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Help with New 1" Threadless Road Fork

Old 10-05-21, 11:07 AM
  #1  
Harold74
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Help with New 1" Threadless Road Fork

High Level Summary

I want to procure a new, 1" threadless road fork for my 2000 Airborne Zeppelin which has a 1" Chris King Nothreadset headset that I plan to retain. My reasons for wanting a new fork are:

A) I T-boned another cyclist with the existing carbon fork. I'm sure that it's fine but I can't stop worrying about it.
B) My impression is that the world will soon be running out of reasonably priced, 1" threadless road forks.

As I've gotten into the weeds with this, I'm finding that I have a ton of questions, many related to compatibility. And I fear that we may run out of 1" threadless forks before I finish my due diligence researching the issue. Whatever fork I go with, it may not be installed for a long time, perhaps several years. I'll be some upset if I drop $350 CAD to get one of these forks up to Canada only to find that it's a poor match.

My Questions

1) Are we running out of reasonably priced 1" threadless road forks? Or am I just pandering to my hoarding tendencies?

2) This link will take you to what I currently consider my fork options to be: Link. I'm seriously considering the Columbus Minimal, the Ritchey, and the two Origin8's. Of that batch, does anyone harbor any strong preferences for one fork over the others? I don't care about weight. My primary performance criteria are really just durability and, to a lesser extent, ride quality (I would consider non-carbon as well). If it matters, I plan to attach an alloy stem to the steerer tube. Perhaps that favors an alloy steerer tube, I'm not sure. I'm leaning towards one of the Origin8's. The Columbus appeals to me very much but I can't justify the cost differential to myself based on my current level of familiarity with these products. My new fork ought to be black to complement the titanium frame the way that I would like it to.

3) Do some forks come with the crown race installed? If that's the case, will I struggle to remove that cleanly when I go to set up my Chris King Headset?

4) Some folks seem to have crown race compatibility issues when replacing 1" threadless forks. Different standards for different products etc. Is it the headset that limits the crown race size? Or the fork? Or both?

5) My understanding is that the Chris King headset has cartridge bearings that rest on a thing that is better described as a base plate than a crown race. This would seem to imply less sensitivity to the geometry of the fork where it would interface with the headset. Is that an accurate assumption?

6) I currently have a spiffy, dura ace skewer up front. And I believe that most of these new forks have thicker dropouts than my existing fork. To that end:

a) Is it possible to install a new rod into an existing skewer? The rods seem to pretty solidly attached to the lever side of the assembly.

b) Without modifying my existing skewer, I wager that I can get the thing onto a new fork with at least three full turns of the non-lever side. Is that sufficient?


Last edited by Harold74; 10-05-21 at 11:11 AM.
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Old 10-05-21, 11:29 AM
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1- "running out" suggests there's a want that will go unfilled. I think most companies who make forks have found the numbers (sales) don't support much if any production. Not yet knowing the steerer's length I can't say if a tall bike's threaded fork would sub with it being cut down. Custom frame builders could make a fork if you were willing to pay that cost.
2- I can't compare what I feel are the important factors since I don't have those data. Axle to crown dimension, rake, brake reach.
3- Most forks don't come with a headset race installed, after all how would the company know which to install. Most certainly they would not choose an expensive and unique to one headset brand race. How can I say if you are skilled and able to remove (or install) a crown race?
4- Most 1" forks will either have a 27.0 or a 26.4 mm race seat (actually the measured diameter should be about .1mm larger to produce the press fit needed to keep the race in place). You need to find out what ID your current race has (CK has offered both) and duplicate that size with the replacement fork. BTW 26.4mm is by far more common with nicer bikes then 27mm is.
5- No. Don't assume anything that involves your safe steering... The CK bearing is an angular contact cartridge design, unique to their headset. The crown seat/race is also specific to that bearing's bottom contours. I would never consider sending a customer out on a bike with a comprised headset fit.
6a-- Measure how many turns the existing QR nut needs with your current fork. Then how much thicker the replacement fork's drop outs are then the current fork's. This tells you how many fewer threads of overlap the QR nut will have with the replacement fork. I suspect this will be 3 tp 6 fewer threads of overlap. One wants more then 5 threads of overlap, with each additional thread of contact the "fastener strength" goes up but by less and less. You might find a Shimano QR skewer's rod will interchange, or not. I would not try a non Shimano rod.
6b- If not 5 turns I would not use that QR. Andy
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Old 10-05-21, 11:45 AM
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either steel or aluminum works just fine for steerer tube material.
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Old 10-05-21, 11:49 AM
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Thanks for all of your help.

Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
You might find a Shimano QR skewer's rod will interchange, or not.
Does that mean that the rod can indeed be removed from the lever side of the assembly?
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Old 10-05-21, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by thook View Post
either steel or aluminum works just fine for steerer tube material.
Thanks. I guess that my question would more accurately have been: is it okay to use a carbon steerer with an alloy (non-carbon) stem? Or is that ill advised?
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Old 10-05-21, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Harold74 View Post
Thanks. I guess that my question would more accurately have been: is it okay to use a carbon steerer with an alloy (non-carbon) stem? Or is that ill advised?
That is a very common use case, as long as you don't overtighten the steerer clamp bolts (pro tip - use a torque wrench) you will be fine.
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Old 10-05-21, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Harold74 View Post
Thanks for all of your help.



Does that mean that the rod can indeed be removed from the lever side of the assembly?
Yes. But there's a tiny and hard to get at "e" clip holding the lever and cam part within the cap and rod end. Getting that clip off and undamaged will be the trick. Then you measure/match up the rod end (where that lever/cam part goes through) to see if your hoped for replacement is the same and then you try to reassemble it, getting that clip back in place. Do know that if that clip were to somehow go missing/fail your front wheel could take a left turn when you are going right Andy (who has seen more then a few QR failure results and it isn't pretty)
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Old 10-05-21, 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Harold74 View Post
3) Do some forks come with the crown race installed? If that's the case, will I struggle to remove that cleanly when I go to set up my Chris King Headset?

4) Some folks seem to have crown race compatibility issues when replacing 1" threadless forks. Different standards for different products etc. Is it the headset that limits the crown race size? Or the fork? Or both?

5) My understanding is that the Chris King headset has cartridge bearings that rest on a thing that is better described as a base plate than a crown race. This would seem to imply less sensitivity to the geometry of the fork where it would interface with the headset. Is that an accurate assumption?
3. I've never ever seen a new fork come with a crown race already installed. As Andy noted, how would the fork's manufacturer know what headset you have? See below about struggling.

4. 1" headsets come in ISO (26.4 mm ) and JIS (27.0 mm) crown race seat diameters. I expect your Airborn fork takes the currently more common ISO crown race size but measure to be certain.

5. A Chris King base plate is just as specific to their headsets as any other maker's is to their's. If your worried about removing the base plate from your current fork, you can buy a replacement baseplate as an accessory. Be aware that installing a baseplate/crown race on a new fork requires as much technique as removing an old one. If you aren't sure or equipped to do either, a visit to your LBS would be money well spent.
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Old 10-06-21, 04:29 AM
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I have a columbus minimal in use for three or four years. Absolutly no issues. Dura ace skewer as well and absolutely no issues.
​​​​​The headset worked exactly the same as any other headset.
I have seen the hylix 1 inch and i would have no problems using one
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Old 10-06-21, 07:18 AM
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Thanks for the help guys. I was hoping to be able to pull the trigger on a fork without having to take everything apart on the existing setup to measure and inspect. It sounds like I'll have to bite the bullet on that and git 'er done. I'd hoped that the combination of a cartridge bearing on one of these base plate things would be a bit less sensitive to snugness of fit on the base plate but it sounds as though that's not the case. When the time comes, I certainly will do some research and gear up if I decide to do it myself.

Right now, the critical issue for me is really procuring any parts that I'll need to do the install when the time comes. I've had difficulty procuring even the ancillary hardware for the 1" threadless setup. Things like stems, stem spacers, and even star nuts and compression plugs, have been a challenge.

7) Is it reasonable to assume that I, or some qualified professional will be able to remove and reuse the existing base plate? Or should I just buy a spare while they're available regardless?

8) Is the precise diameter of my steering tube an issue that I need to concern my self with? ISO vs JIS? Or is it all about the headset components?
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Old 10-06-21, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Harold74 View Post
7) Is it reasonable to assume that I, or some qualified professional will be able to remove and reuse the existing base plate? Or should I just buy a spare while they're available regardless?

8) Is the precise diameter of my steering tube an issue that I need to concern my self with? ISO vs JIS? Or is it all about the headset components?
7) Yes, this is a reasonable assumption. No need to buy one in advance as Chris King supports their products, even 1" headsets and a replacement base plate is easy to get.
8) You need to concern yourself with the crown race seat diameter, as the base plate needs be sized properly to the fork.
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Old 10-06-21, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by mprince View Post
7) You need to concern yourself with the crown race seat diameter, as the base plate needs be sized properly to the fork.
Thanks.

9) So, in terms of information gathering, is this the correct order of operations:

a) Figure out the base plate inside diameter on my headset.

b) Make sure that my new fork has a steerer tube of a compatible outside diameter to suite the base plate inside diameter from step #1.

Is that it or do steerer tubes change shape a bit as they hit the fork and that area is really what you need to worry about for base plate plate compatibility?

Maybe I just need to get the existing thing apart and see what it's all about...
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Old 10-06-21, 10:22 AM
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I think you've dropped off the cliff to overthinking. The steer tube diameter of any 1" fork is...1" or 25.4mm. The crown race seat is at the bottom of the steer tube and has its own diameter - think of a small ring of larger diameter at the base of the steer tube. My advice - buy any 1" fork that you like, and let that dictate whether you need a ISO or JIS base plate. Chances are that your current base plate is ISO as will be the majority of new forks - if for some reason that does not hold true, buy the proper base plate from Chris King.
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Old 10-07-21, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Harold74 View Post
Thanks.

Maybe I just need to get the existing thing apart and see what it's all about...
You could take it apart and see what damge there is on the one you have.
​​​​​​Confirm replacement is required.
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Old 10-07-21, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by blamester View Post
You could take it apart and see what damge there is on the one you have.
​​​​​​Confirm replacement is required.
I did that many years ago. I wasn't thinking about a fork replacement at that time though. I did a careful visual inspection and the coin tapping thing. Everything looks good but I still can't shake my concern. So a new fork for me it is.

Something that factors into this a bit is that the bike has developed speed wobble / shimmy on descents in the past. I've come to realize that's a self limiting process and that I can just ride it out if I have the nerve to do so. At the same time, when my front end is dancing about uncontrollably, it's hard not to simultaneously worry about any associated dynamic loads on my -- possibly damaged -- carbon fork. The bike was previously set up as a triathlon rig. I'm hoping that switching to a normal drop bar setup and riding position, combined with the fact that I don't ride over 50 km/h any more, will eliminate the wobble.

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Old 10-07-21, 12:37 PM
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Fair enough.
But how do you trust the new one?
You gotta inspect it too?
The shimmy could be a lot of things or a combination of things.
I would definitely convert it to road bars first and ride it to make sure it is worth it.
The price qouted for the minimal is basically the same as i paid five years ago
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Old 10-07-21, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by blamester View Post
But how do you trust the new one? You gotta inspect it too?
Agreed. I trust my DIY inspection skills more on a new fork that hasn't yet been in an impact event though.

Originally Posted by blamester View Post
I would definitely convert it to road bars first and ride it to make sure it is worth it.
I may do that and that was, in fact, my original thinking. Unfortunately, I didn't finish the project quickly enough and it will likely snow here shortly. So I won't be able to test the bike out until May-ish of next year. I'm scared that the world will be out of 1" forks by that time.

The whole project is questionable financially. It's a cool bike with DA/Ultegra. And I've already made some significant investments in it to go along with the drop bar conversion. It was only recently that I realized that the bike had a 1" steerer rather than a 1 1/8" steerer. I didn't previously know that there was such a thing as a 1" steerer and I feel that limits the bike's long term potential in undesirable ways. If I had it to do over, I'd probably just sell the bike. I also have a Lynskey Rouleur Ti bike so I wouldn't even be short on titanium after the sale.
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Old 10-07-21, 03:20 PM
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There is enough people putting carbon forks on older bikes. I don't think they will disappear any time soon. But they will always be relatively expensive.
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Old 10-07-21, 06:01 PM
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So I lost my nerve and went to buy one of those sexy Columbus forks from Modernbike. As of today, they're sold out. Hopefully that's just an unfortunate coincidence.
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