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Experience w/carbon fork on older steel bike?(7 posts)

Experience w/carbon fork on older steel bike?cory
May 9, 2003 11:46 AM
A friend of mine has an old steel bike with a lot of sentimental value--he's a 30-year cyclist, done many centuries and long tours on it, and isn't interested in replacing it. But he's going to update, and one of the changes he's thinking about is a carbon fork. He knows what's involved in the swap (convert to threadless, etc.), doesn't care about the cost and he's qualfied to do the work, but he's curious how much difference it will really make in the ride and handling. Anybody tried it?
re: Experience w/carbon fork on older steel bike?Heron Todd
May 9, 2003 2:17 PM
It depends on what he has on the frame now. If it's an older bike, it might use normal reach, rather than short-reach, brakes. If so, it might be hard to find a matching fork.

He will also need to find a fork that is the correct length and offset. Failure to do so may result in some unhappy changes to handling. If his bike has a good quality, crowned fork, a carbon fork won't make much difference in ride quality, but it will probably be nearly a pound lighter.

Todd Kuzma
Heron Bicycles
LaSalle, IL 815-223-1776

re: Experience w/carbon fork on older steel bike?rwbadley
May 10, 2003 12:42 PM
I have switched the forks to carbon on two of my own road frames. There is a difference in road feel with the carbon fork. I quite like the increased comfort. The handling you may not notice a difference. You can find 1"threaded carbon forks they come up on e-bay, even as nos. I can suggest the Kinesis or the Kestrel, with preference to the Kestrel ems pro. I would try to find the 1" threaded as it allows minimal changes, just make sure the brake reach will work, of course you can always update the front caliper to a short reach if there is a reach issue.

Thanks, I'll pass it along. (nm)cory
May 10, 2003 1:11 PM
re: Experience w/carbon fork on older steel bike?Andy M-S
May 12, 2003 12:06 PM
There may or may not be much point to this. Several years ago, I replaced the steel fork on my '90 Bianchi with a Profile BRC, threaded. Worked fine, and the rattling noise that had inspired the replacement was gone (loose brazing material, I'd guess).

This past year, I picked up a '92 bike with a steel fork, and I think the ride quality is superior to the carbon. I've also decided I prefer the look of steel to carbon, but that's neither here nor there.

I'd worry a little about the brake reach issue; a fork with less built-in clearance may result in a slight tilt forward for the bike. But as long as he keeps the steel fork until he's certain he likes carbon, he should be good to go.
Highly recommendedCalvin
May 14, 2003 4:41 AM
First, if he likes his old bike, let him like the bike and allow him to throw money at it. A new fork is a huge step up, as everyone will notice a carbon fork. When you ride, you can look down occasionally at the sleek new fork and think how modern you really are. Everyone knows it is cool and your friend will now be cool as well.

I became cool last year when the old fork finally failed from a starved joint at the crown. It does change the ride, it is more noticeable a sprint than just steady effort.
Wicked bar tape! :-) nmrwbadley
May 14, 2003 6:45 AM