Vintage, yesteryear and retro biking
16 posts • Page 1 of 1
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
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.
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.
Quite common. Wood, yes. Also in the sixties and seventies in Australia.
First reply, and the most obvious is the best.
Lone Rider- I rode on the long, dark road... before I danced under the lights.
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.
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?)
16 posts • Page 1 of 1
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