Gone, but not forgotten
Join Date: Oct 2004
Bikes: spicer fixie, Haro BMX, cyclops track, Soma Double Cross, KHS Flite 100
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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.