Carbon fork durability issues? Surly Pacer vs. Jamis Quest
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  1. #1
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    Carbon fork durability issues? Surly Pacer vs. Jamis Quest

    I've been doing research for purchasing a road bike this summer, and have it narrowed down to either a Surly Pacer buildup w/ 105 double kit and Mavic Cosmos wheels, or an '03 Jamis Quest.

    The prices will end up being pretty much equal, and the component specs are very close...the largest difference is that the Jamis has a 105 triple kit. Both have the Cosmos wheels, and decent parts. I would rather have a double kit though, so there's a point for the Surly.

    The biggest difference between the bikes is the fork...the Pacer has a Cro-Mo fork (frame's Cro-Mo too), while the Jamis has a Kinesis carbon fork to go with its Reynolds 631 Cro-Mo frame. I'm not entirely sold on carbon forks...pictures of broken carbon frames, seatposts, handlebars, etc. have made me a little wary of them. And I know of at least one failure on this board of a carbon fork.

    Is this worthy of consideration, or unfounded? I'm obviously not looking for a feather-light race bike, but one that'll hold up and be comfortable. When I'm at school, I ride a lot of crappy roads with railroad crossings, potholes, and other bumps, many of which are unavoidable. It feels (and looks) scary enough on a steel fork, and I don't know how a carbon fork would cut it with those sharp impacts.

    Other thoughts on the bikes: the Jamis is a little lighter, *might* fit better (Jamis' 62cm frame only has 5mm more TT than the Pacer, and I have long legs and a short torso), but has the triple setup which I don't want and handlebars I would change out. The Pacer will probably be a tad heavy, but has the components I want (hey, I picked 'em out, so it should), and I like having something not very many other people have. I also won't have an opportunity to ride a Pacer, and will just wing it...but I have a good idea how the ride will be, and will get fitted for the correct stem.

    Of course, the '03s might be gone when I want to order, so then everything will be moot. But just curious.

    Thanks for any help,
    Brian

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by GirchyGirchy
    I've been doing research for purchasing a road bike this summer, and have it narrowed down to either a Surly Pacer buildup w/ 105 double kit and Mavic Cosmos wheels, or an '03 Jamis Quest.

    The prices will end up being pretty much equal, and the component specs are very close...the largest difference is that the Jamis has a 105 triple kit. Both have the Cosmos wheels, and decent parts. I would rather have a double kit though, so there's a point for the Surly.

    The biggest difference between the bikes is the fork...the Pacer has a Cro-Mo fork (frame's Cro-Mo too), while the Jamis has a Kinesis carbon fork to go with its Reynolds 631 Cro-Mo frame. I'm not entirely sold on carbon forks...pictures of broken carbon frames, seatposts, handlebars, etc. have made me a little wary of them. And I know of at least one failure on this board of a carbon fork.

    Is this worthy of consideration, or unfounded? I'm obviously not looking for a feather-light race bike, but one that'll hold up and be comfortable. When I'm at school, I ride a lot of crappy roads with railroad crossings, potholes, and other bumps, many of which are unavoidable. It feels (and looks) scary enough on a steel fork, and I don't know how a carbon fork would cut it with those sharp impacts.

    Other thoughts on the bikes: the Jamis is a little lighter, *might* fit better (Jamis' 62cm frame only has 5mm more TT than the Pacer, and I have long legs and a short torso), but has the triple setup which I don't want and handlebars I would change out. The Pacer will probably be a tad heavy, but has the components I want (hey, I picked 'em out, so it should), and I like having something not very many other people have. I also won't have an opportunity to ride a Pacer, and will just wing it...but I have a good idea how the ride will be, and will get fitted for the correct stem.

    Of course, the '03s might be gone when I want to order, so then everything will be moot. But just curious.

    Thanks for any help,
    Brian
    You might want to check your calendar- carbon forks are rather well established these days for road bikes... are you planning to ride cyclo-cross or Paris-Roubaix? You don't need disk brakes? If not, you'll be fine with a carbon fork unless you plan on hitting immobile objects, like parked cars, walls, street lights, etc... CF forks are so common that if there were a pattern of "problems" they would certainly be better documented.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by filtersweep
    You might want to check your calendar- carbon forks are rather well established these days for road bikes... are you planning to ride cyclo-cross or Paris-Roubaix? You don't need disk brakes? If not, you'll be fine with a carbon fork unless you plan on hitting immobile objects, like parked cars, walls, street lights, etc... CF forks are so common that if there were a pattern of "problems" they would certainly be better documented.
    Unless you're like me and completely shattered the carbon fiber steerer on a small bunnyhop. After putting some thought into it, I'm going to go with an aluminum steerer+cf fork. It is true that probs like mine are extremely rare, but I really don't want to clown around when my bike can unintentionally convert into a unicycle.

  4. #4
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    I am very reluctant to trust CF...

    but I have gone to CF forks on half my bikes, including my CX. I think that, if you get a newer, major brand CF fork, you have as good a fork as any. It may even be (no direct evidence of this) that some forks made of other materials have been compromised in the attempt to get them closer to the weight of CF. I still will not use a CF steerer, though.

    TF
    "Don't those guys know they're old?!!"
    Me, off the back, at my first 50+ road race.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bikersteve
    Unless you're like me and completely shattered the carbon fiber steerer on a small bunnyhop. After putting some thought into it, I'm going to go with an aluminum steerer+cf fork. It is true that probs like mine are extremely rare, but I really don't want to clown around when my bike can unintentionally convert into a unicycle.
    How many spacers were you using at the time? Just curious...

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by filtersweep
    How many spacers were you using at the time? Just curious...
    One 25mm spacer. It's a stock '04 Fuji Team.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikersteve
    Unless you're like me and completely shattered the carbon fiber steerer on a small bunnyhop. After putting some thought into it, I'm going to go with an aluminum steerer+cf fork. It is true that probs like mine are extremely rare, but I really don't want to clown around when my bike can unintentionally convert into a unicycle.
    That's something I forgot to mention...I'm a mt. biker who wants to ride on the road more because it's so convenient, so I'll probably be hopping curbs and potholes like I do on my mt. bikes. I almost purchased a Cannondale cyclocross bike because of its sturdiness, but backed out because of fit issues.

    I like that Jamis, but CF just sort of worries me.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by GirchyGirchy
    That's something I forgot to mention...I'm a mt. biker who wants to ride on the road more because it's so convenient, so I'll probably be hopping curbs and potholes like I do on my mt. bikes. I almost purchased a Cannondale cyclocross bike because of its sturdiness, but backed out because of fit issues.

    I like that Jamis, but CF just sort of worries me.
    Don't fret about carbon fiber. I weigh over 220 when I'm in my "summer" fitness zone and carbon fiber is a great way to go for your bike. You will find as I did that your bike will corner better. Don't limit yourself on bike choices. Soma makes a really nice cyclocross bike that works well on the road. I love mine. (Soma DoubleCross). Also, Salsa makes some pretty decent frames. Soma and Salsa road/cyclocross frames are decently priced bikes as well. My Soma is Reynolds 631 steel, not too heavy, hell, the IRD fork (steel) that came with it weighs more than the frame. Surlys are sturdy, but, they are on the porky side. Weight is not really that much of big deal. How many of us are racers? But, do look around and compare prices and handling. Try out as many bikes as you can. Once you find the proper head tube length you should be on your way. Good luck and have fun with it. One more thing. Kona makes an excellant cyclocross bike in (gasp!) aluminum. Not to knock Jamis, they make decent bikes at decent prices. I had a sort of touring/psuduo cyclocross bike that I used for commuting to work. The only thing I had issues with was the paint job. It chipped very easily. This was four years ago. Hopefully they changed their painting process. Soma at www.somafab.com makes carbon fiber forks for their frames; they also carry a fork with fork eyeletts in carbon for mounting fenders. There are a few manufacturers that make nice carbon forks for cantilever/v-brakes. Don't listen to the people who haven't tried carbon forks. I was once one of them, now I'm hooked.
    Last edited by Thommy; 06-04-2004 at 11:03 AM. Reason: need to add more info

  9. #9
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    I'm not familiar with the Jamis but another nice things about the Surly is you can fit fat tires and fenders on it. I personally like the way my steel forks ride and track and behave during braking and sprinting. Carbon fiber forks now have a pretty good rep but I think I'll stick with high quality steel forks.

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