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  1. #1
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    90's Judy Knowledge Please

    Hey there fellow snobs and nerds, Yesterday I was recollecting that at some point in the 90's Rockshox had to beef up the wall thickness of the aluminum steerer tubes on certain Judys because they were cracking at the lower headset race. Anyone remember this? Pics would be helpful if someone can show how thick the steerers were before or after, or both.
    I guess mainly what I need to know is were the original aluminum steerers just a straight guage tube and then they replaced them with one that was thicker at the bottom where it inserts into the crown, or were they always thicker at the bottom but then they had to make them thicker yet after they had failures?

  2. #2
    the new Gilbert Grape
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    Not sure if it's the same issue you're referring too, but aluminum 1" steerer tubes were incredibly beefy to increase their strength. I have a '99/'00 SID with a 1" steerer and it uses a special star nut because a normal 1" star nut will not fit into the steerer. I'm not sure if RS offered thinner walled 1" steerers at some point, but the later ones has super thick walls.
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  3. #3
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    Mmm- that could be, I do seem to remember being suprised at seeing how thick the walls were on some steerer tube on a suspension fork back then, but I just can't seem to put it together in my memory just what was what.

  4. #4
    Ambivalent Luddite
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    I've got a '95 SL that the shop had to jam the starnut into. So as far as I know, the aluminum steerers were always thick.

    Here are some measurements on a 1" steerer:

    stem end:
    25.4 OD
    19 ID

    crown end:
    28 OD
    19 ID

    reinforcing ring:
    19 OD
    15 ID

  5. #5
    the new Gilbert Grape
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    Here's a pic of a 1-1/8" aluminum steerer (about 2mm wall) compared to a 1" steerer (around 3mm wall). The inside of the steerers have burrs so it's hard to get an accurate measurement. Both of these are SID forks, not Judys.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 90's Judy Knowledge Please-wp_000151.jpg  

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  6. #6
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    Argh. You just gave me goosebumps because I saw the scraps of the star part in the right steerer.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by girlonbike View Post
    Argh. You just gave me goosebumps because I saw the scraps of the star part in the right steerer.
    Like I said, "it uses a special star nut because a normal 1" star nut will not fit into the steerer." But if you try really hard you can make it fit (like a square peg into a round hole).

    Luckily the top caps makes it look nice.
    Each bicycle owned exponentially increases the probability that none is working correctly.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the photo. Is the steerer on the left a 1 1/8" steel or aluminum?
    EDIT: Sorry, nevermind, forgot to read.

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    laffeaux, it looks like that left steerer is on a SID...Am I right? If so, is there any chance I could get you to post a pic of the other end where the steerer is visible from the underside of the crown? That would help answer my question. Thanx

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by CroMoHo View Post
    laffeaux, it looks like that left steerer is on a SID...Am I right? If so, is there any chance I could get you to post a pic of the other end where the steerer is visible from the underside of the crown? That would help answer my question. Thanx
    Yep, it's a SID. Here's the view from the bottom.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 90's Judy Knowledge Please-wp_000152.jpg  

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  11. #11
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    I think it was 96/97 when they had a big recall. The fix on forks in the market was a red alloy plug pressed into the bottom of the steerer. I only remember this on the 1 1/8 forks not the 1" forks. Manitous cheaper line had the same problem maybe 95? All I know my first month in a mountain shop was spent taking forks off brand new bikes and sending the crown steerer on mach 5 forks back for weeks on end. The next summer rock shox had the same problem. I do not think the champagne judy xc and the yellow judy sl with the bolt on crown/legs had this issue it was the first year of the one piece crown legs combos that had the recall (97 maybe?).

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    phew, I don't remember that, and have the yellow 96 SLs on my Axis R

  13. #13
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    '97 Judy SL 1-1/8" steerer tube, 63mm travel
    Top end ID 24.7mm OD 28.6mm (1-1/8")


    Bottom end ID 22.1mm OD 31.6mm


    The OD taper from 31.6mm to 26.8mm starts just after the crown race. There was a big recall on 2001 Judy's. I couldn't find anything for the '90s. This thing weighs about 2.5lbs. It's almost as light as the chromoly rigid fork I use sometimes.
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  14. #14
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    Yeah I looked for it could not find it but I vividly remember installing red annodized plugs into the bottom of the steerers on installed judy forks from around 97 in response to a recall. Maybe age catching up with me but it seemed like very little recall stuff from before sram bought rock shox on the web. I will keep my eyes peeled for forks with the pressed in/pounded in plug and sanp a picture of it. It did not completely fill the bottom of the steerer.

  15. #15
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    laffeaux, thanks for the extra pic. That looks just a tad thicker than the steerer on my 95/96 Judy.
    pugslybell, awsome memory-thanks! That helps so much and I seem to vaguely remember those reinforcement plugs as well now that you mention it. If your memory is accurate then I'm glad I have the bolt on crown/legs.
    gddyap, that's EXACTLY how my steerer looks. So, I'm wondereing what kind of riding/time you've put that fork through as to attest to it's durability. The reason I'm asking is because I purchased my steerer and crown as a NOS item and then installed it onto my fork, and have'nt really ridden it much since. Even though it's technically brand new, I started worrying that maybe I got one of the bad steerers, which is now beginning to appear like I probably did'nt. Anyway, I guess I'm just trying/hoping to find some peace of mind through this investigation. Thanks.

  16. #16
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    I changed the headset race last year and didn't notice any issues with it. I got it new back in '97 and rode it for a couple years and then stop riding for a long time. I just got back into riding a couple years ago. So I would say less than 5 years of riding. Not a ton of miles. I put a rigid on for riding cyclocross.
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  17. #17
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    Here...this should answer the question.

    ROCK SHOX SILVER BICYCLE STEERER PLUG **P960-R | eBay
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  18. #18
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    ive always wondered this, as i have 2 CSUs, both from 1996 judy SL forks, one with thin and one with thick steerer. the one-piece uppers i have from 1997 and later all have the thicker-wall steerers. maybe they switched in the middle of the 1996 production year?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by s4gobabygo View Post
    ive always wondered this, as i have 2 CSUs, both from 1996 judy SL forks, one with thin and one with thick steerer. the one-piece uppers i have from 1997 and later all have the thicker-wall steerers. maybe they switched in the middle of the 1996 production year?
    Yeah, something does seem a little odd now that I looked up that EBAY link (above) since it says that the plug is for steel steerers, not aluminum. Maybe there was a mid year thing. Please forgive me, but I can't think of what a "CSU" is ????
    PoisonDogFart

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by CroMoHo View Post
    Yeah, something does seem a little odd now that I looked up that EBAY link (above) since it says that the plug is for steel steerers, not aluminum. Maybe there was a mid year thing. Please forgive me, but I can't think of what a "CSU" is ????
    crown/steerer unit. usually referring to the bolt-on 95/96 (and some later) pieces before the stanchions were eventually all integrated.

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    just for comparison (all 1-1/8 threadless steerers pictured):

    -a couple CSUs, both from 1996 judy sl forks
    -a couple one-piece uppers; the one on the left is from a 1997 judy sl, and the one on the right is from a 2002 sid (a few crown styles later, back to thinner-wall steerers)
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 90's Judy Knowledge Please-csu-early-25.jpg  

    90's Judy Knowledge Please-csu-late-25.jpg  


  22. #22
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    This is just a guess, but maybe the (thin, to thick, and then back to thin) steerer tube issue across the years had to do with the idea that most early Judys were still primarily being mounted on hartails and since they were less travel, such as 63- 80mm, they were'nt being put through as punishing of riding as later models and therefore were'nt suffering problems and so the thinner walls were sufficient. But, later, as the forks were given more travel, and all the more frequently being installed on softtails, they were experiencing more failures due to more agressive riding, so Rock Shox beefed up the thickness. However, as alloy tubing technology continued to get better over the next few years they were able to go back to thinner walled steerers that were probably actually stronger than the thick ones before them. But, like I said...It's just a guess. I would like to know the accurate story to all this though.
    PoisonDogFart

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