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  1. #1
    Senior Member TnBama's Avatar
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    Carbon fork choices on a Steel frame?

    Is the fork going to affect the way the frame rides? Other than rake or trail, will the characteristics of the fork matter? Or, is any stiffer carbon fork like any other?
    I am 48 years old.
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  2. #2
    Randomhead
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    if you compare forks of the same length, rake, and trail, you are going to be hard-pressed to convince me of any difference in feel between any 2 forks. Of course, that's the sort of quasi-religious argument that will never be settled.

  3. #3
    Senior Member TnBama's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    if you compare forks of the same length, rake, and trail, you are going to be hard-pressed to convince me of any difference in feel between any 2 forks. Of course, that's the sort of quasi-religious argument that will never be settled.
    Okay- thanks for reply! I am having a frame built soon, and talking to a builder. He seems like a great guy, and he has a great reputation. I just want to be as educated as i can at the same time.
    I am 48 years old.
    I have a family and a full time job.
    I am 6ft and 200lbs.
    I want to win the polka dot jersey

  4. #4
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    the frame would be built around the fork, then to get the front end to match.

    Let the Builder Choose. they are all going to come from China , I expect.

  5. #5
    Senior Member squirtdad's Avatar
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    I am curious, why not go steel?
    '82 Nishiski commuter/utility
    '83 Torpado Super Strada ... cafe commuter
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    '78 Univega gran turismo (son's Fixie/SS)
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    looking for: De Rosa 58cm ELOS frame and fork internal cable routing

  6. #6
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    Two reasons:

    1) Weight. Is a carbon fork better, not sure, above my pay grade. Is a steel fork heavier, yes by a lot. Is the fork a principal custom part of the bike that affects the rider's fit? No. So it is tempting on weight sensitive builds to go for a carbon fork.

    2) Because of "1)" and the fact that a lot of hard tail MTBs aren't "hard head" also, there seem to be quite a few pro builders who can't/don't build forks. Other things that support that trend are:

    - Liability wise outsourcing the fork is not a bad strategy;

    - Some people who like TIG or fillet frames like the idea of a lugged fork, which is kinda out of place anyway, so why not just go to a carbon one.

    - It is interesting to speculate which is more lucrative to the builder, liability excluded. It's possible the margin on a really expensive boutique fork, could be higher than the profit on a framebuilder made one. Particularly if you could find a quality Chinese fork and import it direct from the factory. The margin on that stuff can be well north of 50%, in stuff I am familiar with, though I don't know about forks.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Nessism's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    if you compare forks of the same length, rake, and trail, you are going to be hard-pressed to convince me of any difference in feel between any 2 forks. Of course, that's the sort of quasi-religious argument that will never be settled.
    I disagree with this (although I do respect the person making the statement). A Wound-up fork for example is way stiffer than a Look HSC3. Many forks are more middle of the road, such as a Reynolds, but that's not to say all forks are similar.
    Becareful buying/selling bike parts on-line. I learned the hard way. :(

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  8. #8
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    I don't know anything much about carbon forks, but I buy carbon by the truckload, and very little else I have experience made with carbon is non-differentiable. Even when you take out stiffness, which can be measured by such methods as frequnecy under load or defection under load, there are a lot of other distributions that are possible. So an obvious one would be, lets say under load you got 100 thou deflection at the drop. Now assume all the float was in the tips of the blade, middle, or butt. Would it feel differently? Same thing with frequency two similar frequencies but where is the hum coming from, and is it the same on either side. Then there are a whole series of Psycho effects, where people place real phenomenon in the wrong effect. Like feel is actually a function of sound, etc.... So stuff like vide killing teck or sandwich can make a big difference in feel. And then there are non-real Psycho effects.

    Also, would two equally stiff forks in which one had large thin wall blades, maybe aero, while another had narrow heavy blades. Same spine, but way different placement of fiber, feel the same? But there is a lot of other stuff going on inside a tube that you can't see. One could divide that into two categories:

    1) Good stuff. Different ways of using carbon to adjust the way it shares and responds to a load. Good structures that start out with an objective and meet it. These could be things like lay-ups that share the load, different placements of different fabrics or stratification of different modulous materials. Or one could design for different degrees of toughness, etc...

    2) The bad stuff. Cost aside, no goal setting and meeting. Badly tapered laminates with poor uniformity. Inefficient use of materials, or Sub standard materials, or poor choice of balance, cheap resin systems. etc... Pour durability of properties, so one way to get a cheap tough piece is a lot of 45/45 layers with good initial hoop strength, and easy formability, yet over-reliance on short duration resin properties, resin under tension stuff.

    Then there is the whole area of designing load take-off, how those parts are built like the drop, and how they are secured and detailed. Aluminum is a creepy material to pair in-line with carbon, so doing a quality job would be nice.

    But anyway, way above my pay grade, I just build stuff.

  9. #9
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    "A Wound-up fork for example is way stiffer than a Look HSC3."

    Sounded to me as though the OP netted out variations in stiffness, so it gets down to semi-subtle stuff. I would guess it is still there.

    I reserve the right not only to be wrong but ill informed...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nessism View Post
    I disagree with this (although I do respect the person making the statement). A Wound-up fork for example is way stiffer than a Look HSC3. Many forks are more middle of the road, such as a Reynolds, but that's not to say all forks are similar.
    Measurements (e.g., deflection for a given load) please.

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