I guess I should have asked here first. I just got a UO-8 because I wanted to see how it's unusual front end geometry feels. Repairing the headset I found the steer tube is bent, enough that a good headset will show some binding. I know it is possible to replace a steer tube, but this is a CHEEP project. What do you guys think about straightening it? The bend is about 2 degrees max, not near the fork crown, and there is no sign of fork blade or frame damage or stress. The direction of the bend is the opposite of what I'd expect from a frontal collision anyway. The steel is in the low carbon/high carbon family, not 531 or CrMo.
What y'all think? Might it be safe? Should it be done with a torch? Any experience with such a repair?
I really want to keep the dimensions of the OEM fork. It has around 7 cm of rake, a very tight old-fashioned French bend at the end, and it's loooong to accommodate 32+ mm 27 inch tires with a fender. I doubt a modern replacement exists.
I can't imagine that ending well. Steerers have been known to break. If the fork isn't bent, but the steerer is, that doesn't say good things about a repaired version. And finding a french steerer is not impossible, but probably not cheap.
Good work; I saw you there. Yes, they ovalized the end of the thread area, and I managed to squeeze it back round, at least round enough to insert the right stem and thread the headset parts on. I used a 14 inch channel-lock and a pair of wood buffers. It took about 15 squeezes, in several different directions. No added thread damage.
Plan is to assemble the fork to the frame, finish reassembling the bike, and do some smooth-road test rides, just a few hours. That will be enough to tell me if I like the bike and geometry, which is the main point of this whole project. If I do like the geometry, I'll get a replacement.
Update 1: The headset install feels pretty darn good! It adjusted correctly and spins freely 360 degrees.