$10 fork straightener from parts from Lowe’s

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jimbo53

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Jul 17, 2015
907
Charlotte NC
In restoring my 56 British Gazelle there was an issue with a bent fork. Don't have a fancy gadget made out of a car bumper jack, so fashioned a fork straightener out of a bunch of parts from the local hardware store for less that $10: 2 large turnbuckles, 2 eyebolts big enough to thread into the turnbuckles and fit over the crank axle, (for a US bike a piece of strong round stock through the holes in the fixed and adjustable cups would work) some scrap chain I had laying around and threaded rod/wingnuts/washers to put in the fork dropouts. The picture tells the story and can be easily replicated to suit your needs. Rather than pushing the fork out, the fork is flipped around and the dropouts are pulled toward to bottom bracket to pull them into alignment. Tension can be placed on each fork blade individually with an open ended wrench on the turnbuckle while using a screwdriver to keep the eyebolt closest to the fork from moving. In my case it removed a twist as well as the obvious bend. 1st picture is before, 2nd picture during, 3rd picture after fork has been straightened and the 4th picture is the completed bike. Notice the space between the fender and downtube to see the improvement!

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AndyA

Finally riding a big boys bike
Nov 24, 2017
203
72
bergen county
Jimbo:
Nice set up! I've used a piece of rope as a Spanish windlass in a similar fashion, but that was positioned on a false axle between the arms of the fork, so there was no way to apply different forces to each arm. Are the eyebolts necessary, or would the normal hooks on the turnbuckles do the job?
 

GTs58

I'm the Wiz, and nobody beats me!
Sep 2, 2012
12,595
Central Arizona
Interesting method, a pulling action verses the pushing. After looking at your set up, I got to thinking of a way to just use one tightening apparatus. Came up with the idea of a heavy duty 3" ratchet tie down strap, one end hooked on the installed axle and the other end hooked to the fender bridge behind the BB. It's always interesting to see different methods of straightening forks, thanks for showing your idea.
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jimbo53

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Jul 17, 2015
907
Charlotte NC
Jimbo:
Nice set up! I've used a piece of rope as a Spanish windlass in a similar fashion, but that was positioned on a false axle between the arms of the fork, so there was no way to apply different forces to each arm. Are the eyebolts necessary, or would the normal hooks on the turnbuckles do the job?
I used eyebolts because the bike has cottered cranks with a separate axle and the eyebolts fit over the axle . The turnbuckles came with eyebolts on each end, but the hole on those eyebolts weren't big enough to fit over the crank axle,hould work but the tension puts a lot of stress on the whole assembly and might bend the hooks. I opened up the eyebolts on the fork side of the turnbuckles enough to get a link of the chain in. I'm sure this concept can be effective using what you have on hand-that's what I did!
 
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Dan Shabel

Finally riding a big boys bike
Jun 17, 2017
247
St. Louis
In restoring my 56 British Gazelle there was an issue with a bent fork. Don't have a fancy gadget made out of a car bumper jack, so fashioned a fork straightener out of a bunch of parts from the local hardware store for less that $10: 2 large turnbuckles, 2 eyebolts big enough to thread into the turnbuckles and fit over the crank axle, (for a US bike a piece of strong round stock through the holes in the fixed and adjustable cups would work) some scrap chain I had laying around and threaded rod/wingnuts/washers to put in the fork dropouts. The picture tells the story and can be easily replicated to suit your needs. Rather than pushing the fork out, the fork is flipped around and the dropouts are pulled toward to bottom bracket to pull them into alignment. Tension can be placed on each fork blade individually with an open ended wrench on the turnbuckle while using a screwdriver to keep the eyebolt closest to the fork from moving. In my case it removed a twist as well as the obvious bend. 1st picture is before, 2nd picture during, 3rd picture after fork has been straightened and the 4th picture is the completed bike. Notice the space between the fender and downtube to see the improvement!

C9C0E847-31D8-4F9A-8B2E-AEFFA96CC206.jpeg


A210661B-3A75-428D-AF32-8BB9177D6951.jpeg


162D3667-5A22-4277-BB5B-C044F08DE8AA.jpeg


E8ADF9EB-FA43-4A85-9E19-5AD8FE3089E2.jpeg
I might suggest a small rope tied on the axle piece and then to a stationary piece with a little slack. That way if it lets go it won't hurt you or damage anything.
 

Legislator

'Lil Knee Scuffer
Mar 27, 2020
16
38
Portland OR
This is interesting, and basically the exact reverse of the way that the Park Tool "Defrontaller" HTS-1 works, even down to the turnbuckle. My biggest concern would be having the fork be properly aligned when you're done, which is very difficult to do without a jig. I own the Park FTS-1 fork alignment jig, as well as an old school builder's jig (I think a Bringhelli?), and I've had forks that look damn good by eye be out left-right by 1/2" when put in the jig. That FTS-1 was the best $ I've ever spent on a tool, I made my $100 back very very fast and any times over.

Ultimately, for $10, this is badass and should work great on any fork that is weaker than the frame, and if the bike looks good and tracks straight with no hands, perfect!
 
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Rivnut

I live for the CABE
Nov 24, 2012
1,600
Shawnee, United States
I question straightening forks while on the bike. That puts a lot of pressure on just a couple of the balls in the retainer and the balls put a lot of pressure on the race flattening the balls and/or putting divots in the race. Either could make the steering have ragged spots in it.
 
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