Your Guide to Buying a Racing Bicycle Fork on eBay

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Your Guide to Buying a Racing Bicycle Fork on eBay

A bicycle fork is an important component that gives the rider directional control. Bicycle forks are made to fit to specific types of bike, so choosing an appropriate model is vital for safe and secure cycling. Forks come in a variety of sizes and can be manufactured from a number of materials. Racing bikes use forks that are light and strong with an emphasis on speed.

Searching eBay for a racing bicycle fork is a good idea, as the site offers a large selection of new and used forks. An advantage to using eBay is that buyers may find forks at better prices than what would be found on other sites or in cycling stores. The following guide shall examine the key aspects of racing bicycle forks, and how to use eBay to find a suitable model.

Bicycle Forks

All bicycle forks contain four main components. These are the steerer, the crown, the blades and the fork ends. The components used on a racing bike should be stiff, because this will give the rider more precise control. Make sure to purchase a fork that will fit, as using a loose fork can damage the wheel. 

Steerer

The steerer (or steerer tube), is located at the top of the fork and connects to the handlebars via the head tube. This is the part that allows the rider to choose a direction whilst cycling. The majority of steerers used today are either 1-inch, 1 1/8 inch or 1 1/2 inches in diameter. A large number of high end racing bike manufactures now use tapered steerer tubes. However, there are no general standards for these steerers, which make finding replacement parts difficult. If the fork is a relatively new model, ask if the steerer is tapered or not.  

Fork Crown

The crown is found directly below the head tube, and is the point at which the two fork blades connect. A single crown is the standard for most bikes, but using a double crown on a racing bike will increase the stiffness, making the handling more responsive. Hollow crowns are also advantageous to racing bikes, as they reduce the weight and improve speed.

Fork Blades

The fork blades are connected to the fork crown at the top, and to the fork ends at the bottom. There are two types of blades available and these are straight or curved blades. Straight blades are stiffer and more responsive, making them the ideal choice for racing bikes. Curved blades are designed to absorb shock and vibration, making them more suitable for bikes that cycle on rough terrain. Buyers should always try to purchase straight blades for their racing bike as they are made to improve performance. The blades must be long enough to fit to the front wheel, but beware of using blades that are too long, because this will decrease potential speed.

Fork Ends

The fork ends connect to the front wheel. They are kept in place by a series of nuts and screws. Dropouts prevent the wheel from becoming dislodged if a screw is loose, and these are usually already moulded onto the blades. The two most common fork end sizes are 15mm and 20mm.

Bicycle Fork Materials

There are four main materials used in the manufacturing of racing bicycles, and a lot of bikes today use more than one for various parts. For example, in a bicycle fork the crown may be made from aluminium while the blades are made from carbon fibre. Each material has its own advantages and disadvantages, so spend some time deciding which would be most fitting.

Steel

Steel was once the most frequently used material in bicycle manufacturing, although today this is not the case. Steel is popular because it is very strong and inexpensive to acquire. Bicycle parts made from steel can withstand a lot of damage before needing repair or replacement, but the heavy weight of this material can reduce the speed of a bike greatly. Steel is also prone to rusting if used in wet weather. However, steel is suitable for long distance cycling, as it will help absorb shocks.

Aluminium

Aluminium is easily the most popular material used in bicycle manufacturing. Aluminium parts are very light and stiff, making them a favourite with cyclists all over the world. Parts made from this material are generally very low priced. Aluminium is not as strong as the other materials mentioned in this list, and because it is non-malleable damaged parts will have to be replaced. Aluminium is highly resistant to rust, making it the number one choice for use in wet weather conditions.

Titanium

Cyclists choose titanium parts because this material has strong vibration dampening qualities, resulting in a very smooth cycle. This makes it ideal for long distance cycling. Titanium is also quite tough, and it will take a very hard impact to physically damage the fork. Titanium is heavier than aluminium or carbon fibre, but lighter than steel.

Carbon Fibre

Carbon fibre is the latest material to be used in bicycle manufacturing and is already becoming the choice material for professional cyclists. Moulding layers of carbon together creates carbon fibre. This results in a tough but extremely light part, which can have an indefinite lifetime if properly serviced. Carbon fibre is made to mimic the strength of steel while maintaining the lightness of aluminium. Carbon fibre forks are very expensive, and a damaged fork is almost impossible to fix. It is advised that amateur cyclists or those who intend to use the bike recreationally avoid this material.

Racing Bike Forks

Most modern racing bike frames are made from either aluminium or carbon fibre, although less expensive models use a processed form of steel. As the bike is intended for speed, it is advised that buyers search mainly for carbon or aluminium forks, depending on what they can afford. Racing bike forks should be straight as this increases speed and gives the rider better control.

As racing bicycle forks can be quite expensive, it is a good idea to search for used models. This will greatly lower the price, while still giving the buyer a large selection to choose from. However, all buyers should be diligent in their searching if thinking about buying a used fork.

  • It is important to inspect any photographs of the fork, as this will be the only way to deem the fork functional or not. Look for things like cracks, hairline splits or signs of rusting or buffing. A recent photograph of the fork in its current condition should accompany every listing on the site.
  • Request more photographs using the ‘Ask A Question’ feature located on the item page.
  • Enquire as to when the fork was originally bought, and the length of time it was used. Also ask about the size of the bike that it was attached to, and the type of terrain it was cycled on.

Conclusion

Choosing the right fork for a racing bicycle will ensure the fastest and smoothest ride possible. The various materials used in manufacturing directly influence the speed and weight of a bike, so some time should be spent deciding which is the most appropriate. Bicycle forks contain different components, and these components may be made from different materials. Always enquire as to what exactly the fork parts are made from.

eBay is a great place to search for new and used racing bicycle forks, but pay special attention to any photographs of the forks. Visually inspect photographs for any signs of defect, and always request more images of the product if needed.

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