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Richard Sachs uses Steel Forks?(22 posts)

Richard Sachs uses Steel Forks?Mauceri
Sep 12, 2002 5:51 AM
How are Richard Sachss bikes? Are they top notch? Many say that his bikes are and it may be....I love the lugged look.

Question though is...Richard uses steel forks. Why? The bikes must weigh a ton.
A good steel fork is a joy and a pleasure. Thescottfree
Sep 12, 2002 6:02 AM
current insistence on carbon forks for steel bikes is slightly nutty, in my view. Make that very nutty.

Weight? Well, a bit more, but hardly a ton, and more than offset by the sweetness.
Sep 12, 2002 6:10 AM
sure a good RS steel fork is gonna be a great fork, but the piece of crap steel fork on my Bianchi Eros is not. Same with CF. There are good ones and bad ones and not everyone agrees on what constitutes a "good" fork so there are all kinds out there. Personally I like a pretty stiff fork, but others love something like the Look HSCs.
re: Some of us are kind of set in our ways.dzrider
Sep 12, 2002 6:46 AM
In test riding bikes I find it very hard to adjust to carbon forks. They make me feel like I have to exert pressure on the bars to keep the front wheel from bouncing around. Either the pressure on the bars or the bouncing front wheel makes it harder for me to find the relaxed spinning mode that makes long rides pleasant. Some of us wouldn't give up any comfort to save a pound others would never add an ounce to gain a little comfort. Moreover, the same feeling isn't comfy for everybody.
there is more to a frame/fork than light weight ...tarwheel
Sep 12, 2002 6:52 AM
You don't buy a Richard Sachs bike if you are a weight weenie, but I am sure that you could build one of his bikes to weigh less than 20 lbs. Light weight is the most over-rated feature on bikes and probably the main reason why manufacturers keep foisting dubious "innovations" on the public -- like threadless stems, hidden headsets and aluminum frames as thin as beer cans. If you've ever ridden a quality lugged steel frame you will understand the attraction. It's partly the attention to detail and craftsmanship, but also the comfort, smoothness and feel of the ride. Also, a good steel fork is every bit as comfortable as a carbon fork -- if not more so. And a steel fork is only marginally heavier than a carbon fork with a steel or alloy steerer tube. You only save significant weight with a carbon fork if it also has a carbon steerer, and that can create problems if you don't like to ride with low handlebars.
Sub 20 lb. Richard SachsDMoore
Sep 12, 2002 7:06 AM
My RS, from 1998, weighs 19 lbs 12 oz, and it's a 60 cm. frame. Although that's not "weight weenie" country, it's still pretty light.

In terms of riding qualities, it's my favorite bike. Among other bikes I also own a 2002 Specialized E-5, fully tricked out with carbon and ti bits everywhere. At 58 cm, it weighs 15 lbs 4 oz. Unquestionably, that qualifies as a lightweight. Sure, it climbs better at that weight than the Sachs, but for anything other than an actual race I'll grab the Sachs, not the Specialized. If I could own only one bike, it would be the Sachs.

As far as I'm concerned, superlight bikes do have their place, but it's mostly on a race course. For training, recreational riding or centuries, give me my steel RS.
Sep 12, 2002 7:19 AM
This one explained it exactly right, especially the "innovations" section.

Now, given that I am putting an HSC3 on my Spectrum steel today and yes, this bike weighs a tad more than some of my other bikes, so what? I doesn't appear that I am going to earn a high six or low seven figure income on the European tour, so that little bit of extra weight gives me a better workout on a great ride.
re: lots of factorsMike Prince
Sep 12, 2002 7:12 AM
As well as many different opinions. I agree that there are good and bad forks of any material. Cheaper steel/aluminum/carbon forks will be heavy and harsh to varying degrees. Hard to do apples to apples comparisons here - the fork is but one component of a materials & geometry puzzle with the frame to determine how a bike feels. Testing is impractical for the most part as most of us can't buy a bunch of different forks and try them all out, and in most cases we can't find an identical bike with a different fork to compare against. In the end it's kind of like saddles - what works for one doesn't work for all.

Another factor to consider is aesthetics. Personally, I think a classic lugged frame looks best with a lugged fork. I have a Steelman 853 frame with steel fork (and steel stem too!) and the bike weighs in at 18-ish lbs. in 60cm. Pretty standard stuff on it (Dura-Ace, Open pro wheels and reltatively heavy 46 cm Salsa bars) and it's noticeably lighter than my buddy's 56 cm 853 LeMond that has a CF fork (which is probably on the porky side). In reality you may be talking about a 150-200g difference between good steel and mainstream carbon forks. As grzy likes to say, there are three factors - cost, weight and reliability - pick two 'cause you can't have all three.

I agree with the above posts that cheap steel forks are nothing to write home about. For that matter, any cheap fork. The weight and poor ride of inexpensive steel and aluminum forks created the craze over CF forks and the stigma that the best bikes have carbon up front. IMO a premium steel fork is marginally heavier but less flexy and rides as well as the current crop of 350g carbon forks. Just my opinion though.

Never heard a bad word about Sachs' work. If you have the cash and paitence to wait for it to be built I've heard that he's as good as it gets in custom steel. Shame to spend all that cash on a handcrafted gem like that and throw on a "Made In Taiwan" fork to save some non-rotating weight.

Yes, I guess this has turned into an anti-carbon, pro-steel rant. Sorry, I'll stop.
ive seen bikes with carbon forks in walmart ....Spirito
Sep 12, 2002 7:18 AM
and yes they may have been even lighter than a sachs and were cheaper.

would i lust for one? would i expect to ride it in 20 years? would i consider it something that couldn't be improved upon? could i hold it in my hands and just marvel at it? would it be perfect? - fat chance.

i have little doubt that a Sachs would be hard to top in terms of overall quality of not only finish but also design. i have not heard one rider of his framesets so much as mention that thay perceived it to be heavy or that a different material for the forks would in any way improve on what richard has chosen to build with.

his frames are built with traditional materials, in a traditional manner but it goes for beyond being handmade and is indeed crafted like few are capable of.

i hope to own a sachs one day and when i account for the impeccable finish of paint and build quality, a bike specifically built just for me, the amount of time and detail involved in building it, by someone who is superfluous in his understanding of just what is needed to make a bike for all occassions and riding, and divide all that by 20 (30, 40, 50?) years that ill enjoy it for i would be hard pressed to find a CHEAPER bike.

in fact i consider it being more akin to commissioning an artist, architect or composer. perhaps i might offend but if one fails to appreciate what richard builds and understand the beauty, nobility and timelesness of his craft then you clearly haven't ridden enough.

dostoyevsky succinctly conveyed an exact proposition or perhaps and edict through his character Raskolnikov (crime and punsihment) on just what it is that is the pinnacle of humanity and beauty - simplicity, truth and goodness. more than mere ephemera is a richard sachs frame as he clearly is mad about the beauty and sublimity of a bicycle and im sure that dostoyevsky, were he to ride a sachs, would have said " Richie, ya done good! ".

i would challenge anyone to come out of his shop/showroom/workspace/home in chester, CT and not walk away planning to have one made for them. for more than 30 years richard sachs has made bicycles from beginning to end and the level of perfection in that time and devotion in terms of he alone is building them has yet to be matched by any frame builder.

Spirito, my brother, your prose &scottfree
Sep 12, 2002 8:26 AM
passion are matchless ... but I would in the kindest way advise you (solely in the interest of preserving the integrity of such flights of prose as this)to check the definition of 'superfluous.'
thanks scottfree ...its a tough call though - depends on contextSpirito
Sep 12, 2002 3:09 PM
i agree that it depends on which dictionary but the one i looked at ( ..........

su·per·flu·ous   Pronunciation Key  (s00-pûrfl00-es)

Being beyond what is required or sufficient.

[Middle English, from Old French superflueux, from Latin superfluus, from superfluere, to overflow  : super-, super- + fluere, to flow; see bhleu- in Indo-European Roots.]

i will readily concede that my spelling is often off and i often border on the verbose but i think its acceptable in the context and meaning i used it for.

maybe i should have used way-cool instead :-)

Lugged Steel v. Tig Welded SteelMauceri
Sep 12, 2002 7:21 AM
I have a Seven Axiom Steel - is there a noticeable difference between lugged steel vs. Tig Welded?

raquel welch Vs. pamela anderson ....Spirito
Sep 12, 2002 7:31 AM
but perhaps im just a caveman ;-)

personally I woulda saidsn69
Sep 12, 2002 8:04 AM
Maureen O'Hara (circa 1950 and "The Quiet Man") versus Raquel and her Welches ("10K Years BC").

Pam Anderson?! Put her next to a radiator and she'll melt.

How does fillet brazing factor in?
Bike aesthetics, imhodzrider
Sep 12, 2002 8:56 AM
A well made lugged steel bike is a Mercedes 230-SL. A well made fillet brazed bike is Jaguar XKE. A tig welded bike is a Ford Taurus. I like the looks of the XKE.
in that case, I'll enjoy riding my "Jag"sn69
Sep 12, 2002 9:05 AM
but even a Taurus can be an SHO.
no. lugged is mainly for aesthetics (nm)ColnagoFE
Sep 12, 2002 7:34 AM
re: Richard Sachs uses Steel Forks?farmerfrank
Sep 12, 2002 7:27 AM
I totally agree. I ride a 20lb. Della Santa that has a custom raked steel fork. The ride is rock solid. Although it isn't as responsive as my Merlin with a time fork, I will still ride steel on any century that I do. There is no comparison to the ride of a steel. Unless you're racing, what's a few pounds difference. Lose it off the body instead.
I have thought about this as well....sprockets2
Sep 12, 2002 10:15 AM
I purchased a Gunnar recently. It is 853 and is a really awesome frame. The best I have ever ridden overall, I think that I like it better than my Ti overall. Of course, I am old school and I like steel a lot.

I could have gotten it with a steel fork, or a carbon fork. I wanted steel BAD. I love the feel of a steel fork. My Bridgestone fork is lovely, and it is not a premium steel. My problem: as with almost every steel fork that I am familiar with, even top-line builder steel forks are not made of the "best" steels that are available for tubing.

For instance, Waterford uses 531 in both the Gunnar and Waterford lines. Now I know that this new 531 fork is going to be a better fork than the 531 fork on my Peugeot or my Raleigh, but I really would like to have a more modern steel in my fork. It just bugged me to think that it would nominally be the same as my ancient bikes.

I think that an 853 fork would be an Awesome Fork, but I understand that this is technologically not feasible for mass produced forks, so I opted for carbon, but did paint it the frame color. Another factor that weighed in was that I suspected that on my largest-size frame, my tubes might be able to be a larger diameter-if they had them-if I had the 1.125" headtube. This was speculation, but it does seem that my downtube would not have worked with a one inch frame. Having said all of that, even one of the "lesser steel" forks, if well designed and part of an overall great frame design-like Sachs-will produce a fine riding and handling bike. I agree with earlier posts that have lamented the over-emphasis on light weight frames and forks. If you race seriously, it could matter, but if you only dabble or don't race seriously, it doesn't mean much.
the reason for 531....rufus
Sep 12, 2002 3:07 PM
from what i have read is a combination of two things. 531 is a more flexible steel, and will absorb more road shock than the newer supersteels. also, as such, the fork will be more likely to bend in a major crash, absorbing much of the impact into itself rather than transmitting it to the frame. better a trashed fork than a trashed downtube.
true - i wouldnt feel confident on an 853 forkSpirito
Sep 12, 2002 3:21 PM
frame builders with reputations and experiance know what steels to use for different parts of a frame. they use 531 because its a great steel and is suited for fork blades where modern varieties would need a larger diameter tubing which would look a little odd and ruin the lines.

even though most of my milage has been done on old skool columbus steel i will readily admit that reynolds 531 (in all its variants) was the king of the period and is a still very valid grade of steel when it comes to stays and fork blades.

Richard Sachs not for weight weeniesDaveG
Sep 12, 2002 2:43 PM
If you are counting grams, a Sachs is probably not your bike. Not that they are heavy, but I doubt most Sachs buyers are particularly concerned about its weight. If you want a super high-quality artisan bike, the Richard Sachs is at the top of the list. If you want the latest technology and weight reductions, its not. I have 3 steel bikes and all of them have steel forks which ride great. I'm not down on carbon forks, I'm just happy with the forks I have. I think it may be a mistake to judge every bike purchase by weight alone, but you are free to disagree.