Disk Fork Question

First post here, I’m excited to see how this forum evolves.

I’m about to take on my first disk brake fork build and have a question. I have been waiting for Nova to restock their disk specific fork blade but that is taking a while. My question is, can I use a normal fork blade if I plan to use the “Willits” style brake mount? I have heard this in passing but wanted to check in with the more experienced builders here. Thanks

Welcome @Chris.D!
I’m a spoon guy, not a fork guy, so I don’t have much to add. However ill help get the conversation started.

For reference, Willits brake mount:



  • Do you have a link to the Nova fork blade in question?
  • What type of fork are you looking to make?
  • What kind of bike is it going on?

I’m 99% sure Nova is going out of business, so I wouldn’t count on that blade being back in stock.

First disc fork = be conservative. Broken forks are no bueno. If it’s a TA fork you’re probably ok, though.

Keep in mind that you can also just extend other disc tabs with 3/16" scrap bits if you want to put on something that isn’t ISO.


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Thanks for posting the photo. I’m building a straight blade gravel/cross fork with a 28.6 steerer and QR’s. The crown is the 7 degree sloping CX that many sell. The frame is a Soma DC disk but the fork will be used for a gravel frame that I’m building in a few months.

I can’t find the link on Nova’s site now but the blades were 1.1mm walled with a 17mm tip. After a little searching last night I found these on BFS which should fit the build well. I like that the disk blade is thicker than the non disk blade.

Anyone have experience with these?

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@anon91558591 I’m hoping your are not correct about Nova but thinking that same thing. They are local to me and I know some of their family.

Thanks for the advice, it mirrors my thinking.

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Torch and File has Reynolds disc fork blades but likely a lot more $. They are very nice blades though.

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FWIW, I saw someone on Instagram building a disk fork using this Nova crown (https://cycle-frames.com/collections/forks-fork-crowns/products/201181-2230-everest-cylo-x-fork-crown-old-school70mm-width-28-6mm-steerer-tube), and following the note from that page that “a Nova custom Tandem Chain stay will fit and can be used as a fork blade by proper cutting and fitting of the chain stay oval to the crown sockets.”

Addendum: It was Relstone Cycles on Instagram: Relstone Cycles on Instagram: "Gravel Pit The start of a single speed klunker dirt dropper. One inch ain't dead!"


Thanks for the info. Here is a screenshot for if/when IG decides to disappear:

That is a very creative use of tubing! The Butting on those chainstays is 1mm to 2mm (!)



I had a low trail touring fork built with the same Nova crown a those ‘tandem chainstays’ back in the day. I remember it being pretty heavy in the end but it was for fully loaded riding so not the biggest concern. The heavy duty option is defo the way to go if using that crown and disc brakes.

Some of you might remember the first run of Elephant NFEs. You can see in the photos below that they used the same Nova crown (modified a bit for aesthetic reasons) and a Willits style tab for a QR disc fork. It was a very nice looking fork but they must have chosen the lighter blades as they were a bunch of recalls and the design was eventually scrapped in favour of a straight blade unicrown design (still QR).



Also — and this is more anecdotal — but I remember seeing/reading somewhere that instead of spreading the braking force over a longer portion of the fork a Willits style tab can sometimes create a stress riser further up the blade where the tab ends. On tapered blades this is often where the tubing is thinner so it’s actually makes them more likely to crack. Would be good if some has any experience with that and/or the ability to test it.

That’s a wheel ejection design if I’ve ever seen one. Bet that’s why they recalled them.

If it recall it was specifically to do with them cracking but I can’t find any evidence of that. But yeah I can’t figure out the benefit of that forward facing dropout either. I remember the early days of fat-tyre low-trail disc-brake rando bikes/forks was a bit wild west with lot’s of recalls (first gen Soma Wolverine anyone???). I’m glad thru axles are a thing now.

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I found this photo of a NFE fork crack, via a Reddit thread - Reddit - Dive into anything

“Yeah, they stopped offering the lugged biplane fork after a few started failing near the top of the disc tab and the mid-mount rack eyelet. So sad :(.”

This is an example of what @bushtrucker said previously – that the Willits style tab can create a stress riser “further up the blade where the tab ends”.



A somewhat-related question – would a truss-style fork work better for disk brakes? I have an older bike that I’d love to convert to disk brakes, but I wouldn’t trust the fork as-is to be strong enough. Wondering if it’d work out if I added reinforcing trusses to the fork, like this:


That unpainted fork is mine, not an Elephant. It has Columbus SL fork blades and a disc tab that I designed and cut.

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They had front facing dropouts (both NFE forks and my fork).

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My lesson from the NFE fork failures was that the tab should go to the outside of the fork blade, not the center.


Got it. It looked like they faced down in the picture, my bad.


To be fair you get a stress riser where the tab ends no matter what kind of tab you use. The idea of the Willits one is that you spread that load out a bit more, but if the fork blade can’t handle it, it is what it is.



Hey Alex. Yep is says that right there in the blog post I linked haha. Apologies for the misrepresentation. It’s really a great lookin fork.