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  1. #1
    Motorcycle RoadRacer cehowardGS's Avatar
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    Bent Forks, is there a fix??

    This is coming from a newbie so bear with me. With that said, in my crash last week, as I explained in the thread below,

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...-(warning-long)

    the LBS just informed me that my forks are bent. The bike is a 1979 Raleigh Competition GS.

    What are my options. Is the bike totaled, can I get the forks straigten(much prefered), or get a new set of forks?

    Thanks in advance,

    ceh

  2. #2
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    What is the fork made out of? Steel? If so, you can probably bend it back to as close to what it was before. I doubt a bike shop would do it though because of liability. You'd need to do it yourself. Personally, I'd try to find a replacement fork. You can probably find that exact fork for cheap. I suspect that Raleigh used that same fork on a number of different models.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    Get a new fork. Be nice to your teeth.
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

    If your bike has breaks, don't ride it.

  4. #4
    OM boy cyclezen's Avatar
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    yes , steel fork is repairable...
    but a bent fork usually is complicated...
    often the steerer tube has a kink
    and quite often the toptube and/or downtube will have been kinked in the impact.
    run your fingers on the underside of both the toptube and the downtube, in the area just behind the lug/attachment to the head tube.
    If you feel a small crease in the paint or 'ripple', then those tubes have been bent...
    I would be looking for a new frame then... (or bike)
    if there is no evidence of damage to those tubes, I would recommend a new fork unless you absolutely have to have the original.
    Only person who could repair the original are gonna be custom frame builders who are willing to do 'repairs'. This would be more expensive than a new fork by a wide margin.
    nashbar has some replacement forks which work quite well.
    a carbon fork I've used and liked:
    http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...7_10000_200456
    can't beat the price - $70, and I can vouch for the fine ride it gives on 2 of my steel converts...
    then its a matter of poppin off the bearing race from the old fork and installing on new fork and then installing fork to frame, brakes to fork, yadda, yadda, yadda.
    not sure how much LBSs charge these days for that kinda work, but this DIY (if you don;t have to put on a complete new headset...) is actually not that difficult if you have some modicum of mech skills.

    I'm sure you can prolly find a steel fork on ebay, although finding a matching Reynolds 531 taper gauge fork with the proper steerer length might take some searching.

    having had the same bike - Raleigh Comp GS - which I used as a 'Travel' training bike when flying around for the job, back in the early 80's; I believe the fork rake was about 48-50mm. The carbon fork at 43 mm might feel a bit 'different', but should still work nicely.

    was actually a very nice machine and rode quite nicely for its time. I think it's worth the new carbon fork if the main triangle is still in good shape.
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  5. #5
    Motorcycle RoadRacer cehowardGS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclezen View Post
    yes , steel fork is repairable...
    but a bent fork usually is complicated...
    often the steerer tube has a kink
    and quite often the toptube and/or downtube will have been kinked in the impact.
    run your fingers on the underside of both the toptube and the downtube, in the area just behind the lug/attachment to the head tube.
    If you feel a small crease in the paint or 'ripple', then those tubes have been bent...
    I would be looking for a new frame then... (or bike)
    if there is no evidence of damage to those tubes, I would recommend a new fork unless you absolutely have to have the original.
    Only person who could repair the original are gonna be custom frame builders who are willing to do 'repairs'. This would be more expensive than a new fork by a wide margin.
    nashbar has some replacement forks which work quite well.
    a carbon fork I've used and liked:
    http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...7_10000_200456
    can't beat the price - $70, and I can vouch for the fine ride it gives on 2 of my steel converts...
    then its a matter of poppin off the bearing race from the old fork and installing on new fork and then installing fork to frame, brakes to fork, yadda, yadda, yadda.
    not sure how much LBSs charge these days for that kinda work, but this DIY (if you don;t have to put on a complete new headset...) is actually not that difficult if you have some modicum of mech skills.

    I'm sure you can prolly find a steel fork on ebay, although finding a matching Reynolds 531 taper gauge fork with the proper steerer length might take some searching.

    having had the same bike - Raleigh Comp GS - which I used as a 'Travel' training bike when flying around for the job, back in the early 80's; I believe the fork rake was about 48-50mm. The carbon fork at 43 mm might feel a bit 'different', but should still work nicely.

    was actually a very nice machine and rode quite nicely for its time. I think it's worth the new carbon fork if the main triangle is still in good shape.
    First of all, super big thanks for feedback!!

    If it is just the fork, I will try to replace with the one your mentioned/listed. If the frame is damaged, then I am going to chalked this one up as a loss. Even though I am a newbie, I did have 3 bikes, not including my wife's bike. So, I have two more bikes to fall back on, and one of them is an 85 Raleigh Competition.

  6. #6
    Motorcycle RoadRacer cehowardGS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DieselDan View Post
    Get a new fork. Be nice to your teeth.
    If it is just the fork, then I wlll try to replace it.. I had this bike for over 30 years too.. (sob)

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    Motorcycle RoadRacer cehowardGS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by knobster View Post
    What is the fork made out of? Steel? If so, you can probably bend it back to as close to what it was before. I doubt a bike shop would do it though because of liability. You'd need to do it yourself. Personally, I'd try to find a replacement fork. You can probably find that exact fork for cheap. I suspect that Raleigh used that same fork on a number of different models.
    The fork is made out of the 531 stuff..

  8. #8
    SE Wis dedhed's Avatar
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    Or check craigslist for a "donor" bike you can take the fork out of and have spare parts or resell - the fork.
    '68 Raleigh Sprite, '02 Raleigh C500, '84 Raleigh Gran Prix, '91 Trek 400

  9. #9
    Motorcycle RoadRacer cehowardGS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dedhed View Post
    Or check craigslist for a "donor" bike you can take the fork out of and have spare parts or resell - the fork.
    That sounds all well and good. Remember now, I am newbie status. Are all forks the same? Can the donor bike be any road bike? I even see peeps selling forks on CL, but how can this newbie know that they will fit my frame or not?

    thanks for the feedback...

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    You'd be far better off trying to live with a maybe-broken frame than a broken fork (though a maybe-broken frame isn't really a good idea either).

    If lose control over the front wheel, you go down faster than you can even react to put a foot down. For winter biking this has become common knowledge - lose traction on the front wheel and you don't even have time to react. I've also personally had it happen once while raining - I was just down. Someone I know had a steel fork break on them, broke their collarbone. It's serious ****.

    But I've actually had a bike frame break while riding it (steel frame that either rusted through or the weld rusted, at the bottom bracket). If I had been cornering hard or something it might have been a problem, but I didn't have any issues. Bike started making scary sound. Got off, couldn't see the problem. Got back on - bike started making scary sound again. Got off, realized the frame had separated at the bottom bracket. Walked it partway home. Got tired of that, coasted partway (not very fast) the rest of the way.

    Just sayin' - I would definitely risk riding a compromised frame before I rode a compromised front fork. Not that either one is a terribly good idea.

  11. #11
    OM boy cyclezen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cehowardGS View Post
    That sounds all well and good. Remember now, I am newbie status. Are all forks the same? Can the donor bike be any road bike? I even see peeps selling forks on CL, but how can this newbie know that they will fit my frame or not?
    thanks for the feedback...
    no, steels forks from older machines come in the full gamut from gas pipe to supreme handcrafted, and in huge variances of materials, construction quality, dimensions and finish.

    I would rank the Comp GS in the upper quality range of 'production' (non-custom/handbuilt) frames. And the Raleigh bikes of that era were well balanced, super-nice riding designs for whatever purpose they were built.

    without some real knowledge of the fork you're lookin at, you could be buying a POS.

    Better to get the carbon as interim and do a leisurely hunt around for a frame builder who can repair the fork within your budget.

    but maybe post to Classic and Vintage Forum and see if anyone has one or knows of where to get a nice replacement steel fork - lotta devoted steel bike lovers there...

    this makes sense IF the main triangle isn;t damaged...
    Golden rose, the color of the dream I had
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  12. #12
    Motorcycle RoadRacer cehowardGS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
    You'd be far better off trying to live with a maybe-broken frame than a broken fork (though a maybe-broken frame isn't really a good idea either).

    If lose control over the front wheel, you go down faster than you can even react to put a foot down. For winter biking this has become common knowledge - lose traction on the front wheel and you don't even have time to react. I've also personally had it happen once while raining - I was just down. Someone I know had a steel fork break on them, broke their collarbone. It's serious ****.

    But I've actually had a bike frame break while riding it (steel frame that either rusted through or the weld rusted, at the bottom bracket). If I had been cornering hard or something it might have been a problem, but I didn't have any issues. Bike started making scary sound. Got off, couldn't see the problem. Got back on - bike started making scary sound again. Got off, realized the frame had separated at the bottom bracket. Walked it partway home. Got tired of that, coasted partway (not very fast) the rest of the way.

    Just sayin' - I would definitely risk riding a compromised frame before I rode a compromised front fork. Not that either one is a terribly good idea.
    Thanks for that advice. Also, that is the way I went down, in a SUPER FLASH. As soon as I got on the metal strip, my skinny body was slapped hard to the ground. My wife, who is lowered that a newbie , was trying to tell me that the rear wheel was the one that let go. It was the front. I am picking it up from the LBS in a few hours, and then going to think over all my options.

  13. #13
    Motorcycle RoadRacer cehowardGS's Avatar
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    I picked up the Raleigh from the LBS today. The LBS told me they could get me a fork, however, I told them I am going to think on that. Also, they supplied me with the phone number of a frame bulider/maker shop that do straigten forks. Going to see what the ball park figure on straightening, then going to find out how do I pick the right fork size & thread wise off the internet. I saw some carbon forks in black going for About $90 and up..

    Pics of the bike, it is the black Competition GS that has the bent fork..I can't see where it is bent, then again, I can't see anyway..

    Pics..

    http://www.cehoward.net/blkral4.JPG

    http://www.cehoward.net/blkral5.JPG

    http://www.cehoward.net/blkral6.JPG

    http://www.cehoward.net/blkral8.JPG

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