Chapter Two - Geometry and the Drawing


Fork rake is the amount of offset from the head tube centerline to the front axle centerline and it is measured along a perpendicular to the head tube centerline. Fork rake must be carefully matched to the head tube angle to produce a bike with desirable handling characteristics. Generally speaking, forks with more rake are considered better for touring because of their ability to absorb more road shock. Forks with less rake are considered better for racing because of the way they make the bike more compact under the rider and give a solid feel of the road. Figure 2-12 shows how fork rake is measured.

FIGURE 2-12: Measuring fork rake from the center line of the steering column to the center of the front axle


Camber is the amount of curvature in the blades of the fork. It is a separate factor from rake. Figure 2-13a shows a fork with blades bent to the old British camber, 2-13b shows blades bent to the presently more popular Italian camber, and 2-13c shows a straight bladed unicrown fork; note that it has rake and no camber. The blades are straight. Any offset or rake that the fork has is designed into the miter at the crown.

FIGURE 2-13a: Old style British camber

FIGURE 2-13b: Continental camber

FIGURE 2-13c: Straight bladed unicrown fork

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