Carbon fork vs others

Discussion in 'Bike buying advice' started by frbock, Dec 7, 2010.

  1. frbock

    frbock New Member

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    I've seen steel frame/steel fork, Al frame/steel fork, steel frame/carbon fork.Ti/Ti

    How much difference (and in what areas) does the fork make. I already understand that Al has no elastic limit so it will eventually fail even on small bumps, so as a fork, it's less desirable.
    Are there any combos people like better?
     
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  2. davereo

    davereo Well-Known Member

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    I have had steel and carbon forks and never had a fork fail on me. IMO whatever would cause a fork to fail would result in the rider coming off the bike. As in if a hit a pot hole large enough to cause my carbon fork to break im going over the bar. If I hit the same pothole with a steel fork the steel fork may survive but I am going over the bars again. Although the carbon fork could fail due to fatigue and poor craftsmanship without warning. The steel fork is more robust and should not fail so easily. The real difference would be in ride quality,durability and weight. The carbon fork would be lighter and a little more forgiving in road vibration dampening. The Steel fork would be a little heavier. It can safely support more weight so it has more uses compared to carbon.
     
  3. ChrisRg

    ChrisRg New Member

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    wow, i didn't even know you could get carbon fibre fork, that sounds cool, i must check some out, do you know the best place to start looking for them ? thanks for the post x
     
  4. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    A good bike shop would be a good start... ;)
     
  5. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    You must understand differently than all those guys riding 10 year old Cannondales who still have their front teeth and haven't undergone facial reconstruction.

    I've ridden and owned bikes with forks made from various materials - aluminium (Vitus 979, Alan, Cannondale), Carbon (TVT and Cannondale) and steel (various English custom builders) and they're all pretty much alike. Forget the myth that one material is massively "better" than another - it's more about the correct design and geometry as to the final road feel and handling.

    The Cannondale Hi-Mod frame and fork... Absolutely un-f**king-believable. Comfort, rigidity and near telepathic handling. Hi Modulus carbon all the way. I started racing in 85 and riding this beastie earlier this year was just a mind blowing experience.
     
  6. frbock

    frbock New Member

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    You misunderstand. Al has inherent fatiguing as part of the material. Steel doesn't start showing fatigue until more than 50% of it's tensile strength. AL is MUCH lower. Granted the cycle limits are somewhere in the millions if you have enough material, but, it's still there.

    Besides, to date, I haven't hit any Aluminum I like, so, I'm willing to toss it off the cliff, just cuz.
     
  7. dhk2

    dhk2 Active Member

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    There's a lot I don't understand about fatigue properties of metals, but really don't think that's something you need to worry about when selecting a frame. At least 50 years of aviation experience has proven that aluminum makes a pretty good structural material; it certainly beat out Reynolds 531 for aircraft frames in short order. A properly designed and built al frame will last for many 10's of thousands of miles, just like a steel or CF frame. Barring crashes, most likely you'll get tired of riding the bike before it fails due to fatigue,regardless of the frame material.
     
  8. baker3

    baker3 New Member

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    Carbon forks are a lot stronger than steel or aluminium, retro fan boys will disagree but they need to face and accept facts.
     
  9. dhk2

    dhk2 Active Member

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    baker3, your generalized statement needs to be qualified. If you'd said that a high-quality CF fork can be stronger than a steel fork of the same weight, I'd agree. But the fact is that there are plenty of super-tough steel forks out there on touring bikes, not to mention tandems, cyclocross, hybrids downhill bikes,etc. They may be heavier than you want on your modern road-race bike, but they are still strong and can take abuse that CF can't. Agree that CF forks are the best choice for most of us, but for a "heavy-duty" application, I'd still go with steel.
     
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