question on corks

Vintage, yesteryear and retro biking

question on corks

Postby silverlight » Fri Nov 30, 2012 10:52 am

Hi
I am curious why are there corks placed into the fork steerer from the underside through the brake pin,
I have seen this a few times on italian bikes and cant see what the reason behind this is.
The image below is not my own bike but a image from the web

Image

Anyone know?
thanks
SL
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by BNA » Fri Nov 30, 2012 10:57 am

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Re: question on corks

Postby familyguy » Fri Nov 30, 2012 10:57 am

Prevent water ingress? Just a guess, uneducated at that.

Jim
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Re: question on corks

Postby Torana68 » Fri Nov 30, 2012 11:05 am

if it were an Italian rally car Id say its to hide the nitrous bottle, other than that maybe just to be tidy or keep mud and spiders out?
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Re: question on corks

Postby WyvernRH » Fri Nov 30, 2012 12:07 pm

Might not be a cork, it was not an uncommon practice a while back on French (and some Dutch) bikes to insert a long rod of hard wood inside the steerer tube. This was as a 'failsafe' in case the steerer tube failed or to 'stiffen' the steerer, I got a couple of explanations :) This seemed to be mainly done by the Audax/Hard Tourist crowd but I was told it was also common for 'racers' to do this back in the 50's.
Cheers
Richard
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Re: question on corks

Postby Clydesdale Scot » Fri Nov 30, 2012 3:19 pm

a few theories here
Philip
ˈfiləp/ a movement made by bending the last joint of a finger against the thumb and suddenly releasing it
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Re: question on corks

Postby WyvernRH » Fri Nov 30, 2012 4:02 pm

Clydesdale Scot wrote:a few theories here


That's quite an interesting discussion. I have been told the 'failsafe' story more often than not by old Frenchmen and Dutchmen in the bars over a drink when asking why this is so. I was told that main reason for the idea was that it was an insurance against breakages when descending long rough hill roads at speed. Hearsay, obviously but that is what they said.
Jobst Brandt's comment is unusual...It is no urban legend, it happened a lot, and European backroads were crap in the 50's. Look at old racing photos. I removed an example of these wooden rods from the steerer of my RIH in Noordwijk, (just to see what the hell it was as I hadn't seen one before). It was a light interference fit and the wood had been greased before it had been tapped in, also had a hole through the wood to take the brake bolt. It was made of a good quality hardwood like oak, elm or the like. Wasn't going to soak up water or let water into the wood/steel interface! After being told what it was I put it back. Didn't seem to make any difference to the ride tho'.
I have a suspicion it was more of a fashion thing for most people really, like only taping the bottom half of drop handlebars, soldering spokes or other affectations of the racing crowd at the time.
Cheers
Richard
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Re: question on corks

Postby munga » Fri Nov 30, 2012 5:51 pm

you had to mention soldered spokes.. 8)
pitty43 wrote:Thanks all for your help. Better change my Gumtree add now.

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Re: question on corks

Postby silverlight » Sat Dec 01, 2012 6:02 pm

Thanks everyone,
Here i was thinking some kid did it for fun,
Ive only ever seen it on 2 bikes i have/had, one was an early 40's and the other an italian 1990's.

SL
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Re: question on corks

Postby brentono » Mon Dec 03, 2012 9:18 am

SL
Quite common. Wood, yes. Also in the sixties and seventies in Australia.
First reply, and the most obvious is the best.
"Urban Legend" :lol:
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Re: question on corks

Postby bicyclepassion » Tue Dec 04, 2012 9:18 am

So are we going to talk about the merits of tieing and soldering spokes?
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Re: question on corks

Postby brentono » Tue Dec 04, 2012 9:35 am

What about corks in the top of seatposts :?:
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Re: question on corks

Postby bicyclepassion » Tue Dec 04, 2012 9:51 am

What about the corks in the bottom of seat posts, with spare spokes stuck in them?
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Re: question on corks

Postby brentono » Tue Dec 04, 2012 12:41 pm

What about cork bicycle helmets? ... let's talk about helmets :wink:
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Re: question on corks

Postby tedsbikes » Sun Dec 16, 2012 9:13 am

New wooden inserts for forks are still available - see http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/251199738765 ... 1438.l2649

And as for corks in seat tubes, Warren, they trap moisture and can cause rusting.

Ted
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Re: question on corks

Postby ironhanglider » Sun Dec 16, 2012 5:49 pm

In the 50's there were probably enough old bike riders around who could remember forks breaking and probably a few of the old bikes still being ridden.

The famous story of Eugene Christophe losing the Tour when he broke his forks on the Tourmalet and getting penalised for letting a boy operate the bellows of the forge as he fixed them dates from 1913. The same bloke also managed to break forks in the 1919 Tour and the 1922 Tour. I suspect that he might be related to Toolonglegs.

Based on that record it's no surprise that people considered riding with a rod up the steerer tube, regardless of the merits of the idea. Early weight weenies might have cut the rod short just to convince their dads that they did have it. (Yes dad I've got my steerer tube reinforced - see?)

Cheers,

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Re: question on corks

Postby Clydesdale Scot » Wed Jan 02, 2013 6:35 am

and some for sale
Image
Philip
ˈfiləp/ a movement made by bending the last joint of a finger against the thumb and suddenly releasing it
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