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Might have found the bike of my dreams......but it's got a carbon fork!

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Might have found the bike of my dreams......but it's got a carbon fork!

Old 05-08-19, 01:41 PM
  #1  
jambon
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Might have found the bike of my dreams......but it's got a carbon fork!

Hi all,

I think after a lot of uncertainty and experiments I am finally ready to buy my first new bike (all others have been Craigslists and handme downs)

I narrowed it down to something steel framed ( I want it to last , looking for a bike for life here ) that can handle fireroads and the rough bad pot holed roads where I live while being fast on pavement, I wanted disc brakes and a 1 x drive train .I wanted something fun and sporty yet comfortable ,not an all out race bike or a cyclocross rig . Also 650db wheels with those big tyres were a consideration.

Touring capacity was not important as my current bike is a dedicated tourer.

The Kona Rove ST seemed to fit the bill but then I came across the Ribble 725 CGR and fell head over heels . Its the same price as the Rove but with a step up in groupset , Reynolds 725 over Kona chromoly , hydraulic brakes over mechanical and through axles on both ends.

There is one issue , the Ribble CGR has a carbon fork .I'm not sure if carbon is for me. I have heard it breaks easily e.g if the bike falls over and that carbon doesn't stand the test of time .

I'd happily take the weight penalty of a steel fork for it's durability .

Could I end up searching for a through axle carbon fork for a tapered steerer and then have to paint it to match the bike because the original has a small crack in it after a light crash ?

Are there any other steel frame and fork options that would suit my needs ?

Is carbon all that bad if the bike is treated well?
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Old 05-08-19, 02:27 PM
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Old 05-08-19, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by jambon View Post
There is one issue , the Ribble CGR has a carbon fork .I'm not sure if carbon is for me. I have heard it breaks easily e.g if the bike falls over and that carbon doesn't stand the test of time .
I think that is a false assumption. Many high-end steel bikes come with carbon forks because it gives you many of the advantages (like vibrational dampening and stiffness). I don't know about Ribble's fork in particular, but in general they tend to be over-engineered. I have a first gen Enve CX carbon fork on my steel bike, and it is very solid. (It is quick-release, so the newer through-axle versions are better.)

Judging by the photo, I very much doubt you will have a problem.

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Old 05-08-19, 02:35 PM
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From a quick googlin'

If CF was as brittle as you make it out to be, they wouldn't be making MTBs and rims out of it.
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Old 05-08-19, 02:43 PM
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I don't generally see the need for carbon fiber anything, but I do two have two bikes with carbon forks, because I liked everything else about the bikes and they came with carbon forks. It's been fine.
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Old 05-08-19, 03:07 PM
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Modern carbon is very robust. This isn't something I would personally worry about.
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Old 05-08-19, 03:11 PM
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A high end steel fork can ride very nice but for most bikes a carbon fork is going to be an upgrade.

I say this as someone who put a Tange Prestige steel fork Japan on one of my bikes.


-Tim-
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Old 05-08-19, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by jambon View Post
I'm not sure if carbon is for me. I have heard it breaks easily e.g if the bike falls over and that carbon doesn't stand the test of time .

I'd happily take the weight penalty of a steel fork for it's durability.
All true, but it doesn't seem to fail all that often. Roll the dice!

On the other hand, if you're always going to be fearful about it then it's just not worth it.

I don't favor carbon parts either, but forks seem to be the hardest part to avoid. A major consideration allowing me to feel comfortable with one is my weight, (not much) and the fact that I treat my bikes very well. I also clean and inspect them regularly. Your mileage may vary.
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Old 05-08-19, 04:35 PM
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Did you say Carbon Fork!?!
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Old 05-08-19, 04:49 PM
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I heard crabon forks assplode when you drop the hamer and dial it up to 400W?
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Old 05-08-19, 05:04 PM
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If you wish to eliminate carbon forks from contention, you will either chase unicorns or consult custom frame builders
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Old 05-08-19, 05:06 PM
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I think no structural parts of a bicycle should be made of plastic, but that's just me.
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Old 05-08-19, 05:23 PM
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Ya, Plastic.....it's plastic.
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Old 05-08-19, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by trailangel View Post
Ya, Plastic.....it's plastic.
Carbon fibre components are not plastic, they are composites of different materials as are many other familiar things we use EG: concrete is a composite material we use all the time
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Old 05-08-19, 05:28 PM
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Get the carbon fork. Lighter and according to veterans , stiff and dampening .
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Old 05-08-19, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by alcjphil View Post
Carbon fibre components are not plastic, they are composites of different materials as are many other familiar things we use EG: concrete is a composite material we use all the time
Thanks for correcting me
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Old 05-08-19, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by alcjphil View Post
Carbon fibre components are not plastic, they are composites of different materials as are many other familiar things we use EG: concrete is a composite material we use all the time
Carbon fiber reinforced plastic.
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Old 05-08-19, 07:42 PM
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My last two new bikes were auminum frame/carbon fork bikes, and they were excellent forks. I am (or WAS) pretty heavy at 250lbs, and spent a lot of time on gravel and rougher roads. I never once had an issue with the carbon fork. I also worked in a shop for nine years and don’t recall a broken carbon fork coming through. Modern carbon is really tough. We were told that manufacturers specifically over-engineered forks and frames that are sold to the general public to prevent liability issues. Personally, I wouldn’t buy an aluminum framed bike without a carbon fork.
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Old 05-08-19, 07:58 PM
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Carbon Fiber? OMG!
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Old 05-08-19, 08:20 PM
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Steel is edgy and sophisticated yet low maintenance. All steel is better.
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Old 05-08-19, 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
I think that is a false assumption. Many high-end steel bikes come with carbon forks because it gives you many of the advantages (like vibrational dampening and stiffness). I don't know about Ribble's fork in particular, but in general they tend to be over-engineered. I have a first gen Enve CX carbon fork on my steel bike, and it is very solid. (It is quick-release, so the newer through-axle versions are better.)

Judging by the photo, I very much doubt you will have a problem.


Let me ask a silly question.


If carbon for the fork gives all these advantages over steel, why doesn't these advantages apply to a frame as well?


Are carbon forks overbuilt and carbon frames "underbuilt"?
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Old 05-08-19, 11:17 PM
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i personally can stand on a steel fork and tear in half dead lift style , i can twist steel bars if braced on one end , i cannot even get a carbon fork to sqeak , maybe a slight bit of flex , but its almost impossible to snap one without tremendous force , BUT!!!!! i can bash on steel dent it up scrape it up , throw it off the roof of my car , hulk hogan leg drop it , it will be fine , carbon doesn't do well with small intense impacts in the places it wasn't meant to be impacted .... BUT.....BUT ... also look into the fork it might not be actual full carbon , most of my carbon forks have some sort of aluminum skeleton !!!!
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Old 05-08-19, 11:45 PM
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I will never own a carbon fork for the simple reason that I do not like their failure mode. I've had one fork fail in similar fashion. Once is plenty in one lifetime. But the good new is - any framebuilder can make you a steel fork. With a conservative crown and not superlight blades. a fork with a sweet ride can be made as a retrofit to any bike, will be a very pleasing ride and last a very long time. Plus, any significant damage that happens to it will be very visible.

My two ti bikes each have steel forks. After almost 30,00 miles, I still love their rides. Likewise my old steel frame with almost twice the mileage.

The other part of having a custom fork made - it's fun! The choices - more clearance for tires? Adjust the rake to get the bike to feel a little different. Stiffer? More forgiving on rough roads? Brake choices. The fork crown - biggest style point on the bike. The color? Chrome? Braze-ons - LowRiders, custom racks, lights, water bottles or flasks and so on. Sharp curve down low? High, gentle bend? straight? Tangs on the insides of the blades?

Yes, steel forks have more vibration. Steel is a near perfect elastic material. But done right, that vibration is simply not an issue. Steel forked bicycles have been riding the roads of the day in style and comfort for 130 years. And those early roads were far worse that anything we would call pavement now. (Steel and titanium bike frames also don't dampen vibration at all. Yet many are considered very good bikes for rough roads.)

Ben
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Old 05-09-19, 01:46 AM
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You could check out PlanetX. They still do a number of steel and titanium frames, such as the Holdsworth Elan

However, I think you're worrying overmuch about the carbon fork. Carbon is good enough for building airplanes, racing cars and all sorts of other highly stressed components from. I think you'll find it's fine for a set of forks.
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Old 05-09-19, 04:03 AM
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Originally Posted by jambon View Post
Touring capacity was not important as my current bike is a dedicated tourer.

There is one issue , the Ribble CGR has a carbon fork .

I'd happily take the weight penalty of a steel fork for it's durability .
Since your bicycle is not a dedicated tourer, you could probably get away with the carbon fork.

But if you really want a steel fork, have the carbon fork changed for a steel fork.

That's what I did with my sport touring bicycle.
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