Customer Report: Kyle’s Eddy Merckx MX Leader MAX fork replacement

This past summer good friend, messenger bro, and all around great human being Kyle Corpse Finger came to me with a simple request: Bringeth my Merckx back to life.

After a wreck at a alleycat last spring, the fork was toast. I initially tried realigning, but this wouldn’t do for a bike of this caliber. Anyone who is familiar with my frame building knows I like to repair and modify shit almost as much as I like building new frames, so I got stoked, and decided to sink my teeth into this and build a replica fork, with some subtle changes to add some personal/updated/functional touches. I maintained the Columbus MAX crown and blades, but built it straight blade. With the paint, we added COARSE logos inside the blades, and i also adjusted the axle to crown creating a slightly more relaxed steering response and adding (hopefully) a bit of shock absorption.

Kyle recently sent over this write up of his thoughts on the project, so without furthur ado…



MX Leader Track x Coarse Fabrication:

This bike (with the original fork) made it’s racing debut in March of 2014 at the Rookie Race, a warmup to Monster Track meant to showcase the infamous alleycat’s top contenders.

After a really excellent first half, my race ended early with a crash that bent my fork beyond repair. We managed to get me rolling back home by torquing the blades via a park bench, but I was pretty confident that the legacy I had dreamt up for my Merckx had ended just as soon as it began.

After hanging the bike back up on my wall, I gave myself some time to think about what was next. I wanted it to share some glory days with me, but I didn’t want to take any cheap shortcuts.

I pitched the idea of building a MAX fork to Billy Maynard, owner and sole proprietor of Coarse Fabrications. We both got pretty excited talking about it and began imagining exactly what this new fork might look like.

Billy quickly sold me on the idea that we could do better than a replica. With modern components this bike could actually be a real contender, so we decided on something more suitable to my style of riding instead of just keeping it velodrome specific.

Billy utilized all Columbus steel, including the 1″ MAX crown, which is a bit taller than the original’s “23c or less” style. Meanwhile the blades are cut very close to the taper. This combination creates a compromise that keeps it super aggressive (the difference in head/seat tube angle is +/- 2*), while lifting the front end up slightly, making the handling a little less twitchy. It’s still just as snappy, but more forgiving in an environment where I can’t always keep my steerer straight and lean. But when it’s time to lean, the frame and its new transplant perform beautifully together. There is nothing like riding this kind of quality steel.

Billy’s craftsmanship more than lives up to the legacy of this frame, and getting it built was a personal and fun process. I couldn’t be happier!

Now let’s ride!