbrage taken. I am 6'4", 215 lbs, thick luscious pepper mane, dreamy baby blues, five o'clock shadow...

Walt said...

Tom -

Great info. I bet you saved me a lot of hair-pulling when someone wanted a fork with these dropouts and a rack mount setup.

That is one of the downsides of changing things - you never know what kind of weird problems will pop up.

Dave said...

Greg... good one.

I'm a similar "big fella," then. At least weight-wise. I would also consider myself to have basher tendencies at times. I'll be curious to hear how the fork performs... it definitely looks cool.

Anonymous said...

Hey Dave,

I'll report back how this beast handles. Walt sent me pics of the frame, as well, so the combination should be very solid. I have had numerous cracked and busted frames over the years as I enjoy sizable drops and ride unforgivable urban and off road terrain. As a result I find myself holding back too frequently. I explained to Walt up front my concerns, and I believe he responded with a crazy sturdy ride. At least that's my hope. And I have to admit that I haven't felt this optimistic about a build ever before. Obviously Walt is the best, so I'm fairly certain my expectations will be met.

brado1 said...

Hey Walt that looks awesome. Question: Burley Forks the same price as a regular Fork

Walt said...

Yup, all same price. The only upcharge on forks is for weird colors or through axles.

Mark said...

1070g really isn't bad at all! My Waltworks taper blade fork is 992g with a cut steerer (7.5"), painted, and starnut.

awalker said...

Walt, got any more of those fork blades you'd like to sell? I'd like a couple sets. Or would you mind pointing me in that direction?
andy walker

awalker said...

Walt, got any more of those blades you could sell? I'd like a couple sets, or point me to where to get them, thanks
andy walker