Bicycle Forks

Do you ever think much about your forks? I do. I rode BMX at a time when manufacturers were trying to balance strength against weight. I saw many fails and had a few fail on me, this leaves a bit of a mental scar.  snapped bmx fork

Now as I have said I am taking all my self-righteous opinions and trying to do a bike company in the way that I feel it should be done. Forks are something I want to do but with the above point, it is also something I am terrified of getting wrong.

It almost forces a form of paralysis on me. I sit down with CAD, ideas, and a coffee and then nothing happens. If something does it get done I have either designed such an overbuilt fork, no one will buy it as it “weighs” too much or my old aversion to “lightweight” forks starts to creep in and I doubt everything.

It is probably a reassurance to know that I go through these steps, as at least I should have a product that will not kill you but at the same time it causes doubt around the project. How can I create a successful product if all I can do is focus on where it will fail or where something might go wrong.

Nothing else seems to cause me these issues. Everything else I get that their manufacturing standards have risen, metal tubes are better quality, carbon will not shatter into a million pieces if you look at it in the wrong way, and that a sticker put on slightly squint will not cause a frame to explode.

I get all this but somehow forks just give me a fear. A deep-seated fear, it is why despite having two frames signed off and an idea about how I want the forks to be, I just can not relax on the idea. I think I want forks to have a lifetime of testing before I agree to release a model. I can have them on machines and tested to death but I know brands who have done that and then had a set snap jumping down stairs.

How much abuse do you then test them for? Even on a road bike, I want a fork that you can bomb down a set of stairs and not worry. I like the idea that not everyone will use a product in the way it was designed for, so how do you design for that? Do you ask lots of people? I tried, it makes the area even more of a minefield.

People will tell you how great their current product is and how they use it beyond what it was designed for and then you watch them ride away and realize everything they said was exuberantly described.

This thinking currently keeps me awake at night and then I start to think perhaps I shouldn’t do a fork. Perhaps, like every other small scale manufacturer, I should just put an Enve fork on there. That though just seems to show a lack of individual thought to me. How can I be different if I end up just following the same rules as everyone else? Where then would be my USP?

I then know that I have to make forks but how do I relax enough to carry the idea through and at which point do I call the testing period off and just go for it?

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