Metal Insert Came out of Alpha Q - What's safe?

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
Post Reply
User avatar
Posts: 831
Joined: Fri Apr 28, 2006 11:36 pm

by DC41

I have an Alpha Q fork, and the aluminum insert sleeve has come loose from the carbon steerer tube.

For those unfamiliar with the fork... there is a 4" aluminum tube inserted into the top of the steerer tube. It's bonded to the carbon. It looks like they push a smaller metal tube into the bigger tube for the star nut. I've included a picture if the above doesn't make sense.

Can I fix this, or is this fork ruined? Or can I toss the sleeve and just use a compression plug? Or cut the star nut out reinsert the rest of the big tube for stregth, and use a compression plug?



BTW... the part that come out weighs 38g, so I'd love to lose this if I can safely ride the fork
The al tube coming out of the top of the carbon steerer.
The al tube coming out of the top of the carbon steerer.
Self-Proclaimed Resident Master Fattie - Vicious DC Slither

by Weenie

User avatar
Posts: 1474
Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2003 8:32 pm
Location: WALES,UK

by BeeBee30

I had to remove my insert to cut down the steerer, I shortened the insert and then glued it back in using Araldite, no problems, done it to another set since.
Ti or dye!

The Weenie formally known as CAADHEAD

User avatar
Posts: 577
Joined: Sun Oct 24, 2004 1:41 am
Location: Toronto, Canada

by ajh

Yes you can cut it down a few CM but it has to be installed according to True Temper. Without it you risk breaking the steer tube. Add some Epoxy or JB weld and re-install.

User avatar
Posts: 46
Joined: Mon May 08, 2006 8:43 am

by Kahuna

Bro if I were you the first thing I would do is call True Temper and ask them. I don't know how old your fork is but when Dr. Lee was making these forks before True Temper bought him out, he would supply them with a kit of JB Weld, which I think is a superior strength product compared to those cheap little packets of epoxy that TT supplies, no doubt as a way to save costs.

As for possible causes, no doubt the epoxy bond was compromised. This could have been caused by several things. A bad batch of resin and/or hardener. Insufficienty prepared surfaces such as the steering tube not pre-roughened with sandpaper and cleaned with isopropyl alchohol and dried prior to bonding the sleeve. Same thing with cleaning and drying the sleeve.

TT warns that disturbing (i.e. moving) the sleeve inside the steerer tube before the epoxy has completely hardened can weaken the bond. This can also be caused by applying and removing clamping forces with the stem again, before the epoxy has fully cured.

If everything was done right, then I'm thinking it's possible the epoxy bond could have been broken from a combination of all the forces that are exerted against the steerer. In other words, not only from the stem but from braking, climbing, etc. Over time and especially with a cheap grade epoxy, I can see how this might happen.

TT says not to use a compression plug with these forks. The steering tubes have a relatively thin cross section compared to other carbon forks. The Alpha Q was designed to use the alloy sleeve. Be safe and don't do it.

Can it be fixed? I'm not sure but I'm thinking as long as the steerer tube was not damaged then it can probably be re-glued. Again, this is a good question to ask the folks at TT. If it were me, I'd probably go down the hardware store, get some JB Weld, clean the steerer and sleeve as best as possible and try it.

If you talk to True Temper, let us know what they say.

Resident Pro
Posts: 2747
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2003 9:42 pm

by mike

you can just reepoxy it inside. recommend jb weld.

it may have come loose over time, especially if you've tightened your stem down really hard.

User avatar
Posts: 831
Joined: Fri Apr 28, 2006 11:36 pm

by DC41

Thanks! I'll get some JB Weld and have it.
Self-Proclaimed Resident Master Fattie - Vicious DC Slither

Posts: 38
Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2005 7:21 pm

by Castille

JB Weld really is great stuff, but why not just take a minute to call True Temper to confirm that this is the best solution? I've called them before, and their fork tech guy is extremely knowledgeable and helpful. He's also a longtime, top-level racer. While you've got him on the phone, you can pick his brain about upcoming product developments. He'll give you very candid answers.

It's your fork. It's worth five extra minutes to get this absolutely right.


Posts: 146
Joined: Fri Nov 18, 2005 5:57 pm

by roleur21

I'd definitely call them about it and see what they say, they may send you a new plug and glue. We've only ever seen one of these and after talking with the guys at TT about it I am convinced that the parts just weren't sufficiently cleaned when it was initially bonded in, so with a new plug and a very good cleaning you should be in good shape. Or sandpaper the old plug and scotch brite the inside of your steere and JB weld it together, that stuff is seriously strong and should work great for you.

Posts: 1332
Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2003 6:33 pm

by PNuT

id buy some nice new shiny forks...... sounds like a good excuse to me
21 for road 27 for mtb :D

User avatar
Posts: 831
Joined: Fri Apr 28, 2006 11:36 pm

by DC41

PNuT wrote:id buy some nice new shiny forks...... sounds like a good excuse to me

Well... that's what I'm gonna have to do! I sanded the insert and took the opportunity to cut the steerer to proper length... done this many times before, right? No need to worry. SUUURRREEE.

You guess it... I cut the steerer too short. AAARRRGGHHH. I guess we all have to do it some time.

Anyway. I'm gonna a new fork. Anyone want a Calfee branded Alpha Q fork with a 270mm tube? It's ready to cut and bond! Great shape link to a picture on my sig line.

Self-Proclaimed Resident Master Fattie - Vicious DC Slither

Posts: 107
Joined: Thu Mar 30, 2006 6:28 am

by cocoboots

you can cut it down a bit. that shouldn't hurt anything

gorilla glue works well for re-setting the insert.

but I agree with the above fork :)

hsc 5 :D

by Weenie

Post Reply