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  1. #1
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    New Carbon fork on my old bike?

    I've seen people building old bike frames with new components and would like to know more details about this process. How can you tell what components will fit or match with certain older frames, and is it even worthwhile?

    I was thinking a long term build for my '80 Le Tour could be a new Carbon fork and Shimano 105 components.

    Ideas and input?

  2. #2
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    Friend of mine did it with an old Centurion with mixed results. He'd had the bike for 25 years, did many centuries and thousands of shorter rides on it and didn't want to give it up. The bike had a one-inch threaded steerer, so the first hurdle was to find a one-inch threadless headset or a carbon fork that would work with his old headset. I can't remember which he finally did, but it took awhile to work it out, and when he did, he wasn't impressed. It worked fine, but it cost quite a bit (this was back when carbon was new and expensive) and wasn't a big improvement on what he had. Then about two weeks later the bike flew off his hitch-mount rack and was totaled (his fault--he hung it on the back, changed clothes and drove away without securing it). He bought a Litespeed.

  3. #3
    Great State of Varmint Panthers007's Avatar
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    My vintage Puch Austro-Daimler Steyr - Reynolds 531 DB through-out & fork - has been built and rebuilt in many different incarnations since I bought the frame-set in 1982-3 through Harris Cyclery. Some strange offer for only $350 back then. This was way cheap. We never did find out what it is. Obviously a custom frame order that fell through. Anywho...

    I have built it with many modern components. And vintage ones, too. It's a lot of fun doing this with what today is called 'vintage' bicycles. Have a blast! Your headset is likely a 1-inch threaded model, so bear this in mind. If you want handlebars that are 31.8mm in diameter, you will need to make some revisions. Such as a stem-converter that is 1-inch on the lower end and 1 1/8th on the upper end to fit a modern 1 1/8th inch stem. Measure your rear dropouts - they are likely 126mm - so you can fit new hubs/wheels on it. As a steel-frame you can easily maneuver a 130mm hub. Or cold-set the frame to accommodate such. Your front dropouts are the still-current 100mm, so no worry there. Your bottom-bracket is likely square-taper with loose ball-bearing. You could change it to external-bearings like Hollowtech II, but I wouldn't bother. Properly maintained square-taper with loose bearings can be the smoothest ones out there. I have a Campagnolo Record BB, and it's still the best!

    Advice: Get a digital-caliper to measure things with before ordering components - and use this forum to ask questions. Actually use the Bicycle Mechanics forum - we know about these critters. And finally, for now, is my reincarnated Puch A-D. Also for now:

    How do you keep an idiot in suspense?

  4. #4
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    Yes, you can mix and match vintage and modern components. Just measure first to make sure you pick up the right sizes. For example many vintage steerer tubes are 1" in diameter, therefore you need to get a fork with that size.

  5. #5
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Give careful thought to a carbon fork. Carbon can fail catastrophically with out waring. I just had the carbon fork replaced on my Cannodale (due to damage by FedEx) and if I could do it over again, I may have replaced it with steel.
    "The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

    Albert Einstein

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the replies so far, very insightful stuff. I'm going to have to do a whole lot more researching to figure out what I really want as far as the fork is concerned.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ohno Notyou View Post
    Why not buy a different LeTour?
    The price of a carbon fork you could buy 3 or 4 of those beaters.
    Ohno
    Its been in my family since it was brand new in 1980, I've already overhauled almost the whole thing, and I love the way it rides.

    Quote Originally Posted by Servo888 View Post


    Yes, you can mix and match vintage and modern components. Just measure first to make sure you pick up the right sizes. For example many vintage steerer tubes are 1" in diameter, therefore you need to get a fork with that size.
    That looks great! Do you have any more specs on your setup?

    Quote Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
    Give careful thought to a carbon fork. Carbon can fail catastrophically with out waring. I just had the carbon fork replaced on my Cannodale (due to damage by FedEx) and if I could do it over again, I may have replaced it with steel.
    Carbon is lighter and doesn't it dampen vibrations better?

  7. #7
    Great State of Varmint Panthers007's Avatar
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    I agree: That thing looks great! There is no reason to believe that this bike will fall apart on you. I would highly recommend you keep modernizing - or use vintage - and upgrading the bike as the spirit moves you! Carboniferous new bike people will say it's old and worthless and you should throw in the shop-rag and get a carbon-bike. You'll be riding that bike in circles around them - as they sweep up their machines into a dust-pan. LOL!

    Beware of your LBS - they will often have no clue of how to work on these machines. It's much better to do your own work on such a bicycle. We own these bikes and we can be trusted to do a top-notch job. This forum is a valuable tool to find the answers to the questions that will certainly come up down the road.
    How do you keep an idiot in suspense?

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