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Is THIS normal for road forks?(11 posts)

Is THIS normal for road forks?ohio
Feb 7, 2002 8:08 AM
When braking on rough roads (e.g. coming up to stop signs on my commute in Boston), I can feel my front end flexing all over the place. It feels like trying to wrestle an angry dog to the ground. Sometimes I'm worried the fork might just snap off.

This is my first and only road bike so I have nothing to compare it to... but is this normal? The bike is 80's lugged columbus SL, with a matching steel fork (SL also?) fork. Lugs I think are Cinelli but I have no idea. There's no noticeable damage or paint/chrome cracking around any of the lugs, and the headset is tight. I weight about 160 lbs with all my junk in my backpack. Do road forks just flex a lot?
re: Is THIS normal for road forks?mixinbeatz
Feb 7, 2002 8:13 AM
Is your front wheel true??? I had the same problem and I trued my front wheel and replaced the brake pads(that were worn a little uneven) and the problem went away. If you are not getting any flex when you hold your front wheel with your feet and try to flex the stem back and forth, look into your brakes and wheel. Also make sure that your headset is not too tight. This may also cause problems. Good luck.
Agree. Check wheelAFred
Feb 7, 2002 8:36 AM
I had a similar problem with a steel fork a few years back. It turned out that my front wheel was out of true/round and the hub was too loose. You might want to check the wheel closely. Good luck.
Check/replace brake pads is a good idea. -NMTig
Feb 7, 2002 9:20 AM
nope...not normal (nm)ColnagoFE
Feb 7, 2002 8:19 AM
re: Is THIS normal for road forks?xxl
Feb 7, 2002 8:22 AM
Not to worry about your fork snapping off; SL steel is an excellent steel from "back in the day," and could handle a rider twice your size. Even when it breaks, it's not a sudden snap; you'd have plenty of warning.

Like the other guy said, check your headset. It sounds like it might be loose, and shimmying when you hit the brakes. Check the wheels, too, especially if this also happens when you're going downhill. If your bike tracks fine on level ground, the frame is fine.
Also- check the head set, it may be loose.xx
Feb 7, 2002 8:40 AM
re: Is THIS normal for road forks?RichC
Feb 7, 2002 11:15 AM
Is this a new bike/frame? I had exactly the same problem on my first couple of rides on a new bike that I had built up (where the bike shop had assembled the fork and headset). Turns out the muppets in the shop had put the top race from the headset on the bottom and vice-versa. Swapped them round and hey presto no problems.
Not normalNessism
Feb 7, 2002 2:02 PM
By all means check to see if your brake pads are glazed over. Glazed brake pads on a smooth anodized rim often lead to chattering of the front end. And if the fork is on the soft side, the chattering can be quite anoying if not dangerous.

Feb 8, 2002 7:58 AM
I think this is it. the headset is tight and new, the wheels are true, and the hub bearings are properly adjusted. It tracks perfectly straight no-hands even on rough roads... but I'm using open 4 CD's and the pads have gummed them up a bit. I was briefly using a set of araya tubulars before that with the anodizing worn off and I don't remember noticing that feeling as much...

So I'll scotchbrite tonight, and if that doesn't work, I guess I'll just have to resign myself to the fact that hitting craters under heavy braking is going to cause some flex...
Brakes chatter?guido
Feb 8, 2002 9:05 PM
After a rain my front brakes grab and slip staccato on the front wheel. the rims are dirty with road grease. Very disconcerting. So I clean the rims really good and wipe the pads with emery cloth. Then the brakes don't grab and everything's smooth.