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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Round fork blades and a front brake

    Hello,

    So I just scored a Masi track bike that came with a drilled, but not factory drilled, fork with round blades. The seller said that he's not sure if you can actually run a brake on it or not because the fork blades are circular and might not be strong enough to handle braking forces if you were to actually lock up the wheel.

    Now if I were to actually be locking up the front wheel I'd have other issues to worry about. But is it true that round blades and brakes don't mix? I've tried searching but it's hard to find anything because all the terms are rather generic.

  2. #2
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    Alright from http://www.sheldonbrown.com/fixeda.html#track I found:

    Track bike fork blades are usually round instead of oval, as those of a road bike are. This makes them stiffer and more rigid laterally, a good thing for hard out-of-the-saddle sprinting, which can apply considerable side loads. Unfortunately, they are less rigid front-to-back, so if you fit a brake, the fork may flex objectionably when the brake is applied.

    What does flex objectionably mean? Am I likely to destroy the fork/crash or does it just mean it will feel kinda spongy and bad?

    Thanks again

  3. #3
    Older I get, Better I was velonomad's Avatar
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    The bike was designed to be used on a track which has smooth surfaces and no bumps, humps or holes. In that environment a drilled fork can work just fine. Putting a front brake on a home drilled, round blade track fork that is probaly 25 years old, and riding it on the road is insanity. If you want to ride it on the road get another fork.

  4. #4
    ex frame builder
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    Back in the 1940s and 1950s in England time trials were usually ridden on fixed gear track bikes with a front brake only. Some of these forks had very slim round blades and I don’t recall there being any real problem. Many road bikes from that era Hetchins for example also had round blades. I wouldn’t worry about it.

    The picture is of a 1939 Hetchins, 67 years old and it hasn't broke yet.
    Many more Pictures here: http://www.hetchins.org
    Last edited by Dave Moulton; 07-26-06 at 07:33 PM.
    History, photos and tech articles on my website. Also check "Dave's Bike Blog."

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    I agree with Mr. Moulton. In my 30 years experience, I and many others I've ridden with have used forks with drilled flat crowns, round blades, and brakes, in all manner of conditions, with nary a problem - and, as mentioned, some of the bikes were decades old.

  6. #6
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    Round blades

    The Heron Rally and Road frames use a round blade fork with a caliper brake. Waterford still manufactures this fork for me.

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