Should i get a carbon fork?
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  1. #1
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    Should i get a carbon fork?

    Hello, coming back to cycling after a long break. My main ride is a 1986 Guercotti SLX tubing steel frame (62cm) in perfect shape.

    My question is do i upgrade the steel Semi Sloping crown fork for a new carbon model. Not trying to save weight, just improve ride quality.

    BIke is steel, wheels are open pro CD's 32 spoke. 25mm tires. Ultegra 9 speed with STI's. Bike is just a great old bike, love it to death. WOuldnt mind the upgrade if people think its worth the money. Fork would have to be a 1" model and the bike would have to be converted to ahead set.

    I do lots of long slow miles on nice roads/bike paths.

    Thanks for the advice.

    Happy Bill

  2. #2
    xxl
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    Quote Originally Posted by happybill68 View Post
    Hello, coming back to cycling after a long break. My main ride is a 1986 Guercotti SLX tubing steel frame (62cm) in perfect shape.

    My question is do i upgrade the steel Semi Sloping crown fork for a new carbon model. Not trying to save weight, just improve ride quality.

    BIke is steel, wheels are open pro CD's 32 spoke. 25mm tires. Ultegra 9 speed with STI's. Bike is just a great old bike, love it to death. WOuldnt mind the upgrade if people think its worth the money. Fork would have to be a 1" model and the bike would have to be converted to ahead set.

    I do lots of long slow miles on nice roads/bike paths.

    Thanks for the advice.

    Happy Bill

    I have a steel bike with a carbon fork, and a steel bike without one, both 62cm, and I don't notice a marked difference in ride quality. My rides aren't that much different

    There's something to be said for keeping vintage stuff vintage. Especially a nice bike such as yours.
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  3. #3
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    No, don't change the fork. It'll add nothing to the bikes ride while detracting from it's classic lines. A number of years ago I tried one on my mid 80's DeRosa and all it did was ugly up the bike.

    Now I've got a carbon fork, headset and stem getting in my way and collecting dust.

    The fork on the bike was built to work with that frame, and a carbon fork, built to work on any random frame, isn't going to improve on the bikes ride quality.
    Too old to ride plastic

  4. #4
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    don't change the fork.

    not worth the effort and it'll look out of place...
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  5. #5
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    Don't do it, the ride quality won't change a bit.
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  6. #6
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    If you want to change the "ride quality" you feel in your hands, install a good CF handlebar.

    When I replaced my Cinelli aluminum bar with an Easton CF bar... on the first few rides, I kept thinking my front tire was going flat and checking it before continuing my ride. Seriously. That's how dramatically the "ride quality" feel changed with that one component -- the CF bars.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by happybill68 View Post
    Hello, coming back to cycling after a long break. My main ride is a 1986 Guercotti SLX tubing steel frame (62cm) in perfect shape.

    My question is do i upgrade the steel Semi Sloping crown fork for a new carbon model. Not trying to save weight, just improve ride quality.

    BIke is steel, wheels are open pro CD's 32 spoke. 25mm tires. Ultegra 9 speed with STI's. Bike is just a great old bike, love it to death. WOuldnt mind the upgrade if people think its worth the money. Fork would have to be a 1" model and the bike would have to be converted to ahead set.

    I do lots of long slow miles on nice roads/bike paths.

    Thanks for the advice.

    Happy Bill
    Absolutely not. There will be no benefit in ride quality and it will ugly up the bike. No classic steel bike should suffer this fate

  8. #8
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    No.

    1" carbon forks were known to be perceptibly more flexible than 1" steel steerers, which is why the industry went to 1 1/8" steerers.

    And unless you have an actual complaint about the ride quality of your Guerciotti, there's nothing wrong with the fork you have.

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    I don't agree forks don't change ride quality. I've definitely felt a difference between two, both carbon.

    Like anything it's about design and working as part of the total package not material per se.

    There is nothing better about carbon just because it's carbon other than almost certainly being lighter.

    Your frame is designed for your fork, you say you love it and don't mention wanting to cut weight or change handling. So at best changing to a carbon fork would be risk. It could very well be worse ride quality wise.

  10. #10
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    Thanks everyone, looks like I’ll keep the steel fork.

    Appreciate the insight


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  11. #11
    pmf
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    Quote Originally Posted by happybill68 View Post
    Thanks everyone, looks like I’ll keep the steel fork.

    Appreciate the insight


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    Good choice. Like xxl, I've got a steel bike with a carbon fork, and one with a steel fork and I don't notice any difference in ride quality. Like others have said, keeping the classic look is what you want to do. That's a nice Italian bike. Soon no one will be making stuff like that. Barely anyone is now.

    Is there a difference in ride quality with a threaded versus threadless set up? My steel bike with the steel fork is threadless. I'm building a frame up that's steel with a steel chromed fork and threaded headset, Cinelli 1A stem and Cinelli aluminum bars. The frame itself is the same as a bike I have with a threadless headset and a carbon fork. Will it ride the same? There is a reason the industry went threadless, right? Like disc brakes, it must be better. Everything except the wheel set had been laying around in my basement for a couple years, so I figured why not.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmf View Post
    Good choice. Like xxl, I've got a steel bike with a carbon fork, and one with a steel fork and I don't notice any difference in ride quality. Like others have said, keeping the classic look is what you want to do. That's a nice Italian bike. Soon no one will be making stuff like that. Barely anyone is now.

    Is there a difference in ride quality with a threaded versus threadless set up? My steel bike with the steel fork is threadless. I'm building a frame up that's steel with a steel chromed fork and threaded headset, Cinelli 1A stem and Cinelli aluminum bars. The frame itself is the same as a bike I have with a threadless headset and a carbon fork. Will it ride the same? There is a reason the industry went threadless, right? Like disc brakes, it must be better. Everything except the wheel set had been laying around in my basement for a couple years, so I figured why not.
    As a person who loves classic bikes the biggest difference I’ve noticed over the years was handlebar width. Parts are parts, but having wide handlebars (46mm) has made riding much more pleasant for me.


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  13. #13
    pmf
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    Quote Originally Posted by happybill68 View Post
    As a person who loves classic bikes the biggest difference I’ve noticed over the years was handlebar width. Parts are parts, but having wide handlebars (46mm) has made riding much more pleasant for me.


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    Wow ... 46 is pretty darn wide. I tries to go from 42 to 44 once and couldn't stand the wider bars. I guess 42 fit me best.

    I recall noticing a difference going from TTT Prima 199 aluminum bars to Easton EC90 carbon bars (both 26.8, not the wider ones). The carbon bars were a lot stiffer. Then again, those TTT bars were a touch weight weenie at the time.

  14. #14
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    I agree with the others here that changing the fork material will do NOTHING for the ride quality. It will only lighten your wallet.

    If you want to improve ride quality, look no further than YOUR TIRES. If you can fit 28mm tires, do that. If not, a more supple tire and reduced pressure will improve your ride quality.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmf View Post
    Good choice. Like xxl, I've got a steel bike with a carbon fork, and one with a steel fork and I don't notice any difference in ride quality. Like others have said, keeping the classic look is what you want to do. That's a nice Italian bike. Soon no one will be making stuff like that. Barely anyone is now.

    Is there a difference in ride quality with a threaded versus threadless set up? My steel bike with the steel fork is threadless. I'm building a frame up that's steel with a steel chromed fork and threaded headset, Cinelli 1A stem and Cinelli aluminum bars. The frame itself is the same as a bike I have with a threadless headset and a carbon fork. Will it ride the same? There is a reason the industry went threadless, right? Like disc brakes, it must be better. Everything except the wheel set had been laying around in my basement for a couple years, so I figured why not.
    Right on.

    Dunno about your experience, but I notice immediately a nice CRMO steel fork connects you to the road, while absorbing shock sprightly. The front end stays solidly on the tarmac sprinting or climbing out of the saddle. I never feel I'm losing control, suprisingly; even going down the mountain at 45 mph, rock steady. The sloping crown stiffens up the fork where you want it and gives a nice feeling of control under power, stresses steel handles very well. The modulus of elasticity of fork and frame are tuned to absorb shocks, hug the tarmac, and precisely respond to rider's efforts. There's a wide range of carbon forks, some stiff, some not so stiff, but the ones I've ridden all deaden the front end and take that feeling away. Yes, the tires control comfort 98%, but the fork transfers the stresses to the rider. Steel does it right.

    Threadless headsets are great. They're lighter and cheaper to produce. The bearings are wider so the balls don't dent the races like the threaded ones did. They adjust with an allen wrench. The cartridge bearings are easy to replace, and they keep the bike stable. Builders are spec'ing fatter head tubes to compensate for inherent weaknesses in the design, however.

    Heck, I have an ancient chromed steel Campy Record headset on the steel commuter that I've never had to replace, 75K miles, many crashes, one that bent the fork and dimpled the top tube. It's overbuilt, turns really smoothly, so the bike handles very predictably, a perfect match to top of the line lugged steel. The Cinelli bars and 1-A stem would be the perfect complement. Those bars and stem handle predictably. 1-A stems also absorb shocks a bit better than the wider threadless stems.

    So, OP, stick with the threaded headset and fork on that beautiful bike. It works great on a nice, stiff, lugged steel frame. Save the wide headset and carbon fork for that old aluminum frame you don't know what to do with. First generation Cannondales and Kleins came with steel forks. Aluminum couldn't handle the stresses. Carbon forks saved the day.
    Last edited by Fredrico; 3 Weeks Ago at 02:44 PM.

  16. #16
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    Well, here's the finished result. The wheels I got from Pete's Wheels really look great on this bike as does the polished 11-speed Athena group I had. Wish I'd bought several of those groups. Campy quit making it. The replacement (Potenza) just isn't as nice.EM2_1.jpgEM2_2.jpgEM2_3.jpgEM2_4.jpgEM2_5.jpgEM Frame.jpg

  17. #17
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    For ride comfort you may also want to consider a carbon seat post. Especially if it's a smaller diameter which it probably is.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrSmile View Post
    For ride comfort you may also want to consider a carbon seat post. Especially if it's a smaller diameter which it probably is.
    Have you personally noticed a difference in comfort between a carbon and alloy seat post? I haven't.

    As I said before - TIRES.
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  19. #19
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    The bike rode great with 25 mm tires set to 100 psi. New 46cm bars and a raised stem really helped with the ride feel.

    Glad I didn’t monkey around with the fork.

    For relaxed and comfortable, I’m
    Very pleased


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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by happybill68 View Post
    The bike rode great with 25 mm tires set to 100 psi. New 46cm bars and a raised stem really helped with the ride feel.
    .....
    Lower it to 75 psi, and it'll ride even better....
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    Quote Originally Posted by No Time Toulouse View Post
    Lower it to 75 psi, and it'll ride even better....
    Really, 75 psi seems low. Maybe I’ll try 90 psi.


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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by No Time Toulouse View Post
    Lower it to 75 psi, and it'll ride even better....
    Depending on his weight. I'm 175# run 28mm tires and found that 70F/90R is my sweet spot.
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmf View Post
    Well, here's the finished result. The wheels I got from Pete's Wheels really look great on this bike as does the polished 11-speed Athena group I had. Wish I'd bought several of those groups. Campy quit making it. The replacement (Potenza) just isn't as nice.EM2_1.jpgEM2_2.jpgEM2_3.jpgEM2_4.jpgEM2_5.jpgEM Frame.jpg
    Absolutely gorgeous, definitely in keeping with its Italian roots. The polished alloy jewelry complements the chrome fork and right chain stay much better than carbon. The chrome layer handles chain slap and also stiffens the tube ever so slightly adding some high notes.

    The rims are a modern interpretation still faithful to the original design. Very nice.

    State of the art carbon bikes are beautiful, nicely integrated with carbon components. But carbon on steel would take away the high notes, the harmonic overtones. Rides won't conjure up Verdi operas anymore. So keep that aluminum crank, 1-A stem. Perfection. I bet it rides as good as it looks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    Depending on his weight. I'm 175# run 28mm tires and found that 70F/90R is my sweet spot.
    I’m 210, so maybe 75 psi would be to low


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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmf View Post
    Well, here's the finished result. The wheels I got from Pete's Wheels really look great on this bike as does the polished 11-speed Athena group I had. Wish I'd bought several of those groups. Campy quit making it. The replacement (Potenza) just isn't as nice.EM2_1.jpgEM2_2.jpgEM2_3.jpgEM2_4.jpgEM2_5.jpgEM Frame.jpg
    Oh, ok, that's an Eddy Merckx! Pristine condition, must say. His original runs were as good as Colnagos and DeRosas, both of which he raced. Very lust worthy back in the day.

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