Is it worth having a flexible steel fork on a recumbent?

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StephenW
Posts: 99
Joined: 22 Sep 2010, 11:33am

Is it worth having a flexible steel fork on a recumbent?

Postby StephenW » 3 Sep 2018, 10:20pm

I have decided to try superman handlebars rather than tiller on my Metabike. The stem for the superman bars requires a much longer section of steerer to clamp onto, so it looks like I am going to need to get new forks.

Is it worth having flexible steel forks on a recumbent? I feel that the bumps are felt much more through the rear than the front wheel. But I guess that every little helps. Fitting a fork like this would mean switching away from disc brakes. Since there is more weight on the front wheel of the Metabike (and almost all SWB recumbents?) than there is on a typical upright, perhaps a stiffer fork will be more flexible when used in this application.

I'm also wondering about trail. My suspicion is that the bike would handle better with a bit less trail. (Currently I have the carbon disc brake fork, 26" front wheel, 700c rear). Having said that, I don't think all bike handling issues can be sorted by simply changing the amount of trail. I think that the main feature which gives the Metabike its rather idiosyncratic handling is that the rear wheel is tucked quite far in under the rider. It is considered by some as a rule of thumb that the rider's ears should be in front of the rear axle to give good stable handling. This layout also gives a rather harsh ride. On the other hand, it also allows a pretty straight chainline, which helps when climbing (as the frame is not being flexed as much).

StephenW
Posts: 99
Joined: 22 Sep 2010, 11:33am

Re: Is it worth having a flexible steel fork on a recumbent?

Postby StephenW » 9 Sep 2018, 10:30pm

I'm thinking about this fork:

https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/forks/26-in ... rade47433/

Does anyone know anything about these forks in general? Is it springy like a brick, or springy like a spaniel?

Hopefully the backwards-mounted v-brakes will clear the chain. I need to check if the steerer is long enough.

The geometry will reduce the trail a bit. If I get around to it, I might produce some plots using the JBike6 calculator, to see how the handling should change in theory. It would be interesting to compare this to how it actually feels.