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Opinions about frames without fork

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Opinions about frames without fork

Old 01-24-22, 01:14 PM
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I've done it once on a frame-up Motobécane build, and it turned out great.

But I did have a lot of help from the seller. He found me a perfect black/chrome Ishiwata fork, maybe a week after my purchase. I trusted him and he really came through. I ended up buying three bikes from him.

I bought another bike, a Miyata 912, from its original owner with a replacement Tange fork, and it's still in my lineup. I absolutely love it. He replaced/upgraded the original hi-ten fork right off the bat, though.

With any used bike purchase, always run your hand over the tubes to ensure that no bulges are felt, especially in the front end. I also look for a perfect looking headset stack height.
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Old 01-24-22, 02:53 PM
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The main problem would be ensuring that you can find a fork to fit. There are a bunch of headset standards and it might be tough to find a fork that simultaneously fits your headset, frame and stem. IT is likely there will be some sort of workaround, but I wouldn't drop any $$ on a frame without being certain I can make it work.
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Old 01-25-22, 04:47 AM
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Originally Posted by randyjawa View Post
I am on year three searching for the correct fork for this early sixties Torpado Professional "as found" with 27" wheels and after market fork...!
I feel for ya, Randyjawa. I've been 'keeping an eye out' for a mid-70s Peugeot fork for my 1975 PX 60 for around 14 years now. It's a beautiful, virtually unmarked frame with decals in great condition... with a Tange fork. Works fine and I've toured around Japan on it but I would love to have the proper fork...

Not the most recent photo but you get the idea. (Note to self: must take photos...)

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Old 01-25-22, 02:13 PM
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I bought a nice Dave Kirk built CSI with a F1 carbon fork. I just had a new fork built locally with a pretty decent color match. Looks pretty! Why? I have an underlying distrust of used CF forks, so in this case a frame was all I really wanted.

Bikes and stuff

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Old 01-25-22, 02:27 PM
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Forks are easier to ship than bikes. If folks part out a bike, the fork might be sold and the frame sold locally and cheap. And so it goes--someone looking for a fork.
I don't do: disks, tubeless, e-shifting, or bead head nymphs.
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Old 01-25-22, 02:48 PM
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For years I owned an early Lambert (threaded bottom bracket) with an aftermarket fork. Given the reputation of the Death Fork, that was the only non-matching pair I was ever comfortable buying. Over the years I had it, I slowly replaced all the aftermarket components with Lambert originals - and, bit by bit, slowly watched the performance of a really good bike degrade. By the time I sold it (three years ago) it was back to original except for the rear derailleur, which I figured I'd never find, and if I did would refuse to put on the bike. I remember them from when Lambert's were new. As pictured is the way I originally bought it, and put it on the road.


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Old 01-25-22, 02:52 PM
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Depends what you want to do with the bike. Some bikes in the 90's will benefit from a better fork, especially the older carbon forks like Kestrel.
Classic steel bikes were, I want to think, designed with the fork in mind, and the fork designed for the frame, so I'd hesitate on those.
Many Colnago owners swap out for a Precisa, maybe for performance, maybe for looks, not sure.
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Old 01-25-22, 03:50 PM
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I was wondering about this; there's a Miyata TripleCross frame, no fork, on my local CL. It looks rough, but possibly worth saving. Not my jam, but maybe someone else’s.

Last edited by Korina; 01-25-22 at 08:34 PM.
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Old 01-25-22, 04:57 PM
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Count me among those who won’t buy without the fork. Too many variables in fitting it...

Not as worried about accidents.

Almost took the plunge on a Rossin, but it would have cost an extra $300 for the fork, which made it a few hundred more than buying a similar frame full out.

Plus matching pantographing and such.
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Old 01-29-22, 12:08 AM
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The idea that a fork was designed to match a frame, while accurate, is also overblown.
Fork rake just isn't a big deal as replacement forks come in multiple common rakes.
And A-C length is certainly unique depending on the bike's intended use, but even that has some general ranges that largely make it a non-issue. 365-377mm A-C forks are still readily available in 1" steerer..

To each their own and all though.
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Old 01-29-22, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by iab View Post
At the very least, if you want the matching fork in the right size, it will be hard to find and wind up costing as much as the "cheap" frame. Don't ask how I know.
Not surprising! I bet a specific ancient fork of your make and frame design, in decent condition, is more rare than the hens' tooth vintage frames that you show! Plus, it means somebody else was dumb enough to let his/her fork get separated from his/her matching frame.

OTOH, in a crash one could end up with nasty creased main tubes and a decently well-surviving fork, so ....

I engaged in fork experimentation on my 1984 Trek 610. First I thought the steering was unstable when climbing at low speed, so I though more trail would be the solution. Off to the frame shop, cold-set it backwards about 10 mm, and rode. A sport-tourer was transformed into having the steering of more of a road racer (59 mm trail), but still not so good in a slow climb. All my climbs are slow climbs BTW. I think the improvement was mainly due to the whole frame having been aligned very precisely, especially in terms of coplanarity, and I had a brand-new Campy headset installed. Natural fork response was as good as it can be. I also inherited a problem of toe-wheel interference even without the fender I now wanted to add. Frame shop #1 did not want to cold set my fork blades again, he was concerned about weakening the CrMo, possibly 531 blades.

I discovered a (now-closed) local shop, Ypsilanti Cycles, where the owner has a frame building background and he was willing to design and build a low-trail high-offset for for me with the ride height equalized (head tube angle as specified by Trek). He could not paint it properly, but he did rattle-can it pretty darn well! Now I have offset about 65 mm, 73 head angle, and trail about 38 mm. The for blades are pretty long and I handled the resulting brake reach with a Mafac Racer, about 70 mm. But to design that fork was essentially to measure up the bike, model it in BikeCad, then model a new fork which made my BICYCLE have desirable properties, which we discussed, along with my riding preferences and habits. The bike ever since has climbed in a straight line way better than in the past.

I think the design of the custom fork was nearly as much work as designing a custom bike!

For me: Don't lose your fork!
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