I’m a traditionalist when it comes to forks. We’re going to look at a few attempts to improve upon the traditional “telescopic” fork design, but none of them hold any interest to me as a thing I’d actually want to ride. Fun to look it, but I’ll stick with a Judy or a Bomber thank you.
This is what was so great about mountain bikes in the late 80’s though – everyone came to the party. They brought some good ideas, and some very bad ideas, but ultimately none of them were able to overcome the telescopic fork that 99% of us ride today.
Let’s have a look at these weird forks.
It had been quite a while since I had bought any parts, or a bike, so when these popped up, I jumped on them – some beauty Canadian stuff right here.
Syncros and RaceFace
It’s a Syncros Cattle Head hinged stem, and a Race Face SYStem DH model. I think the Syncros will be nice on my Dekerf, but I don’t have a bike for the RF right now.
But don’t ever let a minor detail like that stop you from buying more stuff.
Haro was founded by Bob Haro in 1978, and is most well known for its BMX bikes. Haro was known as the “Father of Freestyle” and his company got in on the BMX boom’s ground floor in the 80’s.
In the late 80’s Haro started producing mountain bikes. And not just any plain old bike. They didn’t just throw some Shimano parts on a steel diamond frame. They were out there. They made a big splash and that helped make them a very popular bike in the vintage world.
They still sell BMX and mountain bikes, but we don’t care about that – let’s look at the old ones.
Canadian company Cannondale always did things differently. In the early days of mountain bikes, their bikes were definitely outliers, featuring weird wheel size combos and huge aluminum tubes. And later, with the advent of suspension, they continued to be weird, making head tube mounted shocks and one sided forks.
Of course, they’re not really Canadian. They were one of the first American East coast mountain bike builders, headquartered in Connecticut. After going bankrupt in 2003, they eventually fell to the Quebec-based Dorel Industries, who also own Schwinn, Mongoose, and GT.
They are definitely important in the vintage scene, their unusual approach to bikes making them popular and cool.