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Bent Fork

June 17, 2015

How to spot a bent fork

This bike has a bent fork. Notice how the blue covering over the upper fork tube is not parallel with the black lower sliding tube. Also the grey accordian style fork boots are not parallel. All four locations, R-upper, L-upper, R-lower, L-lower, should be parallel, when viewed from the side, standing back a few feet or more. Sometimes things are blocking the view, like coverings on Motobecane forks, that must be removed to see the actual fork tube. In this blue LX in snow photo, only the left side appears bent. A photo of the opposite side would help. You need to sight from each side of the bike, to check for a bent fork.

A blind person can tell if a bike has a bent fork. With a straight fork, straight frame and good steering and everything else, you can walk your bike holding it by the seat, and leaning it ever so slightly to steer. When the fork is bent to one side, the bike will have to lean a little in order to go straight, or else it will tend to veer off to one side. After you practice doing this with your eyes open, try closing your eyes and doing it “by feel”. When the fork is bent straight back, with both tubes bent equally, the bike will ride straight and feel OK, with only slight subtle changes in steering behavior (quicker, quirkier).