That's right - another long-time lurker, no-time registerer waiting for someone to tell him what to do.... By the way, please make a suggestion if you think this might be better answered in another space. On to it then.
I'm jumping headlong into my first full-on build, and my first 'cross bike - I've been a mtber, but I'm looking to pick up some speed here in flat, flat, Florida. I'm looking for advice on a fork. Part of this is about materials, and part about patience. I ride mostly on-road, for fitness/distance/commuting, but like getting out on a trail sometimes, flat though it is. I'm not racing 'cross, and even if I decide to later I'm not going to build the bike for it now.
The fork choice is down to two - the nashbar-branded CX carbon fork vs. Salsa's La Cruz fork. The material difference is clear - carbon vs. CroMo (Salsa's 'classico'). The patience issue is waiting around until mid-November for Nashbar to deliver, or having the Salsa fork in my hands in less than a week.
The price is right on both, and I've read very nice, charming, uplifting things about both. Unfortunately, a test ride is out of the question, so I can't base a decision on that. So, who is riding on these forks? What are the strengths/weaknesses of each, especially relative to one another? Is one likely to be a clear winner in terms of handling, ride smoothness, road noise, etc.? If it makes a difference for your thinking, the frame is Al.
I have bikes with carbon and bikes with cromo forks. Other than weight I don't feel much of a difference. I think the steel soaks up a good amount of chatter. My cross has a steel fork and I race it and beat the sh** out of it. I like the idea that if it ever fails it won't be as catastrophic as a carbon fork failure. Salsa is a good brand and I am usually one for instant gratification so i'd go with that... If your bike wont be finished till after november then you can go that route.