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Carbon Forks?(28 posts)

Carbon Forks?Drupa
Aug 22, 2002 6:24 AM
Do they hold up to CX abuse? What kind of weight saving would one see over a chro-mo fork? Does carbon affect ride quality on the trail or is it a waste of money...?
re: Carbon Forks?flyweight
Aug 22, 2002 9:53 AM
Carbon is simply a material used to build forks and frames. Like any other material, how it impacts ride quality and what it weighs depends entirely on how it's used. Blanket statements like "Carbon forks are smoother" are simply incorrect though there seems to be no end to the number of incredibly ignorant people who believe such hype (usually the same ignorant people who believe aluminum is stiffer than steel despite the exact opposite being true)

The Wound Up fork offers minimal clearance since it uses the same crown as their road fork (they just use longer legs) This makes it very difficult to remove your front tire as the brake pads strike the legs preventing them from opening fully. You can get around this by trimming your brake pads though your braking power will decrease accordingly.

Some of the budget forks like the Winwood specced last year by Bianchi are pretty much the same weight as a good steel fork. Clearance was decent. Ride quality was unremarkable. Really not much of an upgrade.

The only widely available fork that offers significant weight advantages is the Ame/True Temper fork. Weighs quite a bit less than most other forks but costs a fortune.

Another cost is no object option are the Mrazek titanium forks which have been used by a few pros on the World Cup circuit.
re: Carbon Forks?Jakob
Aug 22, 2002 10:00 AM
I agree with flyweight about materials and their use and the misconceptions. I raced BMX for years on a steel frame specifically because it was stiff. People would try to make aluminum frames out of the same diameter tubing and the frames were like noodles.

As for carbon forks, flyweight, what about the Empella fork and the Alan fork? They have both at

Also, does anyone know if the Kinesis Crosslight fork is the one that comes with the Redline frames? Just curious.
re: Carbon Forks?flyweight
Aug 22, 2002 10:29 AM
I haven't had a chance to see either fork in person let alone ride on them so I can't honestly comment on them. Mario De Clerq ran an Alan on his Merckx which is certainly a good sign. The Kinesis fork is a nice fork for the price. Not really better than most steel forks and probably not a great bang-for-your-buck type of upgrade.
re: Carbon Forks?Jakob
Aug 22, 2002 10:47 AM
I actually have a Redline with a stock Kinesis fork and was wondering if the one at is the same one. I was looking for a reported weight for my fork.
re: Carbon Forks?atpjunkie
Aug 22, 2002 11:01 AM
tend to agree with most of the stuff except your comments about steel vs. aluminum. Yes steel can be made to be stiffer and stronger than aluminum (hence all the CroMo BMX / MTB Downhill Cranks and handlebars) but steel that has been butted and swaged for a frame will produce a more "damped" ride than aluminum. It also had to do with the fact that Aluminum because of it's strength to weight ratio can be made into larger but thinner tubes (which makes it stiffer than a steel frame due to tube diameter) that it transmits more vibration. If you've ever done mega road miles on both frame types you'd know the difference. It's not a misconception really it's fact based on incomplete information.
By the way I ride steel road and aluminum cx bikes as most cx races are short and the stiffness helps. I'm also a Clydesdale and I can flex both materials in the stays in a standing sprint, the steel snaps back better.
re: Carbon Forks?flyweight
Aug 22, 2002 1:09 PM
That's my point exactly. People incorrectly assume frames like Klein or Cannondale are harsh riding because they're aluminum when it's really the diamer that does. Any tube drawn to that diameter would be harsh riding (I once saw a titanium track bike that proved this point)

I've been riding road bikes since 1981 and have owned carbon, titanium, aluminum and steel frames. In terms of all out comfort the best frame I've ridden was the old Vitus 979. Aluminum tubes drawn to about the same diameter as most steel tubes. Super cushy but also super springy. A great bike for long flat rides on rough roads.
I think we all agree.Jakob
Aug 22, 2002 1:30 PM
I'm pretty sure we're all saying the same thing, right?
re: Cannondale Framesatpjunkie
Aug 22, 2002 3:59 PM
except you can see what better butting and swaging can do. The CAAD 5 frames are far smoother than the CAAD 3 filling rattlers. I have an S-Works cx and it damn near feels like steel. I'll compare it to my Crossbow when I get it built.
re: Carbon Forks?Poptart
Aug 22, 2002 12:25 PM
bianchi has a new carbon cross fork that they're advertizing on their website. unfortunately, it is 1-1/8", so it won't work with the 1" of their steel cyclocross frame.
re: Carbon Forks?Wheelz
Aug 22, 2002 2:59 PM
Good analyses on the quality, what about flex? I on the heavy side, about 190 and I'm currently running a steel fork from RockLobster. It has quite a bit of flex in it, but it's pretty light. I want to replace it with something else. My LBS wants to sell me a steel Serrata(sp), but I was thinking carbon... Any thoughts?
re: Carbon Forks?atpjunkie
Aug 22, 2002 3:57 PM
if you are 190 and running a 1" steerer I'd avoid any all carbon fork. True Temper makes a Carbon Fork with a titanium steerer. Larger riders on frames with longer steerer tubes put too much torque on the steerer for a Carbon 1" steerer to handle especially added with the jarring from cx. 1.125 maybe at your size but this isn't the place (steerer-crown joint) you want to fail. Try a Kinesis alloy. It's a good cx fork. Alan makes a Carbon/Alloy cross fork as well and it's almost 200 bucks cheaper than the True Temper. Cyclocrossworld has the best selection I've found.
Good feedback, thanks (nm)Wheelz
Aug 22, 2002 4:38 PM
I bent the stock fork that came with my Redline...Wayne
Aug 22, 2002 11:53 AM
last year and bought one of the Winwood carbon fiber jobbies. The only place I noticed a difference was it made for a smoother ride on the road, which I assume tranferred to the off-road as well but I couldn't really tell there. It also felt like it lightened up the front end but I never compared weights to see if this was just a misperception or not. Its held up for 1/2 season of racing, and 8 or 9 months of commuting so far.
re: Carbon Forks?BAM
Aug 23, 2002 3:54 AM
If you are going to compare weights between forks (steel vs. carbon etc.) you need to specify which forks. If you compare say winwood to Surly`s steel fork then the Winwood is a nice upgrade ( saving about 380ish grams and a stiffer ride) If your going to compare Winwood to Kelly or IF etc. steel forks then the Winwood may not be for you unless you have to have carbon for it`s chi chi effect. As for the Alpha Q /Reynolds fork it is hard to beat (weight wise as I haven`t ridden one) at 440 grams claimed weight, more I would assume by the time you ad in the compression kit ( starfangled nut equiv.) that needs to be glued in place. If looking to upgrade a cheaper steel fork don`t by pass Kinesis (alloy steerer model), this came on the Specialized Sworks and has a suprissingly compliant ride and is lighter than stock forks on most lower end cross bikes.
re: Carbon Forks?atpjunkie
Aug 23, 2002 12:26 PM
yes have a Kinesis alloy on my Y2K S-Works and it's quite nice. my bike is a 58cm and it's sub 20 lbs.
Aug 23, 2002 2:05 PM
How do you have your bike setup? I have an 01 in 56cm and it weighs in at 23lbs. I have not used the most reliable scale( actually a major piece of Sh!t) but could only see reducing wheel weight a little.
Aug 23, 2002 3:22 PM
XTR 2x9, w/ Ultegra 12-27. Shimano Aero Levers w/ D/A Bar Cons, Open Pro's 3x to the s-works (hugi 240) hubs. Now you've got me questioning my scale. running fairly light tubes and kevlar tires. I'll have to re weigh but when I weighed myself then added the bike weight gain was 19.8 lbs (very clean and stripped of saddlebag, etc..) will re check. Aren't the 2001's running Ultegra? I wonder if it's heavier than the XTR.
Aug 23, 2002 7:21 PM
I bought the frameset not a complete bike.
Rear XTR (mid cage)
Front Campy Racing triple
Race Face Next LP crank w/Ulterga BB (square taper)
Salsa Bell Lap Bar with Shimano aero levers and Kelly Take Offs (8spd)
Ritchey WCS headset
Giant alloy/composite team stem
Titec carbon post with Salsa Zona Tres Saddle (ti rails)
Sram 9.0 hubs laced to Matrix ISO3 ceramic rims (heavy but durable-may rebuild using Real road hubset)
Sram 5.0 cassette 11-28
I would love to drop about 2lbs but like it as it is. I had a friend offer me $1500 plus the Lemond Poprad I recently sold him. Of course he knows I wouldn`t part with it, but I should call his bluff just to see his reaction.
S-works and moreatpjunkie
Aug 23, 2002 7:47 PM
sounds sweet, mine had an easton carbon post but I put a Thompson on as I don't want a Carbon Fibre enema in the future. (I'm a Clydesdale and don't trust Carbon). Running ATAC Composite Pedals. I might get a zona tres, running a selle San Marco presently, do you like yours? Save up and get some Hugi 240 road hubs, easy to rebuild and light. could shave a bit of weight. How do you like the Take Offs? was debating a try.
S-Works Stem, Ritchey BioMax Bar, pretty standard.
Purchased from a guy, so slightly used (less than 150 miles) for 800 bucks. I put the BarCons on and use the STI's for my road bike back up (as they do die)
The Bike I'm building
Ridley Crossbow Y2K
Rear XT 8 Sp Derailleur (best derailleur shimano ever produced)
Front Derailleur-None
Single 8sp Barcon on right bar end.
XT 8sp cassette 11-28 or 11-30 (need to see what I have as I collect 8 sp stuff for my MTB) Once again am a Clydesdale and don't like those spindly ass 9sp chains (yes I've snapped some)
AC Forged Crank 175mm with Salsa Ring 44T and
Salsa Chain Guard with a 3rd Eye Chain Watcher
TTT Forgie Stem 90 degree
Syncros Hardcore Headset
Syncros 44 c-c Bar (subject to change)
Ultegra Hubs laced 3x 14G non butted to Velocity Aeroheads
Race Face seat post
Brakes and Levers most likely Pauls with Paul Bar Tops and Shimano Aeros.
Most parts I have aquired through ebay or at bike swaps. Bike will cost under a grand to build completely. It's Yellow and Black to Counter the Red and Black of my S-Works. Gonna make a handsome pair.
S-works and moreBAM
Aug 24, 2002 3:53 PM
Sounds cool- Is the Ridley Aluminum also??
I`ve already started to collect parts to build an 03 Giant TCX (compact aluminum frame w/steel fork)
It will be setup similar to the S-works but will have disc brakes(avid mechanical road discs). Frameset should be available in a few more weeks.
S-works and moreatpjunkie
Aug 26, 2002 3:16 PM
yes it is. has that ovalized downtube similar to the Empella. Sounds like a sweet project. I like to build my cx bikes on the cheap, more fun and I don't cry when I destroy a part. I see these guys putting record 10 or so on the cx bikes and I'm wondering, man you could fly to the worlds for the price of that gruppo. I tend to think they are part snob/tech and weight weenie roadies. The ones who look down their noses at cyclists with lesser gruppos. They are also the ones always complaining some ailment/over trained etc.. is why they can't keep up.
That bike sounds sweet, discs on cross bikes, lace those wheels 14 G 3X or watch out!
S-works and moreBAM
Aug 26, 2002 6:42 PM
Yea, I tend to lace disc wheels 3x 14ga DB. Might mess around with the second set and do a 1x on the non disc side front , 2x driveside rear or maybe go 3x 15ga. ft and rr just to see the long term effects it has. If it doesn`t work I can always relace them. With two wheelsets I don`t have to worry about down time besides I have other bikes to ride. Just looking to have fun( always fun to experiment outside the status quo).
S-works and moreatpjunkie
Aug 26, 2002 6:53 PM
yup, I know the feeling. check the specs on the brakes and hubs. I know King Disc hubs demand that you use 3x lacing or it voids the warranty. I know discs put additional stress on the spokes and I can imagine especially with a straight laced spoke that the hub will be decellerating faster than the rim which will put undo duress on the spoke as it is what puts the braking power to the rim. Be careful, let me know how it works. I lace everytrhing 3x (except one set of road wheels) as my size and riding style puts all kinds of hurt on my wheels.
S-works and moreBAM
Aug 27, 2002 4:16 AM
Wheels are a fun place to experiment. Right now my major wheelset is laced radial in front and radial nondrive with 2x on driveside rear. My boss mess up the spoke calc. so we came up with this setup after the spokes arrived ( I no longer allow him to calc. spokes for me. If you want it done right do it yourself.). Has held up so far esp. since the spokes are 15ga straight (sram9.0 hubs/matrix ISO3 rims).
S-works and moreatpjunkie
Aug 27, 2002 7:19 PM
you must be fairly light. I can fold a 700c radial cross wheel like a soft taco. Run 14 gauge 3x by necessity. I don't even try to much bunny hopping as any kick of the rear wheel (I usually have a slight kick to the right) and I'm at the truing stand. Run 36 Spoke 3x RhynoLites on my XC MTB. Going to try a 32 Spoke Mavic 519 or Syncros Big Box to lighten my MTB up a bit.
S-works and moreBAM
Aug 28, 2002 3:57 AM
No, I am 190lbs.. I just have never been too hard on wheels. The Matrix ISO3 rim is also a 480gr. Aero rim so this helps quite a bit. My friend is 250lbs. and has his set 3x 14ga.DB and uses them for commuting and a lot of offroad riding on his Surly without any problems.
S-works and moreatpjunkie
Aug 28, 2002 4:09 PM
Wow, wish I had your grace or luck or both.
running 3x 14g on the open pros and 3x 14g on the velocity aeroheads. am 230 and like I said, am rough on wheels. Use my cx to commute 2 days a week, 42 miles round trip with grass, dirt, road you name it in between. I just seem to whack em out of true. Haven't rode the velocity's yet, hoping the aero profile helps.