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Old 07-12-14, 05:15 PM   #1
B2mac
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is carbon front fork worth the cost

Just curious if people think a carbon front fork is worth the cost? Is there a significant difference between different companies carbon forks? Is a front fork with a curve better than a straighter one? I appreciate your input, thanks. I have a Trek FX-2 and ride for fun and fitness about 25 miles per ride.
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Old 07-12-14, 06:34 PM   #2
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If you have an alloy bike, it makes it a sweet and compliant ride. Well worth the money.
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Old 07-12-14, 10:41 PM   #3
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Just curious if people think a carbon front fork is worth the cost?.....I have a Trek FX-2 and ride for fun and fitness about 25 miles per ride.
Based on your question and statement in your post, I would say spend your money elsewhere. For fitness and fun, a carbon fork is not going to gain you much, if anything, over the stock steel fork.

It seems that there are two main reasons people think carbon forks are better: weight reduction & ride quality.

The weight you will save on your bike by switching to a carbon fork is going to be very minimal. The reduction will be a pound at best and when you factor in the weight of the rider, accessories, etc., a pound is nothing. The total package can fluctuate more than that if you use the bathroom before a ride...seriously. If you were a racer and were worried about fractions of a minute over 100 mile race using 100% of your energy, then a one pound difference could make a difference. However, for recreational and fitness riding, that difference in weight isn't going to get you off the trail faster or to the next stop light that much quicker...if at all.

The other thing I hear about carbon forks is the exponential improvement in ride quality. I don't think it's quite there. A lot of the "better" ride quality is a placebo effect. Can carbon soak up and deaden some harmonic road vibration at a certain speed...sure it can. Can your hands feel that difference between it and a steel fork...probably not. The differences could be measured in a lab....but when was the last time you went for a fitness or recreational bike ride in a lab? A steel fork will smooth out most rough surfaces just fine and be more than adequate for a recreational fitness rider.

One thing to consider before buying a carbon fork is tires. Both for weight reduction and comfort. Weigh your stock tires and shop for ones that weigh less. Moving down a size in mm could easily save some weight without changing the ride. Also, experiment with air pressure. Reducing the air pressure to the lowest recommended pressure could easily improve the ride quality without hindering your speed at all.

Sorry if I sound harsh or bitter towards carbon forks. I just think for the money, there are other cycling related items that could be purchased that would provide a greater overall benefit.
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Old 07-13-14, 12:23 PM   #4
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I find my Giant Escape 0, with the carbon fork, does indeed smooth out the chip seal roads better than an aluminum fork. I tested this back to back, However, the steel fork bike I road seemed similar to the carbon fork.

I was quite leary about purchasing another aluminum bike because my 71 year old body does not tolerate a harsh ride. The Giant Escape 0 I bought and the Trek 7.4 FX I was also considering, both rode quite nice.
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Old 07-13-14, 02:57 PM   #5
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The other thing I hear about carbon forks is the exponential improvement in ride quality. I don't think it's quite there. A lot of the "better" ride quality is a placebo effect.
Curious as to how you came to this conclusion. I had a Fuji Absolute with a alloy fork that rode terribly. Swapped it for CF and the difference was night and day. I also had a Civia Hyland that came with a CF fork. They did a recall and replaced it with an exact copy in steel. I noticed a touch more buzz on rough surfaces like brick and cobblestone compared to the CF. Note;I have carpel tunnel issues,so there is no placebo here. I could not ride the Fuji to work more than two days in a row or my wrists hurt. With the CF fork,I was able to commute for an entire week with no issues.
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Old 07-13-14, 03:04 PM   #6
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Just curious if people think a carbon front fork is worth the cost?
For replacing an alloy fork,yes. For a steel fork,maybe. Some steel forks are pretty heavy,some aren't so bad. If you have a steel fork and are looking for a performance upgrade,you'd do better swapping on lighter tires.

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Is there a significant difference between different companies carbon forks?
Sure,a high-end fork like Niner is going to ride better and be built better than some no-name China eBay special.

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Is a front fork with a curve better than a straighter one?
A curved fork will ride better,but if your stock fork is straight,it will effect your bike's handling. How much depends on the specific fork and your frame's geometry. It's generally best to match the new fork to the stock one,since manufactures tend to know what they're doing when they design a bike.
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Old 07-14-14, 12:26 PM   #7
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With 700x35 tires, you've got plenty of suspension built into the front. If you're looking for a bit more plushness to the ride, consider moving to a different tire. I found other tires have a bit better ride quality. Panaracer Paselas are an affordable alternative that offers lighter weight and supple sidewalls. Keep the tire pressure at optimum (not @ max psi). Switching to a carbon fork will lighten up the front end (if that's your goal), but it won't dampen the ride any more than the above. A carbon fork does have its place with narrow, high pressure road tires.
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Old 07-14-14, 02:47 PM   #8
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I find my Giant Escape 0, with the carbon fork, does indeed smooth out the chip seal roads better than an aluminum fork. I tested this back to back, However, the steel fork bike I road seemed similar to the carbon fork.

I was quite leary about purchasing another aluminum bike because my 71 year old body does not tolerate a harsh ride. The Giant Escape 0 I bought and the Trek 7.4 FX I was also considering, both rode quite nice.
Alloy bikes don't have a harsh ride. The feel is comparable to steel if well designed and built to smooth out the ride. And alloy has one major advantage over steel: light weight.
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Old 07-14-14, 02:49 PM   #9
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I would go with titanium side forks.
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Old 07-14-14, 03:26 PM   #10
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You don't say whether you're spending up for a better carbon fork or looking at just any fork. I have a Nashbar carbon with an aluminum steerer, who knows where it came from. I couldn't tell you that it damps out vibrations all that much but it is lighter than comparably priced forks and very solid. It cost about what the frame did. I'd do it again on that bike if I were building it now.
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Old 07-14-14, 05:54 PM   #11
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I'm fine with steel forks & frames .. for myself
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