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Aluminum rigid fork?

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Old 10-28-09, 05:38 AM
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ajcurl
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Aluminum rigid fork?

Was thinking of trying a cheap ebay aluminum fork. Do you guys think this fork with a carbon bar would be ok as far as low vibration? Or should i just get a carbon/aluminum fork? I actually converted my mtb to a commuter so it is used primarily on the road with 1"slicks. Or do you think the aluminum fork will vibrate the crap outta me? I allready feel road vibration with my suspension fork and aluminum bar. I posted this in the mtb section origanally and not one person responded...anyways tell me what you think. Thanks.
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Old 10-28-09, 06:32 AM
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If I were you, I would get the Alu fork, but bump up the slicks to 1.5".

For a long time I was commuting on my Giant Transend. It had an AL fork, but rode on 700X32c tires and was absolutely smooth enough.
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Old 10-28-09, 07:09 AM
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I'm guessing that you're talking about a rigid aluminum fork to be mounted on your mountain bike...

I'd recommend against it. Aluminum forks ride pretty harsh; a carbon bar will not mitigate that issue. Further, if the fork should fail (break), it will happen suddenly and spectacularly. A trip to the ER will cost more than the difference in buying a steel or carbon model.
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Old 10-28-09, 07:12 AM
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If you are looking to smooth out the ride, I would recommend carbon, steel is nice but its heavy and has a tendancy to cause brake squeal and vibrations when using rim brakes. (unless they are properly maintained)
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Old 10-28-09, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by ajcurl View Post
Was thinking of trying a cheap ebay aluminum fork. Do you guys think this fork with a carbon bar would be ok as far as low vibration? Or should i just get a carbon/aluminum fork? I actually converted my mtb to a commuter so it is used primarily on the road with 1"slicks. Or do you think the aluminum fork will vibrate the crap outta me? I allready feel road vibration with my suspension fork and aluminum bar. I posted this in the mtb section origanally and not one person responded...anyways tell me what you think. Thanks.
I recommend a 4130 chro-moly fork. Handles any vibration beautifully, very hard to bend or break will far outlast a aluminum and/or a carbon fiber material fork. Let me ask you this and put it another way: What would you rather sit your ass on and ride on? A material that has been around for 2,000+ years, or a material that has only been around for a little more then 200 years and one that has barely been around for 25 years? Think about that before you decide.

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Old 10-28-09, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Square & Compas View Post
Waht would you rather sit your ass on and ride on? A material that has been around for 2,00+ years, or a material that has only been around for a little more then 200 years and one that has barely been around for 25 years? Think about that before you decide.
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Old 10-28-09, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by dwr1961 View Post
I'm guessing that you're talking about a rigid aluminum fork to be mounted on your mountain bike...

I'd recommend against it. Aluminum forks ride pretty harsh; a carbon bar will not mitigate that issue. Further, if the fork should fail (break), it will happen suddenly and spectacularly. A trip to the ER will cost more than the difference in buying a steel or carbon model.
You think an aluminum fork could fail suddenly, but not a CF fork???
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Old 10-28-09, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Shimagnolo View Post
You think an aluminum fork could fail suddenly, but not a CF fork???
Yeah, both can fail quickly... But you'll have no warning with aluminum. None.
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Old 10-28-09, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by ryanwood View Post
If you are looking to smooth out the ride, I would recommend carbon, steel is nice but its heavy and has a tendancy to cause brake squeal and vibrations when using rim brakes. (unless they are properly maintained)
Steel fork causing brake squeal? I doubt that. That has to do with the brake adjustment, nothing else.
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Old 10-28-09, 08:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Shimagnolo View Post
You think an aluminum fork could fail suddenly, but not a CF fork???
my thoughts, exactly.
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Old 10-28-09, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Square & Compas View Post
I recommend a 4130 chro-moly fork. Handles any vibration beautifully, very hard to bend or break will far outlast a aluminum and/or a carbon fiber material fork. Let me ask you this and put it another way: Waht would you rather sit your ass on and ride on? A material that has been around for 2,00+ years, or a material that has only been around for a little more then 200 years and one that has barely been around for 25 years? Think about that before you decide.
Jeez, there's so many modern materials between my ass and the road I'm not sure the fork makes that much difference.

Let's see:

Plastic seat w/titanium rails (titanium as a useful material is < 100 years old)
Aluminum seat post
Stainless Steel spokes (stainless steel is about 100 years old)
Aluminum rims
Tires with new and scary materials like kevlar

Then there's my aluminum frame. Who knows what may happen? One day the whole thing may turn to dust.

Last edited by tjspiel; 10-28-09 at 09:12 AM.
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Old 10-28-09, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by dwr1961 View Post
Yeah, both can fail quickly... But you'll have no warning with aluminum. None.
So just how much warning did these guys get?

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=598160

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9hqUJIwpRc
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Old 10-28-09, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by dwr1961 View Post
Yeah, both can fail quickly... But you'll have no warning with aluminum. None.
Just because "everyone" on a messageboard says it doesn't make it true.
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Old 10-28-09, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Shimagnolo View Post
Hincapie's crash was caused when the aluminum steerer tube broke, not a carbon part of his fork. It was damaged in another crash earlier that day.

http://www.operationgadget.com/2006/...incapie_c.html

Either way, it's a good argument for a steel fork.
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Old 10-28-09, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
Jeez, there's so many modern materials between my ass and the road I'm not sure the fork makes that much difference.

Let's see:

Plastic seat w/titanium rails (titanium as a useful material is < 100 years old)
Aluminum seat post
Stainless Steel spokes (stainless steel is about 100 years old)
Aluminum rims
Tires with new and scary materials like kevlar

Then there's my aluminum frame. Who knows what may happen? One day the whole thing may turn to dust.
Sorry, the best materials are the oldest, that's why I'm currently rocking a wood-framed roadbike and a mountain bike made from hand-carved granite. Yeah, the 350 lb is a little rough, so I'm thinking about trying one of these new-fangled bronze frames....
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Old 10-28-09, 10:23 AM
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Bikeforums are full of arm-chair scientists who have some whacked-out love of 4130 and Reynolds 531 steel (basically the same).

Carbon, aluminum and steel forks are all fine, all will fail given the proper circumstances. If you are looking at the eBay aluminum forks I assume your are looking at the Morsso (sp??) brands that are aluminum and aluminum wrapped carbon. I have looked for reviews on these and they are sparse. They are pretty cheap, and not that price = performance/quality, I am not sure if I would trust those on my bike. I would be more inclined to get the Ergon full carbon forks on eBay for $200.

I have been riding carbon forks for 10+ years, aluminum ones before that, and steel before that. My dad who rides cross country every year runs a carbon/Ti frame, Carbon fork, carbon wheels, and carbon bars. He has probably 30k miles on that bike.... you know what failed? His steel spindle Dura Ace pedals.... that's it. He is not a small dude and I would venture to say he rides way crappier roads and farther than most on this forum.

I run lots of carbon, and lots of aluminum with no issues. I also have a steel 1x1 Surly.... which is why I am also looking at a replacement fork. The stock one is a tank at > 2 lbs.

You will benefit in terms of handling and speed from any rigid fork. And all forks, Steel, Carbon, Aluminum will transmit way more vibration than you have with your suspension fork. But suspension forks sap energy from your pedal stroke, are heavy, suck at steering, and gernally are useless on the road IMHO.

If you have true issues with your hands (like carpel tunnel or the like) then I would stick with a suspension fork (I like fox floats the best because they have the abilty to be setup to absorb small bumps and be locked out if you want). But I would also ensure you are using decent grips (Ergon and Oury come to mind {I use Oury on my MTB SS**) and also that you are using decent gloves which allow you to maintain a lighter grip but still have full control of the bike.

All this "steel is real" / "steel is the best" crap on this forum makes me feel like I am in the SS/FG forum. People do realize that failures of aluminum and carbon are because people hit things right??? When you hit things, they break.

Last edited by Hirohsima; 10-28-09 at 10:44 AM.
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Old 10-28-09, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by lambo_vt View Post
Sorry, the best materials are the oldest, that's why I'm currently rocking a wood-framed roadbike and a mountain bike made from hand-carved granite. Yeah, the 350 lb is a little rough, so I'm thinking about trying one of these new-fangled bronze frames....
F that. You haven't felt vibration dampening until you've ridden a lead frame with a solid gold fork.
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Old 10-28-09, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by m4ximusprim3 View Post
F that. You haven't felt vibration dampening until you've ridden a lead frame with a solid gold fork.
Psh, you roadies and your new-fangled technologies. Unless you're racing, all anyone needs is a frame composed of elemental hydrogen.
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Old 10-28-09, 11:46 AM
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There's always the depleted uranium forks.

A quality aluminum fork should be fine.I'm not sure cheap/ebay/aluminum and fork should be used in the same sentence.
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Old 10-28-09, 07:15 PM
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What a great thread.....some funny stuff here...and some good stuff. Thanks everyone, im going for the solid gold fork...lol. I gotta re-read this thread then see what i come up with...thanks again.
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Old 10-28-09, 08:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Hirohsima View Post
Bikeforums are full of arm-chair scientists who have some whacked-out love of 4130 and Reynolds 531 steel (basically the same).

All this "steel is real" / "steel is the best" crap on this forum makes me feel like I am in the SS/FG forum. People do realize that failures of aluminum and carbon are because people hit things right??? When you hit things, they break.
youre talking about the people who ride to ride, not ride to look the part?

steel rides well. steel fatigues and repairs well. there is no mystery behind steel. its cool you and your father can afford high end stuff. steal is cheap. steel, while not at the cutting edge of technology, is just fine for the 99.999999% that dont get paid to ride a bike.

steel isnt perfect, but it isnt the dinosaur youre making it out to be.
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Old 10-28-09, 08:15 PM
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Originally Posted by grimace308 View Post
youre talking about the people who ride to ride, not ride to look the part?

steel rides well. steel fatigues and repairs well. there is no mystery behind steel. its cool you and your father can afford high end stuff. steal is cheap. steel, while not at the cutting edge of technology, is just fine for the 99.999999% that dont get paid to ride a bike.

steel isnt perfect, but it isnt the dinosaur youre making it out to be.
Steel's great, two of my bikes are steel. But cheap? Quality new frames are pretty expensive regardless of material, and you can get cheap frames in any material you want other than maybe Ti. Said cheap frames are never worth repairing. And the fatigue life of an everyday aluminum frame is much longer than most of us would care to own it.

Steel is good as a bike frame material, just like aluminum, carbon fiber, titanium, magnesium, and whatever other moon materials they're using these days. Frame and component quality matter thousands of times more than material.
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Old 10-28-09, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by ajcurl View Post
What a great thread.....some funny stuff here...and some good stuff. Thanks everyone, im going for the solid gold fork...lol. I gotta re-read this thread then see what i come up with...thanks again.
Good for you. Like I said originally, if you want to dampen road vibration, use a sightly wider tire at lower pressure. Instead of a 1" tire at 100psi, a 1.5" tire at 75psi will be much more comfortable while still offering good ride quality and not feeling "squishy."

Just for reference, I use 1.25" at 85 psi on my MTB/drop bar conversion and love the ride, but my bike and fork are steel. If I had an AL bike, I'd go with 1.5".

Last edited by rugerben; 10-28-09 at 08:58 PM.
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Old 10-28-09, 08:45 PM
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Originally Posted by lambo_vt View Post
Steel's great, two of my bikes are steel. But cheap? Quality new frames are pretty expensive regardless of material, and you can get cheap frames in any material you want other than maybe Ti. Said cheap frames are never worth repairing. And the fatigue life of an everyday aluminum frame is much longer than most of us would care to own it.

Steel is good as a bike frame material, just like aluminum, carbon fiber, titanium, magnesium, and whatever other moon materials they're using these days. Frame and component quality matter thousands of times more than material.
yeah, i was referring to 4130cromo frames. i was about to plunk down some serious moolah for a 953 frame last year, but really couldnt afford it, so i went with my cheaper backup plan and got a ti frame.

i agree, im not bashing aluminium, but if im picking up a $300 frame, id rather it be steel, than aluminium. btw, for no other reason other than i prefer the way a steel frame feels, it has nothing to do with durability, weight, fatigue, blah blah blah.

i cant jive with you 100% on the last one. parts are so good these days, that 105 is light years better than the dura-ace we were using, well, you guys were using, 20 years ago. im a big fan of getting the frame as close to perfect (size, material, geometry) as you can, before trying to dress it up. if the core isnt right, youre going to spend too much time trying to find parts to make it seem right, instead of just being right...but i digress.

steel forks are, imo, pretty nifty and as a 260lbs rider, i have NO problem with my fork being a little on the beefy side. in sub zero temps, im not too keen on all carbon just yet. a carbon fork in the summertime at 70 degrees, which my road bike has on it, sure, just not at -10 below. while it would probably be fine, my peace of mind is worth it.
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Old 10-28-09, 08:53 PM
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Originally Posted by grimace308 View Post
i agree, im not bashing aluminium, but if im picking up a $300 frame, id rather it be steel, than aluminium. btw, for no other reason other than i prefer the way a steel frame feels, it has nothing to do with durability, weight, fatigue, blah blah blah.
Don't get me wrong; I think we actually agree. I just don't think any material is necessarily better than another. Personally, I simply like the look of steel frames, I'm not fast enough that I'd benefit from Al or CF's lower weight, and I'm not rich enough to afford CF or Ti.

i cant jive with you 100% on the last one. parts are so good these days, that 105 is light years better than the dura-ace we were using, well, you guys were using, 20 years ago. im a big fan of getting the frame as close to perfect (size, material, geometry) as you can, before trying to dress it up. if the core isnt right, youre going to spend too much time trying to find parts to make it seem right, instead of just being right...but i digress.
You're right. What I meant though was regarding comfort. A sturdy set of wheels and good tires does a lot more than frame material. Plus I'm nowhere near old enough to have been riding for 20 years.

steel forks are, imo, pretty nifty and as a 260lbs rider, i have NO problem with my fork being a little on the beefy side. in sub zero temps, im not too keen on all carbon just yet. a carbon fork in the summertime at 70 degrees, which my road bike has on it, sure, just not at -10 below. while it would probably be fine, my peace of mind is worth it.
You're entitled to your opinion and I respect that. I'm not sure CF is any worse at cold temps. My steel roadie has a CF fork and the combination is fantastic.
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