A recent holiday to the seaside reminded me that I’ve got a fishy tale to tell so I guess I’d better just whip my tackle out and dangle a worm off my rod. [Or something. Seriously, who writes this nonsense?] Having seen them mentioned on a singletrackworld.com forum thread I knew immediately I had to find out more about Ted James’ titanium 4ork or ‘squid’ fork.
Ted James is a UK frame builder that crafts the finest, well, anything you fancy having made really. His portfolio covers everything from mountain and road to cross and BMX, all immaculately finished in his own award winning style. Unusually for a UK small builder he also works in titanium as well as steel which is why he’s featured in today’s story. I also used to to go running with his Mother in Law, weird fact fans!
Let’s face it, titanium is pretty rubbish for making forks out of, it’s more flexible than steel and needs to be supersized to make sure the front wheel goes in the direction you point it. This normally means you end up with a pretty heavy fork if you stick with a standard twin bladed design.
The alternative approach is to girder it up as a truss fork that doubles up on the legs to give more support. Truss forks end up even heavier though, and you have an entertaining time setting up the headset 😉
Ted, on the other hand, might have hit on the perfect marriage between the two:
Been at least a couple years I’ve been wanting to make a fork like this, even had tubes bent and a steerer in steel waiting for my own but no time. So stoked to get an order for a Ti one as my first. Tapered steerer and , bolt through dropouts manually machined in house, with mounts for @salsacycles anything cages. #titanium #4ork #tjd #tjdbikes
What an awesome design – it reduces the complexity and weight of the standard truss fork with a much more supportive four legged design. A big benefit is that it keeps the wide tyre compatibility of the truss fork. It makes you wonder why no-one’s thought of it before!
This particular fork was made for the wheels2wander exploring duo who enjoy riding their bikes in both near and far flung places.
This is our first week back after 3 weeks bikepacking in The Highlands. It was the first real test of these forks and they’ve been absolutely fantastic. Run in conjunction with a 3″ tyre they’ve been compliant when needed but still stiff despite the weight they’ve been carrying. A HUGE thanks to Ted #tedjamesdesigns. If you’ve seen them previously and have thought about maybe investing in a pair, I would absolutely recommend them.
Inspiration for your next fork perhaps? Without knowing more about the engineering behind it that could be a brave move indeed! Personally I’m still going to lean towards carbon forks for my fully rigid machines but it’s good to know that other options are out there (some way out there!).
Check out more of Ted’s work over here: http://www.tedjamesdesign.com/ where you’ll also find his contact details if you’d like to discuss a project.
If you want to know more about escaping the rat race and just ‘getting out there’ head over to wheels2wanders blog for more tales of adventure: https://wheels2wander.wordpress.com/