Cycling is becoming an ever popular sport and pastime. Bikes share the roads with cars and that’s not where the comparisons end as any bike, like a car, requires plenty of maintenance to make sure that it stays roadworthy.
The following buying guide explains the basics of this component of the bike, how to fix and replace one, and the process to go through in order to purchase a fork safely and securely using eBay.
What is a Fork?
The fork is an essential part of any bicycle as it allows the rider to control and steer it. It consists of two fork ends that attach to the wheel and they come in a number of different variations depending on the bike involved.
These two fork ends converge at a fork crown that is attached to a steerer on which the handlebars sit at the summit.
Different Types of Fork
Given that a fork is present on every different type of bike, there are two main types available on the market.
The following table explains a little more about the two different types.
Type of Fork
Standard fork that is fitted to most bikes that aren’t specifically designed to be used off road.
Most road bikes are fitted with these as they tend to be lighter and don’t hinder speed.
Mountain bikes and off-road bikes usually come with these as standard.
Provide extra comfort when riding over rugged terrain.
Can be bought to replace rigid forks on bikes that don’t have suspension.
They are characterised by the amount of travel they feature.
This is measured in mm and usually given as two numbers, for example 150 to 200 mm.
Some forks can be adjusted depending on the terrain and whether riding is uphill or downhill.
Shock absorber itself is made up of a spring and damper.
The type of material used in the spring can have a big effect on the performance of the bike.
As well as there being different types of forks, there are a number of materials that a fork can be made from. The following is a list of those different materials:
Type of Bike
When buying a replacement fork, much depends on the type of bicycle it’s being bought for. eBay allows buyers to search for forks depending on the bike they’re for. The following list outlines the main types of bike that a fork can be bought for:
Once the buyer has worked out the type of fork, material and bike that it’s for, the next step is to fix and then replace the fork.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Fixing and/or Replacing a Fork
To keep the bike performing at its optimum level it’s important to identify and repair any problem before it becomes a bigger one.
The following bullet points explain the steps to take to work out the nature of the problem, if there is one at all, and how to repair it without booking the whole bike into an expensive workshop.
- Work out the type of fork and bike – Using the information in the sections above, it’s important to first work out the type of fork. Knowing this will help the buyer to work out whether to attempt repairing a fork or to just replace it.
Rigid forks are usually best off being completely replaced whereas suspension forks can sometimes be tweaked slightly to solve the problem.
- Inspect the suspension fork thoroughly – If the suspension starts to feel different it can be for a number of reasons and replacing the fork isn’t always necessary.
External adjusters on the outside of the fork that alter the geometry and feel can sometimes be the answer. Some forks have a tension adjuster and changing this can mean not having to invest in any new equipment.
There is also a damping control that will be at the other end of the fork to the tension adjuster.
While inspecting the fork and trying various things out, it will become clear whether the fork is in need of repair, or just needs replacing. The following table explains how to fix a fork so that it still performs to the peak of its abilities
Take it to pieces
Take off the front wheel and front brake plus anything holding the forks into the lower tubes.
This must be done with some caution as oil could leak if done too fast.
Clean the insides
All oil must be removed and replaced with specialist suspension oil – details of correct oil should be provided by the manufacturer.
Then make sure to clean the inside of the fork and remove any dirt that could hinder the performance.
Grease the heads of the screws and return them to their original settings.
Tighten them up with the appropriate screwdriver making sure they aren’t over-tightened.
After inspecting the fork if it becomes clear that it needs replacing then the next section of the guide explains the process.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Replacing a Fork
After performing step one from the table above, the fork is ready to be replaced. Following the next few steps will make sure that it will be installed correctly.
- Read the instructions that come with the fork. This should be done before anything else and can be the difference between a correctly installed front fork and one that doesn’t function.
- The fork will already be in pieces and it’s recommended that at this point, expert help be sought. When installing a new fork it may require the cutting of the bike’s central column and once that’s been done, it can never be reversed.
- If doing this yourself, then measure the original steering tube length from the face of the crown to the end. Note this down and mark the new steering tube with the same length.
- The length is now on the new tube and can be cut to make sure it fits the bike. This can be done with a hacksaw and guide or a pipe cutter, if you have one. We should warn any buyers attempting to do this that getting a workshop to help will prevent anything going wrong and a new fork being cut and installed incorrectly.
- Once the fork is the correct size, the fork can be installed with everything put back as it was before. Then the brake, brake cables and wheel can be fixed back onto the bike. At this stage, test the brakes to make sure they work correctly and adjust accordingly if the brakes are malfunctioning.
- The stem and bars can now be installed, with caution to be taken to make sure the wheel is lined up correctly and the bar is straight.
How to Buy a Bicycle Fork on eBay
- eBay is home to one of the internet’s largest collections of bicycle parts of every shape and size. As such, it’s a valuable resource of knowledge for anyone looking to buy parts like a new fork and anyone buying will experience help at every turn from the legion of sellers on hand.
- To find bicycle forks on eBay first go to the Sporting Goods category and under it select the Cycling sub-category.
- When on the next page click on Bike Parts on the left hand side and then on the following page it can be narrowed down by clicking on Forks.
- This gives the buyer a list of every fork available to buy on eBay. To narrow it down even further there are a number of parameters on the left hand side including Component Sub-Type, For Bike Type, Brand, Material, Component Type and Condition.
- If the buyer has a more specific enquiry then it could be easier to use the site’s extensive search feature by typing terms into the box at the top of any page.
- Before making the purchase final, be sure to check the seller’s history on the site.
- Scouring their transaction history to see whether they have a lot of negative feedback does this. If they do, then it may mean questioning them using the Ask the Seller button.
- When ready to finalise a purchase either place a Bid, choose to Buy It Now or make your Best Offer, depending on the type of auction.
A bicycle fork is an important part of any bike whether it’s one designed to speed along cycle lanes or across mountainous and rocky terrain.
eBay has thousands of such items for sale in its market place and helps to show which type is the best for you, the buyer.
When deciding to buy and fit a new fork there are a number of different factors to take into consideration, all of which are mentioned above.
Once the buyer knows the type of fork and if it fits their bicycle the above guide on how to replace the fork is vital to make sure the cycle continues to perform to the best of its abilities.