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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 01-24-08, 06:19 PM   #1
ryansexton
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Cheap carbon forks vs steel forks

I'm wondering what would be better, using my regular stock steel forks (No complaints here) that work fine, or replacing them with cheap carbon forks such as http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...20Road%20Forks
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Old 01-24-08, 07:03 PM   #2
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If there are no complaints then stick with it. Use the money for something else.
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Old 01-24-08, 07:05 PM   #3
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Yeah, but some people say that its a lot better to have carbon forks, so I'm just wondering.
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Old 01-24-08, 07:17 PM   #4
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I have tried both on my Steamroller - I went with the steel fork in the end - there is a weight difference, but overall ride was about the same to me - I like the looks of the steel fork better and weight isn't a huge issue with me
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Old 01-24-08, 07:20 PM   #5
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there was a thread like this a few weeks ago, maybe even last week. had some info on there. seek it out!
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Old 01-24-08, 07:21 PM   #6
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It MAY be better to have a very good carbon fork. Maybe. But a cheap fork? My guess would be no.
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Old 01-24-08, 07:27 PM   #7
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i've heard the nashbar fork is very solid ... i wish they made it in a straight blade, cuz they have that classic curve but carbon doesn't look that great on classic bikes

i think you're best to stick with the steel, unless you're going to go high end with the carbon ... it's hard to find a nice 1" threaded carbon fork
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Old 01-24-08, 07:33 PM   #8
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I wasn't talking about that one entirely, (as far as fitting), I just gave that as an example to show that I am looking for something cheap in that style, and checking if its worth it or not.
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Old 01-24-08, 07:54 PM   #9
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I wasn't talking about that one entirely, (as far as fitting), I just gave that as an example to show that I am looking for something cheap in that style, and checking if its worth it or not.
Nope.
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Old 01-24-08, 07:57 PM   #10
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Yeah, but some people say that its a lot better to have carbon forks, so I'm just wondering.
Better how? Lighter, yes, but what is better about that?
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Old 01-24-08, 07:58 PM   #11
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The Forte forks from Performance are well priced and are just rebadged Kinesis forks. Get one of those and you have the best of both worlds.
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Old 01-24-08, 08:01 PM   #12
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I have a carbon fork on my aluminum Cannondale R3000, but I personally wouldn't put carbon on vintage steel. Aesthetically I think steel on steel looks better, and steel is so close to the comfort of carbon that I wouldn't bother. Also, a point worth mentioning is that steel wont explode into a million bits when it fails like carbon can.

-Jerry
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Old 01-24-08, 08:14 PM   #13
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I personally avoid cheap carbon because I'm a clyde, but only because carbon follows the 'weight weenie' mentality that gives us lighter, but weaker parts. I also know that most cheap carbon is made by the same places as expensive carbon, but it's the 'seconds' or 'thirds', i.e. lots that weren't chosen by the bigger brands. That doesn't necessarily mean they're bad, but in my mind it does make it more risky.

I ride a carbon bike from one of the 'big three' (i.e. Giant), but I don't think that qualifies as 'cheap'.
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Old 01-25-08, 09:34 AM   #14
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Decent to high quality steel fork vs low end carbon the steel wins
Low end steel fork vs low end carbon the carbon wins
Alum vs steel or carbon alum loses

The ride quality difference between my boat anchor group buy IRO fork and my full carbon EC90 is huge, but that fork retails for $400.
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Old 01-25-08, 12:29 PM   #15
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Keep an eye out on fleaby for Reynolds Ouzo Pro and Ouzo Comp forks. Last year they changed their logos on their forks and cleared out their inventory for dirt cheap and people are reselling them for 1/3 the cost new. I paid $350 for my Ouzo Pro fork (Full carbon steerer, crown, legs w/ aluminum dropouts) and they are selling now on eBay for $100-120 shipped. Insane.

IMHO, it will pay to be patient as there are great quality forks that come up on eBay all the time for similar prices to cheap Nashbar or Performance forks. Depending on steere size:

For 1"
Look for Kestrel, Time, LOOK, Wound Up, OCLV Trek

For 1 1/8"
Same list + Alpha Q, Reynolds, Easton, (but drop OCLV)

Old Kestrel, Time, and LOOK forks don't have the oversized legs of more recent forks and will better match stell and Ti frames that use non-oversized tubesets.

I have riden carbon forks for 15 years with no issues and can't say I have ridden many steel forks in recent history. But I am a weight weenie, so have nearly always replaced steel/al forks for carbon on my old bikes.

HTH
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Old 01-25-08, 08:43 PM   #16
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All I know is that I have the Nashbar on my group buy IRO and it's wonderful. Takes a pound off the weight and feels great. I don't exactly bomb stairs on my bike, but feels solid so far.

Edit: the only pic I have of the bike here at work - obviously mid-assmebly and a terrible phone camera photo, but it doesn't look massively out of place on a steel bike I think. In all honesty, I like the look more than the stock fork.


Last edited by eskachig; 01-25-08 at 08:49 PM.
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Old 01-25-08, 08:46 PM   #17
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All I know is that I have the Nashbar on my group buy IRO and it's wonderful. Takes a pound off the weight and feels great. I don't exactly bomb stairs on my bike, but no failures at all so far.
Just wanted to note that I was not slighting Nashbar/Performance forks in any way. They are a good value,... I just have different preferences.
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Old 01-25-08, 08:56 PM   #18
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Low end steel fork vs low end carbon the carbon wins
That's been my experience based on the steel fork on my 1997 cannondale R500 and the Performance Carbon fork on my NYCbike CityFixed. The acid test was a recently chip-sealed road. The cheap steel fork rattled my teeth, the carbon smoothed out quite a bit of the buzz.
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Old 01-25-08, 09:11 PM   #19
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Keep an eye out on fleaby for Reynolds Ouzo Pro and Ouzo Comp forks. Last year they changed their logos on their forks and cleared out their inventory for dirt cheap and people are reselling them for 1/3 the cost new. I paid $350 for my Ouzo Pro fork (Full carbon steerer, crown, legs w/ aluminum dropouts)
I am not sure a full carbon steerer tube is a good idea. I smell way more problems than it's worth. Better an alu steerer. IMHO.
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Old 01-25-08, 09:35 PM   #20
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I am not sure a full carbon steerer tube is a good idea. I smell way more problems than it's worth. Better an alu steerer. IMHO.
I'd hate to accidentally overtighten my stem - full carbon forks are way more expensive than seatposts.

And Hiroshima, I didn't mean to seem like I was replying to your post, I was just relating my first carbon fork experience.
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Old 01-25-08, 09:57 PM   #21
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I'd hate to accidentally overtighten my stem - full carbon forks are way more expensive than seatposts.

And Hiroshima, I didn't mean to seem like I was replying to your post, I was just relating my first carbon fork experience.

ekachig, no worries, and thanks for the note. I just wanted to give a even opinion w/o tone. Just wanted to clarify my statment. No flame intended.

As for full carbon forks. I think a bonded aluminum steerer is way more likely to fail than me overtightening my stem. I have ridden aluminum steerers for years w/o problems, but they weigh more (by 1/4lb at least) and having a 1 piece fork just makes more sense to me.

I worked at a shop years ago and in the days of 1 1/4 quill stems on MTB bikes we used to CRANK on the 6mm expander bolts to ensure that the customer would not tweak the stem if they hit something. It was a liability thing. Now that carbon forks are the norm, I have greatly toned back my tightening torque. Honesly, I keep my stuff pretty loose. If I held my front wheel, I could pretty easily twist my stem around the steertube. But in normal riding I have *NEVER* had it budge.

I think there is a tendancy for people to overtighten bolts (especially stem bolts, and seat binder bolts). In real world terms, a little past "snug" is just as safe as "tight".

I have ridden carbon steerers for about 5 years and have not had issue. But I agree there are lots of people out there that have crushed their expensive bits from overtightening.

Cheers.
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Old 01-25-08, 10:03 PM   #22
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Keep an eye out on fleaby for Reynolds Ouzo Pro and Ouzo Comp forks. Last year they changed their logos on their forks and cleared out their inventory for dirt cheap and people are reselling them for 1/3 the cost new. I paid $350 for my Ouzo Pro fork (Full carbon steerer, crown, legs w/ aluminum dropouts) and they are selling now on eBay for $100-120 shipped. Insane.
Careful. Easton's had problems with counterfeits, and eBay doesn't really work that hard to crack down on them. (I heard this first-hand from someone at Reynolds who's high up enough to know this stuff, but I'm not at liberty to say whom.) I'd be veerrry leery of anything that's 'too good to be true' like that.
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Old 01-25-08, 10:07 PM   #23
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You can really twist your (assuming threadless) stem all the way around? So your expanding bolt in the steerer really is doing the lion's job of holding your headset tight. Interesting...

I generally crank my stem fairly tight - an old MTB habit. I trust the stem clamp more than the expanding bolt, even though cycling rarely involves anything pushing the fork down.
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Old 01-25-08, 10:22 PM   #24
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ekachig, no worries, and thanks for the note. I just wanted to give a even opinion w/o tone. Just wanted to clarify my statment. No flame intended.

As for full carbon forks. I think a bonded aluminum steerer is way more likely to fail than me overtightening my stem. I have ridden aluminum steerers for years w/o problems, but they weigh more (by 1/4lb at least) and having a 1 piece fork just makes more sense to me.

I worked at a shop years ago and in the days of 1 1/4 quill stems on MTB bikes we used to CRANK on the 6mm expander bolts to ensure that the customer would not tweak the stem if they hit something. It was a liability thing. Now that carbon forks are the norm, I have greatly toned back my tightening torque. Honesly, I keep my stuff pretty loose. If I held my front wheel, I could pretty easily twist my stem around the steertube. But in normal riding I have *NEVER* had it budge.

I think there is a tendancy for people to overtighten bolts (especially stem bolts, and seat binder bolts). In real world terms, a little past "snug" is just as safe as "tight".

I have ridden carbon steerers for about 5 years and have not had issue. But I agree there are lots of people out there that have crushed their expensive bits from overtightening.
You are, I think, making a case for non-CF steerers. But on a side note: those MTB quills were probably 1 1/8", not 1 1/4".
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Old 01-25-08, 10:24 PM   #25
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I also know that most cheap carbon is made by the same places as expensive carbon, but it's the 'seconds' or 'thirds', i.e. lots that weren't chosen by the bigger brands. That doesn't necessarily mean they're bad, but in my mind it does make it more risky.
There's no such thing as seconds for things like carbon forks. It's not like they make a batch of top end forks, inspect the lot to find the ones with voids or bubbles in the carbon, slap some "nashbar" decals on it and sell them. They would have recalls and lawsuits through the roof.

Things like lower thread count in the carbon weave, paint vs "vanity layer" of carbon for a finish - these things lower the price, not compromising on safety.
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