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Slightly Off Fork - What To Do?

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Slightly Off Fork - What To Do?

Old 06-02-11, 07:49 PM
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3speed
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Slightly Off Fork - What To Do?

So my fork isn't an obvious case of "fork's bent!" or anything like that. My bike just doesn't track quite straight. When I go with no hands it wants to turn to one side. If I look down from the bars, I'm pretty sure I can see that it's slightly off. This is my not-raining rider, so I'd really like to get it fixed before it gets nice out(Damn WI, it's till not nice out.) and I know I wont have the money to get it fixed until well into summer because I Have to save all of my money for a flight I have to make in August. Are there some measurements or something I can do to figure out what's wrong and maybe bend it back? Is this sort of thing fixable by a pretty handy home mechanic on a tight budget?
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Old 06-02-11, 08:07 PM
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Take it to Andy Muzi at the YJ. He has a fork jig in his basement. If it can be fixed, he'll fix it.

Oh crap, I broke 100 posts.

Last edited by grifone37; 06-02-11 at 08:15 PM. Reason: additional realization
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Old 06-02-11, 08:14 PM
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^ "I know I wont have the money to get it fixed until well into summer because I Have to save all of my money for a flight I have to make in August."

Anyway, I took it there at the end of last season. He said that they could fix it, but that they'd want to replace the headset first and then repack it to eliminate that as a problem(which is clearly isn't), and that that would be, like, $30 plus labor. It was like I was talking to a shady auto mechanic. Then I think he said $100 or something to straighten the fork. No thanks. That was the third experience I've had with them in the past couple years, and every one is of that same nature. I won't even go on about the punk/emo kid that was working in the shop loudly talking about all the girls he's gotten with. I Really don't understand why some of you guys are so keen on YJ other than their cheap tubular tires. The other vintage-y type shop I called today, Revolution, said they could fix it for much less, but I'm really looking for a way to do it myself. Again, I don't have any cash to get it fixed for a while. I'll just have to ride another bike if it comes down to it.
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Old 06-02-11, 08:15 PM
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Had the same problem on two of my restorations. There is a special tool for aligning the forks but I just used a couple of threaded rods with washers and nuts fastened to each fork. By allowing just a bit of distance between the ends you can see how badly the fork is bent and out of line and actually cold set it using the screwed on threaded rods as handles. Depending on your dropout holes I think I used 5/16 inch rods from the hardware store with a couple of sets of washers and nuts. Two 6 inch lengths gives enough to handle a slight misalignment of the forks.
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Old 06-02-11, 08:19 PM
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This may be entirely stoopid, but did you try remounting the front wheel to make sure it is fully engaged in the dropouts? Don't ask me how I know about that one..
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Old 06-02-11, 08:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Sculptor7 View Post
Had the same problem on two of my restorations... Two 6 inch lengths gives enough to handle a slight misalignment of the forks.
That sounds like it might be really doable with not too much chance of messing anything up more. Thanks!
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Old 06-02-11, 08:22 PM
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Here's a link to the thread about my problem:
https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...=#post12450906
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Old 06-02-11, 08:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Atavar View Post
Don't ask me how I know about that one..
Haha, I don't know what you're talking about with the wheel not being fully in the dropouts. I've never done that either. I actually even swapped forks with my other lower end bike just to be completely sure. The bike tracked perfectly with the other fork.
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Old 06-02-11, 08:31 PM
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I had the same problem, my 71 Super Sport had a nasty pull to the left. My mechanic said it was bent slightly to one side. You could see the steerer tube was not perfectly aligned with the rest of the fork, although the blades themselves were fine. He put it in a vice and realigned it with a steel bar and some judicious pushing. Took only a few minutes, cost only a few dollars, and it rides great now.

You need to befriend a good mechanic.
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Old 06-02-11, 08:37 PM
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^ I do need to befriend a good mechanic. My problem there is actually that I live in such a major biking town that they go through probably hundreds of bikes a day at the local shops. The mechanics around here are always working, not really having time to talk. The mechanics(which are the people I usually try to deal with) at the place I go to know me by face well and think it's cool that I fix up old road bikes and give me pointers, and I make sure I drop a couple dollars in their tip jar each time, but I think that's about as close as it's gonna get around here without already having been a friend of one of them outside of their work lives. Hopefully one day I'll be a really good mechanic with all sorts of awesome bike tools in my shop, but unfortunately I can't afford the expensive ones just yet.
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Old 06-02-11, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by 3speed View Post
^ I do need to befriend a good mechanic. My problem there is actually that I live in such a major biking town that they go through probably hundreds of bikes a day at the local shops. The mechanics around here are always working, not really having time to talk. The mechanics(which are the people I usually try to deal with) at the place I go to know me by face well and think it's cool that I fix up old road bikes and give me pointers, and I make sure I drop a couple dollars in their tip jar each time, but I think that's about as close as it's gonna get around here without already having been a friend of one of them outside of their work lives. Hopefully one day I'll be a really good mechanic with all sorts of awesome bike tools in my shop, but unfortunately I can't afford the expensive ones just yet.
Is there a local bike co-op? In SoCal there are now a few, of various abilities and with variable tools. One comment on a tool that gets used by more than one guy, flip the fork to double check the centerline alignment.
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Old 06-03-11, 09:39 PM
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
One comment on a tool that gets used by more than one guy, flip the fork to double check the centerline alignment.
Not quite clear what you're referring to on this one. Could you maybe explain a little more?
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Old 06-03-11, 11:00 PM
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I'm sure they're up to their necks right now with moving, but try to stop into DreamBikes with the bike sometime. They don't have a framebuilder-type jig to correct bent blades, but they do have the nice Park tool to check and correct the dropout alignment. If Eric has time, he may give it a try for you, or they may let you give it a shot yourself.
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Old 06-03-11, 11:20 PM
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If you're planning on giving it a go on your own, read this article... https://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-...lignment-ffg-2

~kn
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Old 06-03-11, 11:48 PM
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i can go no hands on anything. anything except a bike with a headset that's too tight. check there first.
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Old 06-04-11, 04:02 AM
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Having straightened both frame sets and forks, I find the fork the more difficult to do of the two.

First, the headset must be in good shape and properly adjusted. An indexed/worn headset or one that is adjusted too tight can and will cause a bike to pull one way or the other. First make sure the head set is OK and set right. Then...

Start measuring. Figure out where the bend is before you start fixing. This will prove difficult without the correct tool, which in this case is a proper fork gauge. Even with the fork gauge and considerable experience, getting a fork just right is a trick, in my opinion.

Here is an article on Frame and Fork Repair. You might want to spend some time there getting a feel for some of what you will need to do.

Hope this is a help.
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Old 06-04-11, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by grifone37 View Post
Take it to Andy Muzi at the YJ. He has a fork jig in his basement. If it can be fixed, he'll fix it.
I had a slightly bent fork off a Paramount and mailed it to YJ - they did a great job, not much $$. Give them a try.
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