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  1. #1
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    Stainless steel fork?

    Today at the bike swap I bought an unpainted fork. It's a lugged touring fork. The guy claimed it is stainless. It does look awfully shiny. The cantilever studs are welded on & there's no brazing overrun that I see anywhere unless the fork is silver brazed & the silver blends in with the steel.

    But, do stainless forks actually exist? Or will I need to paint it?

  2. #2
    Senior Member clasher's Avatar
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    Some stainless isn't magnetic, that is one way to rule it out as being stainless, without seeing any pics or being able to ID the fork somehow.

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    Senior Member Chombi's Avatar
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    Not that many stainless steel forks or frameset made. Most were made as whole stainless steel model bikes and some were called "marine grade" bikes that were sold by boating/sailing equipment suppliers to people who take bikes on their boats. My uncle who sails around the Pacific had me buy him one a few years ago.
    Unless there's a brand name decal on it saying so It's most likely just chromed steel.

    Chombi

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    The only thing stamped on it is 0500 on the steerer. A magnet sticks. It doesn't look chromed; it's a brushed finish.

    It looks pretty much exactly like a Cross-check fork with only the rear of the crown drilled (and tapped).

    Here are a couple quick pictures:
    IMG_20101031_212921..jpgIMG_20101031_212941..jpg

  5. #5
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    You can brush finish chrome.

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    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    That is definitely not stainless. It was most likely an old fork that had rust. So they wire-brushed it to clean off the crappy paint and corrosion. You can see a stripe where it's not brushed as well at the edges where the tubing goes into the lugs.

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    Hard to tell for sure from the pics but those lugs look stainless to me,especially the crown lug.I don't see any rust inside any of the holes.I think it might be stainless,I'm guessing yes.

    Brazing stainless is not the best idea.The same properties that make it stainless also prevent it from wetting well for brazing.No wetty,no sticky.It can be done but there are better ways.

    Those lugs look silver brazed to me.Nice welds on the brake lugs though.
    Last edited by Booger1; 11-01-10 at 10:37 AM.
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  8. #8
    Old fart JohnDThompson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlanKHG View Post
    The only thing stamped on it is 0500 on the steerer. A magnet sticks. It doesn't look chromed; it's a brushed finish.

    It looks pretty much exactly like a Cross-check fork with only the rear of the crown drilled (and tapped).

    Here are a couple quick pictures:
    IMG_20101031_212921..jpgIMG_20101031_212941..jpg
    Looks like stainless to me.

    Nice fork!

  9. #9
    Old fart JohnDThompson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Booger1 View Post
    Hard to tell for sure from the pics but those lugs look stainless to me,especially the crown lug.

    Brazing stainless is not the best idea.The same properties that make it stainless also prevent it from wetting well for brazing.No wetty,no sticky.It can be done but there are better ways.

    Those lugs look brazed to me.Nice welds on the brake lugs though.
    People have been brazing stainless steel for decades; you just need to use the proper rod and flux.

    But the brake bosses are welded on this fork, for whatever reason.

  10. #10
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    There's absolutely no way to tell from a photo, nor is brazing or whether it's magnetic (though non-magnetic would imply stainless)a reliable indicator of whether it is or isn't. In the flesh, someone with a very good eye might make a call based on color. It's a time will tell kind of deal.

    For the moment since you already own it, assume it is stainless, and if it darkens or begins to show any rust, then you can clean it up and paint it.
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  11. #11
    Bianchi Goddess Bianchigirll's Avatar
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    whatever t is it is a beautiful fork. great looking crown and those fancy forkends with the little caps

    Bianchis '87 Sport SX, '90 Proto, '90 Campione del Fausto Giamondi Specialisma Italiano Mundo, '91 Boarala 'cross, '93 Project 3, '86 Volpe, '97 Ti Megatube, , '90 something Vento 603,

    Others but still loved,; '80 RIGI, '80 Batavus Professional, '87 Cornelo, '09 Motobecane SS, '?? Jane Doe (still on the drawing board), '90ish Haro Escape

  12. #12
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    On quick way to tell if it is stainless:

    Stop by a *** shop and pick up a bottle of cold bluing. Make sure the fork surface is clean. If the bluing darkens the surface it is not stainless or is chromed or nickel plated. If it does then it is regular steel.

    BTW while some stainless steels are magnetic it is typically a lot less than for normal steel alloys. Try comparing how hard a magnet sticks on the fork compared to an item you know is regular steel.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member Chombi's Avatar
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    Per your original description, it led us to beleive that the fork was really "shiney" as chrome might be.
    What we see in the pics is a brushed finish that is very commonly done with stainless steel. The darkish sheen do seem very similar to what I've seen on brushed stainless (I've applied brush finishes on lots of stainless steel plate parts in my past jobs with contractors as a struggling college kid), plus the the fact that the fork seems to point towards a more rugged mission, possibly for long distance heavy touring, judging from the cantis and eyelets on it, might make it a good reason to consider stainless for maximum durability. I changed my opinion since I saw the pics. This could be an SS fork afterall. Not definite but more possibly from what we see. It looks like very good quality too with the clean fork crown brazing and the nice windowed points on the fork end caps.
    BTW, SS has a very distinctive smell (stink?) to it when you apply polish on it. That might help you identify the material on that fork. Khatfull might agree........

    Chombi

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