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aluminum forks(6 posts)

aluminum forksbigskulls
May 21, 2002 11:14 AM
Could someone please enlighten me about aluminum forks?

I have a nice, but not new (1992/3) titanium bike (Merlin road) which has an aluminum fork (Sakae). I bought the bike used and figure someone had the frame and just threw on an extra parts that would fit.

In any case, I know that aluminum frames are known for giving a harsh ride, and I figured the same would be true of aluminum forks. However, I read in "Zinn and the art..." that an aluminum fork would give a softer ride than a carbon fiber fork. My question is, which actually gives the softer ride, and which would be better for a recreational rider now starting to do longer group rides, metrics, etc.... Do either really make much of a difference? I like the plushness of my ride, but am I getting the full ti experience with an aluminum fork holding up half the bike?
re: aluminum forksAndy M-S
May 21, 2002 12:13 PM
Alloy forks do give a softer ride, but may in some cases be a tad heavier than carbon.

As for "The Full Ti Experience," do you mean that it's forgiving, or that it's light?
re: aluminum forksRusty Coggs
May 21, 2002 4:09 PM
You sure aren't getting what you could get from a fork with that cheap Sakae. There are several factors to consider.CF damps small vibrations much better than aluminum. However aluminum forks were often noted for being wimpy with respect to lateral and vertical compliance, but that may not always be the case. CF forks can also have variable compliance,depending on how they are built up.There are plenty of reasonably priced CF forks to be found that woluld likely be an improvement,but some could be too stiff if you really the value the seemingly plush ride you now have. If it was my Merlin,I would have a nice threadless CF fork with light bars and stem on it.For others,it would not matter,and would possibly not be worth the money spent.
re: aluminum forksLC
May 21, 2002 4:51 PM
I used to have as aluminum fork that came with a Giant Cadex CF frame. It actually did ride softer than a CF fork.
re: aluminum forksNessism
May 21, 2002 5:51 PM
Check the following link for some information about fork stiffness. Note, SR Prism = Sakae, just in case you did not know.

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/rinard/rinard_forktest.html

Bottom line: your aluminum fork is quite compliant and trading it out will not buy you much.

Ed
re: aluminum forksmcteague
May 22, 2002 5:33 AM
I have a 1991 Spectrum Ti (Merlin Road)that came with the SR Prism Al fork. I replaced it with a Time Equipe carbon fork a few years ago. I must admit that I really did not feel any difference in comfort but did notice that it seemed to make the bike much easier to control on downhill turns. I was didn't expect this so it is most likely not imagined. My guess is that the fork is stiffer laterally than the aluminum one. Make sure you get a 4cm rake to match your Merlin's 74 head angle. Unless of course you have a very small frame which may be 73 degrees. A lot of carbon forks today come in 4.3 cm rake to split the difference between 4 and 4.5 cm. Pretty soon there will be only one size fork that has to be made to fit ALL bikes. Ughh

Tim