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Old 02-12-09, 04:37 AM   #1
mbrennwa
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New Fork... Help!

Dear all

I need some help regarding choosing a new (rigid) fork for my bike.

Here's some info on my bike:
- custom made steel frame (Reynolds 725)
- 26" wheels
- I use the bike mainly for on-road commuting, so it is a rugged but still 'speedy' bike with fenders and a (small and light) pannier. Weight is important to me, but not the extent that I risk that the bike might break earlier than necessary (and cost an arm and a leg). I like to ride fast and hard.
- the bike has disc bakes (front and back) and an internal gear hub at the back (Rohloff)
- tires are 1.3" (that's what I have and crave at the moment, but I'd like to keep the option to use slightly thicker tires)
- the frame has no suspension correction (I'm not a fan of suspension forks, so I decided I don't need suspension correction)

When I had the bike built for me I was given the choice between different forks. I basically chose the one with the best looks. I ended up with a rather light (and flexy) unicrown fork. After riding the bike for a few months I love it, but I believe I'd be even happier with a more rigid fork that has less flex (I am 192cm tall and weigh about 85kg with no clothes and all). I could (and probably should and will) ask the shop which built the bike about an alternative fork, but I'd like to get some independent ideas, comments, and recommendations first.

I am looking for a high-quality fork. No 'replacement parts for $29.99', please. It does not need to be the latest super-duper shiny and flashy fashion item, though.

All I know is that I have to find a fork with the same (or similar) geometry and a disc brake mount. Fork length (top of crown to axle) is about 395 mm (this is what I measured, it might be off by one or two mm). The steerer tube is 1-1/8" (I believe).

So, my questions are:
- What else do I have to consider?
- What makes a good fork?
- Where can I find a fork? Recommendations for online shops or catalogues would be great!
- Can you recommend or suggest a specific product?

Some other things that I am thinking about are:
- My current fork is made of steel. Is there a good reason (apart from philiosphy) not to use other materials (carbon, aluminum,...)?
- By looking at online shops selling forks I was not able to tell which forks are 'better' than others. What makes a good fork?
- Which manufacturers are known for making 'good' forks?
- From looking around on the Internet I stumbled over the Muddy Disc Cross fork made by Winwood (see here: http://www.winwoodbike.com/muddydisc.html ). I really like the looks of this fork. However, I am trying hard to not again choose based on the looks alone. So: what are your thoughts about this fork in my setup?

Sorry for asking so many questions...

...and thanks for helping me!


Matthias
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Old 02-12-09, 07:19 AM   #2
HillRider 
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I can't give specific suggestions but can offer a couple of comments:

Cross forks (like the Winwood) are all made for 700C wheels. Your disc brakes make brake compatibility a non-issue but the bike's geometry will change quite a bit.

Generally, Aluminum forks are frowned upon. Early versions had a well established reputation for breaking and the material has gone out of favor for rigid/road forks. Steel and Carbon are both excellent choices if made by a good manufacturer. For road forks, Carbon is the current material of choice but your 26" wheels do reduce the choices a lot.

Perhaps, going back to your original builder for a more suitable fork is the wisest move.
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Old 02-12-09, 12:27 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by mbrennwa View Post
Dear all

I need some help regarding choosing a new (rigid) fork for my bike.

Here's some info on my bike:
- custom made steel frame (Reynolds 725)
- 26" wheels
- I use the bike mainly for on-road commuting, so it is a rugged but still 'speedy' bike with fenders and a (small and light) pannier. Weight is important to me, but not the extent that I risk that the bike might break earlier than necessary (and cost an arm and a leg). I like to ride fast and hard.
- the bike has disc bakes (front and back) and an internal gear hub at the back (Rohloff)
- tires are 1.3" (that's what I have and crave at the moment, but I'd like to keep the option to use slightly thicker tires)
- the frame has no suspension correction (I'm not a fan of suspension forks, so I decided I don't need suspension correction)

When I had the bike built for me I was given the choice between different forks. I basically chose the one with the best looks. I ended up with a rather light (and flexy) unicrown fork. After riding the bike for a few months I love it, but I believe I'd be even happier with a more rigid fork that has less flex (I am 192cm tall and weigh about 85kg with no clothes and all). I could (and probably should and will) ask the shop which built the bike about an alternative fork, but I'd like to get some independent ideas, comments, and recommendations first.

I am looking for a high-quality fork. No 'replacement parts for $29.99', please. It does not need to be the latest super-duper shiny and flashy fashion item, though.

All I know is that I have to find a fork with the same (or similar) geometry and a disc brake mount. Fork length (top of crown to axle) is about 395 mm (this is what I measured, it might be off by one or two mm). The steerer tube is 1-1/8" (I believe).

So, my questions are:
- What else do I have to consider?
- What makes a good fork?
- Where can I find a fork? Recommendations for online shops or catalogues would be great!
- Can you recommend or suggest a specific product?

Some other things that I am thinking about are:
- My current fork is made of steel. Is there a good reason (apart from philiosphy) not to use other materials (carbon, aluminum,...)?
- By looking at online shops selling forks I was not able to tell which forks are 'better' than others. What makes a good fork?
- Which manufacturers are known for making 'good' forks?
- From looking around on the Internet I stumbled over the Muddy Disc Cross fork made by Winwood (see here: http://www.winwoodbike.com/muddydisc.html ). I really like the looks of this fork. However, I am trying hard to not again choose based on the looks alone. So: what are your thoughts about this fork in my setup?

Sorry for asking so many questions...

...and thanks for helping me!


Matthias
If you had the frame custom made for you, why not ask the builder to make a new fork? That way you'd be sure of getting something appropriate to whatever idiosyncrasies your frame possesses.
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Old 02-13-09, 10:33 AM   #4
mbrennwa
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1. Why would I change the bike geometry with the Winwood? As far as I can tell, the axle-to-crown length is the same as with my current fork (within 3 mm or so).

2. Yes, I should and will ask the builder of my bike. But I want to educate myself a bit before doing so.
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Old 02-13-09, 09:32 PM   #5
HillRider 
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Originally Posted by mbrennwa View Post
1. Why would I change the bike geometry with the Winwood? As far as I can tell, the axle-to-crown length is the same as with my current fork (within 3 mm or so).
That's surprising. Since 700c rims are significantly larger in radius than 26" rims, the axle to crown dimensions are usually different between a 700c and 26" fork.
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