Convert 16" BikeE front wheel to 20?"
Has anyone had any experience converting a bikeE to a 20" front fork and wheel? I've recently upgraded
to the ecospeed electric assist, which is easily capable of sustained 25mph speeds. The 16" front wheel seems inadequate at these higher speeds. The margin of error is reduced; the smallest stone seems to throw the wheel out from under me. I'd also like to have front suspension and disk brake, which is impossible with the 16" fork on my AT. Is there any reason why a 20" front wheel would be a bad idea?
Thanks for any guidance advise, whatever.
Well, I imagine the front of the bike will be angled up an extra 2", plus whatever the extra fork would add. So yeah, just swap out the fork for one that can handle a 20" wheel, add a 20" wheel, and you should be ok I guess.
There are 16” ballistic forks and there are also 16” springer forks and there are adapter kits available that can change almost any fork into a disc brake fork. so 20” is not imperative to get suspension.
Originally Posted by izgod
Never heard of anyone with a BikeE specifically making such a swap, but many have gone to 20” on other 16/20 bikes with generally favorable results.
20” would give less rolling resistance and make you more areo on that particular bike.
Since the head tube angle and trail are altered, you would have more wheel flop, slow speed handling would be adversely affected, climbing more difficult vs. high speed stability enhanced.
If you are going to disc, you could build a 16” and 20” disc wheel and use on the same 20” fork, and not have trouble swapping back and forth as conditions favor one vs. the other. I like the idea of having at least one hub brake on a bent with that much speed.
I hadn't thought about hub brake, but I think you have a good point there. With the Ecospeed system, there is about 15 lbs of added weight, and with the speed and weight, it's really a mess stopping in the rain with the rim brakes. I expect I'll be going through rims and brakes until I make a change.
Could you tell me the difference between "ballistic fork" and "springer fork?"
I'll be having this modification done by a bike shop, as I don't feel comfortable with head sets and forks, but so far have been unsuccessful finding someone who will do the work. Two shops close to home turned it down flat. But they've given me a hard time in the past, just because it's recumbent. There's a recumbent dealer in Philly that actually builds custom bikes, so I'm pretty sure he'll be able to help me, it's just a matter of getting me and the bike there since I don't own a car. I might break down and get a U-Haul van.
Thanks again for your insightful reply. This forum is such a great resource, and it's fun too.
I made a capitalization error, Ballistic fork-a brand of fork using 1990's mountain bike technology- Ballistic is the best known manufacturer that makes one for 16" size wheels.
Originally Posted by izgod
I couldn't locate a 16" Ballistic fork, Here is an example of a 20" Ballistic brand fork:
Usually someone has 16 inch Ballistic fork on ebay, unfortunately none at this instant.
Springer fork is an older (pre world war II till 1970's) technology steel fork-still used in cruisers, lowriders- that has two pairs of prongs, one of which pivots the front axle about an arcate path with a focal point on the other prong pair. A compression spring acts on the opposing end relative the axle. The Springer fork will be about 1-1.5 lbs lighter than a mountain bike fork, but will be undamped.
Here's a 20 inch springer fork:
Here's a page that includes 16" springer forks:
Changing the front wheel and fork will create some plusses and some minusses in the bike.
I think you may have difficulty getting a shop to make such a modification on liabiility grounds because of the minusses. You probably would need make such a mod yourself. I would also wonder how strong the head tube is on a bikeE and whether it could handle the stresses-the other bikes that people have done this were generally chromoly steel. There are some BikeE user groups out there in which you are more likely to have found someone who has tried this with a BikeE.