Carbon forks worth it?

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Carbon forks worth it?

Postby mic » Fri Nov 02, 2012 9:32 pm

Hi all

Looking to buy a new flat bar road bike with an aluminium frame and perhaps carbon forks.

Do carbon forks provide a far more comfortable ride when compared to an aluminium fork, or is the difference small?

Also can I expect the carbon forks to last as long as the aluminium frame? If the answer is no, would it be easy to replace the forks say 7 years from now?




Thanks for your help.
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by BNA » Fri Nov 02, 2012 9:55 pm

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Re: Carbon forks worth it?

Postby moosterbounce » Fri Nov 02, 2012 9:55 pm

So many questions!! And everything you ask will spark an argument!!

Ride quality may differ. I had a full alloy flat bar and the ride was great. Then I had an alloy tt bike with carbon forks and it had a harsh ride. I couldn't work out if it was the frame design or simply the difference in tyres, but I was never going to put 32s on a tt bike!! I suppose what I'm trying to say is that it will depend on the bike and you will need to ride both. Unfortunately, to compare apples with apples, you need the same frame and tyres and the different fork. I'm guessing that you are comparing 2 different bikes - 1 with and one without - so the ride may differ regardless.

As for longevity, my carbon roadie is 5 years old. It's fine. Will it fall apart in the next 2 years? Probably not. Will I get bored with it? Probably not :) My bike is one of the first Scott CR1s and the frame was about 900g if i remember rightly. A real weight weenie and some people on these forums would say that the weight is crazy and that it would fail within minutes at that weight (strength versus weight debate), but i treat him well and i've been happy.

There are quite a few posts on these boards (visit the cannondale section) regarding warranty claims on alloy frames. Basically, 'dales have a lifetime warranty on the frame, but expect the lifetime of a frame to be about 5-7 years. We all know that's rubbish. Just as expecting a carbon fork to have a set lifespan.

In saying all this though, if you do lots of downhill with a carbon fork, I wouldn't expect it to last as long as another material necessarily, but I wouldn't be planning for its demise before purchase. I'd say that normal usage, care, and maintenance would see any frame material last for longer than expected, but there are always exceptions to the rule and some frames have weaknesses etc from the build.

A flat bar ridden on roads and paths shouldn't put undue stress on any part - but I've not seen how you ride!! :P
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Re: Carbon forks worth it?

Postby Nobody » Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:14 pm

mic wrote:Hi all

Looking to buy a new flat bar road bike with an aluminium frame and perhaps carbon forks.

Do carbon forks provide a far more comfortable ride when compared to an aluminium fork, or is the difference small?
Tyres would make more difference than the type of material the fork is made of. If you want comfort, lower your tyre pressures.

mic wrote:Also can I expect the carbon forks to last as long as the aluminium frame?
Neither material is extremely durable in regards to fatigue, but I believe forks are usually built more durable than frames. They both should last 5 years of regular riding. After that, I'd be looking to replace the fork just for safety reasons (sudden failure). Frame failures are unlikely to do you serious harm usually.

mic wrote:If the answer is no, would it be easy to replace the forks say 7 years from now?
Should be easy to do.
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Re: Carbon forks worth it?

Postby Reman » Sat Nov 03, 2012 7:27 am

My very unscientific opinion (sample of one) is that carbon forks will help soak up the high frequency vibrations you get on roads. But that differnece would be lost in a 10psi change in tyre pressure....

I would say test some bikes, pick the one that rides the best regardless of fork material. Just make sure it's setup properly before taking it out.
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Re: Carbon forks worth it?

Postby MattyK » Sat Nov 03, 2012 9:56 am

My equally unscientific sample (Cr-Mo to carbon swap on a flat bar) was that it made no notable difference to ride. Maybe a beesdick if I fantasised about it, but probably less significant than a tyre pressure change. What was a surprise was lighter steering response, but again it could be perception and it could be from a slightly longer (~5mm) C2A length. I only changed to add a front disc.
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Re: Carbon forks worth it?

Postby jasonc » Sat Nov 03, 2012 1:18 pm

my flat bar has carbon forks. i think it's worth it. ride quality vs an alloy fork for me is noticeable.

mic wrote:Also can I expect the carbon forks to last as long as the aluminium frame? If the answer is no, would it be easy to replace the forks say 7 years from now?



upgradeitis will kick in before then. never replaced a fork myself, but youtube would help (obviously confirming the correct fork for the headset/frame was purchased)
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Re: Carbon forks worth it?

Postby antipodean » Sat Nov 03, 2012 3:33 pm

Don't waste your money on a flatbar road bike. Just look at the people saying "used to have", buy a road bike you won't regret it.
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Re: Carbon forks worth it?

Postby MattyK » Sun Nov 04, 2012 9:43 am

antipodean wrote:Don't waste your money on a flatbar road bike. Just look at the people saying "used to have", buy a road bike you won't regret it.

That depends entirely on the OP's use. I have a flatbar and no intention of changing it.
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Re: Carbon forks worth it?

Postby jasonc » Sun Nov 04, 2012 9:47 am

MattyK wrote:
antipodean wrote:Don't waste your money on a flatbar road bike. Just look at the people saying "used to have", buy a road bike you won't regret it.

That depends entirely on the OP's use. I have a flatbar and no intention of changing it.


I have a flat bar (done about 15000kms on it). have just bought a roadie. for what I use the flat bar for, I'd look at a cyclocross bike.
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Re: Carbon forks worth it?

Postby ldrcycles » Sun Nov 04, 2012 9:57 am

A few years ago i had a basic aluminium road bike, replaced the forks with carbon fibre ones and noticed a BIG difference in ride comfort. It's not like i'd put suspension forks on it but it was definitely a lot smoother. Didn't change anything else, wheels, tyres or pressures.
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Re: Carbon forks worth it?

Postby warthog1 » Sun Nov 04, 2012 10:48 am

There are different grades of carbon fork available, ranging fom the plasticine end of the spectrum to the incredibly stiff. I have an aluminium framed bike with plasticine seat stays and forks and it is very effective in dampening road vibration. Stand on the pedals though and it flexes. I have 2 full carbon roadies designed for racing and they are much less compliant and unsurprisingly less flexible when trying hard.
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Re: Carbon forks worth it?

Postby DavidS » Sun Nov 04, 2012 11:36 am

MattyK wrote:
antipodean wrote:Don't waste your money on a flatbar road bike. Just look at the people saying "used to have", buy a road bike you won't regret it.

That depends entirely on the OP's use. I have a flatbar and no intention of changing it.


19,000KM on my flat bar and no intention to buy a drop bar. These blanket statements really piss me off, look at the bikes around you during the week, many, many flatbars with happy owners.

Never tried carbon forks, maybe the next bike (another flat bar).

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Re: Carbon forks worth it?

Postby Nobody » Sun Nov 04, 2012 1:07 pm

A steel fork may also be worth considering. Especially if you intend to keep a bike long term. If built properly, steel is generally more durable than either Al or carbon. They are cheap, give a good ride and are safer than the other options as the steerer is less likely to develop a crack and have a sudden failure. After all, how often do people take their forks out of the frame and check their steerers for cracks?
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