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Salvage misaligned fork or just buy new fork?

Old 02-03-21, 12:11 PM
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jonathanf2
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Salvage misaligned fork or just buy new fork?

I recently bought a used bike online that was listed with no useable fork. So I knew ahead of time I'd need a replacement. The bike arrived and for the most part looks to be in good condition. It actually came with the fork attached and upon closer inspection besides some scruffs there are no dents or cracks. The issue is that that fork ends aren't lined up properly. It's a chromoly steel fork and did some research on potential repair. It seems the Park Tools FFS-2 fork straightener can be used for alignment. I was planning to go to my LBS to have them cut the steerer on the new fork I was going to buy as a replacement. Though if this misaligned fork can be fixed safely, I would save some money and just apply the fee I was going to pay for the steerer cut.

Any opinions on whether I should fix the old fork or just go with the new fork for safety? Thanks!

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Old 02-03-21, 12:38 PM
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phughes
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Without seeing it, it will be difficult for anyone to answer this. We also don't know the bike it is on. Are you planning on doing the straightening yourself? If so, just know that cutting the steerer tube is just as easy, if not easier to do than straightening a fork. If you are planning on having a bike shop straighten it, take it to the bike shop you were going to use, and ask them.
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Old 02-03-21, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by phughes View Post
Without seeing it, it will be difficult for anyone to answer this. We also don't know the bike it is on. Are you planning on doing the straightening yourself? If so, just know that cutting the steerer tube is just as easy, if not easier to do than straightening a fork. If you are planning on having a bike shop straighten it, take it to the bike shop you were going to use, and ask them.
The fork is off a few millimeters at the fork ends when laid on a flat surface. I was planning to do the steerer cut myself, but I need to buy the tools. I already called my LBS and they won't charge me much at all. I have no plans to cut other forks or any sort of metal piping in the future. Anyways, if they can fix the old fork I can just return the new fork and save some cash. I guess I'll bring both in and see what the say.
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Old 02-03-21, 02:02 PM
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I would take the fork to the shop and have them take a look at it. Keep in mind, it may not be repairable and if it is repaired I wouldn't ride the bike hard.
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Old 02-03-21, 07:04 PM
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So it seems that the bike had some sort of front end incident, to scuff up paint and possibly tweak alignment (note I didn't limit this to fork only). Before you do much more with this bike I would want to assess the overall alignment. It's quite possible that the alignment of the frame is good, and we all hope that's the case. But should it be found that the frame is also off you really should want to know this early on.

Is the old fork able to be aligned? Sure, maybe, I'd have to see it to be certain. Don't be surprised if a shop begs off doing this though. Andy
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Old 02-03-21, 09:50 PM
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Originally Posted by jonathanf2 View Post

Any opinions on whether I should fix the old fork or just go with the new fork for safety? Thanks!
...in my large California home city, there are no commercial bike shops who will realign a fork.
The liability issues are such, that I'm pretty sure they got rid of the alignment jigs they might once have had, just to reduce temptation to do so by the employees.

The bike co-op here has a fork alignment jig, as do I. I think Addison Quarles, who works on a lot of older bikes, might have one.
You can't get into the co-op because of Covid 19, and I have pretty much stopped doing this for people.

Not sure if Addison's liability insurance covers this operation or not. I think it's possible Steve Rex (custom frame builder) will still do it.

In general, on the bikes I work on, the original forks are better quality than any replacement I can afford to buy.

If I thought the process was inherently unsafe, I wouldn't do it for the bikes I repair and ride myself. But I don't sue myself very often, either.
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Old 02-03-21, 09:57 PM
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...BTW, the Park FFS-2, while a fine tool with which to yank around on your frame and fork, won't give you any clues about whether you are making the fork alignment better or worse. You need some kind of measuring and alignment jig. Nobody seems to make and sell them any more, but they do still show up used on e-bay, as more and more old bike shops go out of business. Park made one, and VAR made one...there may be others of which I am unaware.






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Old 02-04-21, 03:11 AM
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I received my replacement fork from Ebay and it's a Sunlite chromoly 1 1/8th fork. Compared to the fork I'm replacing it actually looks to be of better quality with smoother welds and an overall nicer finish. I tried mounting it to my wheel and it goes on smoothly. I've decided I'll just go with the new fork instead and have my LBS cut it for me. Thanks for all the advice!
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Old 02-04-21, 09:45 AM
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If I stay on topic, is it considered “hijacking” the thread? I have a orphan fork that I picked up many years ago that I’m considering using on a future build-up. It has a noticeable bend at the junction of the steerer tube and the fork crown. Mostly, to the rear but also slightly to one side. I’m guessing that the bike was ridden into a less moveable object then tipped over before receiving additional insult . Other than the full chrome fork tubes, it’s just a regular fork. I’m thinking maybe a 1960s Schwinn (the lower headset bearing cage has “Schwinn” markings .) With the steel of that era being relatively soft, I was thinking that I might be able ease it back into reasonable alignment with judicious application of pressure in the opposite direction of the original trauma. Perhaps it’s a Summer project .
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Old 02-04-21, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by sovende View Post
If I stay on topic, is it considered ďhijackingĒ the thread? I have a orphan fork that I picked up many years ago that Iím considering using on a future build-up. It has a noticeable bend at the junction of the steerer tube and the fork crown. Mostly, to the rear but also slightly to one side. Iím guessing that the bike was ridden into a less moveable object then tipped over before receiving additional insult . Other than the full chrome fork tubes, itís just a regular fork. Iím thinking maybe a 1960s Schwinn (the lower headset bearing cage has ďSchwinnĒ markings .) With the steel of that era being relatively soft, I was thinking that I might be able ease it back into reasonable alignment with judicious application of pressure in the opposite direction of the original trauma. Perhaps itís a Summer project .
I sourced my replacement fork on Ebay. I believe there was some classic style replacement forks on there. After receiving my new one, it looks quite decent and I have peace of mind that it won't fall apart under pressure. Though it's up to you depending on budget and what you plan to do with the bike.
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