So this bike remains a work in progress. The new fork has much less offset- 26mm, compared to 50mm of the old fork. This provides enough trail to give some wheel flop which makes cornering a lot better compared to the old fork. The old fork provided about zero trail. Straight ahead cruising is better too, with less steering input required. I am very happy with how this bike handles now, and feel it handles at least as good as the Bullit I test rode.
Another fork change was forward facing dropouts. I had to make these from scratch out of 1/4" mild steel plate, using files and a sawzall. I brazed on some hefty "lawyers lips" as well. I was surprised to find that there were no forward facing dropouts available to purchase from bike frame parts suppliers. This type of dropout counteracts the force applied to the hub during disk brake use. The wheel could be forced out of a fork during heavy braking using conventional dropouts, especially if there are no lawyers lips. Lawyers lips rely on the skewer to keep the wheel from pulling out, while forward facing dropouts hold the axle in place, which is a more substantial part of the hub.
The steering pulleys have been placed below the lower headset races. Todd from Clever Cycles suggested this, although it was in the back of my mind as well as a possible improvement. This gives a more direct transfer of steering input compared to over the top of the headset races. It also reduces the cable and housing length needed; 7 inches less on each side. This results in less steering friction, and all I can say is that I am very happy with the cable steering now. The new fork steering tube is straight gauge cromoly (2.5mm wall) instead of the butted bicycle tubing steerer. The butt and taper on the Tru-Temper fork steerer did not extend far enough for my liking, to include the one inch extra length needed for the pulley. I already had nearly an inch of extra room designed in the fork length (to allow for truly huge tire diameters), so the pulley under the headset did little to change the head angle or bb height.
Notice the lower pulley mounting. The fork crown race rests on top of the pulley, and is secured in place by a brass shim. The pulley under the handlebars shortens the cable housing length, and that keeps the steering cables well away from my legs (which would sometimes brush up against them during uphills, before).
I took my dog to Champoeg park on a camping trip. 31 miles each way from where I live in the Sellwood area of Portland. Took about 3 hours each way, which is just about my usual camping pace. I thought that the 43lb bike and 60lb dog with 28lbs of camping equipment would slow me down a lot, but that was not the case. Maybe riding the cargo bike all around lately has made me stronger.
Below, note the forward facing dropouts I made.
The basket works well with strapping stuff on each side. Here are four two by fours; 8 feet long, that I got from a local lumber yard. 70lbs of rather wet wood. There is lots of room for the wheel to turn, and plenty of room for my legs to pedal the load away. If I surfed I suppose I could haul a couple of boards with this rig.
5000 mile/1 year update HERE