Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Plastic Fantastic?

Got home from the Angel Ride to find a long, narrow, yet light box waiting for me on the table.
My new carbon fork had arrived!
It seems well made; nothing obviously flawed about it. Tubes cleanly glued into the dropouts and crown. Weighed within 50 grams of the advertised weight. Everything was exactly as it should be.

So it looks and weighs like it's supposed to, but how does it ride?

Like a fork. I found it to be precise. I didn't notice any extra damping over the rigid steel forks I've ridden, or did I notice it flexing around over bumps or braking. Then again I don't have the mad skillz to be looking at my fork in rocky singletrack; I'm looking at the trail. For vibration damping I've noticed more of a difference between carbon and alloy handlebars.

What I did notice was how much it lightened the front end of my bike. 2 lbs less than a Reba, 1.5 lbs less than the original steel fork. Lofting the front end over logs or changing directions was almost telepathic. Not really, but it was noticeably easier.

In my oh so scientific and strict test regiment, I found the carbon fork to be faster than the Reba.

I rode the same course today as last Tuesday and was more than 3 minutes faster. Sure it was drier, and last Tuesday was 2 days after a race, but today was 2 days after the Angel Ride, and I definitely was missing some top-end (I only hit 18.7 mph on the levee, last week I broke 20 mph). Plus I had to cut the grass yesterday (isn't that what teen aged sons are for?) and stand in the sun watching a parade. Plus I stoped to help a guy with a broken finger, and slowed to politely pass two women riding today. I didn't know which route I would take today, as my thighs and hips are still sore from the weekend, but once I got moving, I felt pretty good.

Ah, mountain biking; the cure for what ails you...

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