Tuesday, September 25, 2012

what is your bike made out of?


This one is made of steel.  On my home home from work I made a bonehead move- a left hand turn into an oncoming car.  No idea why I didn't see it.  I've been riding to and from work most days for 10 years.  I hit the front of the car at an angle, went over the bars, bounced off the windshield and landed on my feet.  I completely caved  in the windshield and don't even have a bruise myself. Really stupid and really lucky.  The visibly shaken but nice woman in the car that I hit and I had a short but pleasant conversation and exchanged information.  I put the wheel back in the skewed fork and rode home, slowly.
 Try that with a carbon fork.  I'm afraid the fork is beyond help this time but I had the people at Elliott Bay straighten it from a crash several years ago. Right now there is a trend for even steel frames to use a carbon fork.  I would rather ride a carbon frame with a steel fork.  A frame is a nice strong triangle and less likely to fail, and even if it does you can probably land safely.  If, on the other hand, a steerer tube or fork leg snaps while you are riding- and we all know that it happens- you are going to hit the ground hard.
Other benefits of a properly designed steel fork, aside from reliability, in my opinion, are better ride quality and better clearance for mud/fenders/bigger tires.  Its probably true that carbon transmits less road vibration and has a nice damp feel to it.  The straight legs on carbon forks are really stiff vertically.  A steel fork with the offset in a nice round bend near the dropouts, like this Colorado II fork, is much more comfortable.  If anyone has an orphaned Serotta Colorado fork with 9 inches of steerer let me know!

1 comment:

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