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Old 10-14-11, 05:20 PM   #1
RonH
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Are new carbon fiber forks better than they were 10 years ago?

I'm trying to decide if a new CF fork will give me a more comfortable ride. I'm now 66 years old and comfort is very important.
My fork is 10 years old. It's the stock CF fork that Litespeed put on the 2001 Tuscany.
I know carbon bikes have improved and are more comfortable but am wondering if forks have also been improved.
Here's the fork I have.
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Last edited by RonH; 10-15-11 at 08:28 AM.
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Old 10-14-11, 05:40 PM   #2
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I have a Kestral EMS Pro carbon fork (Cr-Mo steerer, carbon everything else, about 490 grams) purchased in 2001 on one bike and Easton EC90-SLX forks (all-carbon, about 295 grams) on twoother bikes dating from 2006. Frankly, I can't tell any difference in comfort due to the two types of forks, or even compared to an all steel fork on another bike.

I think this business of carbon forks being inherently more "comfortable" than other types is more marketing hype than reality. Comfort comes from larger tires at lower pressure, not fork material.

BTW, I'm 69 so I have the same age perspective you have.
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Old 10-14-11, 09:24 PM   #3
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I'm with HillRider. I don't think the fork is going to change much as far as comfort goes. They might actually be stiffer, and result in a harsher ride. I wouldn't go drop big bucks on a new fork if comfort is your concern, but if weight is it might be worth it.
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Old 10-14-11, 10:52 PM   #4
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I'm with HillRider.
Same here, but half his age Much bike stuff is marketing mumbo-jumbo to get your money. If there's nothing wrong with your fork that you're aware of, live happily.
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Old 10-15-11, 03:00 PM   #5
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What would affect the comfort of a bike beside a good fit: lower air pressure, for most riders 90-100 lbs is fine; wider tires, 25 or 28, and if you are over 200 lbs I recommend 25 or at least on the rear tire as that carries 65% of the weight; a tall head tube; a longer wheelbase, and regarding a fork, going to a fork with a longer rake "more angled". Another idea is replace the seatpost with a shock absorbing seat post, and replace the handlebar tape with a more cushioned tape, more cushioned gloves also.
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Old 10-16-11, 12:16 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
I think this business of carbon forks being inherently more "comfortable" than other types is more marketing hype than reality. Comfort comes from larger tires at lower pressure, not fork material.
+1

Tire width and pressure have more effect than just about anything else. Some say aluminum frames are harsh, CF frames are more comfortable, etc. It really comes down to the tires. Many run at pressures higher than necessary, reading the side of the tire and just filling it up to the maximum. Somewhere there's a really good chart for pressure depending on your weight. Maybe someone else can link it.

I agree that the type of saddle and bar tape can also have a large part in comfort. The fork? Not so much.
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Old 10-16-11, 01:01 AM   #7
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Some say aluminum frames are harsh, CF frames are more comfortable, etc. It really comes down to the tires.
Tyres are obviously the biggest factor, but to rule out other factors is malarkey. Frame design (including material) matters, as does wheel choice.

I'm not sure to what extent a fork can affect the ride, but I can testify to noticeable effects from changing frames and wheels... and spoke tension.

But as for what material the frame or fork is, that isn't a reliable indicator of ride quality cause it's the design (given a certain material) that matters. It's a case of suck it and see. It might even be worthwhile to pay a slight amount of heed to marketing bumf.
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