Willits WOW Fork: Update

I’ve spent more time on the Willits WOW fork and I have some more observations concerning this fork. In no particular order, here they are.

#1. The comment was made on the last posting I made about this fork that I was running my Weir Wolf tires at too high a pressure. I lowered the pressure from the 30psi I was running to the mid 20’s for many of my subsequent rides. The expected increase in rolling resistence was there, and perhaps a slight increase in the amount of vibration damping was realized, but essentially there was no dramatic change to my feelings about this fork based on air pressure changes.

#2. I “A – B” tested the fork with my Inbred/Superlight carbon set up. I was able to determine that yes, the carbon fork feels smoother but only because it totally damps out all the high frequency vibrations. As far as reacting to trail chatter, they both are on par with each other. In terms of having any effect on bigger hits, the WOW fork is better, albeit with the negative of unrestrained rebound. So, in my mind it is a wash, with maybe an edge to the carbon fork here, if only for the total lack of “buzz” at the handle bar on smoother trail. Then again, many trails are not like that, so again I feel both forks carry their weight well in trail duty.

#3. The massively hooded drop outs are a pain to deal with and might be a bad fit with certain skewers. My XT skewers had to be placed on the drive side to get the lever pointed backwards when closed. The non-driveside was not an option for me, since the only two available posistions that worked to secure the wheel left the skewer lever pointing straight down or straight forwards. This might be an issue with some fork mount roof racks, so be aware. On a good note, the drop outs beefy constuction and mass lent a stiffer feel to the front end that could be felt in better handling.

#4. Looks: While beauty is in the eye of the beholder, this fork is a rather polarizing design. My fork is green and it certainly looks a bit goofy on my black Raleigh, (which I don’t mind, but I know some folks that are turned off by it!), but you can get this in basic black, or custom colors at an upcharge, so please keep that in mind when looking at my bike! Still, the curved blades are not everyones cup of tea.

The bottom line here is that this fork is a really great performing steel fork that will lighten up a 29″er, hold a line in corners really well, and has some nice ride features that make it feel smoother than some other steel fork offerings out there. Is it “vertically compliant”? Well, yes, but remember that any deflection caused by trail obstacles is returned back as unbridled rebound. The looks are peculiar, but this fork should be on your radar if you are contemplating a rigid set up.

Updated: 6/21/07: Steven from Willits says that stock colors and custom offsets for the WOW fork are a no charge option! That makes this an even more attractive upgrade for your rigid 29″r

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No Responses to “Willits WOW Fork: Update”

  1. WillitsBikes Says:

    Hey GTed,
    A few things to include, if it’s appropriate:

    -there is no upcharge for any standard RAL powdercoat color
    -there is no upcharge for custom rake!

    -steven

  2. Guitar Ted Says:

    Steven: Not a problem. Thanks for that info. I will post it in the text for all to see. 🙂

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