One low cost option is a chromed steel replacement fork. SJS Cycles inUK has some for short reach, recessed bolt brakes, no eyelets, full sloping crown for 20 GBP. No tubing sticker, probably made in Japan or Taiwan, but I bought several and used two of them to replace the ugly unicrown forks on my two otherwise very classic looking lugged steel late 90's Bianchi TSX/UL's. There are also similar chrome forks with full sloping crowns made of Tange tubing which are available although probably no longer made. The forks I bought have nothing stamped on the DO's and there is nothing that would give away that they are not Italian made. Might even be Italian made, although I doubt it. Only caveat - they take a 27.0 crown race.
> Well I had a pretty crappy Saturday. I had just turned around on an
> out-and-back ride, was headed west on a bright, sunny morning, when an
> oncoming car turned left and hit me. I was shouting, and he was braking,
> so the actual collision was relatively low speed. I was wearing a helmet,
> but fortunately didn't hit my head. I am bruised, but unbroken. This is
> obviously the good news.
> The bike, my '83 Casati, is not so great. The front wheel is toast, as is
> the fork. I took the bike to my LBS, who checked the alignment, and
> pronounced the frame to be straight. My question now is, what to do about
> a replacement fork. The options seem to be as follows:
> 1. get a generic new steel fork--unacceptable for obvious reasons
> 2. get a new carbon fiber fork, assuming one can be found with a threaded
> 3. find someone to build me a new fork in the appropriate style--is it
> possible/worth it to salvage the crown and dropouts from the bent fork?
> 4. find a used fork that is corrct in terms of time period and country of
> origin. I expect that there are no used Casati forks lying around
> The LBS quoted $600 to go with option 3. This includes new spokes and rim,
> and retaping the bars. The guy who hit me was nice enough at the moment,
> but he was unhappy with that kind of bill. He said he has friends who have
> vintage bikes, and he would try to find me a replacement fork and wheel.
> I am going to press him for cash rather than parts, but the question
> remains, what to do about the bike? What is your experience with
> replacement forks?
> Another question: the wheel had 15 gauge spokes. I was offered 14 gauge,
> or 15-17-15 double-butted replacements. I seem to recall being told that
> double-butted spokes had inherent weaknesses and stretch at the points of
> attenuation. Obviously the quality of the wheel build itself is the most
> important thing, but what is your opinion on spoke gauge and profile?
> Marcus Helman
> Pissed off in Huntington Woods, MI