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A year ago, we got a request that was a bit different from other custom solutions we had done so far for clients. The customer’s request was simple: besides a longer cargo bed, the front part of the frame (the location of the front head tube) would be high enough so that a suspension fork could be used with the bike.
The client would assemble the bike with the suspension fork on his side after receiving all the parts, so in that regard our task was relatively simple. We provided a frameset with the following modifications:
As the rest of the geometry would be maintained as-is, the bike would handle as expected if not mounted with a suspension fork.
The bike, freshly received from paint
The client is really happy with the bike and we had some great feedback on it! As we did not concentrate on the steering linkage for this particular setup, we were also curious to see how the client would manage to attain a setup which would fit his needs.
The client went for the most „direct“ and easy solution: the linkage was attached more or less on the same place it would be on our rigid fork. This works well enough, but has the drawback of being attached to the moving part of the suspension fork. This has the effect of the bike actually turning a bit on the right whenever brakes are applied, as the fork compresses and the resulting vertical movement gets absorbed into the steering linkage.
Otherwise, the client says that the rider can actually get used to this quite good, and just has to have this effect in mind when riding this bike. The bike looks quite rad with the suspension fork, besides the other customizations that have been done on this setup! I did see the bike myself too, and it rides better than one would think.
A second frame had been requested during this year, with the following customizations:
We chose the second solution, as that was the most practical for us. The biggest advantage this has is that we won’t need to structurally modify the fork, so safety aspects would be left untouched. The first solution would be considered if somehow the headset assembly would be easy to fit after any modifications, as that would give us a good position to fix and work with the steering rod.
The result looks quite clean!
At first, I was not as confident as I usually would be regarding the handling of the bike. After having actually tried the bike, I can say this is a better solution than what we imagined! The bike handles like a champ and is quite fun to ride, especially it being a Mini frame, so it was already quite nimble beforehand. This one is made to endure those bumpy rides!
Both of these bikes look quite different from what we’ve shipped typically. We’re quite happy with how both of these bikes turned out, have a third bike for internal use waiting to be assembled when we find the time for it. I’m already looking forward to do some gravel trails with the barbecue on the front!