I have a gunnar crosshairs with a 1" steerer that I'm planning on doing some light touring on this summer. The fork it has on it right now is a kinesis crosslight aluminum fork with 45mm rake. It's pretty beefy for aluminum. I had intended to get a LHT fork for it for touring, but those don't come in 1". I could get a surly crosscheck fork with 44mm rake for it, but I'm not sure if that will improve handling or ride over the kinesis fork. What should I do?
A few reasons-
1. To improve the bike's handling when loaded.
Gunnar has a recommended load limit of 20lbs for the crosshairs, after that its handling can get squirrelly, and I'd like to be able to carry a little more
2. People say aluminum forks aren't as comfortable as steel, although I don't weigh that much, so I don't know if it will be an issue.
3. I'd like to have braze ons for racks, but if I can use clamp on panniers with the kinesis fork that's not a big issue
well, they can't really be described as a whole, because geometry, shape, wall thicknesses and length will all be deciding factors. BUT if you are going to generalize them, aluminum is stiff, unforgiving, and has a fatigue life that could be hurt if it was loaded up. steel is strong and compliant and has no fatigue life so you can load it like crazy without worry.
Keep in mind that material is only one part of of the ride, so steel fork a and AL fork b could have more similar of a ride than steel fork a and steel fork c... Ride what you've got and if it doesn't work try something else. Aluminum is lighter anyways.