Should I spend the extra cash on a carbon fork vs steel?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Should I spend the extra cash on a carbon fork vs steel?

    I know weiht wise the carbon is lighter.
    Is there that much of a ride difference between the two to justify the cost?
    Does the carbon absorb a noticeable difference when riding?
    How does steel ride?

  2. #2
    Tulsa
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    mostly just different in my experience. I'm older and like the compliance of the carbon. All steel is not created equally, however.
    wherever you go, there you are

  3. #3
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    Depends on which carbon fork your talking about. If your talking about the carbon Niner fork then yes it is much more compliant, not flexy, and crazy light. But you do pay for it.

  4. #4
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    I've ridden both and I think a good steel fork is just as good as carbon. Carbon is quite a bit lighter though and adds a bit of bling to your ride. The Niner 853 steel fork is pretty darn nice but if you want the bling you're gonna pay!

  5. #5
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    +1 on this...

    A nice steel fork rides nicely. For some reason, carbon ALWAYS beat the snot out of my forearms. Steel is heavier, but I think that all things being equal (rim, tire, tire pressure, handlebar, grips, geo, etc.) the steel fork is a smoother ride.

    If you want light, go Carbon. I still don't buy the idea that the Niner carbon fork is up to the hammer test...like on their marketing video.

    I also don't like the way carbon fails...catastrophic usually. No warning. Bam. Snap. Steel will bend and not shatter. Think about how much you value durability...where willthe bke be ridden?

    Quote Originally Posted by tigerwah
    I've ridden both and I think a good steel fork is just as good as carbon. Carbon is quite a bit lighter though and adds a bit of bling to your ride. The Niner 853 steel fork is pretty darn nice but if you want the bling you're gonna pay!

  6. #6
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    I had a Black Ops carbon on my last 29er. My current, I have a Salsa MotoGrande. They weigh within 50grams of each other. I like the steel better because it doesn't shutter under braking as much and tracks way better. Add to that, the Salsa fork was $80.

    ???

    Again, kind of up to you. The carbon does take more of the shock out of the trail / road, but it doesn't matter to me.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by OmaHaq
    I had a Black Ops carbon on my last 29er. My current, I have a Salsa MotoGrande. They weigh within 50grams of each other. I like the steel better because it doesn't shutter under braking as much and tracks way better. Add to that, the Salsa fork was $80.

    ???

    Again, kind of up to you. The carbon does take more of the shock out of the trail / road, but it doesn't matter to me.

    The Black Ops was the fork I was considering for Carbon.
    But for 150 or so less I can get a good steel fork right?

    So that's why I'm kind of torn.

    What do you mean by shutter under braking? It vibrates?

  8. #8
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    Anyone compared Steel fork On One 26" ( 29" just squeezes in, with some cutting LOL ) to the Carbon On One 29" fork ??

    30mm's taller might not suite my rigid bike and also the bling effect would attract theifing scum rather than a plain looking bike.

  9. #9
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    go with a steel fork. i have a Black ops carbon fork on my Gt Peace and when i built my new bike i bought steel. was not a fan of the way the carbon rode. but if you wanna try carbon on the cheap i have a used one.
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  10. #10
    Northern Aggressor
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    I'm shocked no ones posted a picture of their Niner carbon fork yet.

  11. #11
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    Niner carbon fork rides great. I've beat mine pretty bad over the past four months or so (been over the bars more times than I can count) and it's holding up fine.

  12. #12
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    I ride an Origin 8 Carbon (that I might've bought from omahaq) on my alu RL d660, and I'm loving the thing. I'm just getting more and more used to it as I ride. I also ride a Salsa Cro-Moto Grande on my steel 29er, and I can tell you that after not being on the steel for awhile, I greatly prefer the carbon fork. I'm looking for a carbon for my steel 29er now.

    Do what I did: ride the steel until you can get an afforable carbon, then sell the other one, or use the spare fork as an excuse to build another bike.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by badgermtb
    A nice steel fork rides nicely. For some reason, carbon ALWAYS beat the snot out of my forearms. Steel is heavier, but I think that all things being equal (rim, tire, tire pressure, handlebar, grips, geo, etc.) the steel fork is a smoother ride.

    If you want light, go Carbon. I still don't buy the idea that the Niner carbon fork is up to the hammer test...like on their marketing video.

    I also don't like the way carbon fails...catastrophic usually. No warning. Bam. Snap. Steel will bend and not shatter. Think about how much you value durability...where willthe bke be ridden?
    The Niner Carbon fork seems pretty bulletproof to me. I don't believe Niner has had any durability issues with it either. I actually ordered a white one for myself last week.

  14. #14
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    I've ridden the Niner carbon fork. It is excellent all around, and should be for close to $400. All carbon is not equal. But, OnOne, Origin8, Lynskey, Fetish, Trigon... it's all the same carbon fork coming from overseas. Some folks like them, and they are a hell of a bargin in the used market.

    I think a solid steel fork, paired with some Ti handlebars can be pretty nice also.

  15. #15
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    Anyone know the real weight difference between a Salsa steel and Niner carbon fork?

  16. #16
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    I had one of these on my On One Scandal:
    http://www.carboncycles.cc/?s=0&t=2&c=43&p=197&
    (apparently identical to various other models)

    The biggest benefit imo, putting aside the huge weight loss, is that it's stiff in a way that makes it track really well. Never something I thought much about, but really noticed! Make my Reba and Niner steel forks seem like noodles

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by limba
    Anyone know the real weight difference between a Salsa steel and Niner carbon fork?
    I think its around 300 grams diff
    And it costs about 300 dollars more.
    The secret to mountain biking is pretty simple. The slower you go the more likely it is you'll crash.

  18. #18
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    Dude, carbon fork, all the way. There's one right now from MTBR classifieds member. Niner full carbon monocoque = UNMATCHED.

    prphoto: weight aside, the fashion of the niner fork is worth more than $300 over the origin8 generic and the steel fork.
    Last edited by metrotuned; 08-19-2010 at 10:35 AM.
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  19. #19
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    yep its 300 bucks
    there is a Origin 8 for 95
    and a steel fork for 40 bucks

    its worth it if you want your bike to be 500 gr lighter (approx)
    and your wallet 300 bucks lighter

    most of the other carbon forks are bout 200 grams lighter than the cro-moto

    cro-moto 1k g
    origin 800g ish
    niner 550g
    The secret to mountain biking is pretty simple. The slower you go the more likely it is you'll crash.

  20. #20
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    My Cromoto Grande, steer cut to 7 3/4" is 927gr.

    So figure about a 400gr diff between the Niner Carbon and Salsa.

    Note - My Black Ops carbon fork as still 870+gr...

  21. #21
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    I would spend the money on the carbon Niner. It's a substantial difference in weight, it looks awesome and everyone raves about it's ride. The only negative is it costs a lot.

  22. #22
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    Still waiting to see if the mythical Fisher fork shows up this year
    should roughly same weight as the niner
    IMHO the niner looks better but I can get a better deal on the fish
    The secret to mountain biking is pretty simple. The slower you go the more likely it is you'll crash.

  23. #23
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    I bought the Black Ops but have not even cut the steer tube to mount it.
    I like the Niner I just don't want to spend that kind of cash on a fork.
    Which brought me to steel and my original post. So do I sell the Black Ops and get a steel or keep the Black Ops?

    I'm leaning towards keeping the Ops ride and then decide either way to go steel or upgrade to Niner.

    Cosmetics are my least reason for getting a fork...............................

  24. #24
    Teen Wolf
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    i've used both, prefer carbon, but if i couldn't afford it i'd ride a steel and probably wouldn't notice much of a difference.

  25. #25
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    I had a Pace carbon and now have a White Bros. carbon. I personally like steel better. Yeah the carbon forks are super light but I find them to be less compliant and I think the extra weight of steel also helps the front end track better by keeping it more stable. My next rigid fork will be custom steel from Waltworks.

  26. #26
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    It sounds so mixed the Carbon likers are likely fooling themselves after spending there money, so likely not much in it, guess I'm sticking to the On One Steel forks.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Turveyd
    It sounds so mixed the Carbon likers are likely fooling themselves after spending there money, so likely not much in it, guess I'm sticking to the On One Steel forks.
    Not really. I've ridden both and it's not even close. Weight and feel of carbon is far superior. But I like a light front end with a lot of feedback. If you want more stability, better tracking, and don't mind the weight, stick with steel.

  28. #28
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    My think the 2.4 Ardent 29" or 26" RQ 2.4 provided enough of a cushion but with a 29" wheel fitted and the steerer tube on the On One steel fork that sticks out the bottom cut off as much as possible, there is only 4mm's of room, but then the 29" fork would slacken the angles and it rides pretty sweet as is.

    On one 456 frame.

    Will see if I need a new car and wait till end of September I guess

    Then there is the steal me issue with a bling looking slab of carbon on the front

  29. #29
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    One manufacturers carbon fork may ride different than another's, the same with steel. I have bikes made from both materials, overall carbon will probably be lighter, stiffer, and ride with a muted, damped feel (some people call it "dead"). Steel has a lively, almost "ringing" feel to it. Different ride qualities, but I enjoy both. The only way to know is to try them out, but realistically that's not always practical.

  30. #30
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    Anybody out there have the Niner STEEL fork? Was wondering if anyone could compare it to the CRoMoto?
    The secret to mountain biking is pretty simple. The slower you go the more likely it is you'll crash.

  31. #31
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    Looking for some new bars for my FS I came across Azonic Double Wall bars, which claim to have good damping characteristics, anyone tried ?? Much cheaper than Carbon forks, I'll take any comfort advantage I can get so ordered 2 sets for FS and rigid!!

    Thats my MTB spending fix sorted for this month LOL

  32. #32
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    I have a misfit dissent (Fe) that I started with a sussy on and now have the ox platinum fork Hugh enroute. Almost went niner then got cold feet with my 210 lb mass and rocky terrain. Instead I ordered the Ragley Carnegie carbon bars for my carbon fix...

  33. #33
    Uncle
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    No.

    There, I said it.

  34. #34
    Sup
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    I think the niner fork is the way to go
    it makes my bike easier to cary up the stairs and put in the car
    I am slow therefore I am

  35. #35
    Virtus pre nummis
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    " A fool and his money are soon parted!"
    Old age and treachery will overcome youth and skill!

  36. #36
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    keep the steel and buy some fat tires...air is free and provides a great cushion...my Karate Monkey with Fat Franks will keep up with most anyone. You'll never know that you have steel if you have more air. Save the money.

  37. #37
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    i didn't spend much money on my carbon, so "justifying" riding it is really not in the formula. i wanted to try it without taking too much of a hit if i didn't like it. i just like the way it rides. i ride my salsa on another bike as well. i like them both, but i prefer the carbon. i've ridden widely varying trails with both, i've ridden miles and miles of "unimproved" (gravel) roads on both steel and carbon forks under the same aluminum frame, and i can say the ride is "nicer" with the carbon fork. after 25 on gravel over a carbon, my arms don't hurt at all. they did hurt a little bit after the same ride on steel. i had a little more left over after the carbon ride though. i'm not much of a weight weenie either, and i don't think the weight difference justifies carbon that much.

    the comment about carbon bars has me thinking i might go "best of both worlds", and buy some carbon bars for my steel bike. that's a good idea.

    quit worrying. cut the carbon, ride it, and see if you like it. if you don't, sell it and get a steel.

    as for the parting of ways between fools and their money, i'll pose a question: how many of us ride other "upper-level" components? does the same nugget of wisdom apply to that? i'm not poor, i'm cheap almost to a fault. well that, and the "to each his/her own" another of those jewels that i like to try to live by.

  38. #38
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    Should you spend the extra on a Black Sheep Ti fork over carbon or steel? Yes....

    Quote Originally Posted by tostudent
    I know weiht wise the carbon is lighter.
    Is there that much of a ride difference between the two to justify the cost?
    Does the carbon absorb a noticeable difference when riding?
    How does steel ride?

  39. #39
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    If you want a boost in comfort these bars add quite a bit of flex, scarily so infact so not to sure how they'll stand upto rigid abuse, but there is only 1 way to find out

    http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/M...x?ModelID=7030

    Zero movement on the old cheap came with bike bars and 5mm's+, I'll take what ever I can get on the rigid without going as far as suspension as I've got a FS for wuss days

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