New Fork... Help!
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!
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.
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.
Originally Posted by mbrennwa
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.
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.
Originally Posted by mbrennwa