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Carbon VS. Aluminum

Old 01-25-20, 01:29 PM
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Jari1990
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Carbon VS. Aluminum

Hey everyone I posted a few days ago about my Roam 2 and got alot of good tips on what to do now that im trying to upgrade. So far ive been able to rebuild my bike and make sure all parts are up to par. Now im looking into replacing my fork. I never use the suspension part and it seems like switching forks may make the ride a little lighter. I was going to go with aluminum but after hanging at the local LBS Im on the fence about switching to a carbon fork.

Anyone done this and noticed any changes as to the positioning of the bike itself and handling?
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Old 01-25-20, 01:32 PM
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You have to make sure the fork you buy--whatever the material--is the same length from headset to dropouts as the suspension fork it is replacing, or your handling and balance will change in possibly unpleasant ways.
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Old 01-25-20, 03:31 PM
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Why not go with a steel fork ??.it's more durable and safer than carbon and gives a better ride than aluminium.
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Old 01-25-20, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
Why not go with a steel fork ??.it's more durable and safer than carbon and gives a better ride than aluminium.

TBH never thought of it just because no one brought it up to me as an option. It defenitly be more durable. Do you think with my commute being on mainly paths and roads I ride around 40 miles a day. Would it be worth keeping a heavier fork on? Im debating on switching it just to make it lighter for the most part because i keep about 20lbs of stuff on me + a 9.6lb security chain. Mixed in with my almost 300lb self im trying to get rid of what ever excess weight I can.
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Old 01-25-20, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Jari1990 View Post
TBH never thought of it just because no one brought it up to me as an option. It defenitly be more durable. Do you think with my commute being on mainly paths and roads I ride around 40 miles a day. Would it be worth keeping a heavier fork on? Im debating on switching it just to make it lighter for the most part because i keep about 20lbs of stuff on me + a 9.6lb security chain. Mixed in with my almost 300lb self im trying to get rid of what ever excess weight I can.
Choose whatever you think is best for your riding needs. If your main goal is to save weight, than carbon is definitely a lot lighter than steel.
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Old 01-25-20, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Jari1990 View Post
TBH never thought of it just because no one brought it up to me as an option. It defenitly be more durable. Do you think with my commute being on mainly paths and roads I ride around 40 miles a day. Would it be worth keeping a heavier fork on? Im debating on switching it just to make it lighter for the most part because i keep about 20lbs of stuff on me + a 9.6lb security chain. Mixed in with my almost 300lb self im trying to get rid of what ever excess weight I can.
Trek just upgraded the fork on their model 520 touring bike from steel to aluminum, saving 318 grams. That's despite knowing that some folk would get their knickers in a twist over the change. Clearly, Trek's engineers determined that the change in weight would have no effect on durability.
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Old 01-25-20, 11:16 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
Why not go with a steel fork ??.it's more durable and safer than carbon
No. This is complete horse puckey.
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Old 01-26-20, 06:53 AM
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AL forks tend to transmit the maximum amount of chatter----high-frequency vibrations---right into the palms of your hands, which can b wearing over time. Steel and CF are a lot more forgiving. And while there is nothing wrong with steel, CF does all the same stuff and weighs much, much less. Unless you want to carry 50 pounds in your front panniers, CF is probably the best choice.
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Old 01-26-20, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
AL forks tend to transmit the maximum amount of chatter----high-frequency vibrations---right into the palms of your hands, which can b wearing over time. Steel and CF are a lot more forgiving. And while there is nothing wrong with steel, CF does all the same stuff and weighs much, much less. Unless you want to carry 50 pounds in your front panniers, CF is probably the best choice.
Confirmation bias. My favorite track bike has an aluminum frame and aluminum fork. I've done many road rides of over 5 hours on it. No so-called "chatter" issues. It rides exactly like a bike.

I also always enjoy reading posts on bass guitar forums from people discussing the differences in tone between, e.g., ash and alder solid-body basses. The more imaginary the differences, the more heated the arguments.
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Old 01-26-20, 08:50 AM
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If the goal is to reduce weight, then carbon is the obvious choice. Buy a good quality fork and ignore the bs about durability.
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Old 01-26-20, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak View Post
Confirmation bias. My favorite track bike has an aluminum frame and aluminum fork. I've done many road rides of over 5 hours on it. No so-called "chatter" issues. It rides exactly like a bike.

I also always enjoy reading posts on bass guitar forums from people discussing the differences in tone between, e.g., ash and alder solid-body basses. The more imaginary the differences, the more heated the arguments.
I ride and love aluminum bikes, but I don't think this is entirely imaginary. There's enormous variability between different aluminium bikes in this regard, so while most al bikes are fine, others are just nightmares. For example, I test rode a 2000 era Klein and knew within a few feet of fast riding I'd never be able to tolerate the vibrations over a long ride. I don't think steel and carbon vary that much on that single factor.
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Old 01-26-20, 03:09 PM
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Plenty of room for different opinions ... I believe---based on a lot of riding, on a lot of bikes---that a CF or steel fork would be a little more forgiving than an Al fork. No need to toss around derogatory labels, just because you disagree.
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Old 01-26-20, 03:37 PM
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got 2 of each and..

Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
Plenty of room for different opinions ... I believe---based on a lot of riding, on a lot of bikes---that a CF or steel fork would be a little more forgiving than an Al fork. No need to toss around derogatory labels, just because you disagree.
+1 on this. With the hills around here buzzing hasn't really been a problem but but carbon and steel handle large potholes much better than Al. (In so far as saving the wrists).
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Old 01-26-20, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by mercator View Post
If the goal is to reduce weight, then carbon is the obvious choice. Buy a good quality fork and ignore the bs about durability.
https://youtu.be/w5eMMf11uhM
Santa Cruz reposted this test. This test is misleading though. The reason is because even before the carbon showed complete failure to the naked eyes, there were already delamination happening and the frame/fork wouldn't be safe that this point.
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Old 01-26-20, 07:36 PM
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If you are riding on mostly paths and roads there is NO need whatsoever for a suspension fork, I would just get a steel or carbon rigid fork, carbon is lighter of course.

Unless you are are doing aggressive down hill single track racing there really is no need to use a suspension fork.

Which should you get, steel of carbon? depends on how much the bike is worth, if it's worth less than $500 I doubt it's worth putting on a $300 or so carbon fork, if the bike is worth over $1,000 then the carbon fork would probably be the right choice, in between $500 and $1000...hmm, depends on if you want a lighter bike or not, and is you want to spend the money.
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Old 01-26-20, 07:58 PM
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Originally Posted by greatscott View Post
If you are riding on mostly paths and roads there is NO need whatsoever for a suspension fork, I would just get a steel or carbon rigid fork, carbon is lighter of course.

Unless you are are doing aggressive down hill single track racing there really is no need to use a suspension fork.

Which should you get, steel of carbon? depends on how much the bike is worth, if it's worth less than $500 I doubt it's worth putting on a $300 or so carbon fork, if the bike is worth over $1,000 then the carbon fork would probably be the right choice, in between $500 and $1000...hmm, depends on if you want a lighter bike or not, and is you want to spend the money.
You are not qualified to talk about mountain biking, if you believe that a suspension fork is only necessary for "aggressive down hill single track racing".
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Old 01-26-20, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by greatscott View Post
If you are riding on mostly paths and roads there is NO need whatsoever for a suspension fork,

Unless you are are doing aggressive down hill single track racing there really is no need to use a suspension fork.
I agree that there is no need for suspension when riding on roads and paths...Personally I don't even use suspension when riding singletrack trails. I have two mountain bikes with rigid forks.
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Old 01-26-20, 11:05 PM
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Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
Santa Cruz reposted this test. This test is misleading though. The reason is because even before the carbon showed complete failure to the naked eyes, there were already delamination happening and the frame/fork wouldn't be safe that this point.


Oh, BS. It's not a misleading test. They broke a frame that had failed to break under previous testing and then been ridden for 2 years by a monster for Pete's sake.

Where's your delamination?

The only caveat is that they are testing mtn bike frames, which are built much stronger than road ones.
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Old 01-26-20, 11:21 PM
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Originally Posted by greatscott View Post
If you are riding on mostly paths and roads there is NO need whatsoever for a suspension fork, I would just get a steel or carbon rigid fork, carbon is lighter of course.
Roam 2 on pavement? Heck no you don't need suspension.

I rode my MTB on a flat paved trail for 43 miles just to see the difference. I won't say I can prove I lost energy but the senseless bouncing of the front end was annoying and sure made me feel like I wasted energy. But I have no electronic proof or I would say that I did.

--------------------

By the way, Big rider, carbon forks since 1998, never a problem with durability.

Aluminum frames, snapped #1 at 13,000 miles..........snapped #2 at, you guess it, 13,000 miles (plus a few but withing 13,000+ range)

New carbon frame, 15,000 miles so far, no problem or signs of giving out soon.

Aluminum bicycle. Others have told me that alum was no good and that I would explode doing a long ride. In 2005, I did 23 centuries, posted over 7,300 miles that year on an aluminum bike. The people that made those comments have never done a century.

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Old 01-27-20, 04:22 AM
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No one mentioned a titanium fork?
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Old 01-27-20, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
AL forks tend to transmit the maximum amount of chatter----high-frequency vibrations---right into the palms of your hands, which can b wearing over time. Steel and CF are a lot more forgiving. And while there is nothing wrong with steel, CF does all the same stuff and weighs much, much less. Unless you want to carry 50 pounds in your front panniers, CF is probably the best choice.
This.
My Trek 7.5 FX has an AL fork. There is a lot of vibration and road noise at the handlebars. Switching to a CF stem and handlebars made a big difference.
I your case, I'd just switch to a CF fork.
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Old 01-27-20, 09:47 AM
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Can we get some love for ti?


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Old 01-27-20, 09:58 AM
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Lots of factors to consider including but not limited to: Cost, road vibration, riding habits, terrain that you ride, size of tires you can fit, um I'm sure there are others but cannot think of them right now

I have an all aluminum bike and it has a fair amount of vibration, but not to point that I don't ride it. Also, have a steel bike that does not vibrate as much. Usually I will alternate between the tow on a bi-daily basis.

Would love to have a carbon bike but cannot swing the cost

Carbon fork seems to be a good option, but again, how and where you ride are big factors
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Old 01-27-20, 11:55 AM
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I logged about 10,000 touring miles on an AL bike. Can't remember what the fork is made of. I will try to remember to check when I get home. It was quite comfortable.
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Old 01-27-20, 12:24 PM
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Surly Cross Check disc fork might do the job if the axle to crown length is within 20mm. Have two of them on bikes, one steel, the other titanium, and confirm the ride quality is excellent. Not stiff and not lazy, but just right.
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