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  1. #1
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    Steerer tube extension

    I'm a pretty tall fellow, 203cm/6'8" and it's all in my legs. One thing I keep running into is not having tall enough forks to get my handlebars high enough.
    Is it a totally bad idea to weld an extension onto a steerer tube using an internal sleeve to strengthen the butt joint? I've done it on some novelty projects that weren't going to see much stress, but I'm wondering what options I have for serious riding.

    In particular, I'm trying to design myself a touring bike that has pretty upright riding position. I'd be glad to hire someone on here to make me a custom fork, if it comes to that, I just am curious to know what my options are. I'm looking for something in the 450mm range in terms of steerer tube length.

    What's the longest tapered steerer tube that's available? I know Paragon makes a 300mm. Is there anything longer? Are they machined out of a solid bar, or are they swaged/hydroformed? How about straight 1-1/8" steerers? Are they butted at all, or is it just a piece of 1-1/8" tube with a crown race brazed onto it? This image from Sheldon Brown would seem to indicate that steerers are butted: https://www.sheldonbrown.com/images/stem-bottom.jpg

    What about straight "one-point-five" steerer tubes? I'm a big guy, I like the idea of a strong fork. Are there still headsets made for straight 1.5" steerers?

    I appreciate any info you can offer. Thank you.

  2. #2
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    In order, I think:

    -It's probably a bad idea to extend a steerer. It *can* be done by a competent professional but most (including me) won't take it on for a variety of reasons.

    -Longest tapered steel steerer I know of is the 12"/300mm Paragon one. That one is machined from bar stock. Nova makes a tapered steerer that is swaged but it's pretty short (like 8" or so).

    -Longest 1 1/8 steerer (which will work just fine for a touring bike, you don't need tapered) is the 460mm one that Nova sells, AFAIK.

    -Steerers are usually butted but you could use very thick (like .083" wall) straightgauge if you wanted to go totally crazy with length.

    -You can do straight 1.5" steerers, sure. That was a DH bike standard for a short period of time. Headsets can be jerry-rigged by using a bottom 1.5 cup/bearing and cobbling together a suitable race. You probably don't need a 1.5 steerer for a touring bike, though.

    Keep in mind that you can add height via the fork blades too. If you're designing from scratch and want to get the bars up, there's nothing stopping you from using/building a 470mm axle-crown rigid mountain bike fork and voila, you've gained 3" of front end height and hence will need less steerer. The look might be a bit weird with a big gap above the tire, but having the bars at the right height is more important.

    I'd look into building/having built a fork with the 460mm Nova steerer.

    -Walt

  3. #3
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    Cool, thanks for the info.

  4. #4
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    I'm with Walt, use a Nova 460mm steerer.
    I use them and they are butted by the swaged method.

    Eric
    If I don't make an attempt, how will I know if it will work?

  5. #5
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    I built my first disk fork about a year ago loosely built around this fork build kit. So, 1.125 steerer and through axle. I was building the frame too, so i designed it around a taller axle to crown to help conceal my tallness. (still has a 200mm head tube) The finished fork was 1150g and STUPID stiff. It's easily the stiffest fork i own, including some freeride forks, and it feels like it's more than twice the stiffness of my enve 2.0. It's probably excessive, which previously i didn't think was possible.

    So yeah, second the idea of designing the frame around longer fork legs, 1.125 steerer can be plenty stiff, and i'm sure an experienced fork builder can tune the fork to be perfect.



    Have you considered designing the frame around an off-the-shelf mtb fork? They tend to be taller. Typical road fork a2c is ~370, CX is ~395, mtb... somewhere >450...?

    https://surlybikes.com/parts/forks/instigator_fork
    https://www.bikeparts.com/BPC140925/...1-1-8%22-black (i have one of these on my commuter, nice fork)
    https://www.somafab.com/archives/pro...axle-crmo-fork
    https://www.somafab.com/archives/pro...-for-wolverine
    https://allcitycycles.com/parts/fork..._27.5_mtb_fork
    https://www.on-one.co.uk/i/q/FOOOCR2...-v-brake--disc
    https://www.on-one.co.uk/i/q/FOMK35C...arbon-mtb-fork
    "Things that are complex are not useful, Things that are useful are simple."
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  6. #6
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    If OP really needs ~400+mm of steerer, off the shelf mountain forks won't get him there, since even with the extra 70-80mm of axle-crown, they have at most 300mm steerers.

    -Walt

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt View Post
    If OP really needs ~400+mm of steerer, off the shelf mountain forks won't get him there, since even with the extra 70-80mm of axle-crown, they have at most 300mm steerers.

    -Walt
    You're totally right now that i look at them again. Even with an extra ~100mm of legs they're still shorter forks. Man 6'8 is tall!
    "Things that are complex are not useful, Things that are useful are simple."
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  8. #8
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    For really big humans (for mountain bikes) I often put them on the Fox 36 170mm singlecrown. Why? Not because they need or want 170mm of travel, but because that's the only way to get the bars high enough (yes, even with a 70-80mm riser bar)!

    I actually have a customer right now that I might have to use a motorcycle handlebar for because he's so tall and wants a suspension fork.

    I always wanted to be super tall when I was growing up. Now I build bikes for these guys who have blown knees at 35 and am thankful I'm not.

    -Walt

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt View Post
    I always wanted to be super tall when I was growing up. Now I build bikes for these guys who have blown knees at 35 and am thankful I'm not.

    -Walt
    LOL, I was so relieved when i stopped growing at 15 (at 6'2). I was sure i was going to be (more) inconveniently tall. I've never considered total fork length as an aspect of design before. It hasn't been necessary.


    You mention blown knees and i've always wondered about how growth spurts affect long-term health. I have two friends who are similarly tall, but they had huge puberty growth spurts while i had none. Both of them suffer from aching joints in our late 30s while i feel like an old teenager. It's interesting.
    "Things that are complex are not useful, Things that are useful are simple."
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottzg View Post
    LOL, I was so relieved when i stopped growing at 15 (at 6'2). I was sure i was going to be (more) inconveniently tall. I've never considered total fork length as an aspect of design before. It hasn't been necessary.


    You mention blown knees and i've always wondered about how growth spurts affect long-term health. I have two friends who are similarly tall, but they had huge puberty growth spurts while i had none. Both of them suffer from aching joints in our late 30s while i feel like an old teenager. It's interesting.
    Most of the really big customers I see are former athletes (usually college football or basketball) who have 75 year old knees/ankles when they're 30. So I'm not seeing a representative set of tall people, really.

    I think it's definitely true that the heavier you are (regardless of height) the harder you are on your load bearing joints. If you're 300 pounds (and that might be a healthy weight if you're 7'2") there is only so much you can do to keep your knees working - it's just a huge load.

    A lot of big people come to me after a doctor has told them they need exercise or they'll die young (very young) but their knees are so blown they only have bikes or swimming as realistic options.

    Not many people choose swimming!

    -Walt

  11. #11
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    The Jones bikes with the truss fork can be ordered with an extra long steerer tube. I think it's 450mm. Since it's a truss fork, the steerer is just a separate aluminum tube.

    OTOH, the fork axle to crown is only something like 440mm, so you're starting off lower. And you need a bike designed around that fork.
    http://www.bikingtoplay.blogspot.com/
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    PEDAL, not "peddle." Unless you're selling stuff

  12. #12
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    Thanks for all the info. My current fork that I'm riding has a 483 A-C and a 300mm steerer.

    Is that Nova Cycles steerer tube 460mm total length, or length above the crown race?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trevor Schweald View Post
    Thanks for all the info. My current fork that I'm riding has a 483 A-C and a 300mm steerer.

    Is that Nova Cycles steerer tube 460mm total length, or length above the crown race?
    It's 460mm total. So you'd have 420-435mm or so left after joining the crown, depending on the type of fork.

    -Walt

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