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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have just purchased a '99 LeMond Tourmalet and am waiting for it to arrive. This bike has a steel 525 reynolds frame. I'm thinking that I'd like to possibly upgrade to a carbon fork. First - Is this a good idea? Second - I'd like to start nosing around for one but don't know my steerer diameter. Does anyone happen to have one and do you know the size? According to the spec sheet I found online the headset diameter is 1". There's no measurement given for the steerer tube. Is the size of the headset any indication?

I'm a mountain biker with little knowledge of road bikes. I also am totally new to bike building but want to learn via a few older bikes that I'll upgrade. I'll likely be asking alot of questions! Thanks
 

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Yes, 1" threaded fork, quill stem

This was out before they went to threadless headsets, so you need a threaded fork and threaded headset. Now one option that you do have is a Cinelli quill adaptor which will allow you to use the more modern 2 clamp stems. King, Cane Creek, Ritchey all offer threaded headsets. The fork, you need to get one that fits the headtube length. Before you do, are you sure there is anything bad or wrong about the original fork? I'd ride it first and take my time about buying one, you may decide it is okay as is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
thanks

Thanks - I knew this forum was going to be really helpful. The bike should arrive today. I'll take the 'if it aint broke-don't fix it approach' My concern is weight but I'm so used to my mtb and riding over rocks, roots and logs this bike will likely feel lighter just via the set up and tires. Thanks again and I'll certainly save all this info!
 

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I agree with Lone Gunman's advice to ride the steel fork for a while. Carbon forks are not always upgrades. They do save a little weight, but don't make the bike more comfortable, don't like to be whacked by foreign objects, and often limit you to a narrow tire. I can't be sure about this, but the Tourmalet steel fork might allow you to put some 700 x 28 tires on your bike for some mild trail riding, if you want to do this sort of thing.
 

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If you do decide to replace the fork, you will also have to pay attention to the rake (sometimes referred to as the "offset"). I learned a lesson the hard way. I switched to a threadless headset and also replaced the fork on my Lemond Chambery (which came with a 43 mm raked fork) with a 45 mm raked fork (OK - I confess that I didn't check the rake prior to having it installed). It changed the whole handling of the bike and made it much mor twitchy. I ended up switching back to a 43 mm raked fork and that took care of the problem. I also agree with the other posts - try the steel fork. I rode a full steel bike for about 15 years. My current ride has a carbon fiber fork, but it's hard to say if it really is "better". I know the steel fork would survive a crash much better than a carbon fiber, but I supposed the carbon fiber is lighter and absorbs the bumps. Good luck with the Tourmalet. That is a fine bike.
 

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needforspeedsteve said:
If you do decide to replace the fork, you will also have to pay attention to the rake (sometimes referred to as the "offset"). I learned a lesson the hard way. I switched to a threadless headset and also replaced the fork on my Lemond Chambery (which came with a 43 mm raked fork) with a 45 mm raked fork (OK - I confess that I didn't check the rake prior to having it installed). It changed the whole handling of the bike and made it much mor twitchy. I ended up switching back to a 43 mm raked fork and that took care of the problem. I also agree with the other posts - try the steel fork. I rode a full steel bike for about 15 years. My current ride has a carbon fiber fork, but it's hard to say if it really is "better". I know the steel fork would survive a crash much better than a carbon fiber, but I supposed the carbon fiber is lighter and absorbs the bumps. Good luck with the Tourmalet. That is a fine bike.

Was rake the only change? Have a hard time believing that a 2mm change turned the bike from stable to twitchy.
 

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As far as the spec, yes, the rake was all that I changed. The first fork was a threaded Profile Design BRC (43 mm rake). I swapped that out mainly due to a creaky headset (I was using the original Tange threaded headset). I had a Cane Creek threadless headset installed along with a Time Stiletto threadless fork (45 mm rake). I of course switched to a threadless clamp style stem. I then put a Kestrel EMS Pro fork (43 mm rake) on the bike that I picked up real cheap on sale from Nashbar, which is what I am using today. I too was surprised that a 2 mm change would make such a difference, but it did. When I use a 43 mm raked fork, the bike is so stable that I can ride with my hands off of the handle bars, which comes in handy if you are zipping up a jacket, etc. With the 45 mm raked fork, I couldn't take my hands off the handlebars even for a moment, as the bike would not track straight on it's own. I remember the first time I rode with the 45 mm I pulled over to check to see if everything was OK with the bike since the handling felt so different.
 
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