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Any experience with AME Alpha Q forks?(5 posts)

Any experience with AME Alpha Q forks?graham22
Jul 9, 2001 7:25 AM
I am looking for a new carbon threadless fork and have been directed to American Materials Engineering ALPHA Q forks by several frame builders in the Boston area. Any experience with them? How do they compare to a Reynolds Ouzo? I need shock dampning for a wrist problem, thus smooth ride is important. The Alpha Q has either a carbon, Titanium or steel steerer tube, straight or curved with various rakes or a custom stiffness to customer request. A visual comparison with a Reynolds showed an equal quality and weight. Price is about $333 direct from AME. All this sounds great but how do they ride, straight or curved? I am inclined to go with the Ti steerer for duribility reasons.
Spec's: 1.00" threadless on a 57cm Merlin Extralight. Rider weight less than 150 pounds. I am nuking a Time Equipe ton O'bricks...
re: Any experience with AME Alpha Q forks?samcat
Jul 9, 2001 11:38 AM
Just (two weeks ago) had a new AME carbon steerer (1") fork installed on a new Axiom at Wheelworks. It's a great ride, so far...light, stiff, easy on the bumps and ruts and a delight on the turns...except that the epoxy bond between the steerer tube and the alloy insert failed yesterday morning.

No crash or crisis, just a little chatter and a touch of vibration...couldn't tighten it up. Called the shop. They told me to come right over (noon on Sunday). They couldn't get it tight either and then noticed the insert moving up the tube. Bad epoxy, not enuf roughing up of the insert at installation at the joint or just plain infant mortality, I guess.

It's in the shop now for rework and should be rebonded/repaired late today or early tomorrow. S**t happens...and I think that it had nothing to do with the fork itself or with the installation proceedure spec'd by AME.

Everyone I spoke to praised the Alpha Q over all other carbon forks in general and the carbon steerer model, for those of us who are semi-flyweights, in particular. Take a look at their website (www.alphaqFork.com)...there's some pretty interesting stuff to read there.

I'm a bit under140# and a non racing spinner; easy on equipment and riding a 50cm...so killing the carbon steerer seems a pretty remote probably in my case. Failure though, according to some,might be a higher probability than a Ti or alloy bonded steerer tube to blade unit...but I was concerned about joined/bonded dissimilar materials in a high stress area, too. It's difficult to cut thru all the clutter and urban legands to uncover the truth though...and if I was looking for complete safety I'd do my riding in a Humvee...with a helmet...and wearing a Nomex suit and gloves.

Though my experience is most limited thus far, I think I made the right call. Good luck in your search.

samcat
re: Any experience with AME Alpha Q forks?jschrotz
Jul 9, 2001 11:45 AM
I'm riding a curved AME Alpha Q w/the Ti steerer, and I absolutely love it. It's the first carbon fork I've used so I can't compare it with others. It's a bit beefier in appearance than the Reynolds. It's very stiff and absorbs shock pretty well, but there are probably more compliant forks out there if that's your main concern. It tracks wonderfully and inspires nothing but confidence in the corners and on high speed descents.
Failure more likely with dissimilar materials...3kidney
Jul 13, 2001 3:09 PM
Unless you crash into something head-on or overtighten the stem on the steerer the all carbon is probably more durable since it's all once piece of material.

I have ridden a number of carbn forks and the 2 AME's that I have are the best of the bunch. If you really want comfort more than precise steering you could get the standard stiffness (the least stiff) and the extra light model of of either the straight or curved blade. I just got an extra light straight blade and it is definitely more comfortable than the stock curved one I have (and about 25g lighter). And it still handles just as precisely or maybe better, it's really hard to tell.

The Ouza would be my second choice, but I think the AMEs are better riding and definitely better engineered. I know Calfee tested all sorts of carbon forks for their frames and ended up choosing AME.

Also use cork handlebar tape if you aren't already.
re: Any experience with AME Alpha Q forks?Skip
Jul 14, 2001 7:15 PM
Just got back from my first ride with my new AME Alpha-Q, all carbon, curved-bladed, fork. It is noticeably better than the Time Millenium, carbon fork with a cromoly steerer, that it replaced. Much better dampening of the road bumps and noise, smoother, and stiffer, corners well, and gives a very positive feel and response. I don't notice any mushiness or noodling. Plus it's nearly a half pound lighter than the Time. Total weight of the fork, insert, and glue was 395.76 g for a 221 mm length steerer (36mm spacers available).