Custom fat bike linkage fork- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Custom fat bike linkage fork

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    A work in progress with a couple more hours of work left (disc brake mount). Based off a Noleen ELT fork, lengthened with hand made carbon legs and widened with new aluminum shafts.
    Last edited by MaineLotus; 07-11-2017 at 01:21 AM.

  2. #2
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    I will say that is pretty awesome, but I must ask what motivated you to do this?

  3. #3
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    Wanted a suspension fork that steers like a rigid fork. Production forks had downtube clearance issues. This fork is also lighter at just under 4lbs.

  4. #4
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    All I see is error messages. Can you post a pic to MTBR?

    Quote Originally Posted by MaineLotus View Post
    Wanted a suspension fork that steers like a rigid fork. Production forks had downtube clearance issues. This fork is also lighter at just under 4lbs.

  5. #5
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    I didnt see an option for uploading pics to the forum, so I linked to photobucket.

  6. #6
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    Looks like a modified proflex/girvin...hows your noleen holding up?
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaineLotus View Post
    I didnt see an option for uploading pics to the forum, so I linked to photobucket.
    Comes up as an error.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  8. #8
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    Nice work!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mr_manny View Post
    Looks like a modified proflex/girvin...hows your noleen holding up?
    No problems with the Noleen so far. I've considered an air shock, but not sure if that's an upgrade or downgrade. An air shock does shorten travel by 1/2" but is lighter.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaineLotus View Post
    No problems with the Noleen so far. I've considered an air shock, but not sure if that's an upgrade or downgrade. An air shock does shorten travel by 1/2" but is lighter.
    Keep the Noleen (coil shock).

    Not sure if it's due to the fork linkage design, but I wasn't happy when I tried an air shock on my old girvin/proflex.

    Shock was a 8" Fox vanilla.
    When you run low pressure for small bump sensitivity, you end up bottoming out too much...no bueno.

    Looking forward to your finished product

  11. #11
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    I have always liked the look and function of this style fork. BMW K motorcycles also use a similar system.
    Ridley CX, Stumpjumper Carbon HT, Surly Wednesday

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mr_manny View Post
    Keep the Noleen (coil shock).

    Not sure if it's due to the fork linkage design, but I wasn't happy when I tried an air shock on my old girvin/proflex.

    Shock was a 8" Fox vanilla.
    When you run low pressure for small bump sensitivity, you end up bottoming out too much...no bueno.

    Looking forward to your finished product
    Good to know, I won't try an air shock. Thanks for the info.

  13. #13
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    Wow, awesome. Sorry for bumping an old thread.

    As a relative fatties newbie & a former Proflex rider I love what you've done with the forks. Any more updates on your progress?

  14. #14
    IWR
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaineLotus View Post
    Wanted a suspension fork that steers like a rigid fork. Production forks had downtube clearance issues. This fork is also lighter at just under 4lbs.
    Did you just use longer bolts and some spacers?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaineLotus View Post
    Good to know, I won't try an air shock. Thanks for the info.
    You would need to add volume reducers to the compression can at this point

  16. #16
    tl1
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    That fork looks cool as hell. It's reminiscent of the Nukeproof Reactor fork. Is it holding up, how do you like it? Thanks.

    http://forums.mtbr.com/vintage-retro...or-843826.html

  17. #17
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    Really nice job! I really want to do this but finding these forks is becoming like finding hens teeth.

  18. #18
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    I want to thank MaineLotus for the help he gave me on a conversion like this. I now have a fork like this on my fatbike hardtail and I can't think of a better fork for a hardtail fatbike. Tire sucks up the high frequency and the fork handles the bigger hits.

    I do have a contact that does carbon for aerospace and I want to wrap my aluminum legs in carbon so the best of both worlds.

    If you can find one of these forks pick it up and do this conversion you will not regret it.

  19. #19
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    My fork is holding up great and I really enjoy it on the fat bike where long travel isn't needed (for me anyway). I'd like to try one for a 29er, but I single speed and I don't think a lockout is possible. Maybe with a different shock.

  20. #20
    IWR
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaineLotus View Post
    My fork is holding up great and I really enjoy it on the fat bike where long travel isn't needed (for me anyway).
    Nice, good to hear. I have 3 of these forks - one of each generation (one aluminum Girvin, one aluminum Noleen, and one carbon Noleen, the last one set up with a FOX air shock mounted upside-down for clearance), contemplating doing something with them to keep them relevant (since none are mounted on a bike anymore).

  21. #21
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    My aluminum one is also holding up well. The looks you get from people is fun.

    IWR what Fox Air shock did you get to fit? I have tried multiple shocks and I never could get one that would work. So I am running an old Noleen coil over.

  22. #22
    IWR
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenPsz View Post
    IWR what Fox Air shock did you get to fit? I have tried multiple shocks and I never could get one that would work. So I am running an old Noleen coil over.
    No recollection ... I'll check next time I get that bin out.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by IWR View Post
    No recollection ... I'll check next time I get that bin out.
    That would be great thanks!

    You definitely should mod these for fat bikes they reach their full potential with those big tires. Tires take up the small bump compliance that, force steers likes a ridged and takes the big bumps it is great.

    I just wish I trusted the legs enough to run a 180mm rotor.

  24. #24
    IWR
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenPsz View Post
    I just wish I trusted the legs enough to run a 180mm rotor.
    I was just thinking that unlike previous mods which had to make a post mount or an IS mount ... that the new flat mount calipers possibly make it way easier - much less buildup required, or dealing with bridging the gap between a leg at one angle and a caliper at a very different one. I made the bits to make a DIY disc mount years ago, but never installed it.

    Wonder if simply wrapping the leg with a bit more carbon would be sufficient, and then adding enough meat to install a flat mount caliper.

    Its a Fox Float R, and if installed upside-down it clears everything (and adds some travel also, since its a bit longer and has more stroke than the stock shock). I think I remember putting something inside the can to reduce volume and make it more progressive, but that was 15+ years ago so have no idea what / how much anymore. I think I chose the shock as much because I had it laying around and it seemed to fit as anything else ... and because a seal went on the Noleen one and I couldn't be bothered to find someone to service it (still have both smart and non-smart versions kicking around though)

    Here are the photos:
    Custom fat bike linkage fork-20200403_145633.jpg
    Custom fat bike linkage fork-20200403_145651.jpg
    Custom fat bike linkage fork-20200403_145644.jpg
    Custom fat bike linkage fork-20200403_145656.jpg

    You can see (circled) a tiny little bit of filing that was required to stop contact, but thats all that was needed to make it work (plus had to figure out the correct bushings).

    I have a Dahon branded Ritchey Breakaway mountain bike frame that I have turned into a gravel bike / travel anywhere bike, and I have a rigid suspension corrected fork on it (since the frame wants a 100mm travel fork) ... and I've been trying to figure out a fork for it that gives a bit of travel (have the space, might as well use it, after all). But of course the frame is 1 1/8" so my fork options are few. This thread reminds me that I might have a solution kicking around in my locker, if I can get it disk'd.

    I wonder if simply using epoxy loaded with carbon shavings would be sufficient to make a flat-mount adapter and spread the load? http://przyrbwn.icm.edu.pl/APP/PDF/130/a130z1p077.pdf

  25. #25
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    IWR back in the day (like 2001/2002) I did an epoxied disk mount to the leg of one the legs of a carbon crosslink. It worked well but that first time hitting the break was a bit nerve racking. I remember way back then people doing that mod and saying the carbon legs are significantly stronger than the aluminum ones.

    Thanks for the shock photo I have tried newer Fox Float R's and they just don't work. Fox made the barrel larger so now it will not work. But it is good to see that at one time they did work so maybe I just need to keep searching.

  26. #26
    IWR
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenPsz View Post
    IWR back in the day (like 2001/2002) I did an epoxied disk mount to the leg of one the legs of a carbon crosslink. It worked well but that first time hitting the break was a bit nerve racking. I remember way back then people doing that mod and saying the carbon legs are significantly stronger than the aluminum ones.
    Fun to see a photo if you have one.

    I'd imagine the aluminum ones could be strengthened with a few layers of well applied carbon.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by IWR View Post
    Fun to see a photo if you have one.

    I'd imagine the aluminum ones could be strengthened with a few layers of well applied carbon.
    I don't have a picture of the mount I made, sorry

    Here is the old forum though were we all talked about mods for Proflex and K2s.

    http://www.idriders.com/proflex/
    http://www.idriders.com/proflex/tech/tech_op2.shtml

    Funny you should mention carbon to strengthen the aluminum, I have some just waiting for a time to do it. Seems I have time now given the orders in place.

  28. #28
    IWR
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenPsz View Post
    Here is the old forum though were we all talked about mods for Proflex and K2s.

    Funny you should mention carbon to strengthen the aluminum, I have some just waiting for a time to do it. Seems I have time now given the orders in place.
    I remember reading that post years ago ... the pix were broken then even, but I think I used wayback machine or similar and did end up downloading them.

    I actually just stumbled on the disc adapter I had made but never installed yesterday, but looking at it, I think even more that trying to create an IS mount that sticks out some distance from the fork leg is just asking for problems - the torque forces aren't trivial after all. I think a flat mount would definitely be the way to go, and have much less buildup required between leg and caliper.

    I should pick one up and have a look in person - all of my calipers are Post or IS so the above flat mount hypothesis is a bit of a WAG.

    If you do make time to do one for yourself - I might be interested in you doing mine also ... I haven't played around with DIY carbon fabrication sufficiently to really be my own crash test dummy ... if you were interested in having another one to play with + some $ for your trouble.

    It'd make for a fun bikepacking rig, thats for sure. I might use the canti studs as a rack mount in that case (on the carbon one they're riveted, and I'd just remove them, but they're welded on at least one of my aluminum ones, so they might as well stay and be reused).

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by IWR View Post
    If you do make time to do one for yourself - I might be interested in you doing mine also ... I haven't played around with DIY carbon fabrication sufficiently to really be my own crash test dummy ... if you were interested in having another one to play with + some $ for your trouble.
    The aluminum fork I have was already modified for FB and disks when I bought it. Who ever did the mods did a nice job.

    I did chat with MaineLotus (OP) for a while about the legs he made and he used the legs as molds for the carbon, you do have to extend them a bit for FB or 29r though.

    You might want send him a message for details since he did a really nice job.

  30. #30
    IWR
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaineLotus View Post
    My fork is holding up great and I really enjoy it on the fat bike where long travel isn't needed (for me anyway).
    Can you post some photos of your disc mount?

    For a gravel bike, it doesn't really matter that travel effectively gets reduced - honestly I'm just wanting ~50mm or so, so its intriguing to consider getting one of my forks up and running again for this use.

  31. #31
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    This is awesome indeed... here's a question:

    I'm hoping to pick up a late model Crosslink this weekend.

    What do you think about extending the legs by sliding a set of conventional fork lowers over the existing legs?

    This would involve removing the QR tab on the Crosslink and bonding the conventional lowers (sliders) to the old legs.

    Why?
    1) set precise boost spacing (or 150mm for a fattie) 2) add post brake mounts 3) provide thru axle attachment 4) more rigidity
    Also thinking about just bonding the lower 3"-4" of the conventional lowers to the Crosslink.

    Gotta get this in the shop to measure and think...
    BTW what is the largest cross sectional chord length (~diameter) of the Crosslink fork leg?

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by wileycoyote View Post
    I'm hoping to pick up a late model Crosslink this weekend.

    What do you think about extending the legs by sliding a set of conventional fork lowers over the existing legs?

    This would involve removing the QR tab on the Crosslink and bonding the conventional lowers (sliders) to the old legs.

    Why?
    1) set precise boost spacing (or 150mm for a fattie) 2) add post brake mounts 3) provide thru axle attachment 4) more rigidity
    Also thinking about just bonding the lower 3"-4" of the conventional lowers to the Crosslink.

    Gotta get this in the shop to measure and think...
    BTW what is the largest cross sectional chord length (~diameter) of the Crosslink fork leg?
    My legs were set to 135mm which is working fine.

    Now extending the legs you're in the wild west, come up with an idea and try it.
    I'm actually redoing mine with 1/8 thick 1.6 inch OD carbon tube.

    What's funny this is like the old days when we were putting disc mounts on these forks and everyone had there own way of doing so.

    Now the legs that I have that were already extended are 21.5 inches between the welds. I have no contact between the frame and tire with a 3.8 Surly Nate on a 100mm rim.

  33. #33
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    Thanks for the feedback. Iím rethinking my strategy. Can you say what the size of the existing legs are?

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by wileycoyote View Post
    Thanks for the feedback. Iím rethinking my strategy. Can you say what the size of the existing legs are?
    If you mean OD the legs are not round they are D shaped.
    Or are you wondering the length of the legs originally?

  35. #35
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    Exactly... I haven't bought the forks yet. Trying to discover the maximum "width" of the D-shaped tubing. Will it insert in a 32mm or 34mm lower?

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by wileycoyote View Post
    Exactly... I haven't bought the forks yet. Trying to discover the maximum "width" of the D-shaped tubing. Will it insert in a 32mm or 34mm lower?
    On my aluminum legs the widest is 38.6mm

    I have no idea if it will fit into other lowers, let alone how you would secure it in given the shape.

    I just took my fork off to do the rebuild and if you are buying a fork with the aluminum legs I'm not sure it is a great thing for a fat bike long term. I knew my legs were starting to bend but now that I can put a straight edge on them there is a significant bend backwards on both legs. The aluminum legs were made for true 26" wheels the extensions needed for fatbike or 29r wheels is causing stress that those legs were just not built for.
    Last edited by KenPsz; 2 Weeks Ago at 07:03 AM.

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