Carbon vs Steel rigid Forks?

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  • Carbon vs Steel rigid Forks?
  • Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    you do, genrally, get a fair bit more fore-aft ‘twang’ with carbon forks, ime.

    Whether this is a good or bad thing is probably down to personal preference.

    mocha
    Member

    Not so much difference that’s worth paying that much difference in cash – mostly down to weight IME

    daveb
    Member

    I am looking to replace my old RS Tora forks with some rigid forks. Had a look on the On One site and they have both steel and carbon forks that look good but with a £60 price difference.

    I am not bothered about the weight, both sets of forks are much lighter than the ones they will be replacing but was wondering about ride quality, do the carbon forks really make a big difference?

    The bike they are going onto is a Charge Duster which is mainly used for road commuting, occasional Glentress rides and rides over the Pentlands (natural terrain).

    thanks

    globalti
    Member

    There’s a hell of a difference. A good steel fork is comfortable in the kind of way that you remember it years later with fondness but a carbon fork paired with a fattish tyre is almost as good as short travel suspension forks; comfortable on most terrain and you only notice it’s rigid on big hits like steps and brick-sized rocks.

    I carried and rode my titanium Global with a carbon fork for 25 miles and 5500 feet over and round High Street with three guys on full suspension bikes. None of them was able to pass me on the downhills and at the end of the day I still had fuel in the tank thanks to the lighter weight of my bike. And I’m 55.

    I got my carbon fork from here and very good it is too: http://www.carboncycles.cc/ I like it so much that I’m selling my Rebas, which weigh a ton and leaked oil from new until I got the importer to rebuild them.

    If you’re in Lancashire you’re welcome to test ride my bike.

    Depends which fork. They all feel different. I’ve used flexy and stiff carbon and steel forks.

    AlasdairMc
    Member

    Do you not have carbon forks on a roadie? I notice a huge difference when riding my CX compared to my dad’s hybrid (carbon on mine). You can see the forks moving backwards and forwards when on the rough stuff, and it definitely takes a bit of the edge off.

    I have carbon forks on my road bike, they feel pretty stiff. The carbon forks on my last road bike were quite flexy I guess, since they were quite comfy.

    Premier Icon 40mpg
    Subscriber

    The on-one carbon forks are actually very good, and surprisibgly strong. Mine have been battered and jumped for 4 years with no probs, just got a second set on another bike. Definitely aid comfort.

    The on-one steel forks are stiffer and heavier. Spend the £60 now or on wrist suppports later – your choice.

    globalti
    Member

    Sounds like good advice.

    Rik
    Member

    Riding in the Lakes on a big mountain route on a ‘near enough’ fully rigid bike and your mates couldn’t overtake you on full susp bikes.

    They must be absolutely shite on a bike!!

    On the South Downs maybe a fully rigid works in the Lakes it’s slower in every respect!

    B.A.Nana
    Member

    What Globalti says, pretty much.
    I’ve got Salsa CroMoto and Nukeproof carbon forks (exactly the same as On One I would imagine). Used them both on the same bike this summer, whilst riding regularly in the Yorkshire Dales. Predominantly, this sort of non technical terrain

    Hand on heart, the carbon forks made for all round enjoyable days out, especially when I was unfit at the start of the summer. The trade off is it makes you a bit restraint on the technical rougher descents, picking lines etc, but the climbs are much easier, having a lighter bike and no bob, it makes an overall really enjoyable ride out. I’ve had no fatigue in my hands or wrists after 4 hour rides (I used to suffer quite badly in the old days and I was 20 years younger). The amount of flex you can see in the forks when you’re descending/braking is quite unnerving.

    The Salsa CroMoto forks were only used for a few rides to compare, as said above, it was just like going back to my first mountain bike 20 years ago before suspension forks. I don’t think the Salsa forks are much like the On One steel forks, so maybe different flex.

    I would probably never ride in the Lake District on a fully rigid bike, I go there to get a bit of an adrenaline rush and to ride technical terrain, rigid forks would spoil it for me.

    daveb
    Member

    Excellent – many thanks for all the feedback – Carbon it is.

    cynic-al
    Member

    I carried and rode my titanium Global with a carbon fork for 25 miles and 5500 feet over and round High Street with three guys on full suspension bikes. None of them was able to pass me on the downhills and at the end of the day I still had fuel in the tank thanks to the lighter weight of my bike. And I’m 55.

    It just may be about the rider not the bike?

    Shame no one makes light steel forks any more.

    Premier Icon takisawa2
    Subscriber

    I have both On-Ones & the the Exotic carbon ones, like those from Carboncycles above. The Exotics are much better finished than the One-Ones.

    I can vouch for the strength of On-Ones though, after hanging in the air for seemingly ages in an endo after the wheel dropped into a ditch.

    Grab a nice big front tyre, 2.5 WTB Weirwolf if you can get one; & its like a suspension fork.

    Also, depending on what travel your running on your Toras, you might want to consider a 29er fork (470mm). My Inbred was loads better with a 470mm fork than a 440mm (100mm travel 26″ fork). It felt too low at the front after running a 130mm travel suspension fork.

    Got to agree with Cynic-Al, in the lack of decent (light!!!) steel forks, especially when there are nice steel 29er forks like the ones Niner & Singular do.

    cynic-al
    Member

    Yup…you’d think the advances in steel would allow nice light unicrown forks with retro appeal.

    vdubber67
    Member

    daveb – what about secondhand? Could sell you some s/h carbon (superstar) forks that I used fairly infrequently on my ss. Uncut steerer, no marks or cracks etc. They’ve been sat in the garage for ages!

    Drop me a mail at rtedgeAThotmail.com if interested.

    Before anyone says not to buy s/h carbon, I do work in composites for a living 😉

    morgs
    Member

    ***hijacker***

    vdubber – ygm 🙂

    Premier Icon paulosoxo
    Subscriber

    Carbon Cycles Forks are nice, I have a pair of them. I’ve also had a couple of Kona P2’s, not the lightest, but a classic steel fork

    andyl
    Member

    On the subject of running rigid carbon with a big front tyre (2.4 instead of 2.1) – what does the big front do for the drag? Or do rear tyres make the most difference?

    stoat
    Member

    +2 for carbon, and I was scared of carbon until I tried them!

    aP
    Member

    Just as an alternative view I’ve got cx bikes with steel forks, Easton carbon and on my main race bike they’re the integrated Argon 18 fork. The steel fork on my 95 islabike is very compliant, the easton fork on my bmc is incredibly flexible – to the point of being almost unrideable at times, and the fork on my Argon 18 is the stiffest thing I have ever ridden.
    It all depends really upon how its designed.

    andyl
    Member

    ^ exactly

    With carbon you not only have the shape to play with to change stiffness but you can change the orientation of the fibres to give you properties you want.

    eg a carbon driveshaft will be dominated by +/- 45deg for torsional stiffness but a beam designed for simple bending will be dominated by 0 deg fibres along it’s length.

    ^exactly

    I remember seeing a broken front wing of an F1 car when doing some work for Benetton (few years back) and two men could jump up and down on the ends without breaking it but it had been snapped while moving it and banging it at the wrong angle against a bench.

    andyl
    Member

    A good demo is 2 identical looking pieces of carbon fibre about 1″ wide by 10″ long – one with mainly +/-45 and the other with mainly 0deg. Both same thickness.

    Get the person to try bending and twisting tests on each and they soon realise how much you can influence the properties.

    globalti
    Member

    Got to be the same physics as the steel reinforcing rods in a concrete beam, innit?

    Here’s my Ti hardtail with Easton carbon seatpost and forks from CarbonCycles:

    B.A.Nana
    Member

    here’s mine, I believe they are exactly the same carbon fork as the Exotic
    And Salsa Cromoto in commuter build

    Using steel forks as I’m heavy and fed up of watching out for my forks on the trail when I should be riding.

    Comfort is ok but it’s the weight difference.

    Carbon is comfy (had RC31’s) but I love steel.

    Otherwise a cheap spring loaded fork?

    andyl
    Member

    The on one, pace, nukeproof and exotic are all slightly different I believe. for the reasons above ^.

    The weights are also a bit different I think. Also look at the rider weight restrictions as that is a tell tale but sometimes just playing it safe.

    ade ward
    Member

    i was running a pair of pace rc31 found them a little too stiff ,

    changed to a pair of steel singular forks much more compliant with very little difference in steering control

    the steel forks can get a but juddery breaking in the wet but i can live with that,

    daveb
    Member

    I bought a set of the Exotic forks, seemed a good price and I will see how I get on with them compared to the forks that or on there at the moment.

    I have been riding my carbon Exotic forks in Derbyshire on some of the rocky trails up there and I have been amazed at how comfy they are! After a few hours riding over all those rocks I was expecting sore wrists, but no they were fine. In fact I have rode those rides on Full suss and front suspension forks on a hardtail and I really did not miss them. Good forks the Exotic ones. Plus they don’t have those horrid yellow Nuke Proof logos in them.

    daveb am interested in how you get on with them.also have a duster,and would like to get some rigid forks for it.was thinking of carbon,but the price has made me think of steel instead (admittedly was looking at dt swiss 😉

    timc
    Member

    i have a carbon exotic fork on my Cotic Soul, I was pleasantly surprised by how if soaked up rough surfaces & gave a very compliant ride, I love it! At the price, it has to be recommended!

    No point you can get new Exotic carbons for about 30 quid more on ebay than the On One steel forks. The On One steel forks are rubbish too, heavy, look crap and not forgiving at all!

    daveb
    Member

    Raceface – I will put on an update after I have tried them for a few rides.

    The Exotic forks are pretty cheap right now, I got mine for £83 direct from the link above.

    redstripe
    Member

    Or aluminium forks….
    I’ve used these Mosso mtb forks bought off ebay on a few bikes, well made, cheap, really light. Used to be about £30 delivered but seem to have gone up a bit now. Never had a problem with deliveries or busting them yet.

    I think they do carbon versions too for about £20 more.

    Premier Icon Clobber
    Subscriber

    Do any of these carbon forks not have a weight limit?

    Premier Icon Fishd
    Subscriber

    Reportedly no weight or rotor size limit on the On-one carbons. Have run them for 6 months, love ’em.

    Gribs
    Member

    The weight limits seem a bit odd to me as the forces through the forks will be highly dependent on head angle and riding style.

    Premier Icon Clobber
    Subscriber

    Fishd, is that the new race 29er or the older ones?

    Premier Icon Fishd
    Subscriber

    Tis the old 26″ ones.

    There’s a review of the Race 29’er ones here.

    daveb
    Member

    Got the forks yesterday – very light, nice finish and seem well made. Fitting them tonigth but will be next week sometime before I test them out.

    Also – unlike some companies the packaging was excellent, very well protected.

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