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Vintage Fork Rake question

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Vintage Fork Rake question

Old 08-14-12, 07:04 AM
  #1  
owen006
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Vintage Fork Rake question

This is a 1971 Steyr Clubman. I am working towards making this a rainy day commuter. I have stock fenders and rack that came with the bike. What can I expect from the way raked fork? Will it steer like a slow moving bus? Will it smooth out the ride? Will it perform as more modern relaxed geometry bike?

I have also included a picture of another older fork. The rake may look more dramatic because of the way the dropouts are oriented.




Last edited by owen006; 09-17-12 at 03:14 PM. Reason: photo
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Old 08-14-12, 07:27 AM
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As with speed, it's the rider not the bike - bike handling skills are more important than geometry. The large fork rake in older bikes were there for two reasons - a theory that the decreased trail made the bike more responsive and to absorb shock (the latter is also the reason for the long rear stays on your frame). As the head tube angle appears to be relaxed as well it will partially offset the long rake as far as trail is concerned. The long wheelbase will of course increase the minimum turning radius, but that is seldom a factor in riding.
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Old 08-14-12, 08:17 AM
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owen006
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Originally Posted by cny-bikeman View Post
As with speed, it's the rider not the bike - bike handling skills are more important than geometry. The large fork rake in older bikes were there for two reasons - a theory that the decreased trail made the bike more responsive and to absorb shock (the latter is also the reason for the long rear stays on your frame). As the head tube angle appears to be relaxed as well it will partially offset the long rake as far as trail is concerned. The long wheelbase will of course increase the minimum turning radius, but that is seldom a factor in riding.
Thanks, Sounds good. I ride some rough rural road that are mostly filled pot holes in a previous tar and gravel road bed. I am hoping the longer wheelbase steel frame and wider tires will smooth out the commute some.
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Old 08-14-12, 08:49 AM
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owen006, With what appears a slack head tube angle and a fork with that much offset, I think you'll have a very stable riding bicycle that's not easily upset with road irregularities. The long wheelbase will also help.

I would expect the Clubman to handle like my '80 RRA, which handles much like my Cannondale touring bike which isn't as 'flickable' as my Cannondale roadies, which aren't as 'flickable' as my Cannondale crit bike.

Brad
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Old 08-14-12, 08:57 AM
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larger offset, makes an easier handling bike with e front load,
benefit when setting the bike up with a big front basket or Porteur rack
or , front panniers.. lower trail , a result of bigger offset in fork rake, has benefits.
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Old 08-14-12, 12:42 PM
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Fork leg curvature is not necessarily the determining factor of fork rake offset. A modern straight legged fork may have as much or even more rake offset than a curved fork. A straight leg fork has more angle change just below the crown. The OP's fork shown in Post #1 has little or no change in angle at the crown or upper part of the legs.

More fork rake offset means less steering trail and quicker turning. Less rake offset means more trail and more straight ahead stability.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle...cycle_geometry

Last edited by Al1943; 08-14-12 at 12:46 PM.
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Old 08-14-12, 12:49 PM
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this question can't really be answered without knowing the trail. The rake alone does not determine trail. For a given head tube angle (in normal bicycle geometry range), more rake should decrease the trail and quicken the steering. This is helpful if you have a front load, but may not be acceptable unloaded. The frame in the OP looks like it has a fairly slack head angle, so the large rake may be needed to let the bike turn acceptably
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Old 08-14-12, 01:45 PM
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owen006
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
this question can't really be answered without knowing the trail. The rake alone does not determine trail. For a given head tube angle (in normal bicycle geometry range), more rake should decrease the trail and quicken the steering. This is helpful if you have a front load, but may not be acceptable unloaded. The frame in the OP looks like it has a fairly slack head angle, so the large rake may be needed to let the bike turn acceptably
Thanks for the responses. I understand that the fork has much curvature in the last third of the blade but the blades do not angle from the crown, so the rake is not as pronounced as it appears. Do you think that the way it curves it would act more like a shock absorber than say a straight bladed angled from the crown fork?

I read somewhere once that Grant Peterson of Rivendell likes his fork blades to curve late and tight. Not sure this example is quite what he was thinking though.
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Old 08-14-12, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by owen006 View Post
Thanks for the responses. Do you think that the way it curves it would act more like a shock absorber than say a straight bladed angled from the crown fork?
This is a question that has come up several times in the past and the answer has been argued both ways.
Generally the fork's material is thought to have more of a cushioning or stiffening effect than the curvature. Aluminum forks are thought to be stiffer or harsher than steel or carbon fiber.
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Old 08-14-12, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Al1943 View Post
Fork leg curvature is not necessarily the determining factor of fork rake offset.
Yeah, you'll notice with these old-school fork blades it's mostly just the fact they start to curve from much lower down, thus have a tighter radius and greater angle to reach almost the same spot. Plus the fact we're talking slacker head angles which require more rake for the same trail.

There are roughly three groups of curve styles; these old ones, later steel forks, and the larger radius again on bonded aluminium or carbon forks; on mine the curve begins less than halfway down the blade.
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Old 09-17-12, 03:20 PM
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Finished product: Steyr Clubman 1971ish commuter



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Old 09-17-12, 03:40 PM
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That is a nice bike! How does it handle, in the end?
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Old 09-17-12, 08:01 PM
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I have riden to work twice-44 total miles. The bike handles very well and is smother than the 1991 Paramount I had been using as my commuter. So far so good. Still tweaking here and there. Not real pleased with the Sora front deraileur, may have to upgrade there. As is now, every thing used on the bike I had on hand except for the tires and tubes.
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Old 09-18-12, 07:40 PM
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Very nice! Perfect setup for that frame.
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