Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Salsa Casseroll Fork Rerake

Ever since I first started pedaling the Casseroll, I noticed some strange front-end handling characteristics. The bike is designed with a small front rack and, presumably, a small amount of cargo up front. Even with no load, the front end was floppy (that's the best way I can describe it). After investigating the issue, I learned that the front end has an unusually long trail, or horizontal distance between the point directly underneath the front axle and the virtual extension of the headtube to the ground.

 File:Bicycle dimensions.svg

Here are the measurements of the stock Casseroll:

Head tube angle 73 degrees
Fork rake 50mm
Original trail  54 mm

Toe overlap was another piece of evidence of, perhaps, not quite enough rake. Granted, I run with full-coverage fenders, but the overlap was significant. I reached out to a local frame builder, A-Train Cycles, to petition assistance. Alex was clear about expectations and agreed to take on my project. Huzzah!

After the re-rake of the fork, the measurements are approximately as follows:

Head tube angle 73 degrees
Fork rake 62mm
New trail  41.5 mm

With the fork removed and cleaned, it was ready for delivery.

My Velo Orange fender had pull-through, so I opted to slightly rotate the fender toward the rear and drill a new hole.

Fork re-installed post re-rake.

Ghetto bike workstation. I do what I can.

With the fender rotated toward the rear, the mudflap is about 1/2" from the ground.

The best piece of evidence I have to illustrate that the re-rake project was effective is that I can ride the bike without hands. Previously, such an activity would cause the front end to dive to the side and was nearly impossible. I feel that the bike tracks much more true. Toe overlap is aaaaalmost gone, which is fantastic considering the fenders. Slow speed balance is also improved.

I was a little concerned that the axle-to-crown height would be shortened such to have a negative effect on brake placement and/or fender clearance. From what I can tell the result is minimal shortening of ATC height, so I don't anticipate any issues come winter and the ensuing installation of studded tires.

So far, so good on the re-rake project!


  1. Youre a nerdy nerd but thats still pretty neat. You can tell the geometrys better by the way it is.

  2. Great job! I can see you didn't need my link to the builder who re-raked my fork. Sorry again for the late reply. I'm guessing that I didn't click the box to inform me when you replied.

    I noticed the same thing about riding no hands on my Casseroll after the fork re-rake. No toe overlap of course. I also noticed that the bike handles descents far better than it ever did before.

    So I guess there are now two people with low-trail Salsa Casserolls?