MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

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MY "TEN SPEEDS"  

FRAME SET PREARATION

INSPECTING A FRAME SET

FRONT FORK INSPECTION

REAR DROPS INSPECTION

STRINGING A FRAME SET

CENTERING THE STAYS

SIMPLE TEST - STRAIGHT

TEST RIDING - STRAIGHT

WORD OF CAUTION!

 

 

 

FRONT FORKS INSPECTION

The simplest check for the front fork is to observe it with the wheel installed.  If the wheel rim splits the distance between the fork blades equally, then there is a good chance that the forks are OK.  If the wheel rim is closer to one blade than it is to the other, then either the wheel is bent or the fork blades are.

Eliminate the possibility of a bent wheel in two ways.  Slowly rotate the wheel.  Watch to see if the distance between the blades change.  If so, the wheel is out of true, at the very least, and will not be a very useful tool for determining fork integrity.  If the wheel is reasonably true, remove the front wheel, turn it around in the drops and check the rim/blade relationships again.  If there is no difference in the blade to wheel relationship, then the wheel can be a good gauge for determining fork blade geometric integrity.  However, if the distance changes, it means that the wheel is out of Dish (not laced in line with the center line of the hub) and will not offer a good reading, pertaining to fork integrity.

Look at the bicycle from the side, studying the line of the head tube and comparing it to the line of the fork blades.  Do these two critical lines line up?  If they appear to be visually off, the steering stem of the fork set is likely bent and probably bent backward.  This, in my book is a serious issue and not to be considered a safe repair.  If the steering stem is bent, the forks are beyond my ability to repair and would warrant a true professional's attention.  Costly!

Again, looking from the side of the bicycle, consider if the fork blades appear to line up with each other.  This is not as easy to do as it sounds because of the curve of the blades.  In the case of the blue Sekine, the blades do run parallel to one another and the bicycle rides like a charm.  The Mercier, however, shows considerable misalignment and it too rode like a charm.  Additionally, the line of the head tube does not match the line of the forks.  A clue that suggests that not only are the blades bent, but so too is the steering stem.

If the fork blades are bent, and the steering stem is bent and the wheel has been replaced, is it safe to assume that the main tubes of the frame set have suffered damage also.  In my opinion, you bet it is.  I have little or no intention of trying to straighten out the main tubes of the Mercier.  That is a task best left to the professionals who have both the experience and resources to do the job correctly.  What that means is get out your wallet and start spending.

In the case of the Mercier, several factory came together to create an acceptable ride but the forks were still bent.  I am not sure why this was the case since and I just hung the old French bike back on a hook with intentions of studying it further when I had time to do so. I will install another set of forks that I know to be true and see how the bike looks and rides.  But my bet is that the frame set itself must be damaged and not worth repair at this time.

If the forks do check out reasonably well, it is time to look to the second most abused area on a vintage road bicycle's frame.  The rear drop-outs where the rear wheel attaches to the frame set.

NEXT - REAR DROPS INSPECTION

 

 

 

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