Twin plates of glory: The Carrier fork crown

I’m really proud of the Clandestine Carrier twin plate fork crown.

I’ve been building and experimenting with different fork crowns for a while now, and nothing was doing it for me. I’ve tried dozens of different fork crown lugs. Most lugs aren’t built around the kind of clearances I need for the kind of fat tyres and mudguards that I wanted. There is the ever wonderful Pacenti MTB. But it’s expensive and the fussy swirls aren’t really my bag, aesthetically. There are a few Long Shen crowns out there that all have some problems: not quite wide enough, not deep enough sockets to cope with disk forces, too generic looking. The other factor is that I don’t particularly enjoy working with lugs.

Unicrowns have a certain elegance in their simplicity, but I don’t like straight blades as much as raked blades, and raked unicrowns look horrendous.

Then there’s segmented forks. These have a really utilitarian vibe to me, but they are Hassle Factor 10 to build.

So, there’s the twin plate. I came to this last, which is nuts, but that’s hindsight right?

I first worked out a design in CAD, and my partner, who is a woodworker laser cut a few for me out of 6mm plywood. This allowed me to mock them up with a real steerer and blades, which is so much nicer than just trying to visualise something on a screen. I’m a visual, practical kind of person, I like to hold the things in my hands.

From there I built up my first few pairs, changed the proportions some, and built some more.

So this is the Clandestine twin plate fork crown. It’ll get iterated some more, no doubt. But it’s awesome already. It has mudguard and rack mounts brazed right in. It’s strong, wide and uses my favourite joining technique: the simple unfiled fillet braze.

The twin plate fork crown is closely associated in my mind with Jo Routens, he of classic mid-century French randonneurs. I have a strong appreciation of those bikes. They’re like ground work to me: I want to build on those foundations, without getting bogged down in the mud of historical enactment. Modern components are amazing!

The Carrier twin plate fork crown is some way from those Routens crowns, somewhere just past there and the early mountain bikes that still rock my world.

I’ve found the Clandestine fork crown. And there’s two of them.