Monday, August 11, 2008

Musings On The Fork Swapping Experiment

<=== 430mm axle to crown on your suspension corrected frame? Sure! Why not?

Last year I had my eyes opened. Not that I was running around bumping into things, mind you, I was just caught up in a "box", if you will, in terms of my thinking on fork geometry.

The bike was Mike Curiak's Lenz Lunchbox, which is a 5 X 5 travel 29"er with geometry so slack it would make you fall asleep reading the chart on it. Well, it is a good thing I didn't read the chart on it!

Mike sent me out on the bike at the Outdoor Demo at Interbike and I had a hoot on it. Let me just say this, it steered and handled just fine. All that with a trail figure well over 100. (Most rigs I like are in the 70's in this regard)

So, that got me to thinking over the winter, (Yes.....I had a long time to think about that) that it might be fun to see what would happen if you tried to put other forks on bikes that weren't meant to be paired up and see what would happen. Then I got ahold of a Blackbuck that came with an optional 440mm axle to crown fork with 51mm offset. That isn't a big deal until you know that the Blackbuck is a suspension corrected frame. Now we're talkin'!

I already had some forks sitting around, or available to use that had vastly different geometries. The fork test was underway! Now I have just two more rigid forks to go and then it is on to three suspension forks with really different geometries.

So far it has been a lot of fun. I will say that it doesn't really help my views to keep doing this, as I am finding out I was more wrong than right about several things regarding fork geometries. Namely that you could 'ruin" a bike with the wrong fork. It isn't that way at all. More of a different flavor, and maybe one or two I don't particularly care for, but certainly not unrideable. In fact, I can see having a few different forks around to "tune" your ride according to the course at hand or the type of event you might be doing.

That is where I am at right now. I am having fun, riding more, and learning a whole bunch. That makes it all worthwhile right there to me. I sure hope other folks get something out of it too.

Special Mention: Congratulations to my ol' buddy "J-kove" on his big ride at pb-ville over the weekend. ("J-kove",'s what they call him now.) Also, congrats to all five Bike Tech-ers that made the trek out and dominated the mountain. Way to go guys and gals!

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