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Framebuilders Thinking about a custom frame? Lugged vs Fillet Brazed. Different Frame materials? Newvex or Pacenti Lugs? why get a custom Road, Mountain, or Track Frame? Got a question about framebuilding? Lets discuss framebuilding at it's finest.

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Old 11-06-11, 05:26 AM   #1
PrairieDog
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Make or buy the fork?

OK, so my first frame is coming along pretty nicely. Cosmetically, it doesn't look that fabulous, and there is a distinct, overall 1.5 degree list from square with the bottom bracket (though the frame is otherwise parallel), but it has been fun to build and looks moderately functional, and thus I think it is beautiful.

I am at the point where all I have left are the small braze-ons, like cable stops, shifter bosses, etc., and so I am thinking ahead to the finishing prep of the frame. Yesterday I drove around to my various LBSs, with all of whom I have built up a good working relationship. Two of them had a bottom bracket tap that they would be willing to use to help me chase the BB, but none of them had an HT reaming and facing tool. So I bit the bullet and bought a cheap IceToolz version, figuring that I'm definitely going to build at least one more frame (so I should spring for the tool), but may or may not build many more (so I should not spring for the Park version).

All of which leads me to this question: Should I build my own fork, or should I buy one?

Pros for building my own fork:
Fun

Cons:
The frame has a list; what if I go to the trouble and expense of building a fork and the bike rides like a banshee on crack? Would it be better to just buy a ready-made, build up the bike, and start planning the next project?

So far, all my brazing has been done using MAPP gas. To do the fork, I presume I'd have to borrow an OA set-up, and get some instruction on it. That's doable.

I'd like to go with a threaded headset; the idea of being able to raise a quill stem to a point of comfort really, really appeals to me. Threadless doesn't have as many options for handlebar height. However, the forks I've seen mostly seem to be threadless; plus, it seems to me that I wouldn't have to worry as much about getting the right steerer tube length.

Your thoughts on this are greatly appreciated.
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Old 11-06-11, 08:39 AM   #2
unterhausen
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back when I started building frames, there was no choice but to build your own fork. So when someone says they are building a frame, it always surprises me if they don't also build the fork.

I assume that you can buy a threaded fork, but the options have to be fairly limited. I'm not sure how you design a frame without designing it around a fork, this is always the hardest part for me

For future reference, up until you attach the seat stays you generally can do some fairly severe cold setting of the frame. This is assuming you didn't use a high-strength alloy for your first frame. Once the seat stays are attached, cold setting one part affects the alignment of everything else making alignment very difficult

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Old 11-06-11, 08:36 PM   #3
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Thanks--I've decided to go with making a threadless fork, since making it seemed too much fun to pass up and threadless is a less complicated option.

As for cold setting before brazing on the seat stays, I tried that, but just didn't have enough oomph to make it happen. I suppose I could have called in my husband for some muscle, but I'm too stubborn and fruitlessly prideful for that. Ah well, next time I'll do better.
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Old 11-06-11, 09:48 PM   #4
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you don't really need that much oomph, just a long enough lever
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Old 11-07-11, 04:43 AM   #5
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You're right! I wish I'd thought about a lever. I'll remember that next time.

I should also say that the reason I didn't ask for help has nothing to do with my wonderful husband and everything to do with my wanting to do it as much of the project on my own. :-)
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Old 11-13-11, 07:21 PM   #6
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You might be pleasantly surprised how much misalignment can be eliminated with a goodalignment job. I crash damaged a frame and it rode very poorly after that. Ifinally got it aligned by a guy who knew what he was doing and it is great now.

Making a fork was always difficult for me. I didnít have real alignment jigs. I would be sorely tempted to find someone who would build your fork for you. It should be properly aligned, so you only have to get the frame aligned and presto!
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