On One 29er Carbon Forks

Posted: May 27, 2011 in 2011, General
Tags: , , ,

My latest upgrade from the Swift came after a moment of weakness. Waving a pair of pretty much ‘mint’ forks at me and asking a fair price was a guarantee of success…for the seller! I am pretty convinced that I have got a good deal. There are one or two small marks on the legs but nothing significant… otherwise they are pretty much spot on.

I have had Pace carbon forks before (RC31 I think) and to be honest, these seem to be a better product – at least cosmetically. The Pace forks were light enough and flexy enough and worked a treat, they just looked less well ‘finished’ than these. I will be spending time fitting them this weekend and then all I have got to do is see whether they change the riding characteristics of the ride at all. I’m not looking for any changes but sometimes a different fork has a massive effect – for good or for ill.


A few weeks down the line and how am I getting on with the forks?

The ride position is lower and more involving which is a ‘good thing’. The bike feels more aggressive and less ‘noodly’. I have brought the front end down further by ditching the risers and fitting some flat bars and bar ends. The overall ride is much improved and the bike transformed (for the better – obviously!).

The forks look pretty solid and inspire confidence. Looking down on the forks when riding on bumpy, rooty, rocky trails you can see a lot of flutter as the forks track over the surface. Whereas once upon a time this would have filled me with angst, after years of riding Pace’s carbon forks, I know this is quite natural. I am running a Racing Ralph 2.4 on the front and am currently experimenting to find the best (lowest) pressure I can run it at. The combination of the fat tyre and the flexy fork do take a significant amount of trail buzz out of the ride. At times, there is little difference between my memories of the early (very) short travel elastomer forks we used to use deep in the mists of time except, weight is far less and steering is very direct.

While I may prattle on about how this fork brings back recollections of old suspension forks, don’t buy a pair of rigid forks and expect them to feel like a ‘suspension fork lite. They are still a rigid fork and if you aren’t used to it, you will find out pretty soon what this means. Sore wrists, tired shoulders and loose fillings are all par for the course if you just blast through stuff with the subtlety of a steamroller. I have always found the way to get the best out of rigid forks is to ride with ‘light hands’, don’t assume the Vulcan Death Grip and cling on for all you are worth, just as you stand up and let a bike move about underneath you, do the same sort of thing with rigids. Keep contact with the bars but mainly for steering only, allow the front of the bike to move up and down and just guide it through tough sections. You will still get the same symptoms described above but much, much later.

Enough of this…in my opinion, these are a very good pair of forks. They look strong (although a little old fashioned and a tad industrial) but they do the business every time. If I awarded prizes for equipment, these would get one without a doubt. I don’t know how they stand up against a Niner fork but we aren’t in the same price bracket and until a fairy godmother leaves me a shed load of cash or Niner send me a pair to test (stop laughing at the back) I am not going to find out in a hurry.

  1. Dan says:

    in trying to make the bike faster/better what components have you got left to change? you’ve done wheels and tyres

  2. slowjo61 says:

    The forks are more a comfort thing really and were a bit of a whim. To make it faster I’m going to upgrade to Legs v3.2.1 and then a lung upgrade maybe but i haven’t decided which OS to run them on so the jury is still out!

    To be fair, it rides plenty fast enough on things like the West Stow loop and it is much quicker in singletrack now than it was. 🙂

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