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Replace steel fork w/ carbon if weight not an issue?(8 posts)

Replace steel fork w/ carbon if weight not an issue?killermustard
Jan 1, 2003 2:07 AM
I just bought a used steel 12-speed Specialized Allez circa 1987. I thought I was going to convert it to a beater bike w/ 24-speed Sora components (about $50 used). After putting on new wheels and the Sora stuff, I found that it is an incredible bike (handling, stability, comfort, and aesthetics), except for the weight (about 22 pounds now). My new plan is to upgrade it to 2 x 9-speed Dura-ace/Ultegra, and make it my main ride on fast group rides and possibly crits. Right now, it's in the shop to have the rear triangle spread to accomodate modern hubs.

Here's the issue:

My current ride is an 8-year old Giant CFR carbon-framed, aluminum lugged thing with an upgraded fork (Easton EC-70). With the carbon fork, I did feel an improvement over the stock aluminum fork.

With the steel Allez, I realize that I could cut about a half-pound if I were to go with a carbon fork and threadless headset. But aside from the weight, would there be much of an improvement with respect to handling/feel/stability over the stock steel fork. I'm assuming that the stock steel fork is also about 43 degrees (it's a 56 cm frame).

So, what do you think?
re: Replace steel fork w/ carbon if weight not an issue?motta
Jan 1, 2003 4:46 AM
More important than rake is the axle center to top of crown measurement. Newer carbon forks can be substantially shorter than older steel ones, causing your top tube to slope downward toward the front of the bike. I am having trouble finding a replacement fork for a 98 CFR because of this. I am suprised it worked on yours. After installing a an easton fork on it the front end was 2cm lower. Great for a TT bike, but....
You had me worried there ...killermustard
Jan 3, 2003 10:46 PM
but I checked the distance between the axle center to the top of crown on both the OEM Al fork on my CFR and the 2002 or 2001 EC70. They were identical (about 14 and 3/8 inches; 36.5 cm). This measurement is also identical to that of the steel fork on the 1985/1986 Allez.

I wonder why your '98 CFR is different. I'm not sure about the age of my CFR, but it came with 8-speed 105 throughout and Campy Omega rims. I've been told that it's likely around 1996 or so.
re: Replace steel fork w/ carbon if weight not an issue?Andy M-S
Jan 1, 2003 5:29 AM
Remember two things--first, that your carbon fork will have to have a 1" carbon steerer, which can be a little noodly. Second, that it's unlikely to change the feel of your bike.

I replaced the fork on an older Bianchi with a Profile carbon (BRC/threaded CroMo steerer) because the BRC was cheap and the old fork had some brazing material rattling inside one blade, but I don't think I gained anything in the way of performance or handling. I have a Bridgestone RB2 of the same vintage, and the steel fork on that bike looks good and handles perfectly.

Carbon is fine, and if you like the look, go for it. But you're not going to see massive differences.
re: Replace steel fork w/ carbon if weight not an issue?gtx
Jan 1, 2003 1:05 PM
those late 80s Allez frames are great. I'd keep the fork, which compliments the frame nicely. With new DA you'll probably come in under 20 pounds.
How much $$ to put into a 15 year old bike?Kerry
Jan 1, 2003 4:45 PM
It sounds like you love the idea of building up this bike, but it may be time to stop and think about whether this is a good use of your cash. If you've got the components in a box someplace, then OK, but if you're going out and spending cash on things, including a new fork, then it's a case of pearls before swine. The Allez was an OK bike in it's day, but nothing to write home about. Are you sure this is a good investment?
I can always keep the components.killermustard
Jan 3, 2003 11:06 PM
The CFR I now ride is about as good as some newer $1,000 -$1,200 bikes I tested two years ago (Specialized Allez Comp and Klein Quantum). I briefly had a newer used aluminum frame 2000 Raleigh R600 for a few months before I sold it (for a profit); the Raleigh was noticeably quicker in acceleration and up hills, was more stable in the peleton when it was straight, but didn't track well on bumpier roads and was imprecise around corners.

However, this 15+ year old Allez rides noticeably nicer than the CFR. I admit that the Allez MAY be slower and less stiff (I still haven't put it through the paces on the fast group rides), but it definitely handles at least as well on the fast curvy stuff. Overall, the Allez is a better riding experience. I put about 150 to 200 miles a week in, so the fun factor is definitely an issue.

It shouldn't cost me that much to upgrade the parts. I can get an Ultegra crank w/chainrings for $89, and the D/A STI's for under $200. I have everything else (including wheels), except the chain. Besides, I can't afford a new D/A bike. Finally, through my local club I can get a Cannondale Caad 7 frame w/ the Slice fork and headset for under $700. When I can finally afford the C'dale, I can just swap the parts over.
Keep it SteelAndy M-S
Jan 2, 2003 7:06 AM

You've heard from both sides here--the ones who think a 15-year-old bike is a liability, to those who think you've got a sweet ride. I'm with the latter group, so take this for what it's worth:

You have a wonderful bike. Save money and ride it as is; skip a couple of cheeseburgers and you've saved most of the weight.

There is a reason that most frames and forks are compared against steel in terms of ride quality. Unless there's something wrong with the fork, keep it. Save money, save hassle, and enjoy the ride.