An Amusement & Diversion for The Genteel Cyclist. Daily.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The fork in the road

I'm certainly not an aesthete on the level of BikesnobNYC, but I have my little fetishes. If the straight chainline is the beaver shot of bike porn, then I have to confess I'm more of a fork guy. And being into the subtle femininity of the perfectly curved fork, there is very little of interest for me at fixedgeargallery, the cabbage patch where Bikesnob likes to take his weed-whacker.

See, track bike geometry and lines are pretty fucked up anyway, with all the silly bullhorn bars, deep V-rims, pads, and trashy spokecards. You'd think stripping a bike down to its bare essentials would innoculate you from making the most egregious mistakes in taste, but you'd be wrong, of course.

Anyway, my point was that standard track forks have carried forth a tradition of ugliness unequalled by anything in all of bikedom--except maybe seatbags, which hang grotesquely down like the testicles of a dirty old man in baggy gym shorts, completely destroying the clean lines of seat, post, and stay.

No matter how cool I'm told they are, flat fork-crowns only make me think of Moe Howard's fringe, and he was the cruelest Stooge.



And straight-blade forks are to bikes as skorts are to high fashion: an unfortunate but enduring mistake of judgment that corrects a problem that never existed (other than the problem of ugly forks).



It's possible that the straight-blade fork represents the industry just throwing in the towel, because so few have mastered the perfect marriage of rake and asymptote.

There is the late-breaking curve low in the legs that represents panic.



There is the prematurely-breaking curve followed by an embarrassed straight run to the dropouts.



There is the completely fubar geometry of the cane handle, that makes a bike look like a sort of medieval land-surveyor's device. Or one of those tools Egyptian morticians used to extract the brain through the nose of their mummies.



People, please pay attention to your forks. Would you pour a fine Shiraz into a dirty coffee mug? Would you eat Eppoise on a chicken-in-a-bisket? No, you wouldn't. Why attach a ridiculous and flawed fork to your otherwise lovely bike?

Let me now show you a few perfect forks. If you're a fork man like me, sit back and, you know, dim the lights. Leave the straight chainline folks to their coarse pleasures.




8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Finally, someone is addressing the real issues. thank you

Gunnar said...

What you have in the 1st photo is a semi-sloping lugged crown. For a real flat crown look here: http://www.richardsachs.com/articles/rsachscrown.html

I have a wierd fetish for ugly forks. Flat crown with a straight blade. Leading dropouts. Non tapered tubing. Bring it on.

Pinchie said...

True about that first photo -- it's actually a quite lovely sloper, not unlike the Crosscheck fork... the latter are sort of hit or miss, but you see quite a few of them with the perfect taper. On the other hand, I've never seen a Steamroller fork that I liked, they all have a fairly dramatic elbow in an otherwise straight-legged fork. This looks to me rather like buck teeth on a bike.

decay said...

Gee, any bias toward Cioccs?

Pinchie said...

Show me a nicer one, Trek boy!

It's probably the one thing I like best about my Ciocc.

You, for example, always go back to Jenna Jameson.

Me, I have my spank-bank faves.

midway cyclist said...

That Surly fork has the same high bend and straight run to the dropouts that you complain about above! I like the Surly forks, but the bend isn't all that elegant.

Take a look at a Rivendell, now that's fork porn. Low curve, swooping right through the dropouts.

Like this one

and another

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