Fork 6 ways damaged just by riding on it!

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Fork 6 ways damaged just by riding on it!

Postby wqlava1 » Mon Dec 31, 2012 10:54 pm

Some of you may be interested in the damage that can be caused by 2-3000kms of mostly inner city and bike trail riding.

I had a favourite fixie based on an old Speedwell Strada and did well over 5000km on it. Then I did a deal with #1 son in mid-2011 where I had to give him the Speedwell, change it to flat bars and powder coat it because he didn't like drops or the good original paint scheme. He rode it a bit including the last Melburn Roobaix, then started using it every day for uni and work when he shifted out of home just after mid-year. It came back to me for some "servicing" over Christmas.

Here's a photo before I sadly gave it up:
Image

Here's a photo that I took a couple of days ago when I saw it side on - note the splayed forward fork:
Image

And here are a few of the fork:
Image
Image
ImageImage
Image



Look for:
1. the crack in the bottom of the fork crown
2. the twist of the fork crown
3. the spot where the left fork blade is splitting away from the underside rear of the fork crown (which allowed that blade to stay unbent)
4. the crack between the steerer tube and the top of the fork crown
5. the horizontal crack in the steerer tube about 6mm up from the top of the larger diameter bit the crown race fits on, and
6. last but not least the bend in the right fork blade.

I'm thinking that the reasons come down to weight & usage. Tom was over 110kg last year and is down to just at bit over 100 now, along with a willing approach to riding. Note that he hasn't had any accidents on it. The good thing about it is that it was steel - I'd bet that other materials subjected to the same usage would have failed catastrophically, but this was in the process of gradually separating / tearing the steel in several places.

Whilst I'm disappointed, I'm putting a stronger (but not authentic) fork on that I had around so he can keep (ab)using it. I'm looking out for a 49-52mm drop caliper to replace the front brake, as the old 57-70mm drop dual pivot caliper is too long and road calipers are too short. Any cheap offers?
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by BNA » Mon Dec 31, 2012 10:59 pm

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Re: Fork 6 ways damaged just by riding on it!

Postby il padrone » Mon Dec 31, 2012 10:59 pm

The perils of the urban fixie 110kg wheelstander :? :P


Maybe not the case. Sorry but I have to say, unfortunately, Speedwells never were much more than average road bikes. Your son has probably just exceeded its design limits.

Lucky you picked it up before your son totalled the bike and himself :o
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Re: Fork 6 ways damaged just by riding on it!

Postby wqlava1 » Mon Dec 31, 2012 11:21 pm

il padrone wrote:Lucky you picked it up before your son totalled the bike and himself :o


Exactly. I may bitch & moan, but any bike including the fixies my boys or I ride will have good brakes at _both_ ends, and will be reasonably safely maintained.
Last edited by wqlava1 on Tue Jan 01, 2013 5:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Fork 6 ways damaged just by riding on it!

Postby RonK » Tue Jan 01, 2013 7:31 am

Impossible, it's steel. :)

And lucky indeed. A friend is recovering from serious facial injuries sustained in a high speed crash after the fork on his bike failed. Very nasty.
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Re: Fork 6 ways damaged just by riding on it!

Postby rkelsen » Tue Jan 01, 2013 12:14 pm

It looks like a fairly low grade fork. You could probably replace it with a fork from any 27" bike and nobody would be able to tell.

How rusty was the bike before the powdercoat?
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Re: Fork 6 ways damaged just by riding on it!

Postby brentono » Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:08 pm

Merits of hard wood inside the steerer tube. :idea:
(though it looks like the rust got to it)
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Re: Fork 6 ways damaged just by riding on it!

Postby wqlava1 » Tue Jan 01, 2013 2:23 pm

rkelsen wrote:It looks like a fairly low grade fork. You could probably replace it with a fork from any 27" bike and nobody would be able to tell.

How rusty was the bike before the powdercoat?

It was in pretty good condition when I got it. The first pic above shows it as my first fixie, with good original paint. It was a 10 speed with stem shifters so as il padrone said, nothing special as a frame & fork. The rust in the steerer/crown cracks both on top and bottom, and where the left blade is coming away from the crown lug are all new since I had it powdercoated 15 months ago. At that stage the paint was continuous across what are now the many cracks.

The fork I have got is a bit more modern but looks more robust, which I like. It's not so much what other people think as what will be safe for Tom that is of the highest importance.
Image

Otherwise I'll have that nagging feeling I should be regularly pulling it out of the frame for a crack inspection like the horizontal steerer crack above the crown race, if it is just another low level fork. I'm limited, too, as I need a long steerer. I have a fork from a Repco Olympic 12 which looks the part but takes a recessed short road caliper and would affect the steering geometry with its shorter blades.
Last edited by wqlava1 on Tue Jan 01, 2013 5:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Fork 6 ways damaged just by riding on it!

Postby wqlava1 » Tue Jan 01, 2013 2:42 pm

brentono wrote:Merits of hard wood inside the steerer tube. :idea:
(though it looks like the rust got to it)
Cheers
:mrgreen:
Image

To stop the steerer pulling away from the lugged crown centre hole?

(And I like your choice of French Blue powdercoat, which I have for my Velosmith as well as Tom's fixie.)
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Re: Fork 6 ways damaged just by riding on it!

Postby spirito » Tue Jan 01, 2013 3:18 pm

il padrone wrote: Sorry but I have to say, unfortunately, Speedwells never were much more than average road bikes.


Could you qualify that opinion?

I've seen and ridden plenty of top quality Speedwells. Yes, there's a lot of crappy one's as well but no more or less then most any other aussie brand.
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Re: Fork 6 ways damaged just by riding on it!

Postby wqlava1 » Tue Jan 01, 2013 3:48 pm

spirito wrote:
il padrone wrote: Sorry but I have to say, unfortunately, Speedwells never were much more than average road bikes.


Could you qualify that opinion?

I've seen and ridden plenty of top quality Speedwells. Yes, there's a lot of crappy one's as well but no more or less then most any other aussie brand.

I let that one through to the keeper, but now that you bring it up...

I have never ridden any other Speedwell. This one was light enough and felt like whatever is in the Repco range somewhere above the Traveller and below Olympic 12. I have seen someone on eBay trying go sell the perpetual trophy for the Speedwell Cup from the late 1930s with winners' names screwed on, always asking $6000. There must be some history there.
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Re: Fork 6 ways damaged just by riding on it!

Postby drubie » Tue Jan 01, 2013 5:03 pm

Just buy a $29 uni crown fork from cyclingdeal, fix it and ride it again. They don't look 100% right but they're well enough made and will get you rolling again.
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Re: Fork 6 ways damaged just by riding on it!

Postby Nobody » Tue Jan 01, 2013 6:58 pm

drubie wrote:Just buy a $29 uni crown fork from cyclingdeal, fix it and ride it again. They don't look 100% right but they're well enough made and will get you rolling again.
You didn't read the whole thread, did ya? :P
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Re: Fork 6 ways damaged just by riding on it!

Postby Nobody » Tue Jan 01, 2013 7:01 pm

RonK wrote:A friend is recovering from serious facial injuries sustained in a high speed crash after the fork on his bike failed. Very nasty.
Could you please tell us where the fork broke and what it was made of? Brand, model, etc?

Thanks.
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Re: Fork 6 ways damaged just by riding on it!

Postby RonK » Tue Jan 01, 2013 7:11 pm

Nobody wrote:
RonK wrote:A friend is recovering from serious facial injuries sustained in a high speed crash after the fork on his bike failed. Very nasty.
Could you please tell us where the fork broke and what it was made of? Brand, model, etc?

Thanks.

No I can't - I don't know what he was riding when the incident occurred.
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Re: Fork 6 ways damaged just by riding on it!

Postby Nobody » Tue Jan 01, 2013 7:39 pm

Thanks for the reply.

If you ever find out could you please post it here? I've got a mild interest in fork failures to get an idea what is failing and why. Most of the time they don't end well. Below are some threads I've come across.
viewtopic.php?f=12&t=44230
http://www.sydneycyclist.com/forum/topi ... t%3A431485
viewtopic.php?f=41&t=17766
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Re: Fork 6 ways damaged just by riding on it!

Postby Nobody » Tue Jan 01, 2013 7:41 pm

brentono wrote:Merits of hard wood inside the steerer tube. :idea:
(though it looks like the rust got to it)
Cheers
:mrgreen:
Image
Is there a safety benefit? If so, exactly what is the benefit?
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Re: Fork 6 ways damaged just by riding on it!

Postby il padrone » Tue Jan 01, 2013 8:06 pm

spirito wrote:
il padrone wrote: Sorry but I have to say, unfortunately, Speedwells never were much more than average road bikes.


Could you qualify that opinion?

I've seen and ridden plenty of top quality Speedwells. Yes, there's a lot of crappy one's as well but no more or less then most any other aussie brand.

Every Speedwell I have seen was not a bike I would have chosen to buy for myself. Generally mundane hiten frames, or if cromoly they were just straight gauge, lug work and drop-out quality was average - most often just pressed steel ends. These minor aspects are general indicators of the frame quality, I know.... not definitive, but not features to endear it as a top class frame either.

BTW I am talking about Speedwells from the late 70s through to whenever the brand finally died out. Not trying to downgrade vintage Speedwells from the golden days of Malvern Star/Speedwell.

Just my 2c
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Re: Fork 6 ways damaged just by riding on it!

Postby Nobody » Tue Jan 01, 2013 8:39 pm

wqlava1 wrote:Image
Look for:
4. the crack between the steerer tube and the top of the fork crown.
I've heard this is a common place for forks to fail and the obviously scarey thing is it's in a place where no-one can see.

I have an old '90s cheap Giant Bolder 1" steel MTB fork of unknown history which I pulled out to replace the headset on after it started steering strangely to find what looks to be a crack in the same place as the pic above. I retired the fork. Pics below.
Front:
Image
Back:
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Re: Fork 6 ways damaged just by riding on it!

Postby wqlava1 » Tue Jan 01, 2013 10:38 pm

Nobody wrote:
wqlava1 wrote:Look for:
4. the crack between the steerer tube and the top of the fork crown.
I've heard this is a common place for forks to fail and the obviously scarey thing is it's in a place where no-one can see.

I have an old '90s cheap Giant Bolder 1" steel MTB fork of unknown history which I pulled out to replace the headset on after it started steering strangely to find what looks to be a crack in the same place as the pic above. I retired the fork. Pics below.


Well that's a worry because you are showing a crack in what looks pretty close to the same sort of fork as the unused NOS fork that I have just put in as a "stronger" replacement. I'm not inclined to find another fork (because I am uncertain how to determine that it will be any better), but I will show this thread to Tom, institute occasional inspections, and tell him to bring it back if it has any strange feel to the ride again.
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Re: Fork 6 ways damaged just by riding on it!

Postby wqlava1 » Tue Jan 01, 2013 10:45 pm

drubie wrote:Just buy a $29 uni crown fork from cyclingdeal, fix it and ride it again. They don't look 100% right but they're well enough made and will get you rolling again.


thanks drubie. I looked at the site, and the forks with 1" steerer were $35 and 365mm axle to crown race. The $35 is the same as I will have to pay for a double pivot caliper in medium drop (and my ears first pricked up at the thought of a saving) but the killer is the length which is shorter than what I have now, and more likely to affect handling.
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Re: Fork 6 ways damaged just by riding on it!

Postby il padrone » Tue Jan 01, 2013 10:49 pm

Tom just needs to take account of the fact that it has a 1" steerer tube, not the much stronger 1 1/8" that MTBs have. It should be fine for routine riding for many years, but doing kerb drop-offs, pulling wheel stands or other tricky stuff will significantly shorten the fork's lifespan. For any sort of stunt riding he'd need a much tougher MTB, preferably a jumps bike as he's a big lad.
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Re: Fork 6 ways damaged just by riding on it!

Postby wqlava1 » Tue Jan 01, 2013 10:58 pm

il padrone wrote:
spirito wrote:
il padrone wrote: Sorry but I have to say, unfortunately, Speedwells never were much more than average road bikes.


Could you qualify that opinion?

I've seen and ridden plenty of top quality Speedwells. Yes, there's a lot of crappy one's as well but no more or less then most any other aussie brand.

Every Speedwell I have seen was not a bike I would have chosen to buy for myself. Generally mundane hiten frames, or if cromoly they were just straight gauge, lug work and drop-out quality was average - most often just pressed steel ends. These minor aspects are general indicators of the frame quality, I know.... not definitive, but not features to endear it as a top class frame either.

BTW I am talking about Speedwells from the late 70s through to whenever the brand finally died out. Not trying to downgrade vintage Speedwells from the golden days of Malvern Star/Speedwell.

Just my 2c

This speedwell just has pressed ends.

Look at item 320720081257 on eBay - "1937 The Speedwell Challenge Shield Cycling Trophy" and there is some good history. it sounds like the golden days were before Malvern Star took them over, and that things soon died off for Speedwell after that. Here is a cut & paste, as the item number will change, and this thread might hang around longer. I can't work out how to cut & paste the photos out of eBay though.

"1937 The Speedwell Challenge Shield Cycling Trophy
Wooden trophy shield with silver plated features.
Measures Approx. 60cm x 38cm
Engraved 'Speedwell Challenge Shield' on the ribbon across the top & 'Presented by Bennett & Wood' on the central winged boss under the image of the cyclist.
Engraved with the initials of various Australian Cycling Clubs and the date won on the domed circles, beginning with the 'T.A.C.C 27.3.37' and ending with the 'G.I.A.C.C. 22.2.70'.
Bennett & Wood Ltd manufactured Speedwell Bicycles in Australia from the late 19th century right up into the mid 1960s when the brand was bought by Malvern Star.
The Speedwell Challenge Shield was Australia's pre-eminent Cycling Club road race, like the Tour De France, from the late 1930s to 1970. "
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Re: Fork 6 ways damaged just by riding on it!

Postby drubie » Tue Jan 01, 2013 11:29 pm

Nobody wrote:
drubie wrote:Just buy a $29 uni crown fork from cyclingdeal, fix it and ride it again. They don't look 100% right but they're well enough made and will get you rolling again.
You didn't read the whole thread, did ya? :P

Oh hell no. Did I miss something? :lol:
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Re: Fork 6 ways damaged just by riding on it!

Postby drubie » Tue Jan 01, 2013 11:38 pm

wqlava1 wrote:
drubie wrote:Just buy a $29 uni crown fork from cyclingdeal, fix it and ride it again. They don't look 100% right but they're well enough made and will get you rolling again.


... but the killer is the length which is shorter than what I have now, and more likely to affect handling.


Its not quite that simple (fork rake also has an effect) but honestly in a blind test you'd never tell the difference. They are a good, cheap solution if you can't find another verge find frame. Otherwise, measure the steerer length on the existing fork and post a wanted ad. I save the forks if salvageable from borked frames and I'm sure others do too.
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Re: Fork 6 ways damaged just by riding on it!

Postby Nobody » Wed Jan 02, 2013 7:33 am

drubie wrote:
Nobody wrote:
drubie wrote:Just buy a $29 uni crown fork from cyclingdeal, fix it and ride it again. They don't look 100% right but they're well enough made and will get you rolling again.
You didn't read the whole thread, did ya? :P

Oh hell no. Did I miss something? :lol:
Just the bit when he said he'd already bought a new fork. Even put a big pic up. :D
viewtopic.php?f=34&t=59956#p900734
Last edited by Nobody on Wed Jan 02, 2013 8:03 am, edited 2 times in total.
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