A Tale Of Two Forks

I never thought that I’d be regularly riding a rigid-forked mountain bike. In 2010, my Rockshox Revelations were approaching useless as I was approaching the Tour Divide. I’d already decided that rigid made sense for the race: less weight, less to go wrong.

So, I picked up a cheap carbon fork.

Soon after, my Ti Voodoo frame cracked and, in the search for a replacement, I ended up meeting Singular Sam. Which turned out to very lucky for me as I got to ride The Divide on one of his frames.

The Divide went well. The rigid fork choice was vindicated and I hoped to be able to get a suspension fork afterwards. Unfortunately, suspension prices went berzerk. Fortunately, 29er wheels made rigid riding more fun than I had expected. I had to keep the bike reined in slightly now and again, as I didn’t have the squish that had saved me on a number of occasions before, but at least I didn’t have to worry about maintenance.

Coming up to two years later, I haven’t ridden with a suspension fork much at all in the intervening time. Cost is still the issue, but the more time you spend with a rigid fork, the more you realise what you can get away with.

What I couldn’t get away with, though, was the unsettling feeling of toe overlap where there had been no toe overlap before. In the past few weeks, hard cornering with my carbon fork was making it bend so much that I was touching my toe on the front tyre… time for a change before teeth get broken.

Going over to a steel Singular fork was a revelation (oh, the pun). I had remembered the fork being smooth on a test ride, but making the change full-time has been great. My bike has gained weight, but it has also gained precision through roots and rocks. It has gained smoothness. I even enjoyed Coed Y Brenin at the weekend – last time I rode there I thought they’d shipped in extra-annoying rocks to justify people spending lots of money on full-suspension. With the front end of my bike being rock solid, I could really let fly and skim over the rocks. Fun!

It was also interesting that the carbon fork gave in gracefully. Internet forums would have you believe that carbon fails by exploding in your face, taking any nearby kittens with it. Certainly not in this case.

I still wouldn’t say no to suspension or carbon given the chance to try it, but it’s nice to know there’s more to a fork than just what it’s made of.

2 comments to A Tale Of Two Forks

  • Duncan

    AIDAN, If you think these forks are good, grab yourself some Niner carbon forks…oooohhhhh Luxxxxxxury, 12,000 miles in & I still can’t get enough of them.
    Garage full of scrummy stuff but drag the Sir out nearly every tme !

    • I hear you about Niner forks. Supposed to be great, but I don’t have the money. And between good steel and cheap carbon, it’s steel every time.