Carbon forks: price vs durability? (should i trust this fork?)
So i purchased a carbon fork from chucksbikes.com, and it's arrived and all, but now i'm having some second thoughts about installing it, for a few reasons: i only paid $95 plus shipping, it doesn't have a brand name nor did it come with any documentation, and i've found a small problem in the quality...
first i'll explain the problem i found, just to get that out of the way: the fork has mid-blade rack mounts (which is one of the main reasons i bought it) These aren't through holes, they're just aluminum bosses, like bottle cage bosses on the outside of the fork(by outside i mean away from the wheel). The one on the right is threaded to take a standard M5 screw, but the one on the left is unthreaded. I realize it's not a huge deal to fix, i'll just have to get my hands on an appropriately sized tap and cut the threads myself, but the fact that there is a problem at all is a little worrying when we're talking about something as critical as a fork.
Anyways, i was hoping somebody might have some experience with a cheap carbon fork from chucksbikes (or nashbar or performance) that might put my mind at ease, or give me good reason to steer clear. Any ideas weather a cheap (say, sub $150) fork is less durable than a $200+ or $350+ fork? I know that the more expensive ones have carbon steer tubes and dropouts, and that one of the high-end brands (AlphaQ?) offers discount crash replacements. But are they more reliable, or just lighter?
i'm not ready to install it yet, i need to get a new crown race and star nut, so i'll sit back and read your opinions for a few days. I did measure the rake (which wasn't listed anywhere) using a laser pointer shone down the steer tube onto a peice of paper. It came out to roughly 46mm, which may be a bit off, but is pretty close to the 44mm of my stock cross-check fork.
If I were you, I'd let Chucksbikes know about that that mount being unthreaded. Ask for a fork that doesn't require you to work on it to make it function as advertised, I say.
I have no idea about the quality of these forks, but I know they are almost definitely made in Taiwan. I wouldn't be too worried about the structural integrity. I'd guess that a lot of bike companies use forks made in the same factory as this one as original equipment.
I doubt this fork will be as strong for its weight as an Easton EC90X or anything, but short of visible flaws in the Carbon Fiber I'd feel okay riding it.
If you're really worried, buy a full-face bmx helmet. I bet it'll still be cheaper than a high end fork like an AlphaQ.
if he sends you a new one and doesn't ask for that one back, can i have it? i'll pay shipping!
Umm, nothing is as crucial as a fork. a full face helmet isn't going to do much when you can't steer. Look at what happened to Hincapie in last years paris-roubaix.
Originally Posted by stuckinatx
I'd return the fork and get a new once since the boss wasn't threaded
Don't tell me you're going to cite Hincapie's fork as a reason to be weary of carbon fiber. Yeah, if you wreck your bike early in the day, then ride the rest of the Paris-Roubaix, your carbon fiber fork might fail. Also, if you remove your fork from the bike, drive a truck over it and then throw it off a cliff before riding in the most brutal race you can think of, yeah it might fail. Although that incident I suppose is a testament that carbon fiber can have more going on than you can tell by looking at it.
Originally Posted by nitropowered
I was kidding about that full face helmet comment. I do think you should return the fork, but not out of concerns about its structural integrity.
Actually, you know what, you're right Nitropowered, I wouldn't worry about it, but at the same time, It'd be safer to return it.
Alright further dragging this off topic but I thought it was the aluminum steerer that snapped in the Paris-Roubaix. Googled it and yes it was aluminum
Also, is this fork even properly aligned? Most high end makers assure that they are aligned within 1mm of true, however, the problem is you can't cold set a carbon fork if it's not properly aligned, so it has to be near perfect out of the factory or you should return it. Otherwise, you may experience high speed wobble, etc.
ok, i called chucksbikesand told them about the problem with the rack mount and all...they said i could send it back for a full refund, but they're sold out of that fork, so i couldn't exchange it (apparently i bought one of the last few)...the guy said i could also send it back to them, and they could just tap it by hand at thier warehouse and send it back to me, but i figure if they're willing to do that, i might as well just do it myself, and avoid the inconvenience of having to ship it back and wait a couple weeks...i asked him if it would affect the warranty if i just did it myself...he said no (it does indeed have a warranty, he said, though i wish i had asked the details of the warranty)...he also said to mention this when i place my next order and they'd give me free shipping...i don't know if i'll have occaision to order from them again, but eh, i guess it's a nice gesture...
as far as the alignment, i've gone back and looked at the the peice of paper i used to check the rake...the marks i made for the dropouts are equidistant to the mark i made at the steering axis...a front hub also fits in there perfectly, and the wheel seems to be pretty well centered between the brake bosses...
actually i've been thinking, and my faith has been restored, because while i realize a fork is a very critical part, i'm confident that a modern, overbuilt fork will not fail without any prior damage...that said if i ever crash on this fork in a way that might possibly damage it, or if i ever put a chip in it, it will certainly be retired...
Chucks bikes cross fork
I have that same fork. I haven't looked at the rack boss, so no advice there. I can tell you that I raced 4 intense cross races, a fair amount of off road training, a whole winter of road training, and a daily 6 mile commute and I've had no problems. It's a cheap carbon fork, so it does not track as well as other stiffer forks might and it's not the lightest (though I was pleasantly surprised by the weight). I'm about to upgrade to an easton cross fork, but I can't compare them yet. That said, i've never had a problem with the construction. It eats up a lot of road buzz and feels good on rough pavement. In addition to giving laterally (side to side), which is bad for cornering or accelerating in 'cross, it give vertically (up and down), which is nice on the road. I hope that helps