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Carbon Fork...how old is old?

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Carbon Fork...how old is old?

Old 01-02-08, 02:19 PM
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CrossChain
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Carbon Fork...how old is old?

Toying with the idea of buying a 12 year old titanium frame with original 1 inch threaded carbon fork. As claimed by the owner, the bike indeed appears to have gotten little use. But, I'm a steelhead and know little of carbon. Brittle with age? Unseen internal flaws? Should I consider replacing the fork as a matter of caution? Don't want to wait until I do a face plant on my favorite downhill to know for sure the fork was a dud. But, neither want to be a needlessly nervous Nelly.
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Old 01-02-08, 02:24 PM
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CF itself should not be a problem but the technology has changed quite a bit for doing CF in 12 years. Who is the mfg, if it someone who was doing CF and is still doing CF you could e-mail them and see what they say.
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Old 01-02-08, 02:39 PM
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FWIW, the fork is a Time Steel Vectran.
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Old 01-02-08, 02:40 PM
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It's a carbon fork named "Steel?"
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Old 01-02-08, 02:41 PM
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Weere I to replace the fork, what differences between a $150 and $350 fork? Are decent one inch threadless forks becoming hard to find?
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Old 01-02-08, 02:44 PM
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CF bikes started appearing in the late 70's. Significant improvements were made in the mid-80's. A mid-90s piece is not all that old. And note that the big companies that would be liable for insurance claims are not calling for people to get off of their 20 year old CF bikes.

OTOH, I have no idea who "Time Steel Vectran" is, or if they were forced out of business due to making defective carbon forks.
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Old 01-02-08, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil View Post
It's a carbon fork named "Steel?"
Well, so says the decal. Assuming the vectran refers to cf fork blades...perhaps the "steel" refers to the steerer?
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Old 01-02-08, 02:48 PM
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Yes it does, I just found this on an old BF post

"Ten years ago the rage was carbon blades with Crmoly threaded steerer examples of which are Kestrel EMS and Time Vectran and these used to weigh around 530gm ( yes I have bought them in my time).
Cinelli make a 1" quill to threadless type of stem. Profile Tech make a quill adapter to go from 1" threaded to 1 1/8 threadless both of which cost arond $20."
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Old 01-02-08, 02:50 PM
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Read this:
http://www.spectrum-cycles.com/65.htm

It seems that the manufacturer "Time" was (and is) well respected.
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Old 01-02-08, 02:52 PM
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And this from Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_(bicycles)
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Old 01-02-08, 02:58 PM
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I never noticed how scary and ugly my avatar was until I saw three of them on my page at once.
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Old 01-02-08, 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil View Post
I never noticed how scary and ugly my avatar was until I saw three of them on my page at once.
No one wanted to say anything, but...
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Old 01-02-08, 03:00 PM
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Thanks, Tom....shoulda searched myself. The weight is approximate to contemporary alloy steerer forks. If I were to buy, start with the current fork and see. My major concern is safety and possible problems with a fork this old-- even with only moderate past use. My perhaps irrational distrust of plastics 8-)
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Old 01-02-08, 03:04 PM
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Since Time continues to be a major player in the design and manufacturing of CF forks, you do have the option, suggested above, of contacting them. As they are a major player on the race circuit, there is every reason to believe that your fork is of very good quality.
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Old 01-02-08, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by CrossChain View Post
Weere I to replace the fork, what differences between a $150 and $350 fork?
I can answer that one even with my very limited knowledge of bikes......$200
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Old 01-02-08, 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by CrossChain View Post
Thanks, Tom....shoulda searched myself. The weight is approximate to contemporary alloy steerer forks. If I were to buy, start with the current fork and see. My major concern is safety and possible problems with a fork this old-- even with only moderate past use. My perhaps irrational distrust of plastics 8-)

Get over your fears and take the plunge. You know its worth it.

Certain telltale signs on "Old" CF. Polish the Fork to a gleam and hold in the light and look at all angles. Any Crazing on the surface will show up and should be classed as Suspect- unless it is a mould mark from where it was manufactured. Check around the joint to the steerer for any looseness or movement. 10 year old CF was overmanufactured for safety so the blades are probably fairly thick and will be able to take a lot more knocks than modern top end thin stuff.
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Old 01-02-08, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by CrossChain View Post
Weere I to replace the fork, what differences between a $150 and $350 fork? Are decent one inch threadless forks becoming hard to find?
A $150 fork usually will have an alloy steerer and thus heavier. $350 will buy a full carbon fork somewhere
in the 350g range. I have an Alpha-q with a 1 inch steerer.
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Old 01-02-08, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Beverly View Post
I can answer that one even with my very limited knowledge of bikes......$200


Good one Bev.


There are a lot of house brand forks out there made by kenesis that are just fine at $89. For example look at pricepoint for the sette branded fork or even Performance for the house brand. (the old rumors of a bad series seem to have disipated.) They appear to be just fine. They are about the same weight as the old one.
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Old 01-02-08, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil View Post
I never noticed how scary and ugly my avatar was until I saw three of them on my page at once.
I never know what to make of avatars. I always thought that c-chain must actually be young and very good looking based on that picture.
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Old 01-02-08, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Kerlenbach View Post
I never know what to make of avatars. I always thought that c-chain must actually be young and very good looking based on that picture.
Sssssssssssssssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

that's what he thinks too!
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Old 01-03-08, 06:30 AM
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I would ride the Time fork, I doubt you will have any problems. Just look it over closely and make sure there is no damage to the carbon.

On the other hand if you are going to worry about it then get a new fork since it makes no sense not enjoying your ride because you are worry that the fork may collapse.
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Old 01-03-08, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil View Post
CF bikes started appearing in the late 70's. Significant improvements were made in the mid-80's. A mid-90s piece is not all that old. And note that the big companies that would be liable for insurance claims are not calling for people to get off of their 20 year old CF bikes.

OTOH, I have no idea who "Time Steel Vectran" is, or if they were forced out of business due to making defective carbon forks.
Have a steel steerer tube carbon fork 1" threaded on my rebuilt Centruion. No idea how old it is or the history as it was purchased used off scambay. No problems after several thousand miles. I think this concern is overblown about carbon parts.
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Old 01-03-08, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by oilman_15106 View Post
I think this concern is overblown about carbon parts.
+1 Although I would take it to a bike shop where they know what and how to look for possible problems. I learned the hard way. I had a frame that I thought was just scratched, but was in fact suffering from a small fracture. The bike shop folks knew how to spot this and I didn't.
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Old 01-03-08, 01:32 PM
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Cross chain - could I ask how much you are considering paying for the frame/bike? I ask because I am in a similar situation and am sorely tempted to buy an older Lightspeed I've seen and renovate it.
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Old 01-03-08, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Artmo View Post
Cross chain - could I ask how much you are considering paying for the frame/bike? I ask because I am in a similar situation and am sorely tempted to buy an older Lightspeed I've seen and renovate it.
Sure, it's currently at $649 on eBay here: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...MEWA:IT&ih=008

I'm pulling back I think, only for size reasons and not the fork. The frame seems clean and the seller has answered my question well enough. Hard to resist the cachet of "Merlin", but I'm wishing it was one size up. I will continue to look for a titanium frame, would love a used Merlin, LItespeed, Dean, etc...but cost is a limiter. I missed out on a Merlin Solis a few months ago and could kick myself for indecision.

There's always Habanero...new frames for $795.

***After all these years riding and many let's-get-real posts, I still have traces of decal awe as in, "Look, that old dude is riding a Seven."
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