where can I find a steel front suspension fork?

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ClintBX   1 kW

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where can I find a steel front suspension fork?

Post by ClintBX » Nov 11 2019 3:51am

Hi ESFMs,

I'm in the process of restoring my previous frame. This frame served me well before I swapped over to another frame and I want to restore it and set it up so that I have 2 glorious beasts to choose from on a given day.

Just a few months prior to finishing my current ride, it did suffer a fork failure. The steerer broke right at top of the crown. So now I'm searching for a new suspension fork.

I need it to be totally steel because of the loads I put on it AND it needs to be a 1 1/8" steerer. Threaded is preferable but I'm open to converting to a threadless.

I've been looking for some time for a fork that fits my needs but can't find this combination of specs anywhere. I even bought the wrong fork on eBay from some guy that had the description stating it to be steel... However, turns out that the lowers are aluminium.

Does this fork exist anymore? Can somebody recommend me a fork that meets my requirements? Or where to look for this?

In addition, I also plan to paint strip the entire frame and repaint it.(including the fork this time) And repainting aluminium isn't a path I want to venture down.

Clinton

Balmorhea   100 W

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Re: where can I find a steel front suspension fork?

Post by Balmorhea » Nov 11 2019 4:09am

The only all-steel suspension forks I've seen have been department store garbage. Squashed-tube dropouts, nasty welded crown miters, etc. I wouldn't trust them to be nearly as strong as a normal mostly-aluminum suspension fork, plus they have no damping in them at all.

Look for yourself at what's out there. The guys riding hardest and making the biggest jumps use forks that have aluminum stanchions and steer tubes, and either aluminum or magnesium sliders. None of them use steel forks. The only suspension forks that are entirely steel are on super cheap "mountain bikes" that come with stickers warning that they're not for off-road use.

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Re: where can I find a steel front suspension fork?

Post by Tommm » Nov 11 2019 4:16am

If you want the strongest 1 1/8 fork then a triple clamp (dual crown) is what you are looking for.

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dogman dan   100 GW

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Re: where can I find a steel front suspension fork?

Post by dogman dan » Nov 11 2019 7:54am

Not sure what you mean by the loads you put on it. Please elaborate what you need. I browsed all your past posts, and see that you use your bike hard enough to break stuff. But saw nothing that seemed likely to have a picture of the broken bike, or why you need so much strength.

Steel forks are only on cheap ass bikes, but they do come in triple clamp style sometimes. That should have a bit more strength at the steer tube that way.

However, this type fork is threaded on the steer, so you need a specific length to use it on your bike. Happy hunting.

I would say a typical 1 1/8 straight tube alloy fork that cost over 800 bucks new would be much stronger than the steel pogo stick. Cheap alloy forks like zoom only slightly better than steel, and might be weaker at the crown.

Aluminum paints just as easy as steel. Scuff the old paint, prime if needed to fill chips, sand flat, and spray it.

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Re: where can I find a steel front suspension fork?

Post by Ianhill » Nov 11 2019 10:16am

Can't add any advice that's not been said, but I got a crappy fork on my bike and got a spare fat fork so swapped them over and dropped a 150mm hub and rim combo on there and it rides decent lightweight and a bit of forgiveness on the front looks wierd mind normal hardtail with a fatty front end does well down the slopes mind excellent grip levels and the rear slides out with lock of the brake perfect really just looks odd.

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Re: where can I find a steel front suspension fork?

Post by amberwolf » Nov 11 2019 11:31pm

ClintBX wrote:
Nov 11 2019 3:51am
Just a few months prior to finishing my current ride, it did suffer a fork failure. The steerer broke right at top of the crown. So now I'm searching for a new suspension fork.

I need it to be totally steel because of the loads I put on it AND it needs to be a 1 1/8" steerer.
You don't need a steel fork, you just need a fork with a clamp above the headtube as well as below, with the stanchions that tall, too. Then you're not going to break the crown...you might break the headtube off the bike itself....

https://www.google.com/search?q=double+ ... k&tbm=isch

I expect that the best suspension forks you can get for bikes are all made this way.

The only steel bicycle suspension forks I've ever seen or had were garbage, and no less likely to break off than aluminum.

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Re: where can I find a steel front suspension fork?

Post by Overclocker » Nov 12 2019 1:33am

Image

well even aluminum dual-crown forks eventually fail due to metal fatigue. usually at the stanchion just below the lower crown. so i opted for this rockshox domain w/ steel stanchions

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Re: where can I find a steel front suspension fork?

Post by ClintBX » Nov 12 2019 2:59am

Okay, let me elaborate a bit. Even though I suffered a fail at the bottom of the steerer, that's not my biggest concern. That actually happened because of headset issues I'd been fighting because I kinda bodged with the parts I had when I first put it together. So I used incompatible parts, there was a fair bit of rock in the head tube and I was replacing bearings every 6 months. It was the first bike rebuild I'd ever done I was being stingy and cutting corners. I was a major noob. Now I'm just a minor noob😁

My main concern is lower down. I want to have lowers that can withstand heavy loads over time. Especially at the dropouts.

I deliver food with my bike for a living and I have a front pannier set up that I not only use to deliver food but I also carry a few other things in my front pannier bag. Not that much, but enough to add up to a few kgs on that front end. I don't do any downhill racing with it but I do somewhere in the ball park of 100 kms per day on it. I'm more interested in strength and durability than in performance when it comes to the front suspension. So, I don't care about 200 mm travel or damping. I just want something that will absorb everyday road bumps, the occasional curb and any road debris or potholes that I might not notice until it's too late.

I should also add that this is an Ebike with 500 watt DD gearless rear hub carrying a 35AH 48V pack. I do speeds in the 30-40 km/h range. My bike, once fully set up weighs somewhere around 20-25 kgs.

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dogman dan   100 GW

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Re: where can I find a steel front suspension fork?

Post by dogman dan » Nov 12 2019 6:32am

Thanks for the info. But,, we are still wondering what the load on the bike is. I'm trying to ask nice, but do you weigh a lot?

Most decent bike forks will easily handle your load, including a cheaper zoom alloy suspension fork. Your initial problem might have been due to something I've done before, put the bearing in upside down. Something like this should do fine. https://www.ebay.com/itm/RockShox-1-1-8 ... 2a16c323ee


Best approach would be to get a new, or at least undamaged headset to go with your new fork. Don't hesitate to get a fork with lots of travel, but 100 mm should be plenty, which is typical of the lower end forks. Get the fork you can afford, but bear in mind the more expensive forks for DH riding are stronger, and ride a lot nicer, with more ability to adjust to your needs. Dropouts should not break on you, or anything like that, unless its your weight that is the problem. And for that to be a problem, your weight would have to really be a lot.

If you want a robust non suspension fork, surly makes one. But typical BMX forks are very strong too. Find a fork from a 26" bmx?

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Re: where can I find a steel front suspension fork?

Post by peters » Nov 12 2019 7:17am

Look for the dirt jump category, those are normally made for extra strength. Suntour Duro DJ-D 20QLC was a good and inexpensive choice with steel steerer and stanchions and 20mm thru-axle, but not sure you can still find one. There were variants for the usual 9mm axle, too.

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Re: where can I find a steel front suspension fork?

Post by ClintBX » Nov 13 2019 2:52am

dogman dan wrote:
Nov 12 2019 6:32am
Thanks for the info. But,, we are still wondering what the load on the bike is. I'm trying to ask nice, but do you weigh a lot?

Most decent bike forks will easily handle your load, including a cheaper zoom alloy suspension fork. Your initial problem might have been due to something I've done before, put the bearing in upside down. Something like this should do fine. https://www.ebay.com/itm/RockShox-1-1-8 ... 2a16c323ee


Best approach would be to get a new, or at least undamaged headset to go with your new fork. Don't hesitate to get a fork with lots of travel, but 100 mm should be plenty, which is typical of the lower end forks. Get the fork you can afford, but bear in mind the more expensive forks for DH riding are stronger, and ride a lot nicer, with more ability to adjust to your needs. Dropouts should not break on you, or anything like that, unless its your weight that is the problem. And for that to be a problem, your weight would have to really be a lot.

If you want a robust non suspension fork, surly makes one. But typical BMX forks are very strong too. Find a fork from a 26" bmx?
No, I don't weigh a lot. I'm only 65 kgs. I'm just a little paranoid when it comes to aluminium. I may not weigh a lot but the general weight of my bike would make a dropout failure catastrophic. I spend a good 6 hours riding every day and have to deal with some precarious traffic. I know how brittle aluminium can be. If I didn't have my stow positioned at the front, I might be more laxed about having aluminium lowers. But I guess I'm after peace of mind of not having something unexpectedly snap on me. Before I got into ebikes, I've had the rear dropouts snap on me twice. It's a horrible feeling. But at least I didn't have a ton weight to bring me crashing down. And I was riding slowly back then. Now I'm hitting speeds of up to 42 km/h with a bulky square bag that weighs at times up to a good 7 or 8 kgs.

Excuse my mini rant but this is the stuff I think about in regards to setting up this bike.

As for the headset thing, as I said before,I bodged. With that bike, I think I had excess thread and I used a combination of different steerer nuts and spacers to fill the space. After a bearing change, I was having issues getting the right amount of tightness and what ended up happening is that one of the nuts in between just split. (It was an aluminium nut.... Just saying 🤔) Now I know better. My current ride has a steel headset with just the right amount of thread and haven't had any issues since.

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Re: where can I find a steel front suspension fork?

Post by Balmorhea » Nov 13 2019 5:33am

I've seen a lot more cracked and failed steel frames than those made from aluminum. That's not to say that steel is inherently more likely to fail, but I think it's fair to say that the cheapest, most poorly made, and least carefully designed frames and other bicycle parts are made from steel, simply because it's the cheapest structural material that will do the job. Because it's relatively dense, there's a strong incentive to use only just enough material to meet the design criteria, and no more.

The fact that you're using a threaded steer tube suggests one of two things: you are using very old equipment, or you're using very cheap equipment. Maybe both? Either of those is a more important factor than steel versus aluminum.

When it's specifically a matter of suspension forks, it's even clearer. There are no high quality steel suspension forks, and none designed for heavy duty. There are many high quality aluminum suspension forks whose design loads far exceed whatever your application includes.

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Re: where can I find a steel front suspension fork?

Post by stan.distortion » Nov 13 2019 7:37am

As others have said, if you want to add strength and keep the front suspension then go for a set of downhill forks. They're designed to repeatedly take loads far greater than you'll ever see with road or light trail use even if you weighed twice as much. Aluminium isn't inherently weak, it all depends on the alloy and good aluminium alloys are far stronger than regular grades of steel. Your previous rear dropout failures where likely due to a relatively low quality cast aluminium. Castings are generally more brittle but that's only a generalisation, with the correct alloy they can be both stronger than mild steel of the same dimensions and deform on failure (bend rather than snap).

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Re: where can I find a steel front suspension fork?

Post by dogman dan » Nov 14 2019 7:07am

Yeah, Now that we know you don't weigh 400 pounds, we can safely say you will be fine with any decent alloy lower fork. But not the cheap ass steel fork common on bikes for kids. Just get a decent fork made for adult riders to ride dirt trail, preferably non threaded, and it will stand up fine.

Bear in mind, motorcycle forks are all aluminum lowers. Its about not choosing too cheap a fork really.

Totally get it about not wanting to crack a dropout, its very fussy how you install front motors, so they don't do that on an alloy fork.

If you can afford better forks, you will find it worth the money. Real DH forks have adjustability you will love. You will be able to set that fork up to best suit your load on the front, and it will make stuff like 3 inch tall road crack humps feel like they are not there. rim saving that.

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Re: where can I find a steel front suspension fork?

Post by ClintBX » Nov 15 2019 5:30pm

Okay, I'll admit that maybe I've had some preconceived notions about aluminium. It does seem that all the modern and sophisticated DH forks are all alloy.

Maybe I'll go ahead and install those rock shox indy C that I accidentally bought (thinking they were steel). Only drawback is that my handlebar height might drop significantly.

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Re: where can I find a steel front suspension fork?

Post by dogman dan » Nov 17 2019 7:26am

Rock shocks will be fine I think. Go with a bmx handlebar if you must to get them back up where you like them. Usually they will need a shim to fit the stem, but you can cut a shim from some thin aluminum sheet. Thicker than a steel can, but still thin.

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Re: where can I find a steel front suspension fork?

Post by Ianhill » Nov 17 2019 1:42pm

"Where can I find a steel suspension fork"
Down the local tip 🤣 my local has loads of supermarket bikes there good as new had a wasted life in a dark shed more than likely.

Even a ten year old coil fork from rockshox will wipe floor with a cheap steel fork and they mainly have v brakes on them as they are that old of a design.

Get a cheap air fork adjust for your weight and never look back.

I used to have a small hatchback track car thing had loads of power over 200bhp per ton but the chassis was 30 year old tech so even a modern 1.6 diesel with half the power could compete unless it was a motorway and then it would dust anything close to a porche point being tech moves on focus to much on one thing (power) and get left behind where as material science has changed and alloys are extremely capable these days and we have a composite era kicking off now.

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Re: where can I find a steel front suspension fork?

Post by wturber » Nov 19 2019 12:42am

ClintBX wrote:
Nov 15 2019 5:30pm
Okay, I'll admit that maybe I've had some preconceived notions about aluminium. It does seem that all the modern and sophisticated DH forks are all alloy.

Maybe I'll go ahead and install those rock shox indy C that I accidentally bought (thinking they were steel). Only drawback is that my handlebar height might drop significantly.
This frame test article should help you understand what really matters. Put simply, what really matters is excellent engineering. With top notch engineering, the engineers have done the appropriate worrying about materials - so you don't have to.
https://www.sheldonbrown.com/rinard/fra ... e_test.htm
"Commuter - DC Booster"
Iron Horse 3.0 hardtail - 48V / 1000W / 470rpm generic Chinese DD Hub motor (ebay)
8 x 36v 4.3ah 10s 2P battery packs - 1500W 30A DC Boost Converter delivers 54v and about 1000 watts peak
53T/42T Sakae Road cranks - 30mph+ on flats
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=90369

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