Hello! I own a Raleigh M20 bicycle with some improvements I made (hubs, sealed cartridge, etc). Now I want to try with a rigid fork (it has a cheap suspension fork -suntour 2000-). I want to change it in order to improve speed and make the bike a little bit lighter. I use my bike mostly on asphalt to commute and for training once or twice a week (not always but I try).
In order to get the rigid fork, I have two possibilities: Steel Fork or aluminium. Which one would you recommend to me? Some people say aluminium is not too strong and sometimes it breaks causing accidents. Of course, you can get good aluminium forks but they are really expensive. An aluminium fork is more expensive than steels forks. On the other hand, aluminium is lighter than steel. Any of the two are lighter than the suspension fork I have now.
Is it necessary to get an aluminium fork or the weight difference doesn't worth the money?
Well, all your advices will be very welcome.
I am posting this thread here an in commuting. This is because I am not sure which one is more appropriate. Sorry for that.
It mostly depends on what you want out of the fork. The aluminum forks are often lighter, but they will often be pretty stiff. A steel fork will often be a little more forgiving. Premium (read: custom) steel forks actually have a very nice feel - nice enough that I often don't desire a suspension fork.
One thing to look out for is the axle to crown height of your current fork vs. the new fork you plan to buy. Measure from the center of the axle dropout to the bottom of the lower bearing race. Then multiply that number by 0.9 to make up for the intended sag in the suspension fork. You'll want to get a new fork that has a similar axle to crown height.
Another thing to look for is the fork offset, but since you're likely buying "off the shelf" rigid forks, you won't really have much choice in the offset of the fork.
The offset and a-c length can make some fairly significant changes in your head tube angle and the trail number for the bike, which can change the handling characteristics pretty dramatically. As long as you buy a fork with roughly the same a-c length, then you'll probably be okay.
just replaced the suspension fork on my XC bike with the kona 2 rigid steel fork. I am very pleased with the result. no quantitative measurements made, but I do feel lighter and faster when I hit the trails. Also, the fork looks good too! As for commuting, I don't see why this fork wouldn't "fit the bill."
I vote for a steel fork... it offers more flexiblity than an aluminum fork without the inffeciencies of a suspension fork. Definitely make sure the new fork is very similar in geometry to your current one (unless of course you want to change the handling characteristics).
My old school tange double crowned fork is amazing... The bike runs smooth as butter on anything but the roughest terrain.