Take the 2-minute tour ×
Bicycles Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people who build and repair bicycles, people who train cycling, or commute on bicycles. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I'm putting together a bicycle on a budget from a frame I was given and various parts from a bike with a broken frame. The only part of any expense that I really need is the fork, and I want to get this via an auction (likely Yahoo auction Japan).

The frame itself is a women's Scott Tacana. Something like this:

enter image description here

I'm not necessarily looking for shocks, I really just want something cheap that fits. Are there different diameters, tube lengths etc, that I need to be aware of?

share|improve this question
add comment

3 Answers

up vote 9 down vote accepted

There are only a few measurements you need to be aware of when purchasing a new fork, particularly if you're avoiding suspension. If you don't need suspension, don't get it - it will only add cost and complexity, and a cheap suspension fork will be much worse than a rigid fork.

The basic measurements you need to be aware of are:

  1. Headset type. Not truly a measurement, but there are two types of headsets - threaded and threadless. The photo you show is of a bike with a threadless headset; the fork's steerer tube will be a smooth, unthreaded tube and the headset is tensioned with a bolt from the top and the clamping action of the stem.
  2. Steerer tube diameter. Also two main options, 1" (25.4mm) and 1 1/8" (28.6mm, also known as 1.125" or 9/8"). Nearly all threadless headsets use 1 1/8" steerers. You can verify that the frame you have is for that size by measuring the inside of the head tube, it should be 34mm. If you already have a headset installed, you can verify that the inner diameter of that is 28.6mm.
  3. Steerer tube length. If you are purchasing a new (or "uncut") fork this is extremely unlikely to be an issue, but on a used fork you'll need to check. The steerer tube needs to be long enough to extend above the top of the headset with room for the stem to clamp fully. Too short and it can't be used with that frame. Too long isn't an issue, since you can easily use spacers and/or cut it to length. If you measure your stem clamp, your headset, and the length of your head tube and add a few mm for a safe margin you've got a bare minimum steerer length you'll need.
  4. Wheel size and brake type. The bike in the picture has 26" (559) wheels and is designed for cantilever or v-brakes. The position of those brake mounts is specific to the wheel diameter, so you'll want to make sure it's for the right size wheels. If you switch to disc brakes, you can omit this concern, but not entirely, because of...
  5. Axle-to-crown length. This is the distance from the center of the axle to the top of the fork crown, just below where the steerer tube starts. The frame's geometry was designed around a certain distance here, and changing it dramatically will alter the handling by increasing or decreasing the angles relative to the ground. For mountain bike forks this information is more difficult to come by than for road bike forks, but if your bicycle originally had a suspension fork the rule of thumb for rigid is to find a fork that is "suspension corrected" for the amount of travel your bike originally sold with. In the case of the Scott Tocana it looks like most models shipped with an 80mm suspension fork, so an 80mm suspension-corrected rigid fork should keep things normal.

Basically, given the bike you've shown, if you look for an '26-inch fork, 80mm suspension corrected, 1 1/8" uncut steerer, v-brake posts' you will probably find something suitable.

share|improve this answer
    
A very exhausting answer, but I don't agree with "cheap suspension fork will be much worse than a rigid fork". It used to be true 5 years ago, but a week ago I bought SR Suntour XCR LO for something like 3-4x times the price of rigid fork. This fork is 30mm upper tubes, aluminium crown, magnesium lower legs, variable oil damper with lock-out and adjustable pre-load. 5 years ago this price wouldn't buy you any of those features. –  dhill Aug 16 '11 at 19:50
1  
@dhill By "cheap" I was referring to suspension forks in the same price range as a rigid fork, not triple the price. eBay is lousy with department store bike suspension forks. I don't disagree that the low end has improved dramatically, but there is still a fairly sharp cutoff. –  lantius Aug 16 '11 at 20:15
add comment

Most wholesalers carry generic 1 1/8" steerer forks with bosses for 'V' brakes and no suspension for 26" wheel. Your LBS will be able to get one in for you, pay £30 maximum for that in the UK and expect it in for you to collect in a week. (Most shops don't carry such items, just posh forks).

You will need to cut the fork down, this is simple enough and gives you the option to stack up washers on the headset for the bars to be at the height you want.

Typically replacement forks are painted black or chrome plated. Black paint will probably last better than chrome.

For what it is worth I would avoid a second hand fork. You don't want to find out that it has crash damage.

If you do things through your LBS then you are in a better position if you need help getting that lower bearing race fitted.

Avoid suspension unless you are willing to pay real money. Forks with damping etc are really horrible bits of engineering even though they are seemingly popular.

share|improve this answer
add comment

I have some advise for you... Dont buying a cheap fork.. You will feel it the different cheap fork and expensive fork... My first bike using RST fork and i used it for MTB... It's so terrible the rebound is not good... Now my bike using roxshox revelation... It's so different the rebound so smooth...

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.