Lets Talk About Forks and Disk Brakes

I’ve been looking and thinking about disk brakes a lot lately. I’m a pretty forward thinking person. Mostly for practical reasons. So I can’t help but prepare for their arrival on road racing and cyclocross bicycles. Lately there have been some discussions between framebuilders and enthusiasts about how best to mount these calipers to a fork. The pictures aren’t pretty when forks fail and my worry is that the forks we use aren’t suitable for the extra loads disks place on the structural members they are attached to. Yes, I’ve read the collective wisdom of other builders but I’m not buying it. The fork that most of us build today, with it’s pleasant rake, tapered shape, and detailed fork crowns largely evolved because of the placement of the rim brake and the forces applied. Lightweight fork blades, hollow crowns, and modern dropouts are what they are because of the rim brake. Modifying a lightweight fork blade and fork crown for disks may be a bad idea. I think its going to take a redesign of my fork to deliver a disk ready fork that is SAFE, light, elegant and delivers the ride I want to be associated with my bicycles. Until that time I’m looking at the available commercial options and think I have the solution. Stay tuned.

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4 Responses to Lets Talk About Forks and Disk Brakes

  1. Jayme says:

    Hey Jonathan. I’m really enjoying this peek behind the scenes. I appreciate your concern about the suitability of the current fork design. That type of thinking is why your customers will receive exceptional products. I look forward to seeing your solution, however, I would feel pretty comfortable following the lead of Dave Kirk on the matter. http://www.kirkframeworks.com/blog/2012/01/31/new-stuff-on-the-way/#comments

    Cheers,

    Jayme

    • Thanks Jayme,
      Dave is a great builder. I’ve seen those words. Steel Road forks are slightly overbuilt for the application of stopping a bike with rim brakes. I’ve not seen anything to suggest that the light forks my cross bikes use would have that same level of protection for the rider if I just converted them to disk forks. These are vehicles afterall. I’d rather start fresh than braze a disk tab to a fork. There are new blades and crowns on the way that may make more sense. I’m looking forward not backwards. That may ruffle some feathers but until I can build a better/ safer unit I’m not putting a client on disks.

  2. halekai says:

    The answer is the truss!

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