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Fork options for 26"

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Fork options for 26"

Old 08-03-20, 03:26 PM
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Stroudy 
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Fork options for 26"

Hey all,

My new 2nd hand Trek T900 came with suspension forks (yep) and I'm looking to replace with rigid ones.

Could carbon forks work - or MTB carbon forks (assuming they're stronger)? That is if I can find such a thing. I don't really want to replace the front wheel ( I suspect a tandem front wheel 26" would be costly) so V-brake fixings are preferable.

Is steel common place for tandem forks? Is that the general way to go unless I'm getting the latest co-motion or Santana Uber tandem?

Appreciate your thoughts
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Old 08-03-20, 05:25 PM
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If possible you want to find tandem-rated forks. Anything less than this, and you run the risk of it failing when you least expect it.
I would be leery of MTB carbon forks as they would be A) pricey, and B) questionable for a tandem unless the manufacturer has tandem-rated them.

If you can find an actual T900 fork would be best, since it would have the correct steerer length/axle-to-crown height/rake/offset and would match your bike.
If you can't get your hands on one, then try to at least get the specs off of it so you could try to get something to match. Maybe one of the nice folks on the forum could measure theirs for you.

Then start looking for folks who might be selling 26"" tandem forks, perhaps one of the older Cannondale, Raleigh or Burley, etc.
You could also look at local ads for folks selling tandems who have converted theirs to front suspension. They may still have the original fork sitting in their garage.
Or you could always post a "want to buy" ad yourself and see who replies.

If after exhausting the above, then you might look into "dirt jumper" (DJ) forks. Surly used to make one called the "Instigator" which was tandem-rated. Very hard to find now. You can read about it here: https://www.zioncyclery.com/product/...k-157930-1.htm
You might find other Surly forks which look equally beefy to do the task. Otherwise there appear to be a few other brands of DJ forks which appear to be quite strong. Some examples are: Gusset DJ26, Identiti Rebate, etc.

Good luck!
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Old 08-03-20, 05:29 PM
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Unfortunately, 26" cantilever forks are getting harder to find. Harder still are tandem-rated forks. However, you should be able to find something. Assuming you have 1 1/8" threadless, you need to search for the specific dimensions you need:
26"
1 1/8" threadless, XXXmm steer tube (or longer uncut)
Cantilever bosses
XXXmm axle-crown (suspension-corrected rigid forks are longer than old school rigid mtb forks)
XX offset (you may not have many options here)

Material? You'll be choosing between steel and carbon fiber. Cannondale used to spec their mountain tandems with their Pepperoni aluminum forks. Not sure if the latest vintages were spec'd with this. So given this, you'll have options: one possibly reasonably-priced and the other stratospheric.

Wound UP Composites doesn't show a 26" fork:
https://www.woundupcomposites.com/pr...x-canti-1-1-8/
$515.00

Alternatively, you may simply want to call various tandem manufacturers to see what they offer.

Tandems East has steel forks for $275:

wwTandems East Forks & Handlebars
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Old 08-03-20, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by unikid View Post
If possible you want to find tandem-rated forks. Anything less than this, and you run the risk of it failing when you least expect it.

If you can't get your hands on one, then try to at least get the specs off of it so you could try to get something to match. Maybe one of the nice folks on the forum could measure theirs for you.

Then start looking for folks who might be selling 26"" tandem forks, perhaps one of the older Cannondale, Raleigh or Burley, etc.
You could also look at local ads for folks selling tandems who have converted theirs to front suspension. They may still have the original fork sitting in their garage.
Or you could always post a "want to buy" ad yourself and see who replies.

If after exhausting the above, then you might look into "dirt jumper" (DJ) forks. Surly used to make one called the "Instigator" which was tandem-rated. Very hard to find now. You can read about it here: https://www.zioncyclery.com/product/...k-157930-1.htm
You might find other Surly forks which look equally beefy to do the task.

!
Ah, I was checking out some SURLY Long Haul Trucker Forks

https://www.spacycles.co.uk/m21b0s29...l-Trucker-Fork

Originally Posted by LV2TNDM View Post
Unfortunately, 26" cantilever forks are getting harder to find. Harder still are tandem-rated forks. However, you should be able to find something. Assuming you have 1 1/8" threadless, you need to search for the specific dimensions you need:
26"
1 1/8" threadless, XXXmm steer tube (or longer uncut)
Cantilever bosses
XXXmm axle-crown (suspension-corrected rigid forks are longer than old school rigid mtb forks)
XX offset (you may not have many options here)

Material? You'll be choosing between steel and carbon fiber. Cannondale used to spec their mountain tandems with their Pepperoni aluminum forks. Not sure if the latest vintages were spec'd with this. So given this, you'll have options: one possibly reasonably-priced and the other stratospheric.

Wound UP Composites doesn't show a 26" fork:
https://www.woundupcomposites.com/pr...x-canti-1-1-8/
$515.00

Alternatively, you may simply want to call various tandem manufacturers to see what they offer.

Tandems East has steel forks for $275:

wwTandems East Forks & Handlebars
suspension-corrected??

Orbit Tandems sell tandem specific steel Forks

https://www.tandems.co.uk/m4b0s7p233...d-fork-26-inch

I think 26" with Cantilever bosses in carbon and tandem rates is probably a non-existent combination.
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Old 08-03-20, 07:27 PM
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There’s no harm in asking a couple framebuilders what they would charge. Not likely a trivial amount, but I would at least want to know.

I would absolutely post a wtb in the marketplace. You never know.

Good luck!
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Old 08-03-20, 08:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Stroudy View Post
suspension-corrected??
Yes - a suspension-corrected fork is what you need when you have a bike that was originally designed with a suspension fork, but you wish to replace it with a rigid fork. And don't want the head tube/steering angle to change. Suspension-corrected forks are taller than regular rigid forks, to match the longer axle-to-crown distance of a suspension fork. Since suspension forks normally have 80-100mm of travel they have to be taller by design. Most of the DJ forks have "correction" built into them, so when swapping back and forth between suspension and rigid, the steering/angles remain consistent.

However since the T900 was designed with a standard rigid fork, you ideally do NOT want to purchase a suspension-corrected fork. Or worst case, one with very minimal correction. The suspension fork currently on your bike is likely affecting the handling due to the longer/slacker head tube angle. When you go back to the proper length fork, you will find you have more nimble, less "floppy" steering due to having the proper head tube angle restored.

Originally Posted by Stroudy View Post
Orbit Tandems sell tandem specific steel Forks
https://www.tandems.co.uk/m4b0s7p233...d-fork-26-inch
Well I think you have already found your solution. And for that price you can't go wrong. I could not recommend anything better than this aside from an original T900 fork in the same paint scheme. And it likely would cost much more.
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Old 08-04-20, 05:56 AM
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I wonder if they could look for a disc ready fork and add a little more stopping power as the change out the fork?
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Old 08-04-20, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by unikid View Post
Yes - a suspension-corrected fork is what you need when you have a bike that was originally designed with a suspension fork, but you wish to replace it with a rigid fork. And don't want the head tube/steering angle to change. Suspension-corrected forks are taller than regular rigid forks, to match the longer axle-to-crown distance of a suspension fork. Since suspension forks normally have 80-100mm of travel they have to be taller by design. Most of the DJ forks have "correction" built into them, so when swapping back and forth between suspension and rigid, the steering/angles remain consistent.

However since the T900 was designed with a standard rigid fork, you ideally do NOT want to purchase a suspension-corrected fork. Or worst case, one with very minimal correction. The suspension fork currently on your bike is likely affecting the handling due to the longer/slacker head tube angle. When you go back to the proper length fork, you will find you have more nimble, less "floppy" steering due to having the proper head tube angle restored.
It's funny, I really love the way it currently handles. Very stable and I can handle the corners much better than on my Dawes Super Galaxy tandem.

The orbit forks have a axel to crown of 402mm which I think is a little longer than the original trek, but less than the current suspension. This should put the BBs very close to level though. I think this is the safest way to go.
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Old 08-04-20, 07:09 AM
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I would like this but it would involve a wheel replacement. I'm not adverse to the idea, but I'm not sure the gains would be worth it
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Old 08-04-20, 08:54 AM
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Agreed - converting to disc in front will cost you a lot more than simply buying that Orbit fork and swapping it right in.

I guess you could check with Orbit to see if they sell the same fork but in Disc option to see what the cost difference is. Or perhaps they have one with both Disc and Brake posts on it? That way you could upgrade to disc in future if needed.
Or bring a higher resale value should you choose to sell the bike in future...

Others on this forum might express concern about adding disc brakes to a bike that was never built with a disc fork in mind. Since adding a 180 or 203 rotor at the end of a long lever can put a lot of force on the frame.
Especially if the frame designer wasn't expecting this. I bet if you ask Trek, their answer would be no.

However I can see from pictures the T900 has an extremely long head tube to accommodate a range of rider heights and appears to be nicely welded to the frame tubes. Hence it appears the risk of adding a disc in front might be a bit lower than other tandems I've seen people do this to. Maybe others who have done this mod already can chime in.
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Old 08-07-20, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by unikid View Post
Agreed - converting to disc in front will cost you a lot more than simply buying that Orbit fork and swapping it right in.

I guess you could check with Orbit to see if they sell the same fork but in Disc option to see what the cost difference is. Or perhaps they have one with both Disc and Brake posts on it? That way you could upgrade to disc in future if needed.
Or bring a higher resale value should you choose to sell the bike in future...

Others on this forum might express concern about adding disc brakes to a bike that was never built with a disc fork in mind. Since adding a 180 or 203 rotor at the end of a long lever can put a lot of force on the frame.
Especially if the frame designer wasn't expecting this. I bet if you ask Trek, their answer would be no.

However I can see from pictures the T900 has an extremely long head tube to accommodate a range of rider heights and appears to be nicely welded to the frame tubes. Hence it appears the risk of adding a disc in front might be a bit lower than other tandems I've seen people do this to. Maybe others who have done this mod already can chime in.
I'd guess the braking forces on the frame aren't that much different. Panic stop with properly set up self-energizing cantilevers or v-brakes creates a TON of frontal load on the fork crown/steerer and head tubes. Plus, compare those potential braking forces to the impact forces the front end experiences when smashing through a pothole. The weight of two people hitting a pothole without the ability or skill to bunny hop it creates major force on the fork, headset and steer tube (among other things). I can't imagine the difference between rim and disc brakes would make a hoot of difference, considering all of the design parameters a tandem frame must already meet.

That said, the one concern I have riding my '97 Cannondale with Fox 34 and 5" of travel is the increased lever arm of the fork and the forces generated when THAT hits ruts, roots and rocks. Then again, the massive welds created around the three tubes as they meet at the head tube tells me the head tube will probably ovalize before it fails catastrophically. And at least off road, front braking forces are limited by traction and don't peak nearly as high as panic braking on asphalt.

So I wouldn't worry at all about using a front disc brake on a tandem with a tandem disc brake fork. It's the fork undergoing the higher loads that is of most concern, and it has been designed with disc brake use in mind.
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