Well, I dun goofed up. It clearly won't be the last time, but this one stings a bit because I deprived a very clever man named Miloš Musil, @mmbike68
on Pinkbike, out of some well-deserved attention. I'm talking about the wild looking single-sided suspension fork that popped up on Spaziale Compositi's Instagram feed awhile back, a fork (strut?) that very much looked like it came from the admittedly strange Italian company. But it didn't. In fact, not only did I get the company wrong, I even flubbed the country that it came from - the Czech Republic.
Thankfully, the real story of this single-sided carbon strut-type thing is far more interesting than what I originally put together, so let's get this straightened out.
Fifty-year-old Miloš Musil originally built his odd creation six years ago, and back then it had 120mm of travel and was bolted to the front of Musil's 26'' wheeled RB Speedster (pictured at right). Until he broke the frame, that is. His new ride, a 145mm-travel Propain Twoface, has 27.5'' wheels and much more travel than the Speedster, so he had to bump up the fork's stroke to a full 160mm to balance things out. That's where it sits right now, but how the MM fork came to be is a whole other story, one that involves Musil using components from four different suspension brands - and a bunch of homemade carbon fiber - to build what you see here.
Musi started with an aluminum crown and tapered steerer unit from a Suntour fork and then bonded in the carbon-wrapped legs from RockShox. The two legs, which look like a single piece once they've been wrapped in carbon, are also joined at the bottom by an aluminum piece that ties them together and serves as home for the Enduro fork seals. The stanchions, also from a Suntour fork, are only 32mm in diameter, but they're both clamped by a massive, CNC'd aluminum lug at the bottom, and the titanium axle is from a Lefty. Talk about mixing and matching.
The fork's chassis is a mix of Suntour and Rockshox components, along with a few homemade parts and some carbon fiber.
Things are just as odd internally, too. Musil has kept the Suntour damper in the leading leg, but the trailing leg houses a Dual Air system from RockShox that allows for independently adjustable positive and negative air spring pressure. If you look closely, you can see the negative air valve on the CNC aluminum lug, and the positive air valve is at the fork crown.
As far as weight goes, Musil leaned more towards reliability than trying to shave grams - probably a smart approach when building your own fork - and he says it weighs about as much as a RockShox Recon, which is still under 5lbs.
The two separate legs are joined by an aluminum span that's home to a set of Enduro fork seals, and the whole thing is wrapped in carbon fiber to increase strength and rigidity.
Musil's completed fork looks wild, but it appears to be finished so well that it could have come off of a (strange) production line.
How does it perform? I'll let Miloš fill us in via Google Translate: ''The behavior is the same as a conventional telescopic fork. Thanks to the UD [upside-down design], it's better at lubricating bushings and seals, and inner legs are not contaminated from the shell. The fork has great torsional rigidity that's comparable, maybe even better, to Lefty, and it does not flex when pedaling or braking; curves can be ridden much faster than a conventional fork. Another advantage is that it is jednokorunková [single sided], so you can seamlessly mount tires on the wheel.
I can't tell you if Musil's wild creation is any better than an off-the-shelf fork, but one thing that I am sure of is that, better or not, it's pretty freakin' cool. Much like Jean-Francois Boivin and his Insolent downhill bike
, Musil has used a mix of existing components, carbon fiber, and ingenuity to build something that he couldn't purchase.