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Very strange full suspension road bike spotted at antique auto swap.

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Very strange full suspension road bike spotted at antique auto swap.

Old 10-18-12, 04:49 PM
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kingsting
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Very strange full suspension road bike spotted at antique auto swap.

Just thought I would share this one. I saw this at the Hershey Region AACA fall antique auto meet last week. It was sold when we arrived and the seller said it was a prototype. It had 24" wheels along with front and rear suspension. Never saw anything like it before and this show is known for one of a kind items of all types. The guy said he got $200 for it...







I would guess it was from the late 80's. Probably a strange riding thing too.
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Old 10-18-12, 05:06 PM
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I'm not even sure I understand how the front suspension would work.

Wouldn't all of the upward force be right underneath the axle?
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Old 10-18-12, 05:12 PM
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Old 10-18-12, 05:18 PM
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Based on the elastomers, I'd guess early 1990s.
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Old 10-18-12, 05:27 PM
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That's called an "Earls fork" suspension system on the front of that bike.
Lots of old BMWs from the 50's and earlier had that kind of front suspension system, they worked specially well with sidecar rigs. In fact, my oldest brother owns a Russian Ural sidecar rig with that kind of front suspension. Best thing about them is there minimal or no fork dive with such a fork when a person puts on the brakes, unlike telescopic fork suspensions on other bikes.
I saw a very similar bike in the 90's being ridden by a guy somewhere in the south bay near San Jose, but it was much racier set up.
I don't think this front suspension system was considered too seriously by the big bike companies as it most likely is heavier than telescopic forks. Never saw another Earls forked bicycle since then till this one popped up!
Thanks for posting its pic on the forum!

Chombi
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Old 10-18-12, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Chombi View Post
That's called an "Earls fork" suspension system on the front of that bike.
Lots of old BMWs from the 50's and earlier had that kind of front suspension system, they worked specially well with sidecar rigs. In fact, my oldest brother owns a Russian Ural sidecar rig with that kind of front suspension. Best thing about them is there minimal or no fork dive with such a fork when a person puts on the brakes, unlike telescopic fork suspensions on other bikes.
I saw a very similar bike in the 90's being ridden by a guy somewhere in the south bay near San Jose, but it was much racier set up.
I don't think this front suspension system was considered too seriously by the big bike companies as it most likely is heavier than telescopic forks. Never saw another Earls forked bicycle since then till this one popped up!
Thanks for posting its pic on the forum!

Chombi
The rear suspension might just work without much bobbing as one pedals, unlike many mtb. designs. The front I would have gone with a similar design as seen on some Motocross bikes in the late 60's.
I don't like where that front caliper ends up.
There was an article in the late 60's or very early 70's in Bicycling Magazine with a full suspension road bike, kind of interesting, as it was full 531, but heavy, too many extra tubes.
Way back Bicycling ran a number of articles on oddball bicycle designs, they even featured one on Gary Klein, one of the features that went somewhere.
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Old 10-18-12, 06:04 PM
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It's an interesting piece of history, but why? I'd pay $50.00 for one.
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Old 10-18-12, 07:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Chombi View Post
That's called an "Earls fork" suspension system on the front of that bike.
Lots of old BMWs from the 50's and earlier had that kind of front suspension system, they worked specially well with sidecar rigs....I don't think this front suspension system was considered too seriously by the big bike companies as it most likely is heavier than telescopic forks. Never saw another Earls forked bicycle since then till this one popped up!
Thanks for posting its pic on the forum!

Chombi
Exactly. Also known as "leading link" It was generally considered to be a superior suspension system for touring rigs and there were other Brit/Euro moto bikes that used it too.. It would be fun to test drive.
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Old 10-18-12, 07:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Chuckk View Post
Interesting that this came out of Baltimore...

Baltimore vintage bike guru Sam Fitzsimmons was set up a couple spaces away from where this was and he didn't see it until after it was sold. He was a little bummed that he missed it.

http://urbanvelo.org/sam-fitzsimmons-baltimore-legend/
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Old 10-18-12, 09:56 PM
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I'm not sure I'd want to own it, but I'd love to ride it.
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Old 10-19-12, 05:15 AM
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I would have whipped out $200 for that pretty quick. Not that I need another bicycle.
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Old 10-19-12, 05:19 AM
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It kind of looks like one of those "induced" ideas come to fruition, but maybe it rides pretty well.
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Old 10-19-12, 05:27 AM
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Rube Goldberg comes to mind.....

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Old 10-19-12, 06:33 AM
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I have an open mind when it comes to bikes, but not this one, especially at $200. Trash grab? Meh, ok.
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Old 10-19-12, 07:24 AM
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The Earls Fork causes the front to rise up under braking...would be kinda fun...maybe?
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Old 10-19-12, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by starground View Post
Or maybe not, as your weight is distributed to the front when braking hard, counteracting upward motion... ;-)
!

Oh it will rise alright, the more weight (compression of the suspension) the higher the rise. Not much travel on this fork though but maybe enough for the effect.
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