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Recreational Cyclocross and Gravelbiking This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

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Old 06-30-09, 01:29 PM   #1
senor hamachi
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replace carbon fork w/ steel?

I bought a used Major Jake around Christmas 2008. Components had taken a little bit of a beating from the previous cyclocross season, but the frame was sound. I'm not the most mechanically talented guy, so took it to a LBS that knows cross bikes and had them adjust and replace a few things (pedals, cables, etc). Before I took it in, the bike had a terrible brake shudder problem. I knew this when I bought it, but figured a proper adjustment would fix it.

I've since had the brakes adjusted a couple of times, and while it's somewhat improved, the shudder problem remains. I have read that this can happen more frequently with carbon forks because of flexing, but not sure if that's accurate. I have less of a problem in the rain than when it's dry. If the brakes are indeed generating too much power, it makes sense that having them and the rims wet would solve the problem. However, since it doesn't rain 100% of the time where I live, I think I need a more permanent solution.

The other factor is that I'm paranoid about carbon in general. I'm also a rower, and have seen carbon oars brake on me and other rowers. Rational or not, I would be more comfortable with something other than carbon.

The question is, would switching to a steel fork help my brake shudder problem? If it's likely to do so, I think I would go that route, as it would help put my mind at ease about the carbon failure issue as well.

Any suggestions for steel forks? Would the one that comes stock on the Jake work? Do they sell that separately?

Oh, and I ride the bike on trails and roads, but the primary reason for purchasing it was to race cross this autumn. I did some beginner racing last year on a mountain bike and decided to step up to this bike for '09.

Thanks!
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Old 06-30-09, 01:38 PM   #2
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You can't beat carbon forks.

It sounds like your LBS isn't very knowledgable, or at least the mechanic you used isn't. The first thing to check are the brake pads and how they are adjusted to contact the rims. Other causes could be the wheel is out of alignment or the headset loose.

Last edited by StanSeven; 07-09-09 at 02:49 PM.
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Old 07-01-09, 12:55 AM   #3
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i had major brake shudder until i switched to a carbon fork.
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Old 07-01-09, 07:09 AM   #4
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Get yourself the help of a friend and two dimes. Place the dimes between the rim surface and the brake pad toward the rear of the pad. Now while your friend is squeezing the brake levers so that the dimes don't fall away loosen each brake pad and then retighten them so that the convex washers align and retighten with the dimes in place. You should now have plenty of toe in and hopefully solve your shudder problem.

Replacing the carbon fork with a steel one is like using a hatchet when you only need a butter knife to do the job.

Last edited by Saddle Up; 07-01-09 at 06:09 PM.
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Old 07-09-09, 02:28 PM   #5
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There are 2 shudder problems, the first, the vibrating fork, won't necessarily be resolved with a steel fork as the issue is your brake setup, not the fork. The second "shudder" problem- the fear factor, might be helped with a steel fork. If it makes you feel fierce rather than afraid, you will definitely go faster with a steel fork.
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Old 07-09-09, 03:25 PM   #6
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Don't worry about carbon. Just check it for stress cracks and do the "tap test" and if all is well, carry on.
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Old 07-09-09, 04:40 PM   #7
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Well, there are some carbon forks that seem to be known for shuddering. But I'd try the brakes first. If they are Avid Shortys, I've not been able to stop those from shuddering, and I have a steel fork.

If you do decide you want a steel fork, you can buy the Kona Project P2 fork. It's pretty inexpensive.
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Old 07-11-09, 12:31 PM   #8
senor hamachi
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Thanks all. The helpful guys at Sellwood Cycle in Portland took a look at it and proposed a number of potential solutions, so the plan was to start with the cheapest and go from there. There was already a lot of toe-in, so that wasn't it. Next idea was to put the cheapest, crappiest brake pads they carry on there to reduce the braking power. We talked about potentially changing fork to a Kona Project P2 if it got to that. However, changing the brake pads seems to have done the trick. It brakes well, with no shudder.
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Old 07-27-09, 05:21 PM   #9
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What kind of fork is on your major jake? I'm guessing its the Easton EC90X, which is notorious for such suddering, it is my understanding that so is the kona project 2(confirmed by my rather limited experience with it), and most other forks with a "straight blade" design. But proper brake toe in can help this problem also wait for the pads to wear in this may help also.

Chris from Kona told me this was one of the reasons they switched to an alpha Q fork for this year's major jake(mine has been great) it shuddered a bit when new but after the pads wore in it when away.

Unless their is visable damage to the fork i wouldn't worry about it snapping, ride it you'll learn to trust it in time.
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Old 07-27-09, 05:31 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kol.klink View Post
What kind of fork is on your major jake? I'm guessing its the Easton EC90X, which is notorious for such suddering, it is my understanding that so is the kona project 2(confirmed by my rather limited experience with it), and most other forks with a "straight blade" design. But proper brake toe in can help this problem also wait for the pads to wear in this may help also.

Chris from Kona told me this was one of the reasons they switched to an alpha Q fork for this year's major jake(mine has been great) it shuddered a bit when new but after the pads wore in it when away.

Unless their is visable damage to the fork i wouldn't worry about it snapping, ride it you'll learn to trust it in time.
Interesting to hear about the EC90X being prone to shudder. I have had no shudder with mine with tektro 720's and dual compound koolstops.
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Old 07-28-09, 07:16 AM   #11
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My Surly steel fork shuddered like crazy. I tried a bunch of pads, Koolstops made the biggest diff. The thing that solved it was a brake booster. I could see the canti bosses flex out a few degree when squeezing the brake. The booster stiffened them up significantly.
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