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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 01-26-07, 09:00 AM   #1
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Clydes + carbon forks = death?

I REALLY want a speedy road bike, but I fear for those silly carbon fiber forks they are putting on all of them these days. At 380, obviously I'm harder on a bike than most are, and I ride 'em like I stole 'em.

I *was* looking at a singlespeed, but after a test ride it became painfully obvious that I need to ditch some more pounds before I can effectively push one . Add to that a pre-disposition to bad knees, and yeah, as sexy as they may be it's just not something I can reasonably do.

Anyway, looking at anything road-oriented today it seems that the carbon forks are standard. Well, anything that looks speedy (I like to go faaaast). The Trek 1000, 1500, hell even the FX series starting at the 7.5.

Opinons? Should I just wait to drop another 100 lbs then go ape on some light roadie, suffering for the next couple months on the big heavy MTB?
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Old 01-26-07, 09:40 AM   #2
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you have a few choices...you could buy one and switch out the fork for something meatier (carbon or not -- there are some carbon forks for clydes / tandems out there if it's your thing) and either sell it or put it on the wall to inspire you to get svelte...

Keep in mind that at that weight, you'll be looking to change out a number of things off a "standard" bike to be safe and to avoid trail-side issues. Chief among these will be a clyde-friendly wheelset, seatpost and possibly stem.

An option that could work well (it's where I settled) is to go with a cross bike (beefier frame, made for more abuse) and a wheelset for the rough stuff and another for road. I managed to keep more of it stick than I would have on a pure road bike, and it's pretty quick (I wouldn't keep with them in a race, but on group rides i can hold my own ok).

Your other option is to buy somehting used.

How do you ride? how much? wat are the conditions like? do you ever go off road? are your commuting and riding in rain or snow?

one more thought -- the geopmetry on a cross / road bike is tougher on the body than a mountain bike, and requires significantly more "core" strength. Depending on your fitness level, this could be frustrationg at first and lead you to put more pressure on your behind / hands...which in turn could cause you to ride less. The old saying is true -- a good bike is one you ride. Ont he other hand, if you gkeep yiour MTB (as i did) you can switch them out for a little variey and to let your body recover a little more.
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Old 01-26-07, 09:57 AM   #3
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adrien - Thanks for the response!

I've thought of a cross bike, if I think I know what you are referring to. Something like a cyclocross/touring or a "fitness" bike? The "fitness" bikes (Think Trek FX series) seem pretty sweet, actually. Nice beefy fames/forks (as long as you get the "lower end"), MTB components, and 700c wheels/tires. Look like they will fly, and probably be more "comfy".

Used around here seems kind of hopeless. The one shop that dealt in them recently changed owners, and has a very low inventory (nothing I'm looking for). I've been scouring craigslist and plan to make some stops to thrift stores, but alas no luck. I'd love an old lugged steel roadie, but doubt it's going to happen

Anyway, I ride... like I stole it . Seriously, I'm the guy who CAN'T go slow, I have an addiction to speed, and whenever I excercise I push myself to the limit, then go a little further. My average speed on paths in the city on a Specialized Hardrock with big fat knobbies is about 18mph. "Big ring" is pretty much "the only ring" in my thoughts. I used to ride daily, but since the cold hit I haven't ridden much. That is changing - I'm moving to a house further from work and need to save money by not driving my 10mpg pickup . My commute will be a total of 5-20 miles (depending if I take "the long way home" ) daily, 5 days a week with fitness rides on the weekends. As an example, I put 700+ miles on my Hardrock between September and early November last year.

The commute to work will be either side streets (paved) or MUP. Rarely will it involve a sidewalk. For offroading, I'm keeping the MTB around, which will probably be one of my "weekend rides". I'll be commuting in everything, again keeping the MTB around for the nasty stuff.

But yeah, I'll be keeping the MTB. I'm leaning more and more to the "fitness" bikes as they seem to have the best of all worlds. I have an old old old steel MTB that I might strip down and turn into a singlespeed for "fun" .
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Old 01-26-07, 10:33 AM   #4
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If you really want a rodie, I don't think you'll be happy with a fitness bike. Try looking at a Touring bike like the Cannondale T series or the Trek 520. I have a Cannondale T700 that I wouldn't trade for the world, it's been under me from 440lbs down including a fully self supported trip one summer. I normally use 700cX35 but when I want to feel sporty I slap on the 28's and go terriorize the full kit wearing roadies
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Old 01-26-07, 10:39 AM   #5
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If you really want a rodie, I don't think you'll be happy with a fitness bike. Try looking at a Touring bike like the Cannondale T series or the Trek 520. I have a Cannondale T700 that I wouldn't trade for the world, it's been under me from 440lbs down including a fully self supported trip one summer. I normally use 700cX35 but when I want to feel sporty I slap on the 28's and go terriorize the full kit wearing roadies
I would add the Surly Long Haul Trucker, now available as a complete bike, to this list.

The carbon fork will not be the primary issue for you, I think. 380 will be hard on standard road wheels. Steel forks also ride very smoothly, BTW. Carbon helps save some weight, but I don't think that should be your primary concern. Given that you want a road bike feel, a touring bike sounds right up your alley.
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Old 01-26-07, 10:47 AM   #6
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Well the only other problem is budget. I need to keep it reasonable for a number of reasons, so the LHT, 520, and others are out. The Volpe definitely is pushing it. Basically I'd like to keep it under $600, and under $900 is a must.

And I don't necessarily want a roadie, I just want something speedy . Roadies are nice, but I also like the more upright seating position of my MTB. So I'm way torn.

I think basically the solution is just to wait for more weight to drop off, then look at it again. Or to get something with "bombproof" wheels.

I really do worry about those carbon forks, though, after seeing failed seatposts. Just... scares me. I'd rather have steel or even al.
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Old 01-26-07, 10:50 AM   #7
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Aluminum is a terrible fork material. Don't buy that.

Put your $600 in the bank and save until you hit 300lbs. I bet you will be able to afford that bike. In the mean time, have you tried some slicks on your mountain bike? That will make it feel a little zippier.
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Old 01-26-07, 11:31 AM   #8
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Ironically I just found a older Specialized Hardrock Cr-Mo (the last year they made 'em in steel) on craigslist locally for $130. The price is a tad steep, considering new the bike was double that, but I'm considering it. Add a rigid fork, slicks, and for $200 I have a decent commuter.

The main reason I'm doing this is because I don't want to always have to change out the tires on my current Hardrock (on weekends Ilike hitting up the local dirt), and if I'm going to be relying on bikes for commuting I'd like to know I always have a backup. Currently I don't, so if the 'rock breaks I'm SOL.

And, you know, suspension sucks ass for trying to go fast. I *hate* how it absorbs my speed .

But even greater, the Hardrock is badass. Once I get the chance I'd like to upgrade the fork, drivetrain, and wheels to really make it a offroad beast. The frame is a tank, and considering I'll never really be below 250, I want something tank-ish for my offroading .

I think I'll look into the other Hardrock. Ride that till I'm at my goal, and reward myself with some speedy roadie once I'm down that far.
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Old 01-26-07, 11:33 AM   #9
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Oh, and I'll add, another downside of the Hardrock I currently have is ironically the frame. It's a tough bastid, not one bit of flex, which translates into a rather "annoying" ride . If I didn't have the big MTB tires I bet I'd have one sore rear.

Hrm.. steeel...
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Old 01-26-07, 11:33 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by bdinger
adrien - Thanks for the response!

I've thought of a cross bike, if I think I know what you are referring to. Something like a cyclocross/touring or a "fitness" bike? The "fitness" bikes (Think Trek FX series) seem pretty sweet, actually. Nice beefy fames/forks (as long as you get the "lower end"), MTB components, and 700c wheels/tires. Look like they will fly, and probably be more "comfy".

Used around here seems kind of hopeless. The one shop that dealt in them recently changed owners, and has a very low inventory (nothing I'm looking for). I've been scouring craigslist and plan to make some stops to thrift stores, but alas no luck. I'd love an old lugged steel roadie, but doubt it's going to happen

Anyway, I ride... like I stole it . Seriously, I'm the guy who CAN'T go slow, I have an addiction to speed, and whenever I excercise I push myself to the limit, then go a little further. My average speed on paths in the city on a Specialized Hardrock with big fat knobbies is about 18mph. "Big ring" is pretty much "the only ring" in my thoughts. I used to ride daily, but since the cold hit I haven't ridden much. That is changing - I'm moving to a house further from work and need to save money by not driving my 10mpg pickup . My commute will be a total of 5-20 miles (depending if I take "the long way home" ) daily, 5 days a week with fitness rides on the weekends. As an example, I put 700+ miles on my Hardrock between September and early November last year.

The commute to work will be either side streets (paved) or MUP. Rarely will it involve a sidewalk. For offroading, I'm keeping the MTB around, which will probably be one of my "weekend rides". I'll be commuting in everything, again keeping the MTB around for the nasty stuff.

But yeah, I'll be keeping the MTB. I'm leaning more and more to the "fitness" bikes as they seem to have the best of all worlds. I have an old old old steel MTB that I might strip down and turn into a singlespeed for "fun" .
You're welcome...

I love my Kona Jake the Snake, and use it much as you describe...but, it's well out of your budget range. With the extra wheel set, I've spent over $1,500. My commute is 40 miles, return, so i only do it about 2-3 times a week.

They do make the jake, which is a nice bike, but you'd want to at least change the wheelset. Again, you're pushing $800 by the time you're done.

How about a set of slicks for the MTB? low-cost, and will buy you at least 3-5mph.

One more thought...if your knees have been giving you some pain, i'd suggest you take it a little easy. I cringed reading how hard you pushed...

If you don't have them already, get some clipless shoes / pedals to go with the slicks, and work on your form. Your knees and your bike will hold up longer.
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Old 01-26-07, 11:42 AM   #11
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I *love* the Kona Jake series. One of the local LBSes has a Jake the Snake that's been customized a bit and is just downright beautiful.

Well for me, the knees will always suck. They've actually been getting BETTER the more I excercise, they rarely bother me anymore. When I was at 567 lbs two years ago, yeah, I was eating a bottle of ibuprofen a day. Ain't never going back to that.

Ah well, decisions. I'll figure out something I'm sure.
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Old 01-26-07, 11:58 AM   #12
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I *love* the Kona Jake series. One of the local LBSes has a Jake the Snake that's been customized a bit and is just downright beautiful.

Well for me, the knees will always suck. They've actually been getting BETTER the more I excercise, they rarely bother me anymore. When I was at 567 lbs two years ago, yeah, I was eating a bottle of ibuprofen a day. Ain't never going back to that.

Ah well, decisions. I'll figure out something I'm sure.

Not sure what your goals are, but I'd suggest the knees might not always suck. I found that by spinning and going for longer distances, a couple of things happened. My knees stopped hurting (as in ibuprofen only after a metric century or more, and that's averaging 15mph on cross tires) and i developed much faster in cardio fitness. Depends what you're going for.

It sounds from your posts like you've got a weight loss / overall fitness goal. PLease don't misconsture this, I'm trying to help...I worry about you injuring yourself in your drive to get fitter, and that can be a killer. Listen to your body. If the knees hurt, adjust the approach.

Sorry if that was preachy. Am speaking from experience on this one, and i rather wish someone would have broght it up.
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Old 01-26-07, 01:32 PM   #13
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Well for me, the knees will always suck. They've actually been getting BETTER the more I excercise, they rarely bother me anymore. When I was at 567 lbs two years ago, yeah, I was eating a bottle of ibuprofen a day. Ain't never going back to that.
Damn good job, sir. Your knees may get a lot better, so I wouldn't get fatalistic about them yet. It sounds like you have almost taken 200lbs of weight off of them (magnified many times with the impact of each step). If you continue to loose weight and strengthen the joint I would bet your knees (and more) will feel great.

Again, great work.
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Old 01-26-07, 09:54 PM   #14
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Thanks . I'm by no means done, I still have a ways to go, but I know I can make it. Being able to ride these tiny road bikes without worry is a big motivator to drop some more weight.

That, and you know, living for awile

Anyway, general consensus seems to be that carbon forks will hold up. I'll have to keep that in mind, and not narrow my search.
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Old 01-26-07, 10:42 PM   #15
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Well the only other problem is budget.
And I don't necessarily want a roadie, I just want something speedy . Roadies are nice, but I also like the more upright seating position of my MTB. So I'm way torn.
Have you looked into the world of flat bar road bikes. Most companies make them. With a flat bar road bike you get a little more upright position, but with road wheels and tires. Another big plus is that you can get a nicer bike for the money because flat bar road bikes don't use road shifters. This single difference saves you quite alot of money. The Fuji Sagres is under $500 dollars with Tiagra parts. I've seen others with 105 and ultegra components for much less than their drop bar brethren. Don't confuse these with hybrids...these are true roadbikes for people who like to go fast, but would rather be a little more upright. They simply have flat bars,
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Old 01-27-07, 01:31 AM   #16
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I don't think you'll be happy with a fitness bike.
I can't agree with this more. You are basicaly going to take a half step toward what you really want if you go with a hybrid. I have a Trek 7300 that I got free, but it's heavy, 30 lbs, and I sit so upright that any minor wind makes it a herculian effort to pedal. While I can cruise along at 17 or 18, it's will kill me to do that kind of speed for more than 20 to 25 minites. The resistance that I get from the riding position on this bike keeps my avg speed between 12 and 15 mph. I know the new Trek FX bikes are not nearly as heavy maybe 25 #'s, but why spend $600 on sometime that ultimatly you may get rid of and possibly tire of in a couple of months, like I did. If I had it to do over again, I would have paid for the road bike I originally wanted, but the word "Free" was better spending $1500.

When I really started riding in June 06 I thought this 7300 would take me to the promise land of 215 lbs. I'm down 65 lbs, but I'm still looking for the promsie land and now 7 months later looking for a road bike. I would do what Adrien mentioned and put some slicks on your MTB and keep riding, save your cash and build up for a better road bike when you hit a mid period weight goal as a present to yourself.
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Old 01-27-07, 02:14 AM   #17
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I can't agree with this more. You are basicaly going to take a half step toward what you really want if you go with a hybrid. I have a Trek 7300 that I got free, but it's heavy, 30 lbs, and I sit so upright that any minor wind makes it a herculian effort to pedal. While I can cruise along at 17 or 18, it's will kill me to do that kind of speed for more than 20 to 25 minites. The resistance that I get from the riding position on this bike keeps my avg speed between 12 and 15 mph. I know the new Trek FX bikes are not nearly as heavy maybe 25 #'s, but why spend $600 on sometime that ultimatly you may get rid of and possibly tire of in a couple of months, like I did. If I had it to do over again, I would have paid for the road bike I originally wanted, but the word "Free" was better spending $1500.

When I really started riding in June 06 I thought this 7300 would take me to the promise land of 215 lbs. I'm down 65 lbs, but I'm still looking for the promsie land and now 7 months later looking for a road bike. I would do what Adrien mentioned and put some slicks on your MTB and keep riding, save your cash and build up for a better road bike when you hit a mid period weight goal as a present to yourself.
Agreed!
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Old 01-27-07, 03:12 AM   #18
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knee problems....

I went through this for about a year...pushing too hard and wrecking my knees. Stop doing it and learn to spin in lower gears faster. Don't go crazy on this either, just take some of the load off your knees.
As far as bike styles go, if you want to go really fast buy a steel framed recumbent. Mine is fully 2-5 mph faster than any of my uprights on level to rolling terrain. Hills are a grind but I can make it up fine. Other than the recumbent, you are chasing diminishing returns purchasing a bike with lower handlebars etc. the only thing that will result is that you will have more weight resting on your hands. That's fine for short rides, not good for anything else unless you are young and a flyweight. A good steel touring style bike with 36 spoke wheels and wide rims with 35-37mm tires will be your fastest and most comfortable bike on roads. A Mountain bike is a good compromise and isn't all that much slower if you carefully select good street tires and keep them pumped up. If you want the lower position for "speed", lower the bars with a reversable stem or a moustache bar or something simular. I think you'll find it pointless, however. Concentraite instead on riding consistantly and buy a good stout steel touring bike when you hit about 275. If your goal is weight loss then you might try using the bike for cardio (longer less intense workouts) and start lifting weights to help elevate your metabolism while at rest. This will help you burn fat and speed you on your way to a new bike.
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Old 01-27-07, 04:28 AM   #19
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Surly has a very nice collection of steel forks. Figure about $75 for the fork. Or, you can use ebay. They are full of steel forks for road bikes in 1" and 1 1/8" Good luck

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Old 01-27-07, 05:47 AM   #20
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I would also look at surly, sure they are a few pounds heavier than most road bikes but they are all steel.. The Crosscheck which can me made into a road bike, cross bike or touring bike can be found for under 900.00 complete.. The frames by themselves are under 400.00.. Other than the frame/fork make sure to get some beefy wheels.. 36 hole wheels would be preferred..

Good Luck
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Old 01-27-07, 07:07 AM   #21
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Old 01-31-07, 06:44 PM   #22
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here's another option.this is what i did to my wife's raliegh SC30,[a rigid fork atb with 26in wheels].i put bontrager 26x1.5 hard case puncture resistant tires[somewhat difficult to find but,they do exsist] on WTB dual duties.very strong,very fast, very smoothe. then i put a sram 11-32 9spd rear cassette on it with a 68x113 bb and a triple road crank with 30/42/52 chain rings. for shifters i used shimano R440's,[specificly made for flat bar road bikes], with the front derauillure that matches the R440's,[a must since road chain rings are spaced differently than atb's]. the result is a bike that's as strong as a tank,takes off like a rocket,cruises like a missle,and climbs hills like a goat.i was able to do all this at less than half of what you say your budget is,because i was able to do all the work myself. this project started out as an experiment. i was just trying to build her a durable,eficient commuter. i stumbled on to this configuration purely by mistake when i was trying to get her a little more speed to make it easier for her to get to work on time. at first i thought i was just peeing in the wind. everything i knew from my background as a master automobile tech told me that this would'nt really give her all that much of an advantage. but, to my surprise, this combination of components turned this crappy little atb into a little fireball. this thing is so fast that i have trouble shaking her when i'm on my cannondale cad 5 R500. and with the 30t chain ring and the 32tfirst gear it climbs WAY better than any road bike i've ever seen. all this can be done on a budget; bb-$20,cassette-$30,9spd chain-$30,R440 shifters-$60ish, the single biggest expence is the cranks[any where from $80 on up]. but, if you watch the sales on bike nashbar,you can even save money on that[just make sure that the bb matches the cranks]. i was so impressed with the way this bike spins tha i hit craig's list,bought a crappy atb bike and built one exactly like it for myself. to my amazement,i in-advertently built a super urban assault bike. i ride this thing like i want to destroy it. slamming up and down curbs,over pot holes,down and up philadelphia's art museum steps[remember "ROCKY"], and in 2 years and1500+miles i still haven't had to make any repairs, not even true the wheels. since i weigh 275+#, i'd say this bike's pretty darn strong. and with the 52t chainring and the 11t ninth gear i can easily hold cruising speeds of 18 to 22mph on flat to rolling terrain for considerable distances.
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Old 01-31-07, 07:37 PM   #23
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cyclesick - awesome and.. interesting! There is a older Specialized Hardrock on the local craigslist for a very reasonable price, and I'd been thinking of getting it. The downsides to it were that it's the "CrMo" model, which at the time was the low-end Hardrock (low end low end), so chock full of low end components. HOWEVER it does have stuff that matters - steel frame, right size, flat bars, and 36h wheels. I'd ditch the silly RST fork for something like a Surly 1x1, and upgrade the component group.. hrm.

Out of curiosity, I have 0 experience with this, how does the whole bottom bracket thing work out with a road BB/crank on a MTB frame? It looks like Nashbar has their "compact road crank" on sale, and the 52/30 with the 11-32 would give one heck of a range in gearing.

I mean, hell, for the same price as a Trek FX I could build up quite the bike with that Hardrock frame. Any suggestions for components? You didn't mention what you used for a group?
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Old 01-31-07, 08:40 PM   #24
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Uhhh...I didn't read all the posts, but in response to the OP's original post, I'm a clyde, I have a carbon fork on my Bianchi Veloce and it's fine. I've clobbered some potholes that ended in pinch flats and the fork is fine. BTW, if you wanna go SS, try a fixie. It'll strengthen you up pretty quick.
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Old 01-31-07, 08:58 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by jyossarian
Uhhh...I didn't read all the posts, but in response to the OP's original post, I'm a clyde, I have a carbon fork on my Bianchi Veloce and it's fine. I've clobbered some potholes that ended in pinch flats and the fork is fine. BTW, if you wanna go SS, try a fixie. It'll strengthen you up pretty quick.
I've got a Carbon fork, but it doesn't have a carbon steerer..... I'm using the True Temper Alpha Q with a Ti steerer, however, I'm a long way from 380. (I'm 220) So I can't honestly say it would be OK for you, check with the manufacturers.
I also ride a Fixie, just watch your gearing, start out in the mid 60's in gear inches and you'd be ok.
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