Fork for Wiggly Bikes

A friend of mine is pushing me to bring a full carbon 1 1/8" straight steerer disc fork to market. This would be a Road+/allroad type fork. 390ish a-c and clearance for 700x38-40 or 650bx47-48 max.

Differentiating features would be:

Current standards for brake and axle (flat/12mm) potential flat/9mm version for legacy bikes as well

Two offset options for trail optimization (no option for true low trail but would make a 45-50mm trail rando bike possible)

Fender mounts standard and possible version with rack mounts

Timeline would be 12 months and would need commitments for a couple hundred forks from builders to make it viable. Most obvious application is for steel custom bikes to avoid beer can headtube. Cost for builders would be in line with other carbon aftermarket forks. Retail ~$400.

Thoughts Tarck Hivemind?

Somebody was trying to pull one together on the 650b list:!msg/650b/iVjDNYCYezs/kTP6KXgTDwAJ;context-place=forum/650b

Maybe that’s your friend though?

I’m currently looking for a carbon fork that can clear a 700x48 slick (no fenders) with a max of 400a-c, but I doubt anyone would build the crown area thin enough.

I think that, at this point and for this fork, rack mounts are as essential as fender mounts.


Ha! No not my friend.

The friend in question is a long time bike industry-adjacent guy who is buddies with both a small framebuilder and a larger semi-custom production shop. Both of them are looking for something like this for cross and gravel bikes. He brought it to me since I have the necessary contacts and interest to make it happen.

I’m trying not to pigeonhole this as strictly a nerd thing, I think it has broader application. If it’s successful then future nerd focused products are a possibility.

I’m familiar with a number of capable factories that can execute this but up front costs mean it’s not something I want to jump into without a good idea of how many I can sell.

I think price will be the biggest factor for people looking at upgrading.

I think there are more people who would want it without rack mounts than with but maybe I’m wrong. We can have it both ways. Design with mounts in mind and produce with and without. Same goes for the 9x100 legacy version, I don’t think it needs to exist but It’s easy enough to do.

Feedback on price would be good!

I felt $400 for painted retail forks is reasonable compared to Ritchey, Enve and Whisky.

Unpainted forks in volume for builders would be less.

What color

I just see frontloading as a huge trend in cycling, and the sort of thing that people with the right bike for this fork are probably interested in. It’s not that everyone with the fork is going to run a rack, but if the fork just comes with rack mounts (and they don’t add significantly to the cost of weight), then why not put them on all the forks?

I guess I don’t really care though, as long as there is an option that is compatible with a widely available rack.

If you do a stiffleg fork, put the rackmounts into the blade instead of on the front of the blade. They can be stealthed by making them flush (so you’d have to put a plastic washer in to keep the blade stays from chewing up the fork) so people who really don’t want them can have a (soft plastic) headless plug screwed into the boss and the whole thing painted over so they can pretend it’s not there.

The niner forks have a steel plate in the leg to reinforce the low rider bosses.

I think $400 retail would be fine with carbon steerer and good marketing.

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I would pay $400 for that fork

390 for AC seems like a weird spot. Either go fully cross length at 395/+ or “traditional” all road at 380-385, yeah?

Columbus makes a fork with adjustable rake:

I almost specced one on my Rock Lobster for the long rake but wanted tighter crown to fender clearance for my intended tire size.

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Yeah I’m kinda undecided on A-C. 385 is more sensible for the actual application but 395 has better overall compatibility. There may be structural considerations that dictate crown height so that decision might get made for me during the process.

Adjustable offset is an option in theory, but making forks with two different fixed offsets may actually be easier since they can still come from the same tool and it keeps cost/complexity down.

From my notes:

Disk Trucker: 390
Soma Lugged Disk: 396
Straggler: 400
Soma Carbon Yolo: 400
Soma CroMo CX: 400
Midnight Special: 400
Wolverine: 403

Atmo the only way I’m buying a $400 carbon fork is if it is low-trail with some sort of rack bosses (lowrider, mini, or frontside eyelets at dropouts).

I’m a minority for sure, but also a minority which to my knowledge has zero options.

(OK other than this Thorn fork which is Q/R only and also has canti studs for 26" rim brakes)

I’d buy this fork if it had H/C standard rack mounts and was 9mm.
I’d put it on my Shawver and have a disk tab added to the rear.

How low?

47mm and 53mm were the offsets I had in mind since those work quite well for neutral trail on “gravel” bikes with 71-72 deg HTA. A third offset from the same tool might be possible but it might look a bit funky and/or not work structurally.

On a more Rando-y bike with 73 or 73.5 you can get low-ish trail from those numbers.

I’m thinking specifically of my Hunter/Gatherer, which is specced as 395 a-c, 70mm offset. Another natural would be folks with a NFE.

Not sure what Crust’s offerings look like, but that’s the other front-loader crowd I could see being interested. I assume you might be contacting Crust/Endpoint/Elephant anyways as possible collaborators if you decide to pursue that much offset.

We should put all the forks in the tarck approved DATABASS