I recently decided to put a front disc brake on my commuting road bike. I'm not really happy with the choices of stock forks to run, so I'm thinking of just getting a custom fork made. It seems you can't get a disc fork with a axle-to-crown of under 400mm without going custom. Anyone have any good experiences with custom forks?
You're asking a bunch of framebuilders if "custom forks" are any good?
First off you need to define what you want. The more specific information you can provide the builder the better the chance you have of getting just what you want. Things like length, rake, desired ride characteristics, mud clearance, etc. Do your homework and then go shopping for a builder.
Becareful buying/selling bike parts on-line. I learned the hard way. :(
I'd say custom forks are ideal. Frame geometry varies with size, and because forks are an essential part of frame geometry and affects handling to the same degree, the fork geometry "ideally" needs to match the frame geometry. The problem is stock bikes need to cut costs somewhere, so they use a stock fork size that fit 90% of their bike sizes and that's what you got. Most custom bikes however have a specific fork tuned to a specific bike size/geometry.
So, the answer is YES, a custom geometry fork to match the bike is always better (assuming your original fork wasn't properly fitted in the first place). A few builders that custom make steel forks include Pereira, Kirk and Curtlo.
However, I have never specifically had a custom made fork for a bike from a different maker, so I can't say if it was a good experience or not, but I can't imagine it would be a bad experience as long as you give the builder the full geometry of your current frame to match.