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Old 10-26-06, 08:59 PM   #1
kill.cactus
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How much vibration is normal for a fork?

My brakes suck, as some may recall from previous posts, but when I brake hard enough down this one 15 grade incline on my commute my fork really vibrates. This vibration causes the braking to seem weird (that is how I first noticed it). What will happen is that my brakes will operate normally and then every half second or so the front of the bike will like... I can't explain... Not jump but like have a small but sharp "knock" and the brakes will resume normal operation.

At first I thought maybe my front rims were messed up (like something was knocking against the pads or some irregularity or something), but now I can tell it is the fork.

This leads me to my question - how much vibration/flex is okay for an aluminum front fork? Mine will flex maybe 3/4 of a centimeter and vibrate under the most strenuous braking.

Thanks!


[edit] - the vibration's effects on the braking and weird knocks and stuff has been happening since I got the bike, and I don't think that the level of knocking actually could interfere with braking performance a lot so this isn't a life/death situation ^.^
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Old 10-26-06, 09:05 PM   #2
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I'd carefully check over the entire fork for cracks/defects. Do so before you hop on it again.

Is your headset adjustment loose?
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Old 10-26-06, 09:17 PM   #3
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No cracks no defects (LBS approved ^.^). I'm not sure about the headset adjustment. How can I check that?
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Old 10-26-06, 09:19 PM   #4
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Hold the brake and try and move the bike back and forth. Turn wheel 90 degrees from straight and try again.
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Old 10-26-06, 09:21 PM   #5
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Sounds like brake chatter to me. The cheapest fix is new brake pads, Kool-Stop salmons are supposed to work well at eliminating chatter, but it's not guaranteed.
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Old 10-26-06, 10:37 PM   #6
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I've been advised to replace my pads with Kool Stops before. I probably will get around to doing that in like 700 miles or so...
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Old 10-26-06, 10:50 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kill.cactus
I've been advised to replace my pads with Kool Stops before. I probably will get around to doing that in like 700 miles or so...
You may have a toe-in problem with your brakes. Look closely and see if the rear of your brake pads touch the rim before the front of the pads when you apply the brakes. The noise you're hearing may be the result of this if they are. And it might only be happening on one side, so look closely at both. Ideally, the pads will touch the rim very close to flush, but the front tip of the pad should hit the rim just a hair before the rear. And yes, all other things being equal, Kool Stop pads will make a difference-
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Old 10-27-06, 12:19 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kill.cactus
My brakes suck, as some may recall from previous posts, but when I brake hard enough down this one 15 grade incline on my commute my fork really vibrates. This vibration causes the braking to seem weird (that is how I first noticed it). What will happen is that my brakes will operate normally and then every half second or so the front of the bike will like... I can't explain... Not jump but like have a small but sharp "knock" and the brakes will resume normal operation.

At first I thought maybe my front rims were messed up (like something was knocking against the pads or some irregularity or something), but now I can tell it is the fork.

This leads me to my question - how much vibration/flex is okay for an aluminum front fork? Mine will flex maybe 3/4 of a centimeter and vibrate under the most strenuous braking.

Thanks!


[edit] - the vibration's effects on the braking and weird knocks and stuff has been happening since I got the bike, and I don't think that the level of knocking actually could interfere with braking performance a lot so this isn't a life/death situation ^.^
Yes, it may well be your fork. I have just finished reading about fork design, and the Trek in your picture, assuming it it the same bike, displays a fork ripe for this symptom -- beefiness, straight through to the drop-outs, and without looking at the angles, they're also probably contributing to the vibration as well.

The reference is Cuthbertson's repair manual I quote: "Certain combinations of fork type and frame geometry can make flutter more of a problem. In my experience, round, thin-gauge, wide-diameter, straight steel fork blades with a short offset and fairly steep head angle, are more susceptible to flutter than other types of forks". His book was written in 1996 when alloy forks weren't quite the rage they are now. His advice if all else fails (toe-in, cleaning rims, checking headset preload, etc), is... buy a new fork.

Frankly, I wouldn't even look at a bike with "straight-through" forks.
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