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  1. #1
    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    Fiber carbon forks

    I've read some post on carbon forks on the search forums, but I don't know what kind of riding the people do. I thought it would be better on the over 50 forum. I have a Trek FX 7300 which I really like and I was wondering if carbon forks would make the bike handle better or feel better and how much weight it would take off the bike. For the most part I do all road and blacktop bike paths.Save my money for a new bike or just keep upgrading this one.Thanks much George.
    George

  2. #2
    sch
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    Save your money, carbon fork will not add enough improvement to be worth the cost unless you can get one free. Performance difference will not be apparent in typical use. Weight difference likewise will be
    insignificant for the bike.

  3. #3
    Senior Member CrossChain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sch
    Save your money, carbon fork will not add enough improvement to be worth the cost unless you can get one free. Performance difference will not be apparent in typical use. Weight difference likewise will be
    insignificant for the bike.
    Interesting. I ride steel because the damned stuff won't wear out or fail, so I can't justify a new, more bling bike. Lots of hype, advertizing, Road Cycling forum, etc. testimony to the "silkiness" of carbon-- especially the desirability of a carbon fork. Without doing the carbon vs. steel vs. titanium thing, would be good to hear from some more informed people on this.
    Riding and aging don't get easier, you just get slower at slowing down.] (FiftyPlus observation inspired by G. Lemond.)

  4. #4
    Dharma Dog lhbernhardt's Avatar
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    I ride four bikes, each on a fairly regular basis. The carbon fiber Trek is just that: cf frame and fork. The track bike is aluminum with cf fork. The fixed gear commuting/rain bike is steel with cf fork. And the tandem is steel with steel fork. The tires on all of them are 23mm or thinner, all pumped hard (115+ psi). As much as possible, the riding positions are identical as possible as far as saddle height and setback, and distance from saddle to bars. Now, it seems to me that my arms get most tired when riding the tandem (steel/steel), but this could be because I'm steering a much longer and heavier bike. At any rate, I am looking at upgrading the tandem fork to cf, and I'm using arm fatigue as the rationalization. Well, that's my story and I'm stickin' with it.

    The story goes that cf damps the vibrations that happen when you give a steel tube a hard rap. Also, cf is supposed to be able to be wound in such a way that it can be pliable in one direction (to absorb and damp road shocks) while retaining extreme stiffness in another (lateral stability to allow better control in turns). It's also supposed to be more fatigue-resistant than steel, so it should last longer. I also expect a new cf fork will make my tandem much lighter.

    Most bikes are also in a constant state of upgrade. That's part of the fun of cycling, continually upgrading the bike. You might as well get the cf forks.

    - L.

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    A friend just put a CF fork on an old steel Centurion he's owned for at least 20 years (he's firmly attached to the bike, has ridden it across the country and done more than 100 centuries on it; he has no interest in a new one). He says the improvement is noticeable but not much more than that--nowhere near as great, for instance, as swapping the 23mm, 110psi tires for some 32s at 90 or so. He needed a replacement fork anyway, but says if he'd done it just for the performance increase, he'd be disappointed.

  6. #6
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    George,
    That Cannondale road bike R2000 is Aluminum frame with CF forks. It has a terrible dampening performance. Call my new Trek Madone a 10, this Aluminum bike with CF fork feels like a 2.
    Will

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    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    George: You've seen above that there are many different views on this. I think to some extent it depends on what you are looking for. Carbon will provide some advantages, but the question of is it enough depends on your fiscal situation and the amount and kind of performance enhancement you seek. You can get more comfort for the dollar by going with wider tires, but then you have more weight and rolling resistance. You can improve bike handling with a really good fit (e.g., my balance on a bike can be really off if the seat is forward too far by as little as 2 or 3 cm.) and lots of miles learning the characteristics of that particular bike. I own, steel, alum., and carbon. 90 percent of my miles are on carbon.... despite having gone through two carbon frames in one year.... it's still my first choice.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright
    Favorite rides in the stable: Indy Fab CJ Ti - Colnago MXL - S-Works Roubaix - Habanero Team Issue - Jamis Eclipse carbon/831

  8. #8
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    I own an old steel Bridgestone bike with a steel fork and a Brooks saddle. I also have a Klein aluminum bike with a carbon fork. Maybe if I rode them back-to-back over a chip and seal road I'd be able to tell the difference.

  9. #9
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Sorry but I do not trust Carbon fibre. It is one of the new wonder materials and is not easy to manufacture parts out of properly. Providing it is made properly- it will be light- strong and can be manufactured to do the job it is intended for. Unfortunately- not all CF parts are made properly- just sold as it is the wonder material. And it is fragile. It cannot take the knocks of other materials and can fail for no apparant reason. Given the choice of Chromoly steel or CF- I will take the Steel anytime.

    (And I used to be a glass fibre laminator in the past)
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    I guess I'll just wait for that new bike,Thanks George
    George

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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam
    Sorry but I do not trust Carbon fibre. It is one of the new wonder materials and is not easy to manufacture parts out of properly. (And I used to be a glass fibre laminator in the past)
    I also spent years as a laminator, and agree with Stapfam's assesment of CF. Great stuff if it's designed, constructed and used with great care.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam
    Sorry but I do not trust Carbon fibre.
    (And I used to be a glass fibre laminator in the past)
    I am in the Robotic Automation Business. Not so long ago (20 years) there was a big dispute to using steel visa aluminum and/or CF. The American companies stayed with steel partly because the Big Three Automotive Companies preference. The Japanese and Germans went the other way. The American Automation Companies are either out of business or shrinking. The argument is settled.
    We are now transferring parts with endeffectors being much less weight than the part transferred. That cannot be done in steel.
    A 17 lb CF bike with a strong 200 lb guy on it is an engineering marvel.

  13. #13
    sch
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    My original answer was predicated on the fact the the bike in question was a $400 or less bike. It makes little sense to 'upgrade' such a bike piece meal and expect great things. If the fork were free or needed replacement because of damage to the oem fork then a $100 CF fork would be sort of reasonable, if it could be found, in comparison with a $25-50 steel fork, but to spend any more is silly. The bike in question is a good bike for the price, and the questioner would have to double or triple the original cost (if he bought new) to noticeably improve the bike/ride. To talk about CF or Ti bikes in the same context is equally fatuous as bikes so built are going to be 5-10x the cost of the bike in question. I lucked into a $100 CF fork when I had to replace the broken Ti fork on my Teleldyne Titan and the EC30 Easton fork is to me indistinguishable from the oem CP Ti fork. (another Nashbar closeout).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Velo Dog
    A friend just put a CF fork on an old steel Centurion he's owned for at least 20 years (he's firmly attached to the bike, has ridden it across the country and done more than 100 centuries on it; he has no interest in a new one). He says the improvement is noticeable but not much more than that--nowhere near as great, for instance, as swapping the 23mm, 110psi tires for some 32s at 90 or so. He needed a replacement fork anyway, but says if he'd done it just for the performance increase, he'd be disappointed.
    Did the same improvement to my Centurion! Weight was the issue for me. It, in my opinion, has improved the ride quality. Every time I think about selling that bike - I just can't bring myself to part with it. Still a great ride.

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    Not to hijack the thread, but I feel the same about my 1979 Centurion Super Elite, still fun to ride that old girl.

  16. #16
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam
    Sorry but I do not trust Carbon fibre. ... I will take the Steel anytime. ...
    I concur 100%. A local cyclist died this year when his CF fork failed abruptly. OK, he LBS did warn him about a small crack they had seen, but they evidently had not felt strongly enough about it to caution him against using the bike. The point is that I have never heard of a steel fork failing in this manner. (Of course, the Viscount fork-of-death is an entirely different story ... .)
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
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  17. #17
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by will dehne
    I am in the Robotic Automation Business. Not so long ago (20 years) there was a big dispute to using steel visa aluminum and/or CF. The American companies stayed with steel partly because the Big Three Automotive Companies preference. The Japanese and Germans went the other way. The American Automation Companies are either out of business or shrinking. The argument is settled.
    We are now transferring parts with endeffectors being much less weight than the part transferred. That cannot be done in steel.
    A 17 lb CF bike with a strong 200 lb guy on it is an engineering marvel.
    Motor business in the UK has disapeared- except for a few small manufacturers. Fibre Glass and CF is a lot lighter than steel. But have you ever Pushed a volvo into a wall. The main structure of the car will still be fine but the car can be written off with cost of repairing it. Main structure is still steel- but all the bumpers and wings are Fibre glass for Lightness- or possibly CF for the cost of them. One of my neighbours has just had his 3 year old Volvo hit and the cost of repairing it made it a write off.

    I have been in the parts supply for Vehicles for 30 years now, and I am glad that I am now on trucks. Still made out of steel and still repairable economically. (Except that even trucks are getting more Plastic put on them for lightness- but not many vehicles argue with trucks)
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam
    Motor business in the UK has disapeared- except for a few small manufacturers. Fibre Glass and CF is a lot lighter than steel. But have you ever Pushed a volvo into a wall. The main structure of the car will still be fine but the car can be written off with cost of repairing it. Main structure is still steel- but all the bumpers and wings are Fibre glass for Lightness- or possibly CF for the cost of them. One of my neighbours has just had his 3 year old Volvo hit and the cost of repairing it made it a write off.

    I have been in the parts supply for Vehicles for 30 years now, and I am glad that I am now on trucks. Still made out of steel and still repairable economically. (Except that even trucks are getting more Plastic put on them for lightness- but not many vehicles argue with trucks)
    You are right with your observations but IMHO not your prediction where it will be going.
    I will make you a bet that in less than 20 years we will have very light cars with servo motors powered by fuel cells. Yes, they will be smashed up at high speed but there will be less mass in motion.
    I also predict that there will be more CF bikes than anything else.

  19. #19
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    George,
    My single is a Trek 5200 with CF frame and fork. I am constantly amazed with the performance and ride. Our tandem is a T2000 with a CF fork. Again the performance and ride are excellent. As far as steel bikes go ... give me one Richard Sachs bicycle and I'd trade in all my CF and aluminum singles! CF and aluminum are bikes but a Sachs is bicycle ... art with wheels. Simple, distinct and timeless.
    Tandem Edge

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