Braking... Bad: Part 2

If you saw my last post you would have seen that I bent the hell out of my old Raleigh Superbe forks.  I guess they were never meant to be used for drum brakes, particularly not doing stoppies!  I ordered a set of replacement forks with a welded on drum brake tab, presumably these would have been designed for the different forces that a drum brake will put on a fork; mostly a bending moment halfway up the leg instead of at the crown as you would with caliper or rod brakes as it would have had from the Raleigh factory.

I wasn't sure how much time it would take me, as I know that Raleigh headsets and forks are a unique 26tpi I also ordered a new headset to match the new fork.  However unbeknownst to me,  the first challenge however would be to remove the old forks.

I had the front wheel clamped into the fork and kept on twisting the handlebars loose to little avail, the front wheel was twisting a lot.  I must have accidentally not fully tightened up one of the axle nuts as I noticed something give... then saw that the fork dropout had pulled out from the fork blade... The second one followed soon after.

 The loose axle nut must have put all the twisting force into one dropout, I've done this before and it usually resulted in twisting the whole dropout, not breaking it off entirely!  The brazed connection came off completely clean!

Ok, now the only way this was going to come off was with some use of a vice.  After covering the stem in WD-40 and clamping the fork down to a table, I managed to finally get the thing off...  I had previously greased the stem and steerer but it didn't look like it did enough.

Thankfully the installation of the new fork was a breeze, the old Raleigh 26tpi headset came out easily. It was a bit of a shame to get rid of the headset as it was the original and it still in very good condition, very smooth and adequately lubricated.  The old Raleigh headsets are generally all loose balls so be careful when you remove the fork on one as all the little balls will fall out.  The new headset was a generic cheap one with caged bearings, I'm sure it will be perfectly adequate.  The pressing of the cups was straightforward, the steerer was cut and the fork went straight on.

I was a little worried that the reaction arm on my XL-FDD might be non-standard as it's a 90mm drum instead of the more common 70mm, however it slipped into the matching tab on the fork leg perfectly. The fork had a dynamo bracket on the left side (meant for traffic driving on the right), as it came from run by David Hembrow who runs the blog A view from the cycle path which I read.  The old fork was 400mm from axle to crown and this one was exactly the same, thanks to David for measuring the fork for me.  Keeping the same fork length maintains the handling, I'm not sure the rake is the same though however as this is more my town bike I'm not too concerned.  

After a quick test ride the bike is back on the road, I shouldn't have to worry about bending this fork as it was meant to have a drum on it from the factory so stoppies shouldn't be a problem... fingers crossed.  So far I've ridden every day for a week and have done plenty of hard stops and it seems fine.  It might look slightly odd as it isn't the nice old dimpled Raleigh fork, nor is it the classic Raleigh green, however this is a working bike not a show pony and I value good braking over looks.  That's all for now.


  1. Shame about the old fork. I didn't realise until just reading this that you'd had to replace the fork for this reason. Actually, I could perhaps have warned you. There was an article many years ago in the excellent "Bike Culture" magazine (one of Jim McGurn's) all about how forks are put under greater strain by hub brakes and showing a lot of examples of forks bent just like yours.

    The new fork is made for the job, but I can't guarantee that this one either was intended by its manufacturer for doing regular stoppies :-)