Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Please pass me a fork...

This is semi related to the previous post about my bike wreck. When I got my heap of bike home that day, upon closer inspection with a set of Park Fork Alignment tools I borrowed from my friend John, I determined without a doubt that my fork was bent. The alignment tools, which attach to the dropouts and allow the user to observed all axis of alignment relative to the fork tips. As such, however, it cannot define the exact location of a misalignment. Well, at least in this case, it could not since the misalignment is represented as the left dropout a few millimeters behind the right...or maybe it's visa-versa. Judging by the buckle at the top of the left blade near the crown and the corresponding crack in the clear coat on the front side of the blade opposite the buckle, it's pretty obvious which blade is bent and where the bend is located.
So the fork did it's job. It took the impact and failed...but it did save the frame. A 'stronger' fork may have transferred the impact to the frame where the headtube would deflect and the result would be a buckle on the underside of both the top tube and the down tube. That would have been $1250 to replace the frame rather than $200 to replace the fork!
There are two options here. The fork is cro-moly steel and can certainly be straighted and ridden but knowing that a bend with a buckle is serious and given that the fork is a major structural member of a frameset, I elected to call Rivendell and order a new fork.
Who answered the phone but Grant Peterson!
"Rivendell Bicycles, this is Grant."
"Grant Peterson??"
So am I a dork or is it pretty cool that the owner of a world renound company and a legend in his own time answers the phone to take an order? I think it's pretty cool even though it is probably not all that uncommon given any cottage industry.
But I did have Grant Pertersons and I gave him some ideas for a new line of 650B wheeled freeride bikes....
No, I ordered a new fork which may be two weeks out.
In the mean time, I relaced my back wheel. I wanted to reuse the spokes so, without doing any research for options, I am sort of locked into using Mavic Open Pros again. Aside from being orageously expensive, these are excellent rims. They are pretty light at somewhere near 400 grams and are double eyeleted which I really like. I also like the welded seam and machined sidewalls. Finally, I got silver rims to rpelace the dark anodized Open Pros becasue I think the silver rims look better on a classic style bike like the Rambouillet.
Since I am reusing spokes and hubs, I am married to the lacing patterns I had on the existing wheels. That is, radially laced on the front wheel and 3-cross / radial on the back wheel. After lacing the and tensioning the back wheel, I now wish I sprung for new spokes and at least built the back wheel 3-cross on both sides.


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