Carbon forks + worth the money?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by David Lubich, Feb 23, 2003.

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  1. David Lubich

    David Lubich Guest

    Hello Group I'm looking to buy a midrange hybrid, probably on of the Specialized Sirrus range. All
    models are aluminium, but some of the higher-end ones have carbon forks, Given that weight is not a
    huge issue for me (I'll need to lose a few lbs before it is?) what are the other advantages of
    carbon forks over chr-mo? I've noticed that for the price of a bike with carbon forks and low-end
    groupset I could get a 'last years model' with a chro-mo fork and 105 groupset. I really can't
    decide between these two options, so would value all contributions Thanks in advance. David
     
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  2. Terry Morse

    Terry Morse Guest

    David Lubich wrote:

    > Given that weight is not a huge issue for me (I'll need to lose a few lbs before it is?) what are
    > the other advantages of carbon forks over chr-mo?

    There is advantage. Carbon forks are the latest in a long string of useless "innovations" that
    manufacturers bring out to increase the price of a new bike.
    --
    terry morse Palo Alto, CA http://www.terrymorse.com/bike/
     
  3. Bill

    Bill Guest

    Go for substance over style. Get the 105 with a steel fork. It's not likely that you will find any
    detectable performance gains from a carbon fork on a midrange hybrid. Bill Brannon

    "David Lubich" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Hello Group I'm looking to buy a midrange hybrid, probably on of the Specialized Sirrus range. All
    > models are aluminium, but some of the higher-end ones have carbon forks, Given that weight is not
    > a huge issue for me (I'll need to lose a few lbs before it is?) what are the other advantages of
    > carbon forks over chr-mo? I've noticed that for the price of a bike with carbon forks and low-end
    > groupset I could get a 'last years model' with a chro-mo fork and 105 groupset. I really can't
    > decide between these two options, so would value all contributions Thanks in advance. David
     
  4. A Muzi

    A Muzi Guest

    "David Lubich" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Hello Group I'm looking to buy a midrange hybrid, probably on of the Specialized Sirrus range. All
    > models are aluminium, but some of the higher-end ones have carbon forks, Given that weight is not
    > a huge issue for me (I'll need to lose a few lbs before it is?) what are the other advantages of
    > carbon forks over chr-mo? I've noticed that for the price of a bike with carbon forks and low-end
    > groupset I could get a 'last years model' with a chro-mo fork and 105 groupset. I really can't
    > decide between these two options, so would value all contributions

    I for one am not all that impressed with modern carbon/plastic forks.

    I have to admit that my Cassandra-like prediction that these cheap forks would fail en masse by now
    was totally wrong.

    Prices have fallen precipitously and they are still dependable although they don't take crashes
    well. But who buys a product with an eye to catastrophe that may or may not occur?

    There are not significant failures so if you think they are worth a couple of bucks, go for it.
    --
    Andrew Muzi http://www.yellowjersey.org Open every day since 1 April 1971
     
  5. David Storm

    David Storm Guest

    I'd hate to think how my aluminum Cannondale R1000 would feel at mile 80 on rough roads without a
    carbon fork.

    "David Lubich" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Hello Group I'm looking to buy a midrange hybrid, probably on of the Specialized Sirrus range. All
    > models are aluminium, but some of the higher-end ones have carbon forks, Given that weight is not
    > a huge issue for me (I'll need to lose a few lbs before it is?) what are the other advantages of
    > carbon forks over chr-mo? I've noticed that for the price of a bike with carbon forks and low-end
    > groupset I could get a 'last years model' with a chro-mo fork and 105 groupset. I really can't
    > decide between these two options, so would value all contributions Thanks in advance. David
     
  6. Terry Morse

    Terry Morse Guest

    David Storm wrote:

    > I'd hate to think how my aluminum Cannondale R1000 would feel at mile 80 on rough roads without a
    > carbon fork.

    It would feel about the same as without a cr-moly fork.
    --
    terry morse Palo Alto, CA http://www.terrymorse.com/bike/
     
  7. David Storm

    David Storm Guest

    You mean as with a chrome-moly? I can't say for sure one way or the other. My other bike is an Al
    Cannondale T2000 touring bike with a hefty chrome-moly fork that rides pretty well, but its geometry
    is so different from the R1000 and its always ridden slow and loaded, it would be like comparing
    apples and oranges.

    I think Cannondale puts carbon forks on their light bikes for a reason, namely to make them rideable
    on the long haul.

    "Terry Morse" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > David Storm wrote:
    >
    > > I'd hate to think how my aluminum Cannondale R1000 would feel at mile 80 on rough roads without
    > > a carbon fork.
    >
    > It would feel about the same as without a cr-moly fork.
    > --
    > terry morse Palo Alto, CA http://www.terrymorse.com/bike/
     
  8. Terry Morse

    Terry Morse Guest

    David Storm wrote:

    >
    > I think Cannondale puts carbon forks on their light bikes for a reason, namely to make them
    > rideable on the long haul.
    >

    Carbon is not a magical substance that makes long distance riding easier or more comfortable. If the
    road is rough, you'll get beat up just as quickly as with cr-moly or aluminum.
    --
    terry morse Palo Alto, CA http://www.terrymorse.com/bike/
     
  9. On Mon, 24 Feb 2003 00:17:42 -0500, A Muzi wrote:

    > I have to admit that my Cassandra-like prediction that these cheap forks would fail en masse by
    > now was totally wrong.

    Hmm. Cassandra was always right, but no one listened to her.
    >
    > Prices have fallen precipitously and they are still dependable although they don't take crashes
    > well. But who buys a product with an eye to catastrophe that may or may not occur?

    No bike part will behave reliably in a crash. My first crash cost me a new steel fork, since the QR
    did not hold (I did not have it tight enough -- I was young and naive). Things happen in crashes,
    and they really are not the criterion to use to judge the durability of equipment. Steel frames are
    reliable and last for years, but can crack in even a minor crash.

    --

    David L. Johnson

    __o | And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all _`\(,_ | mysteries, and all
    knowledge; and though I have all faith, so (_)/ (_) | that I could remove mountains, and have not
    charity, I am nothing. [1 Corinth. 13:2]
     
  10. On Mon, 24 Feb 2003 19:08:41 -0500, David Storm wrote:

    > I think Cannondale puts carbon forks on their light bikes for a reason, namely to make them
    > rideable on the long haul.

    They put them on for a reason. They sell better that way. The bike is a little lighter with a carbon
    fork (almost a pound lighter than a steel fork, not much lighter at all than an aluminium fork).

    If your ride is harsh, let a little air out of your tires. That will make more difference than any
    fork, by an order of magnitude. Better yet, get a bigger tire, and don't inflate it to as high a
    pressure as the skinny tire it replaces.

    --

    David L. Johnson

    __o | The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win you're _`\(,_ | still a rat. --Lilly
    Tomlin (_)/ (_) |
     
  11. Dave No 1

    Dave No 1 Guest

    I have recently replaced my Hartson steel forks with a set of Neuville sx6 carbon forks and I am
    thouroughly dissapointed. Yes they are lighter (slightly) but I can notice no diferrence in the
    ride. Frankly I wish id spent the money on hydraulics instead. Then i might not of crashed into the
    bus and broken my collar bone. oh well.
     
  12. In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] (Dave
    no 1) wrote:

    > I have recently replaced my Hartson steel forks with a set of Neuville sx6 carbon forks and I am
    > thouroughly dissapointed. Yes they are lighter (slightly) but I can notice no diferrence in the
    > ride. Frankly I wish id spent the money on hydraulics instead. Then i might not of crashed into
    > the bus and broken my collar bone. oh well.

    Seriously, you didn't check the opinions here? It's part of the rbt creed: fork and frame materials
    don't materially affect ride quality, tires and geometry do. Fork and frame materials affect
    finished weight somewhat (there's a lot of overlap, but you can generally make aluminum lighter than
    steel, and carbon lighter than Al. The differences are not much), and cool factor a lot.

    --
    Ryan Cousineau, [email protected] http://www.sfu.ca/~rcousine President, Fabrizio Mazzoleni Fan Club
     
  13. Terry Morse

    Terry Morse Guest

    Dave no 1 wrote:

    > I have recently replaced my Hartson steel forks with a set of Neuville sx6 carbon forks and I
    > am thouroughly dissapointed. Yes they are lighter (slightly) but I can notice no diferrence in
    > the ride.

    You had unrealistic expectations. Carbon, steel, aluminum, scandium, unobtanium: none of these
    materials in a fork will change the way a bike rides. They all essentially produce a rigid fork.
    --
    terry morse Palo Alto, CA http://www.terrymorse.com/bike/
     
  14. Gary Young

    Gary Young Guest

    Ryan Cousineau <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] (Dave no
    > 1) wrote:
    >
    > > I have recently replaced my Hartson steel forks with a set of Neuville sx6 carbon forks and I am
    > > thouroughly dissapointed. Yes they are lighter (slightly) but I can notice no diferrence in the
    > > ride. Frankly I wish id spent the money on hydraulics instead. Then i might not of crashed into
    > > the bus and broken my collar bone. oh well.
    >
    > Seriously, you didn't check the opinions here? It's part of the rbt creed: fork and frame
    > materials don't materially affect ride quality, tires and geometry do. Fork and frame
    > materials affect finished weight somewhat (there's a lot of overlap, but you can generally
    > make aluminum lighter than steel, and carbon lighter than Al. The differences are not much),
    > and cool factor a lot.

    I'm sold on the idea that materials don't effect the ride of the frame, but is it really the same
    for the fork? In a frame, all of the tubes are fixed in place at both ends, forming a rigid
    structure. But a fork is fixed at only end. True, it's fixed to the wheel as well as the frame,
    but the wheel is not otherwise attached to the frame, and thus there's no triangulation as there
    is in a frame.

    I've seen lots of discussion on this list about forks moving in response to road irregularities
    (e.g., I believe Jobst has said that the movement occurs at the crown and not at the forkend, as is
    commonly supposed). Has it really been established here that materials makes no difference in a
    fork's ride qualities?
     
  15. Terry Morse

    Terry Morse Guest

    Gary Young wrote:

    > I've seen lots of discussion on this list about forks moving in response to road irregularities
    > (e.g., I believe Jobst has said that the movement occurs at the crown and not at the forkend, as
    > is commonly supposed). Has it really been established here that materials makes no difference in a
    > fork's ride qualities?

    "Truthfully, the differences between forks are pretty small. Nice light wheels make a much more
    noticeable difference. Padded handlebar tape or slightly more or less air pressure make about as
    noticeable a difference as a new fork, in my experience."

    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/rinard_forktest.html
    --
    terry morse Palo Alto, CA http://www.terrymorse.com/bike/
     
  16. Ed Ness

    Ed Ness Guest

    Terry Morse wrote:

    > "Truthfully, the differences between forks are pretty small. Nice light wheels make a much more
    > noticeable difference. Padded handlebar tape or slightly more or less air pressure make about as
    > noticeable a difference as a new fork, in my experience."
    >
    > http://www.sheldonbrown.com/rinard_forktest.html

    I disagree with the statement that the difference between forks is small. If you read the Rinard
    forktest data, you will see that there is a significant difference between the different forks
    tested in terms of stiffness. My personel experience parallels this test date: some forks like the
    Kestral EMS are very stiff whereas the Time Equipe is significantly more compliant. I don't have
    much experience with a lot of the newer models so I can't offer much but I do know that the Reynolds
    Ozuo Pro is stiffer than a Look HSC1 or HSC2 by a fair bit.

    The real crux comes in when someone generalizes "carbon forks are ...". The fact is that some carbon
    forks, and steel forks for that matter, are stiff and some are soft. Which is better depends on what
    the rider wants.

    I think the real key is the stiffness not the material. A soft aluminum fork, like the Kineis Road
    D, will ride very nicely dispite what some people like to say about "harsh aluminum".

    Ed
     
  17. Gary Young

    Gary Young Guest

    Terry Morse <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > Gary Young wrote:
    >
    > > I've seen lots of discussion on this list about forks moving in response to road irregularities
    > > (e.g., I believe Jobst has said that the movement occurs at the crown and not at the forkend, as
    > > is commonly supposed). Has it really been established here that materials makes no difference in
    > > a fork's ride qualities?
    >
    > "Truthfully, the differences between forks are pretty small. Nice light wheels make a much more
    > noticeable difference. Padded handlebar tape or slightly more or less air pressure make about as
    > noticeable a difference as a new fork, in my experience."
    >
    > http://www.sheldonbrown.com/rinard_forktest.html

    I don't think that page establishes your point. For one thing, in the paragraph you quote above,
    Damon goes out of his way to note that that's his personal perception. True, he seems to suggest
    that what others perceive in forks is more in their imagination than in fact, but he doesn't
    out-and-out say it.

    Furthermore, you left out some other things he says, which I've copied below. Granted, he's talking
    primarily about fork properties such as stiffness or flexibility that are not necessarily tied to
    the material (by which I mean that for all I know one could make a stiff or flexible fork out of any
    of the materials). But he does suggest that certain materials are better suited to certain desired
    results. For instance, he says that because of damping qualities, a carbon fork can be both stiff
    and comfortable.

    Here are the excerpts:

    "Deflection is flex. All forks do it. A fork with lots of deflection is flexible, and can feel
    squirrelly or soft for heavier riders, but may be perfectly matched for lighter riders or riders who
    want a little more comfort. A fork with very little deflection is stiff. A stiffer fork can be
    jarring over bumps, but often is more precise in handling."

    "....But you may be considering buying a new fork, and knowing just how it stacks up against what
    you have already ridden, helps you predict how the ride of your bike might change."

    "If you are looking for more precise handling, buy a fork that is stiffer. If you are looking for
    comfort, buy one that is more flexible (or one that has other design features that provide comfort
    in other ways). If you are looking for light weight, you must decide how flexible is too flexible
    for your taste, or you may be interested in which forks have the best stiffness-to-weight ratios.
    And aerodynamics are almost always more important than other factors if solo speed is your goal."

    "The gross bumps can be made more bearable with a fork that flexes a little more. For extremely
    bumpy roads (like Paris-Roubaix), there are even suspension forks. But the second source of
    discomfort, the constant vibration, is harder to address. About the only way a normal road fork can
    lessen them is by the natural damping properties inherent in the material used to make the fork."

    "Road forks are made of steel, aluminum, titanium, and carbon. Of these, carbon is known to damp
    vibrations about ten times better than the metals. This damping is the reason carbon forks can be
    both stiff and comfortable. You will still get the jolt of the big bumps with a stiff carbon fork,
    but the vibrations will be decreased. And a flexible carbon fork is really plush."
     
  18. Mike S.

    Mike S. Guest

    "Terry Morse" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Gary Young wrote:
    >
    > > I've seen lots of discussion on this list about forks moving in response to road irregularities
    > > (e.g., I believe Jobst has said that the movement occurs at the crown and not at the forkend, as
    > > is commonly supposed). Has it really been established here that materials makes no difference in
    > > a fork's ride qualities?
    >
    > "Truthfully, the differences between forks are pretty small. Nice light wheels make a much more
    > noticeable difference. Padded handlebar tape or slightly more or less air pressure make about as
    > noticeable a difference as a new fork, in my experience."
    >
    > http://www.sheldonbrown.com/rinard_forktest.html

    That's great, can you measure shock absorbtion by this test? If I'm not mistaken, materials handle
    vibrations differently by their vary natures. Steel handles vibration differently than AL, than Ti,
    etc. You can tell me that car A that has a 5.4l V8 makes 250hp and 250 Lbft of torque, and so does
    Car B with a turbocharged 4. Is the RPM that the peak torque occurs going to be the same? Nope.

    Same goes for the different materials that bikes are made of. Steel may flex a certain amount, but
    it is going to flex that amount differently than say AL. I'm no engineer, so it may take one to
    explain this better than I am trying to. I could be completely off base, but I think it makes sense.
    Having ridden steel, AL, and carbon bikes, with steel, carbon, and AL forks, they all ride
    differently, but you can make them ride similarly by manipulating the materials.

    Does this make sense to anyone else?
    > --
    > terry morse Palo Alto, CA http://www.terrymorse.com/bike/
     
  19. Terry Morse

    Terry Morse Guest

    Gary Young wrote:

    > > "Truthfully, the differences between forks are pretty small. Nice light wheels make a much more
    > > noticeable difference. Padded handlebar tape or slightly more or less air pressure make about as
    > > noticeable a difference as a new fork, in my experience."
    > >
    > > http://www.sheldonbrown.com/rinard_forktest.html
    >
    > I don't think that page establishes your point.

    If you look beyond the conjecture and look only at the test data, it establishes the point nicely.
    Compare the deflection of a fork to that of an inflated tire, and consider how much sensitivity one
    would need to tell the difference from one fork to another. A typical tire under the force used in
    the above test would deflect about 2.7 cm, whereas the forks tested ranged from 0.3-0.5 cm inthe
    longitudianal direction. A difference of 0.2 cm would be nearly impossible to detect, being only
    about 6% of the total deflection. Some claim they can feel that difference. I say those people are
    kidding themselves.
    --
    terry morse Palo Alto, CA http://www.terrymorse.com/bike/
     
  20. Terry Morse

    Terry Morse Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] (Ed Ness) wrote:

    > > http://www.sheldonbrown.com/rinard_forktest.html
    >
    > I disagree with the statement that the difference between forks is small. If you read the Rinard
    > forktest data, you will see that there is a significant difference between the different forks
    > tested in terms of stiffness.

    I read the test data, and I came to the opposite conclusion. The differences between the different
    forks appear insignificant when compared to tire deflection.
    --
    terry morse Palo Alto, CA http://www.terrymorse.com/bike/
     
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