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Bent steer tube, repairable?

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Bent steer tube, repairable?

Old 04-07-20, 10:23 AM
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romperrr 
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Bent steer tube, repairable?

Hello fellow BF members, I'm considering buying a frame that comes with this bent fork. The frame looks undamaged and it comes with a less desirable, but functional fork. I'm seeking your learned input on how repairable this original fork would be and expected cost? I understand the steer tube would have to be replaced and the fork repainted. I'd probably repaint the whole frame if I paint the fork. Thanks for your feedback!



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Old 04-07-20, 10:56 AM
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Is the "arsenal of democracy" Detroit?

If so, I would send an email to Franklin Frames and ask them what it would cost. I see nothing wrong with replacing a steerer, but you might decide that it's not worth it.
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Old 04-07-20, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
Is the "arsenal of democracy" Detroit?

If so, I would send an email to Franklin Frames and ask them what it would cost. I see nothing wrong with replacing a steerer, but you might decide that it's not worth it.
Detroit is correct, nice catch . Franklin Frames in Newark, OH? I'll send them an email, thanks!
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Old 04-07-20, 11:35 AM
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That fork didn't bend itself. Crash. Inspect the head tube extremely carefully for cracks etc. You may have real headset problems with installing new cups into the head tube.
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Old 04-07-20, 01:14 PM
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I assume the cantilever bosses are on the front of the fork? If they are then the fork is bent forward, I am no expert but I cannot see how this might have happened in a crash.

Can we have a picture of the complete fork? are they straight blades?
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Old 04-07-20, 01:31 PM
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Thanks for everyone's replies thus far. See below for more pictures. Was definitely in a crash. Franklin Frames looks like they're charge about $140 for steer tube replacement and alignment, which sounds reasonable.


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Old 04-07-20, 07:15 PM
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I knew they wouldn't charge enough, but they do good work. And their paint jobs look nice too.
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Old 04-08-20, 05:32 PM
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Originally Posted by mikeread View Post
<snip> the fork is bent forward, I am no expert but I cannot see how this might have happened in a crash.
Forks can be bent forward from landing a dropoff.

With most frames and forks, the steerer is at least a little stronger than the TT & DT. Even the blades are usually weaker than the steerer, and they don't look bent either So I might tend to suspect an abnormally weak steerer, like if they used a longer steerer and shortened it from the bottom, cutting the butt off.

Whether there's a butt can be fairly easily determined by measuring the inside diameter at the bottom, as long as there aren't any big burrs or other "features" preventing a good measurement. Knowing how far up the butt extends (bad wording!) is crucial though, and that's somewhat complicated to measure non-destructively after it's bent. And mostly a moot point now. But if you want to know, it wouldn't be too hard to measure after cutting up the old steerer.

Did Franklin say how they were going to remove the old steerer? It can be melted out or machined out. Both have advantages but I prefer machining because it's done cold, and it eliminates the risk that the original joint was pinned. If you see a pin you can drill it out, but if they pinned it and ground the pin flush, it can be hard to find. The worst is when it was tack-welded before brazing -- really hard to melt those out!

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Old 04-08-20, 05:56 PM
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The builder cutting off the butted end is a good guess. Having it bent forward probably is better than bent back, as far as the frame goes.
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Old 04-09-20, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by bulgie View Post
Did Franklin say how they were going to remove the old steerer? It can be melted out or machined out. Both have advantages but I prefer machining because it's done cold, and it eliminates the risk that the original joint was pinned. If you see a pin you can drill it out, but if they pinned it and ground the pin flush, it can be hard to find. The worst is when it was tack-welded before brazing -- really hard to melt those out!
Look inside the steer tube to see if a pin is evident. If you see one, try to find the corresponding spot on the outside where the pin was trimmed/ground flush. That's where you drill.

Only the most OCD frame builder would take the trouble to trim the pin inside of the steer tube.
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Old 04-09-20, 08:17 PM
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[QUOTE=JohnDThompson;21409694]Look inside the steer tube to see if a pin is evident. If you see one, try to find the corresponding spot on the outside where the pin was trimmed/ground flush. That's where you drill.

Only the most OCD frame builder would take the trouble to trim the pin inside of the steer tube.[/QUOTE

Of which I have been guilty of sometimes. When I pin a steerer/crown I either choose the crown race shoulder or the brake hole (before the hole is drilled. Sometimes I'll trim the inside pin's end. I guess a builder with an eye for a repair would want the pin's presence to be obvious before removing paint. But one way to remove the steerer from the crown is to take a lot of time to grind out the steerer, one less heat cycle. Andy (who has tried a lot of different methods but doesn't build enough to settle on just one).
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Old 04-10-20, 05:01 AM
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Sticking your finger into a tube only to have it stabbed by a nail is how you know you're alive. I have actually done it more than once on the same bike, because I figure I can get my finger around the nail if I'm careful
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Old 04-10-20, 09:38 PM
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I agree that pain is natures way of saying you're still alive. Today it was my upper arm's skin getting pinched between a zip tie end and the brake cable casing as I was oiling the cable. I think it is the first time that happened. My coworker said at least I can still experience new things These days this kind of pain is better then other kinds... Andy
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Old 04-18-22, 01:32 PM
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Late entry, but I had a crackup two weeks ago on a 45year old Super Vitus 971 Mercier. Vitus 971 is known to produce some of the lightest bikes from the late 70s, it was also know to easily dent. It wasn't until I had a mishap that the thin-walled steer tube chose to bend in between the upper and lower headset bearings. The fork crown and fork blades were undamaged. On inspection, cold setting or straightening the steer tube was not desirable particularly since this appears to be the weak link in the first place. Instead I have cut off the bent steerer, and in the process of boring out the remains with the help of a local machine shop. I've acquired an NOS steer tube of Columbus SL and will braze that back to the original crown and fork blades. It would probably be less trouble and less expensive to just locate a replacement fork, however this fork is a match to the original frame and I am determined to keep them together.

Super Vitus steer tube failed due to crash

Going to repair it... just because I like the total package.
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