Advantage of carbon vs. steel fork blades

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Mike Krueger, Feb 14, 2005.

  1. Mike Krueger

    Mike Krueger Guest

    Asking those with experience riding both, what are the advantages,
    other than lighter weight, of road forks made with carbon-fiber blades
    vs. quality steel forks.
    Thank you.
     
    Tags:


  2. C

    C Guest

    In article <[email protected]>,
    Mike Krueger <[email protected]> wrote:
    >Asking those with experience riding both, what are the advantages,
    >other than lighter weight, of road forks made with carbon-fiber blades
    >vs. quality steel forks.


    Weight is the main issue. A metal fork with metal steerer is
    noticably heavier than a carbon fork with carbon steerer.

    One advantage of steel forks is that they can have braze-on mounts
    for fenders or racks. They may also be less resistant to damage in
    certain kinds of crashes.
     
  3. C wrote:
    > In article <[email protected]>,
    > Mike Krueger <[email protected]> wrote:
    >> Asking those with experience riding both, what are the advantages,
    >> other than lighter weight, of road forks made with carbon-fiber
    >> blades vs. quality steel forks.

    >
    > Weight is the main issue. A metal fork with metal steerer is
    > noticably heavier than a carbon fork with carbon steerer.
    >
    > One advantage of steel forks is that they can have braze-on mounts
    > for fenders or racks. They may also be less resistant to damage in
    > certain kinds of crashes.

    Some riders, me, like the way a steel fork feels as opposed to a carbon
    fork. It also depends on the application too.
     
  4. Matt O'Toole

    Matt O'Toole Guest

    C wrote:

    > In article <[email protected]>,


    > Mike Krueger <[email protected]> wrote:


    >> Asking those with experience riding both, what are the advantages,
    >> other than lighter weight, of road forks made with carbon-fiber
    >> blades vs. quality steel forks.

    >
    > Weight is the main issue. A metal fork with metal steerer is
    > noticably heavier than a carbon fork with carbon steerer.


    Yes. Also, carbon forks are mass produced these days, so you may get more bang
    for your buck in terms of weight and stiffness.

    > One advantage of steel forks is that they can have braze-on mounts
    > for fenders or racks.


    Carbon forks are available now with these features too.

    > They may also be less resistant to damage in
    > certain kinds of crashes.


    Perhaps, but the real issue is that steel "wears its heart on its sleeve" with
    respect to damage. If it isn't bent or visibly cracked it's probably OK, unless
    there's a manufacturing defect. Also, steel can often be safely bent back to
    shape. Carbon, OTOH, may not show serious damage at all. It could be cracked
    internally with no way of telling. So a carbon fork which has suffered a
    serious crash should probably be retired. Riding a carbon fork with unknown
    history is probably unwise.

    Matt O.
     
  5. Werehatrack

    Werehatrack Guest

    On 14 Feb 2005 10:59:38 -0800, "Mike Krueger" <[email protected]> may
    have said:

    >Asking those with experience riding both, what are the advantages,
    >other than lighter weight, of road forks made with carbon-fiber blades
    >vs. quality steel forks.


    Some riders say that they can feel a difference in the amount of
    vibration that comes through, but on the ones that I've ridden, with
    one exception, I couldn't tell that there was any difference in that
    area. One bike I rode had a carbon fork of the very flexy persuasion
    whose tendency to deflect on bumps was pronounced enough to see. I
    quickly decided that I didn't want this one.


    --
    My email address is antispammed; pull WEEDS if replying via e-mail.
    Typoes are not a bug, they're a feature.
    Words processed in a facility that contains nuts.
     
  6. Werehatrack

    Werehatrack Guest

    On Mon, 14 Feb 2005 15:24:47 -0500, "Matt O'Toole" <[email protected]>
    may have said:

    >C wrote:
    >> One advantage of steel forks is that they can have braze-on mounts
    >> for fenders or racks.

    >
    >Carbon forks are available now with these features too.


    They can't be added afterwards if they're not already present on a
    carbon fork. With steel, that's still an option.

    >> They may also be less resistant to damage in
    >> certain kinds of crashes.

    >
    >Perhaps, but the real issue is that steel "wears its heart on its sleeve" with
    >respect to damage. If it isn't bent or visibly cracked it's probably OK, unless
    >there's a manufacturing defect. Also, steel can often be safely bent back to
    >shape. Carbon, OTOH, may not show serious damage at all. It could be cracked
    >internally with no way of telling. So a carbon fork which has suffered a
    >serious crash should probably be retired. Riding a carbon fork with unknown
    >history is probably unwise.


    True, and a good reason not to buy one used unless you're *really*
    sure of the integrity of the source.

    --
    My email address is antispammed; pull WEEDS if replying via e-mail.
    Typoes are not a bug, they're a feature.
    Words processed in a facility that contains nuts.
     
  7. Matt O'Toole

    Matt O'Toole Guest

    Werehatrack wrote:

    >> C wrote:
    >>> One advantage of steel forks is that they can have braze-on mounts
    >>> for fenders or racks.


    >> Carbon forks are available now with these features too.


    > They can't be added afterwards if they're not already present on a
    > carbon fork. With steel, that's still an option.


    Well, they probably could be added (glue), but no one does this. In either case
    it makes no sense, as it would be easier and cheaper to just replace the fork
    with one that has this stuff.

    Matt O.
     
  8. Matt O'Toole

    Matt O'Toole Guest

    Werehatrack wrote:

    > On 14 Feb 2005 10:59:38 -0800, "Mike Krueger" <[email protected]> may
    > have said:
    >
    >> Asking those with experience riding both, what are the advantages,
    >> other than lighter weight, of road forks made with carbon-fiber
    >> blades vs. quality steel forks.

    >
    > Some riders say that they can feel a difference in the amount of
    > vibration that comes through, but on the ones that I've ridden, with
    > one exception, I couldn't tell that there was any difference in that
    > area. One bike I rode had a carbon fork of the very flexy persuasion
    > whose tendency to deflect on bumps was pronounced enough to see. I
    > quickly decided that I didn't want this one.


    Actually a lot of lightweight steel forks do this. I don't think it matters
    much, but some forks flex back and forth annoyingly under braking. Carbon forks
    are generally stiffer. Lateral stiffness may be an issue too. This is why
    carbon forks are often considered more precise-handling. However, lightweight
    steel forks often come with lightweight, flexy frames. Noticeable flex may be a
    product of the whole system.

    Damon Rinard flex tested a bunch of frames and forks. The results are posted on
    Sheldon Brown's site:

    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/rinard/rinard_forktest.html

    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/rinard_frametest.html

    Matt O.
     
  9. Mike Krueger

    Mike Krueger Guest

    Matt O'Toole wrote:
    > I don't think it matters
    > much, but some forks flex back and forth annoyingly under braking.

    Carbon forks
    > are generally stiffer. Lateral stiffness may be an issue too. This

    is why
    > carbon forks are often considered more precise-handling.
    >
    > Damon Rinard flex tested a bunch of frames and forks. The results

    are posted on
    > Sheldon Brown's site:
    >
    > http://www.sheldonbrown.com/rinard/rinard_forktest.html


    Matt,
    I'm confused. The results of Mr. Rinard's fork stiffness test
    contradict your assertion that carbon forks are generally stiffer than
    steel forks. Wouldn't that imply that steel forks are conceivably more
    precise-handling?
    I contacted Calfee Design to ask which carbon fork they currently
    supply with their top-quality carbon frames. I was told something
    interesting. Of the popular available carbon forks, only the Easton
    meets their standards for precise alignment. Others, including the
    Alpha Q and the Ouzo Pro, have been coming from the factories out of
    kilter, and are being rejected and sent back.
    At least with a steel fork, if the fork tips are misaligned, you can
    bend it back.
     
  10. Paul Kopit

    Paul Kopit Guest

    On 14 Feb 2005 10:59:38 -0800, "Mike Krueger" <[email protected]>
    wrote:

    >Asking those with experience riding both, what are the advantages,
    >other than lighter weight, of road forks made with carbon-fiber blades
    >vs. quality steel forks.
    >Thank you.


    None. I'd prefer a threadless fork over a threaded one but that
    really wouldn't make a big ride difference.
     
  11. Ron Abramson

    Ron Abramson Guest

    On Mon, 14 Feb 2005 17:08:59 -0500, Matt O'Toole wrote:


    > Actually a lot of lightweight steel forks do this. I don't think it
    > matters much, but some forks flex back and forth annoyingly under
    > braking. Carbon forks are generally stiffer. Lateral stiffness may be
    > an issue too. This is why carbon forks are often considered more
    > precise-handling. However, lightweight steel forks often come with
    > lightweight, flexy frames. Noticeable flex may be a product of the
    > whole system.
    >
    > Damon Rinard flex tested a bunch of frames and forks. The results are
    > posted on Sheldon Brown's site:
    >
    > http://www.sheldonbrown.com/rinard/rinard_forktest.html
    >
    > http://www.sheldonbrown.com/rinard_frametest.html
    >
    > Matt O.


    I recently tried a set of cross tires on an old road bike with a steel
    fork and caliper brakes. Had 3mm of clearance at rest, but the tire would
    hit the bottom of the caliper on any bump. I was surprised at seeing
    visible flex like this, but I see that the amount of flex I observed is
    comparable to what is reported in the Rinard article. Steel forks flex a
    lot.
     
  12. jim beam

    jim beam Guest

    Mike Krueger wrote:
    > Asking those with experience riding both, what are the advantages,
    > other than lighter weight, of road forks made with carbon-fiber blades
    > vs. quality steel forks.
    > Thank you.
    >

    i've ridden both, and have owned no less than 6 carbon forks. if you
    get a good one, they're great. if you have a 1" frame, use a fork with
    a steel steerer - the aluminum & carbon steerers flex too much imo & can
    easily give an unfavorable impression of what is otherwise a useful
    technology.

    advantages are weight [slim with a steel steerer, but still handy] and
    ride quality - they definitely take some of the buzz out of rough pavement.
     
  13. Velo Psycho

    Velo Psycho Guest

    I've got a reynolds ouzo fork on one of my bikes and a Gios steel fork
    on the other.

    I like the ride of both, but I had to get used to the reynolds flexing
    so much over some larger road bumps -- not too large either, just the
    imperfections in curb cuts. I get a whack from the wheel hitting the
    caliper on the carbon. The steel does no such thing.
     
  14. jim beam

    jim beam Guest

    Velo Psycho wrote:
    > I've got a reynolds ouzo fork on one of my bikes and a Gios steel fork
    > on the other.
    >
    > I like the ride of both, but I had to get used to the reynolds flexing
    > so much over some larger road bumps -- not too large either, just the
    > imperfections in curb cuts. I get a whack from the wheel hitting the
    > caliper on the carbon. The steel does no such thing.
    >

    yeah, i can't stand those reynolds ouzo's - unbelievably noodly. my
    bike was practically unridable with it on. ended up with a cheap $99
    carbon fork with steel steerer & it rides great!
     
  15. Jay Beattie

    Jay Beattie Guest

    "jim beam" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > Velo Psycho wrote:
    > > I've got a reynolds ouzo fork on one of my bikes and a Gios

    steel fork
    > > on the other.
    > >
    > > I like the ride of both, but I had to get used to the

    reynolds flexing
    > > so much over some larger road bumps -- not too large either,

    just the
    > > imperfections in curb cuts. I get a whack from the wheel

    hitting the
    > > caliper on the carbon. The steel does no such thing.
    > >

    > yeah, i can't stand those reynolds ouzo's - unbelievably

    noodly. my
    > bike was practically unridable with it on. ended up with a

    cheap $99
    > carbon fork with steel steerer & it rides great!


    What did you end up buying. I need a cheap new fork. -- Jay
    Beattie.
     
  16. Marvin

    Marvin Guest

    Properly laid up carbon fibre can be made to be compliant in one
    direction and rigid in another, which means CF forks are engineered to
    take out the road buzz whilst still being torsionally stiff - this does
    mean they're quite compliant vertically, so the issues with tyre
    clearance that have been mentioned already might come into play. From
    the forks I've ridden there is a small but definite advantage in weight
    and road buzz transmitted through the bars, and although handling is
    incredibly subjective I for one prefer the ride of carbon fibre. The
    cost difference isn't too bad these days either, the big big thing that
    worries me is hidden damage and the potential for a *very* big failure.
    When carbon fibre breaks it doesn't do it by halves.

    Yes, I live on the side of the Atlantic where we use words like "tyre"
    and "fibre" :)
     
  17. jim beam

    jim beam Guest

    Jay Beattie wrote:
    > "jim beam" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]
    >
    >>Velo Psycho wrote:
    >>
    >>>I've got a reynolds ouzo fork on one of my bikes and a Gios

    >
    > steel fork
    >
    >>>on the other.
    >>>
    >>>I like the ride of both, but I had to get used to the

    >
    > reynolds flexing
    >
    >>>so much over some larger road bumps -- not too large either,

    >
    > just the
    >
    >>>imperfections in curb cuts. I get a whack from the wheel

    >
    > hitting the
    >
    >>>caliper on the carbon. The steel does no such thing.
    >>>

    >>
    >>yeah, i can't stand those reynolds ouzo's - unbelievably

    >
    > noodly. my
    >
    >>bike was practically unridable with it on. ended up with a

    >
    > cheap $99
    >
    >>carbon fork with steel steerer & it rides great!

    >
    >
    > What did you end up buying. I need a cheap new fork. -- Jay
    > Beattie.
    >

    i got a $99 merlin from excel sports, 1" steel steerer for one bike, a
    $60 1" steel no-name from chucks bikes for a steel bianchi & at a swap
    meet, an old 1" steel steerer look from a marin for my nashbar "framé".
    the look's the best of that bunch.

    of the rejects, the bad ones were the kestrels. i've tried 3, all of
    which have failed the squeeze test. the reynolds ouzo's, as above, were
    noodles. my best one i have came with my bianchi ev3. it's all carbon,
    1.125" and handles superb. minimal flex.
     
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