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Suspension forks on Hagen frames

par Oskar Viljasaar sur October 12, 2022

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:

  • The cargo bed is 820mm long, instead of the usual 700mm;
  • The frame’s cargo bed front part is able to house a suspension fork with 70mm travel (marked in red in the pictures);
  • The cargo bed’s base plate is longer, so that it would account for the raised front part;
  • The steering rod is lengthened by a bit, as the fork would land a bit further away than normally;
  • The non-suspension fork we would provide as a base solution has a higher-up crown race (marked in blue in the pictures), so that the bike itself would still be functional without a suspension fork.

Hagen Suspension Bike Design Progress

As the rest of the geometry would be maintained as-is, the bike would handle as expected if not mounted with a suspension fork.

Suspension Frameset Straight From PaintThe bike, freshly received from paint

The result

We had to wait some time for the frameset to ship all the way to the client, and for the client to assemble it on his side. Once he received it, though, he assembled it at the speed of lightning! We received an email from the client saying he had assembled the bike at 3 in the morning!

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.

Hagen Cargo Bike Fronst Suspension Closeup

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.

Hagen Suspension Cargo Bike With Canopy

Second frame

A second frame had been requested during this year, with the following customizations:

  • Step-through, electric frame
  • Mini cargo bed, able to accommodate a suspension fork
  • The bike would be completely assembled by us, so the suspension fork and the steering system would be provided by us
  • Considering the experience and feedback we got from the first frame, we needed to find a suitable location on the suspension fork which would not be part of the fork travel.
This leaves us with two choices:
a)The steering tube, which would imply that a new crown race be welded higher up, so that the headset assembly would still work as expected while leaving space for the steering assembly
b)The fixed tubing part of the suspension fork, on which the steering assembly would be attached to.

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 process:

  • The steering rod design had to be changed, as it would not end on the lower side of the fork anymore. The rod required bending towards the high side of the fork, which gave us quite a rad look once the rod was mounted on the bike!
  • The attachment of the rod was done with a clamp, attached to a fixed part of the suspension fork.

Hagen Bikes Suspension Bike Front End Closeup
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!

Hagen Suspension Mini Cargo Bike
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!

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