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Help Buying Replacement Fork For Vintage Bike

Old 08-10-22, 07:29 PM
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gmcjetpilot
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Help Buying Replacement Fork For Vintage Bike

I see many forks that look close to my required specs.
  • 1" Steerer
  • 27" wheel
  • HeadTube about 165mm, threaded
  • Crowned
  • Cantilever Brake (but willing to forgo that)
Q: When the Steerer is reported as (for example) 250mm ./ 85mm means the total length is 335mm? Correct,
Q: Google and eBay seems to have a good selection but is there some other vendors?
Q: If I get forks that are without cantilever brakes can I weld on some stems/studs? If not I assume I can buy a caliper brake?

For a 1983 Bainchi Randonneur
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Old 08-10-22, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by gmcjetpilot View Post
I see many forks that look close to my required specs.
  • 1" Steerer
  • 27" wheel
  • HeadTube about 165mm, threaded
  • Crowned
  • Cantilever Brake (but willing to forgo that)
Q: When the Steerer is reported as (for example) 250mm ./ 85mm means the total length is 335mm? Correct, I would read this as 250 total steerer length including the 85mm of thread, not 335 total length.
Q: Google and eBay seems to have a good selection but is there some other vendors? Your LBS?
Q: If I get forks that are without cantilever brakes can I weld on some stems/studs? If not I assume I can buy a caliper brake? If you know how to keep the bosses in the correct location while doing a good weld, sure. Do know that many canti bossed forks have a large rim center to brake hole and thus will want ta fairly long reach caliper.

For a 1983 Bainchi Randonneur
88 Andy
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Old 08-11-22, 05:06 AM
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For 27” positioned cantis, you might have better luck looking for a used donor bike.
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Old 08-11-22, 07:44 AM
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Is this because of the recall on those forks, or possibly yours already broke? The suggestion to find a donor bike is a good one, except obviously you don't want to end up with the same exact fork which was defective.

1" threaded 27" forks with cantilever bosses are going to be hard to come by. I actually don't see any on eBay at the moment, so you may have to set up a search and be patient. I wouldn't switch to calipers on the front, unless of course you like the idea of building some sort of Frankenbike.
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Old 08-11-22, 08:30 AM
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Tektro has a caliper with extended "arms", so this is a viable option. However, FME, these aren't powerful (although I didn't try using Kool Stop pads on mine). Also, it may be possible to use a 27.5 fork since many of those systems have a wheel diameter of 27".
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Old 08-11-22, 08:54 AM
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Thanks ALL.... I am always impressed with the excellent replies on Bike Forum. Yes my fork was recalled and I sent it back to Bianchi. I forgot to measure it before sending, but still have the rest of bike. A donor bike with good forks (post recall with "B" on crown) would be hard to get, but somewhere I am sure someone is tossing them in the trash.

I found a set of forks that will work, but steerer needs to be cut down and threaded, but no Canti brakes. That is OK I can put caliper on it, or if I get brave send it off to have canti studs welded on. I am still debating even doing this resto at all. I may just store the bike, and see what shakes out. I can't toss it, sentimental value, being my college bike I rode a bunch. Represents my youth... Ha ha. Well that youth thing is over, so may be the Randonneur needs to be retired to... like I will be someday soon. The other part is just a project and restoring a bike, which I never have done before.
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Old 08-11-22, 09:18 AM
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...Surly makes and sells a cantilever bossed fork that is pretty nice for the price. But then you end up needing to convert over to 700c wheels, and your brake bosses on the back are already set for 27" wheels. If it were me, and I wanted to restore and ride that bike in a reasonable time frame, I would go with whatever fork I could scare up, listed as 27". and use a dual pivot, side pull caliper brake on the front. They work remarkably well, and I doubt you'll notice much difference in braking efficiency. Good quality used forks with a standard fork crown have been getting harder to find here, because the industry mostly switched to Unicrown forks a while back on steel bikes. But they do show up every now and then.

Amazon sells some forks that will work, out of China somewhere, but they are pretty low quality forks, for the most part.

Fitting and installing a new fork is a multi step process that requires some knowledge and a couple of tools for installing the headset races, and any fork you buy will possible need to be shortened, or even have the threading extended. It can be a simple process, or it can turn into a real marathon of sequential jobs. If you can come to terms with using a threadless headset, and switching the looks of your bike over to that style of stem, sometimes that makes it a little easier.

Good quality used forks do show up on e-bay occasionally, but any fork you install that has been previously used ought to be checked for alignment. Misalignment of the fork blades or fork ends is a common problem on older steel forks.
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Old 08-11-22, 10:38 AM
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I’d also recommend posting in the ISO thread in the classic and vintage forum. If you’re lucky, someone has one lying around.
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Old 08-11-22, 10:53 AM
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...by the way, I did not mean to suggest that this was not a worthwhile restoration project. I have a Bianchi Randonneur here, fittted with fenders and a rack with bags. I ride it around all the time quite happily.
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Old 08-11-22, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
.
...Surly makes and sells a cantilever bossed fork that is pretty nice for the price. But then you end up needing to convert over to 700c wheels, and your brake bosses on the back are already set for 27" wheels.
This Surly fork has a 1 1/8” steerer so it won’t work.
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Old 08-11-22, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by bboy314 View Post
This Surly fork has a 1 1/8” steerer so it won’t work.
...thank you. Yet another reason it's harder to find the fork you need.
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Old 08-12-22, 03:19 AM
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OP: should you decide to go the donor bike route and the donor bike also happens to be a Bianchi Radonneur - or if you fink a fork originally from a Bianchi Radonneur - this link might assist you in determining if the fork was one of those subject to recall:

https://www.cpsc.gov/Recalls/1990/bi...nneur-bicycles


Please disregard - posted this before sufficient caffiene consumption this morning. I see now that you already know how to identify a fork subject to recall.

Last edited by Hondo6; 08-12-22 at 05:42 AM.
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Old 08-12-22, 05:08 AM
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Originally Posted by gmcjetpilot View Post
Yes my fork was recalled and I sent it back to Bianchi.
I have no help. But I have questions that this thread has gave me.

What is the purpose of sending the fork back to Bianchi? Is the manufacturer compensating people affected by this? I'm still in a COVID fog and processing this as I would possibly a problem on something for a modern item where a replacement or repair would be made. If I had a 40 year old bike that has a known potential problem I can understand wanting to take care of it, but on the other hand I'd figure it served its purpose for this long so perhaps I should retire it.
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Old 08-13-22, 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Chuck M View Post
I have no help. But I have questions that this thread has gave me. What is the purpose of sending the fork back to Bianchi?.
Great question. I was wondering as well, but this is the story.

Short story, there was a 1990 recall on my fork which I was not aware of. I went to restore my bike which I bought new in or around 1983. Researching my bike I found the recall. I called Bianchi and they answered and wanted the fork back. Why? Liability? Bill the Gent I talk to at Bianchi was not aware of any ever breaking, but they just wanted the fork off the streets. They can't force me. Yes they compensated me. I got a discount on a new bike..

Long story: Bianchi is one of the oldest bike companies and they strand by their product, 1 yr old or 40 yrs old. In my case there was a RECALL on the fork back in 1990. https://www.cpsc.gov/Recalls/1990/bi...nneur-bicycles. I bought this bike in New Orleans, new, about 1983, which I believe was the first year for Randonneur.. This was a top end bike at the time and recall paying about $400 in early 80's money, about $1000 in todays dollar, when a department store Huffy cost $80. The Randonneur frame I have was hand made in Italy, double butted, you know classic vintage. The frame and forks were made from "Mangaloy". This was a proprietary steel magnesium alloy. I don't think this alloy had anything to do with fork issue, but could have? This is guessing they had some quality issue on the early forks and it could or did lead to a crack. Talking to Bill he has never heard of one cracking. But speculation is possibility of crack, but no actual failure occurred. As I understand it Bianchi brought the recall on their self, volunteered. A fork breaking while going fast, not a good thing. I assume in 1990 Bianchi had forks to replace them and would pay to have them installed. However now over 30 yrs later this fork is no longer available by decades. .I am sure there are many recall forks out there. Considering I rode my bike 10 to 15 miles a day almost every day for years, and my forks seemed fine, the recall is a mystery. I go back to Bianchi stands behind their bike.

Sentimental Story, so yes I was surprised to hear all this. NOT all Ranadonneur's are affected. Apparently later ones are OK, and if the fork crown has a big "B" on it, the fork is not affected. Since mine was an early one they wanted the fork off the streets. I got a good deal on a new bike, Via Nirone 7 Sora, Alum frame, carbon forks. Do not get me wrong, LOVE the new bike but it is not my Randonneur, which I bought and rode the heck out of in college, when I was a young guy. Now an old fart I am sentimental about it. I think it is beautiful,classic. So Bianchi let me keep the bike, minus fork. It looks like I will be able to buy a generic "crowned" fork, 1" steerer, 27" rim. The headtube length as with most universal forks are made to cut down and thread steerer as needed. The cantilever brake is harder to find with the other specs, but some custom work, welding on pivots would work. Or just convert to caliper brakes on the front, easiest but loss of originality. I have a hard time throwing this bike away. I once had a dream of touring Europe on it long ago, staying at youth hostels. The Randonneur is made for touring, with front and back blackburn racks. I will tour Europe in the future (actually lived there as a kid, USAF brat), but any future touring of Europe will be be in or on a motor vehicle, plane, train, bus, motorcycle or automobile and staying at nice hotels. Getting old sucks but having money to travel is not bad. Ha ha.

Last edited by gmcjetpilot; 08-13-22 at 05:42 PM.
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Old 08-13-22, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by gmcjetpilot View Post
Or just convert to caliper brakes on the front, easiest but loss of originality. .
The originality is already lost on a replacement fork
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Old 08-13-22, 11:06 AM
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I would contact Bianchi and see if they can give you dimensions such as axle-crown, offset so you can will know exactly what you had.

Obviously if you get close, it will probably be fine, but knowing what you had will help you if you pursue having one made.

Nostalgia is an odd thing. People will pay almost whatever to find a car like they had or wanted. Even if they have kept it for years; they resto-mod it.

Same with bikes. Spread the rear dropouts, swap in a modern, or more modern drivetrain, wheels and brakes; and ride their new old bike.

But that is part of the fun.

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Old 08-13-22, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by gmcjetpilot View Post
The frame and forks were made from "Mangaloy". This was a proprietary steel magnesium alloy. I don't think this alloy had anything to do with fork issue, but could have?
Totally unimportant pedantic correction: Mangaloy is a steel alloy with manganese (and molybdenum), not magnesium. Common tubings made from this alloy are Reynolds 531, Tange 2001 Mangaloy and Ishiwata Magny. I've seen Randoneurs with Ishiwata Magny stickers, so Bianchi definitely sourced from them at some point. I think only Tange used the specific word "mangaloy" so if yours has a sticker that says that, it's likely Tange (which should also be on the sticker).
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Old 08-13-22, 02:51 PM
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Maybe this would be of interest?

https://www.ebay.com/itm/284625727596

Pricey, but as noted above these seem to be fairly hard to come by for 27" wheels.
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Old 08-13-22, 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Hondo6 View Post
Maybe this would be of interest?

https://www.ebay.com/itm/284625727596

Pricey, but as noted above these seem to be fairly hard to come by for 27" wheels.
1.125" steerer
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Old 08-13-22, 05:55 PM
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Originally Posted by dedhed View Post
1.125" steerer
My apologies - misread the ad. Thought it was 1" threaded.
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Old 08-13-22, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by dedhed View Post
The originality is already lost on a replacement fork
Yeah you are missing context my friend. aware a universal fork replacement is not original, but want one that looks close. .To be more precise 'without cantilever brakes the bike appearance would lose originality.". To find a OEM Randonneur, non recall fork for my frame size will be difficult. I am not going to put a recall fork back on to honor both safety and agreement with Bianchi. I understand this fork material and geometry is unique to this model, and I got that from Bianchi. They said there are no NOS forks. So far I found a fork that will work as follows.

Crown Fork Check
27" Rim Check
1" Steerer Check
Canti Brakes No (found a few but typically 26" wheel and 1-1/8" steerer and 700c wheel)
Fork Chrome Check (Randonneur Fork Bianchi Blue upper and chrome lower)
Paint/Stickers Check (Can reproduce facsimile sticker and pain upper part to match)

Bike is not worth that much so not married to original.. I just would love to ride it again. Modern bikes are "better" but this is more about the challenge and sentimental. However I have a limit to how much time and money I'll spend. Again it has to be a late model "B" fork not an early recall fork. THANK YOU EVERYONE... THIS IS MY NEW FAVORITE FORUM.
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Old 08-13-22, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by AeroGut View Post
Totally unimportant pedantic correction: Mangaloy is a steel alloy with manganese (and molybdenum), not magnesium. Common tubings made from this alloy are Reynolds 531, Tange 2001 Mangaloy and Ishiwata Magny. I've seen Randoneurs with Ishiwata Magny stickers, so Bianchi definitely sourced from them at some point. I think only Tange used the specific word "mangaloy" so if yours has a sticker that says that, it's likely Tange (which should also be on the sticker).
Thanks for correction, and interesting info. Appreciated. Being an engineer I am a metallurgy nerd. Cheers
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Old 08-13-22, 06:45 PM
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...just so you know, it's not that hard to paint an all chrome fork to match your original. You just mask off the seat for the crown race, and however much of the fork legs were chrome on the old fork. Rough the remaining chrome with maybe 200 grit abrasive paper. Prime the portion you want to paint with a self etching primer from Home Depot, then spray your matching color coat. The most durable final finish is a $20 spray can of 2 part clear golss urethane, which you can order on Amazon or buy at a store that sells automotive paints locally to the trade.
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Old 08-14-22, 12:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
Your LBS?
Also check out your local bike coop. I think COVID killed off our local coop But, if you have a coop, it would be a good place to start.
Even Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.

@gugie has brazed cantis on many forks, I think. One of his favorite mods!!!

I'm surprised Bianchi took your old fork and didn't send you a new one.

A 26" fork may or may not fit your tires and wheels, but the studs would undoubtedly be in the wrong place.

Likewise, if you change from 27" to 700c in the front, then if you do the same in the rear, your canti studs will likely be in the wrong place. They could be moved, of course.

What a pain for your hunt!!!

Lots of junk for 27" bikes.

If you found a fairly large 700c fork, it might work, and just either moving the cantis up, or adding them.

You might be able to adapt a 1" threadless fork.

What size of tire do you ride? Do you use fenders?
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Old 08-14-22, 05:26 PM
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I do wonder how much of a difference 700c vs 27" would be.

1/2 of 622 = 311 mm radius
1/2 of 630 = 315 mm radius
---------------------------------
diff: 8mm diameter, 4mm radius

That may or may not be within the adjustment of the Cantis or v-brakes. It'll be close.

Or the brake posts could be moved.

Then it depends on how much tire clearance you have and whether you're using fenders, as well as the tire size.

I started searching E-Bay for "Touring Fork", and quite a mess of them showed up. Mix of brake styles, and some people just put anything steel for as "Touring".

https://www.ebay.com/itm/314084941715

https://www.ebay.com/itm/304374840887

I have an older Schwinn Voyager frame that I bought a while ago. It has a bent downtube, but a good fork, I think. I'm not quite sure the wheel size. But, it may be close to what you had. The fork might be able to be resold.

Somewhere I may have bought a Cannondale Touring fork.

A while ago I looked at long adjustment V-Brakes. I was running 700c wheels on a 26" frame. Nothing obvious reached. But, there were some that were probably long enough to go from 700c to 27".

Paul makes some very unique V-Brakes, but not particularly cheap.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/295119702537



However, there may be others that would have the adjustment needed with a more traditional design.
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