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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've have a 1999 Litespeed Ultimate. I like the bike a lot, but the fork is kind of a noodle. I had the option of getting either a Look HSC2 or Reynolds Ouza Pro when I bought the frame. Like an idiot, I chose the Look because I thought it looked cool.

The bike has a 1" head tube which kind of limits my choices. I figure I might as well get a better fork before 1" forks become extinct. The other alternative is to have Litespeed or Lynskey weld a new head tube on, but that would be pretty expensive.

I see the Reynolds Ouza Pro still comes in 1". Any other suggestions? My other bike is a Colnago C-40 with a carbon star fork. I like that fork. I want something stiff that corners well.

Thanks for reading.
 

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Fast No More.
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pmf said:
The bike has a 1" head tube which kind of limits my choices. I figure I might as well get a better fork before 1" forks become extinct.
With the resurgence of 1" head tubes on TT bikes, you might find more out there than you think. They're probably going to be a little too freaky-deaky aero to look good on the Ultimate, and who knows how well they're going to hold a line in a hard corner.

I want something stiff that corners well.
Well, then your search should start with Wound Up. I'm a little biased as I have one on my bike (a Waterford 1200; the fork has a 1", carbon steerer) and have had no complaints as far as front end tracking or harshness. A nice complement to a steel frame, and I would imagine a titanium one as well, even one as stiff as yours.

Good Hunting.
 

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There are a number of the Reynolds Ouzo Pro 1" forks on ebay right now, new and uncut. Should be able to pick one up at a reasonable price. That's where I bought the 1 1/8" version on my Strong custom and its great. Pretty sure that the Easton EC 90 was made in a 1" too as one of my friends has one of those on a Litespeed about the same vintage as yours.
 

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The rule of thumb seems to be that 1" carbon or aluminum steerers are inherently flexy and there's not much you can do about it; it's one of the main reasons why the industry migrated to the 1.125" standard. If you're assuming it's the blades that are the weak point, consider this: the only difference between manufacturers' 1" and 1.125" models is steerer diameter.

You could go the eBay route as an experiment and you'll be out less cash should you find out the fork you bought doesn't solve your problem. I'd suggest you buy a Wound Up fork with a steel steerer; any weight penalty isn't worth arguing about vs. the improved ride you'll get. Replacing the headtube doesn't sound like a practical option. Personally, I'd sooner replace the entire frame, first.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Peter P. said:
The rule of thumb seems to be that 1" carbon or aluminum steerers are inherently flexy and there's not much you can do about it; it's one of the main reasons why the industry migrated to the 1.125" standard. If you're assuming it's the blades that are the weak point, consider this: the only difference between manufacturers' 1" and 1.125" models is steerer diameter..
Thanks for the comments, but do you really think a 0.125" increase in the diameter of the steering tube really makes a world of difference? I always figured the move from 1" to 1.125" was, like a lot of biking "improvements", solving a problem that didn't exist. And steel is going to be a lot stiffer than carbon fiber? That's only on a hot day, right?

I swapped out the heavy carbon/steel steerer tube fork that came with my wife's Litespeed with a Reynolds Ouzo Pro and she said it made a noticable difference in handling.

I do think its the blades. Ever seen a Look HSC2 fork? The blades are pretty thin. The current Look HSC5 fork looks alot different. So yeah, I do think a different fork with wider blades would make a difference.

At any rate, I've got my eyes on ebay. If I do swap the fork, I'll post my observations ... real or imagined.
 

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pmf said:
Thanks for the comments, but do you really think a 0.125" increase in the diameter of the steering tube really makes a world of difference? I always figured the move from 1" to 1.125" was, like a lot of biking "improvements", solving a problem that didn't exist. And steel is going to be a lot stiffer than carbon fiber? That's only on a hot day, right?
Increasing the steerer diameter was done to compensate for the materials that were to be used for the steerer tube. Steel is stiff and strong. It works perfectly as a 1" steerer - increasing the diameter of a steel steerer increases the weight of the fork, provides additional stiffness (which is likely not needed), but otherwise provides no advantage.

Aluminum on the other hand is not a stiff material. In the early 90's, particularly on mountain bikes where the larger steerer tubes were first introduced , there was a desire to use aluminum steerers to save weight. However to make a 1" aluminum steerer that was stiff enough to work well, a lot of material needed to be used. In some cases the 1" aluminum steerers were heavier than 1" steel steerers (I have a 1" Rock Shock SID fork with a ridiculously heavy aluminum steerer - the wall is 3-4 times thicker than a steel steerer would have been. Going to a larger diameter steerer stiffens the tube, and allows for a smaller wall thickness to achieve the same level of stiffness. The 1-1/8" size works well for aluminum steerers - it maintains stiffness at a lighter weight than steel.

Carbon has slightly different issues related to the stiffness that it maintains when the strands make a sharp turn (i.e. the fork crown). But like aluminum, it can be made into 1" or 1-1/8" size, however, the 1" size will require more material in order to maintain the stiffness, and therefor will be heavier.

Some forks may be less stiff than others at the crown, however it's completely possible to make a stiff fork crown in a 1" steerer tube diameter by increasing the wall thickness of the steerer tube. For aluminum and carbon you'll find that a 1-1/8" steerer saves weight. The larger steerer tube on a steel fork, unfortunately adds weight (in most cases).
 

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I have the ritchey carbon comp on my trek 660. It flexes a bit when sprinting, but I'm a pretty big dude at 6' 200+ lbs. Lightweight enough for me, and the aluminum steerer leaves me no qualms about crushing it or it failing on me in a newb-ish cycling maneuver.
 

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pmf said:
Thanks for the comments, but do you really think a 0.125" increase in the diameter of the steering tube really makes a world of difference? I always figured the move from 1" to 1.125" was, like a lot of biking "improvements", solving a problem that didn't exist. And steel is going to be a lot stiffer than carbon fiber? That's only on a hot day, right?

I swapped out the heavy carbon/steel steerer tube fork that came with my wife's Litespeed with a Reynolds Ouzo Pro and she said it made a noticable difference in handling.

I do think its the blades. Ever seen a Look HSC2 fork? The blades are pretty thin. The current Look HSC5 fork looks alot different. So yeah, I do think a different fork with wider blades would make a difference.

At any rate, I've got my eyes on ebay. If I do swap the fork, I'll post my observations ... real or imagined.
I'm not an engineer, but I've seen the basic mechanical physics calculations; small increases in diameter yield much larger increases in stiffness than you think-much more so than increasing tube wall thickness. And that flex problem DID exist, but it was in the mountain bike world, where suspension forks couldn't handle the stresses with 1" steerers.

Steel and carbon have different material densities; that's why carbon tubes HAVE to be larger in diameter than a steel tube to yield a comparable stiffness.

If you don't notice the difference between 1" and 1.125", then you'll be able to save some money and get a good fork, too.

Please; report back after you get a new fork installed.
 

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Wound Up Road Fork comes in one-inch with your choice of threaded steel, threadless steel, or threadless carbon steerer.

I bought the 1" threadless carbon version of the commuter/light touring fork last summer and I like it a lot. A real lot. Like pry it from my cold, dead fingers a lot. The ride is supple yet the cornering stiffness is tremendous.

I just picked up a 1996 Litespeed Classic with the Time fork. I'm considering replacing it with a Wound Up.
 

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UnivegaRVR said:
Nashbar also sells a carbon fiber fork for 1" steer tube. My understanding is that it is a Winwood fork just less expensive and without the name brand badge.
The Nashbar carbon cyclocross fork is the same as a Winwood,but the one inch carbon road fork appears to be a Martec.It is the only one inch fork I have seen for sale lately that comes with an aluminum threadless steerer.It also is available with a steel threaded steerer.I bought one recently for $64 using a 20% off coupon code-the codes come and go on a regular basis.A good fork-not as stiff as some,but works well.
 

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This is the first time I've heard any Look fork be described as a "noodle".

But I'm mostly familiar with Look's 1-1/8 straight and 1-1/8 to 1-1/4 tapered steerer tube forks (HSC4, 5 and 6 for the large part, altho I know I have at least one of the aluminum steerer ones around somewhere, too).

With carbon in particular, I am certain that there's considerable difference going from 1" to 1-1/8"... And even more - although not as much IMO - going to a tapered steerer with even larger 1-1/4 or 1-1/2" bottom bearings in the headsets.

I've got an Easton EC90 Aero with a 1" steerer on one bike. It seems pretty good and solid to me. I've only just finished building and started logging some miles on the bike... I worried about the fork... apparently needlessly... having heard none too complimentary stories about Easton forks. So far I think those might have been over-generalizations, perhaps were regarding the non-aero version, but I really don't have any personal experience with those so can't say from experience.

Good news if you get a new fork, you should be able to sell the Look HSC2 pretty easily on eBay. How much sort of depends upon how short the steerer tube has been cut (thus how many different sizes of bikes it might fit).
 

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Hmmmm, I have a mid-90s Look carbon fork with a 1" threaded steel steerer on my 1991 Allez Epic, and it's way more flexible than the stock alu fork. Cornering is noticeably less "carvy", but it is much more comfortable, which is what I wanted. I have lightweight steel forks with similar dimensions, so in this case it's the blades, not the steerer, that is flexy.

On another bike I have a Columbus carbon fork with a 1 1/8" alu steerer and that is way stiffer.

BTW, the whole oversize steerer thing allegedly came about when Gary Fisher wanted to make a Ti frame and fork and found the Ti steerer needed to be bigger to be stiff enough. In the end, the Ti fork got canned, but the 1 1/4" headset went into production. 1 1/8" followed a year or two later, and eventually killed the larger size.
 
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