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help! finding the right fork (serious beginner questions)

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help! finding the right fork (serious beginner questions)

Old 10-26-14, 09:46 PM
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help! finding the right fork (serious beginner questions)

so first off, this is my first post, and i apologize in advance if i've put this thread in the wrong place.

that being said, i also know extremely little about bikes, and this call for help may be because i simply don't know how to look for what i need. here's my dilemma. it's a two-part question.

i recently purchased a used 1996 cannondale T700 touring bike, and it appears that everything on the bike is stock except for the tires, the seat, and the peddles. it fit all the specifications i was looking for in a bike and i picked up for what i assume to be a steal (after a little internet research) at $200. i have been using the bike to commute to and from work once or twice a week, and i've probably logged 350-ish miles on the bike myself. i never had any problems with the bike other than normal maintenance issues, and decided it was time to take the bike in for a tune up, since i know it probably need a bunch of adjustments. here's where my issue comes in.

i replaced the tires and got a tune up, but when i went to the shop to pick up the bike, the first thing they asked me was if i had been in an accident. i have not, but i told them i bought the bike used, and didn't know anything about it. they diagnosed the bike with a bent fork, but ultimately told me it wasn't a huge deal if it wasn't difficult handling the bike, etc... i had no idea what any of this even meant, so i paid the bill, and road three blocks home to do some internet research.

long story short, i know what a bent fork means now, and for the most part, i think i understand the risks, implications, etc... of having a bent fork. in my humble, beginner opinion, i don't feel any negative side effects of the bent fork, but it appears that almost all sources are suggesting that i replace the fork. so, my first question is: do i really need to replace this fork? or should i have it jigged back to form? my bike shop will jig it straight for about $40, and will replace the fork for about $120. price is an issue, but am i really worried about my safety with a steel (chromoly) fork without any creeks, gives, or apparent side effects?

my second question is a bit more complicated, so i'm learning: replacing the fork. either, i have no idea what i'm looking for, or the fork that the bike needs is extremely difficult to find. research tells me that sometimes locating parts for older (vintage?) bikes can be hard.

i've located a lot of specs for the bike, but nothing seems to list the information i need to be looking for. these two links include lots of info about the bike itself, but not the fork it has:

1996 Cannondale T700 - BikePedia

https://vintagecannondale.com/year/1996/1996.pdf (bike on page 47, specs on page 54)

a guy at a local shop said i'm looking for a fork that's: 1" threaded 700c canti fork 192mm(ish) steerer, which, has proven to be extremely difficult specs to track down.

can anyone help me verify that this is in fact what i need to be looking for? or even better, does anyone else have experience working with this particular bike model?

any, and all help is appreciated!


Last edited by sillyandrew; 10-26-14 at 09:52 PM.
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Old 10-27-14, 12:52 AM
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Well, I'm no pro and I don't have insurance to cover any bad stuff that happens related to my opinion so, take this for what it's worth:

If it's steel, it's likely that straightening it would be just fine. I've had a couple straightened and ridden them for many thousands of miles afterward (still riding one). However, that assumes it's the first and only time it's been bent and that it hasn't been bent past some point where steel becomes weakened and then straightened in a back yard to the current state. You have no idea what the condition could be - other than currently it's not straight. Since the T700 (IMHO) is a decent bike that you got a good deal on, spend another $50-350 or so to get a new fork for it and count yourself lucky you got such a nice bike for a good price.

You can find 1" cross/touring fork for a 700c bike on ebay for fairly good prices ($50 on up) and that probably isn't the worst thing you could do from a geometry and functionality stand point. If the wheels are 27 inch, then finding a fork might be a bit harder.

Best option, IMHO, would be to find a local builder to make you a fork that would look nice - but that'll be more $$ so...up to you. With this, you could specify the handling somewhat and adjust for 27" wheels if necessary - whether you are sensitive enough to notice or not is another question.

The main point is that fork, stem and bar issues aren't things to be messed with. When they fail, bad things happen so, this is serious.

Last edited by duanedr; 10-27-14 at 01:23 AM.
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Old 10-27-14, 06:08 AM
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moved to bike mechanics from framebuilding
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Old 10-27-14, 06:50 AM
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No way to advise re: straightening without good pics from side directly across from the fork (showing the head tube also) and dead-on straight in front of bike, and even then it's best to evaluate in person. I've straightened many, many forks and frames, and it's not terribly risky. I did one on my own bike, on the road, with nothing but my hands and eye to the point I could ride it no hands, and I rode it as a commuter for years afterward. You should be able to get a reasonably priced replacement, but you must verify correct steerer (fork column) length, correct bearing seat, proper blade length and geometry for your frame. BUT if you are seeing no ill effect on handling or toe clearance you are probably fine doing nothing. The fork actually does not experience very great stress to the degree that a minor bend is a problem.
There's no such thing as a routine repair.

Don't tell me what "should" be - either it is, it isn't, or do something about it.

If you think I'm being blunt take it as a compliment - if I thought you were too weak to handle the truth or a strong opinion I would not bother.

Please respect others by taking the time to post clearly so we can answer quickly. All lowercase and multiple typos makes for a hard read. Thanks!
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Old 10-31-14, 08:14 AM
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I'd see it as a reason to upgrade to threadless.

Then you can have 31.8 bars FTW.

Two of my bikes (URLs on the left under my av) have been upgraded to 1" threadless & 31.8.
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