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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 07-30-06, 12:54 PM   #1
dvranizan
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Hello! Quick Question About Carbon Forks

First off, let me say what a great community this is! Although I mostly lurk around, it has been a wonderful source of inspiration to keep communting!

My name is David, and I love commuting on my bike! I don't own a car, so it has been a necessity as well as a pleasure to bike to work every day! Unfortunately, I was hit by a car on the way to work one day, and it destroyed my bike (and dented me a little bit as well) ! So, once I healed, as motivation to get back on the bike (it is amazing how much harder it is to ride on some of these roads once you have been hit by a car) I decided I would treat myself to a newer bike. So I went from a large, heavy, and combersom steel frame to a light and responsive Giant OCR1.

OK, I know that was a terribly long introduction! But here is my question (Finally, I know!): My new bike has a carbon fork, and many of the roads I ride on a very bumpy. Potholes and things... I cannot dodge them all due to traffic, so sometimes my bike hits a little bump! This was never a big concern when I had an old steel frame older then myself, however, should I worry about the carbon fracturing or breaking in some way? Was my new bike just not a good choice? I hope not, I love it!

Thank you in advance for your advice, and I hope all of you have a wonderful new week commuting to work!
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Old 07-30-06, 01:14 PM   #2
Eggplant Jeff
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I doubt it will be an issue. Many manufacturers put carbon forks on aluminum frames because the aluminum rides too rough, the carbon has more flex and absorbs the road bumps.

I think the only thing is that steel when it "fails catastrophically" may bend rather than simply breaking like a carbon fork would. However in either case you're probably screwed so I wouldn't worry about it too much.

Some people are concerned about low-quality carbon forks breaking (like the kind you can get cheap from nashbar or something) but I think the OCR1 is a reasonably good quality bike (although I have never been on one myself).
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Old 07-30-06, 02:33 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eggplant Jeff
I doubt it will be an issue. Many manufacturers put carbon forks on aluminum frames because the aluminum rides too rough, the carbon has more flex and absorbs the road bumps.

I think the only thing is that steel when it "fails catastrophically" may bend rather than simply breaking like a carbon fork would. However in either case you're probably screwed so I wouldn't worry about it too much.

Some people are concerned about low-quality carbon forks breaking (like the kind you can get cheap from nashbar or something) but I think the OCR1 is a reasonably good quality bike (although I have never been on one myself).
Thank you for the quick response!!!!!!
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Old 07-30-06, 02:49 PM   #4
newbojeff
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Good work getting back on the bike and treating yourself to a new fast bike. I looked at several of the OCRs. Nice bikes. My new bike is a Trek Portland, which also has a carbon fork.

I was initially concered too before buying my bike. I've been reassured. I have been banging around on my commute for a few months without a problem. It rides great. I've even gotten a scratch or two on the fork!! If you crash it, you should get off the fork and have your LBS have a look. Otherwise, you are probably more likely to taco your wheel than bust your fork in a pothole.

Think of this from the perspective of the bike manufacturers. Would they take a significant risk of putting a carbon fork on a commuter bike if it weren't safe? Also, remember the guys out there on all carbon bikes..
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Old 07-30-06, 03:28 PM   #5
gear
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airplanes, cars and motorcycles all have some carbon pieces these days. I wouldn't loose any sleep over your fork being made of carbon.
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Old 07-31-06, 04:05 AM   #6
MichaelW
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The issue with carbon forks is not strength but toughness. The material is quite soft and can be damaged by scratching caused by careless handling at the bike lockup by you or more probably, someone else throwing their beater bike against yours.
Keep an eye out for any deep scratches or gauges. You may want to apply some duck tape or better still, some adhesive reflective pathes to protect the exposed sides of the forks.
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Old 07-31-06, 09:08 AM   #7
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Scratches are fine, you would have to gouge through numerous layers over a wide area to compromise the integrity of the CF.

Re: Failure. Very, very unlikely. Some of the earliest front forks had issues resulting from their design. They would use glue to adhere the forks to a metal top casing. These joins must be made under clean room conditions, will still be susceptible to grit and dirt slowly deteriorating them and are weak under shear loads. Lotus seems to be fine with the drawbacks, the aircraft world has moved away from glued CF.
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Old 07-31-06, 09:16 AM   #8
dvranizan
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So much great feedback! Thank you!

Consider the issue closed ! I will ride without hesitation!
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