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Which Disc Fork to Choose?

Old 06-01-15, 09:14 AM
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WiltingArtichok
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Which Disc Fork to Choose?

Looking to upgrade to a disc fork on a budget. Anyone have opinions on these three forks? (Carbon Nashbar or Bikesdirect, steel Soma). Thanks!

http://bikeisland.com/cgi-bin/BKTK_S...ls&ProdID=2991

Soma Straight Blade Disc Cross Fork (100044163) at CambriaBike.com

Nashbar Carbon Cyclocross Fork
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Old 06-01-15, 09:19 AM
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MileHighMark
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Take a look at Salsa's steel forks. I have a couple of them, and have been pleased with the performance.
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Old 06-01-15, 09:53 AM
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IcySmooth52
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I'd go with Soma because they'd give me the greatest confidence on build quality.
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Old 06-01-15, 11:45 AM
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dkmatdrum
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I have the Nashbar fork and it is very nice. I think it is a rebranded Tange fork. It is much lighter than my previous cantilever steel fork and any shimmy issues have disappeared.
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Old 06-01-15, 11:59 AM
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Do you want the handling of your bike to change as part of the "upgrade"? If not, then you probably ought to start with trying to match the specs of your current fork as closely as possible. Two key specs are "axle-to-crown height" and "rake" (sometimes called "offset" and related to its cousin, "trail").

Of the 3 forks you posted, the first has an axle-to-crown height of 370mm vs. 395mm and 391mm for the others. Changing axle-to-crown by a significant amount (e.g. >10mm) will start to impact geometry and handling in noticeable ways.

The other key spec is "trail" or "rake" (which is used to calculate trail). Again, that Bikeisland job is 30mm of rake vs. 45mm for the Nashbar and unkown for the Soma (though another website might list it). Maybe that's a noticeable difference to you in handling, maybe not.

Another important consideration is tire clearance, which isn't listed for any of the above forks. I believe cyclocross racing limits tire width to 35mm; while none of these strike me as racing forks, they may still limit tire clearance to that range. If you are looking for a fork that can accommodate wider tires, then you may need to keep looking.

As far as alternatives, I picked up a Salsa La Cruz fork a couple of months ago for ~$20 more than the options you posted that is reasonably light (<1kg with uncut steering tube), has stainless steel forward-facing dropouts, and can accommodate 700x43c tires (depending on the brand; I'm hoping it will work with BG Rock n Road tires, but I haven't tried yet). I went with the Salsa because the a-to-c height was within 5mm of the stock fork, with slight reduction in rake, so the fit and handling of the bike are fairly unchanged.

Other inexpensive options may include the forks for the Surly Straggler or LHT Disc or the Salsa Vaya. These are all a bit heavier duty, particularly the LHT Disc and the Vaya, as they were designed to carry loads.
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Old 06-01-15, 12:23 PM
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WiltingArtichok
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Good point on the fork geometries. Currently I have an Easton EC70x, so I think thats a 45mm rake and a 395 crown height?

I have to confess that I'm not familiar with how 10 mm here or there changes how the bike feels.

I'm mainly looking for smething inexpensive and decently light, to race recreationally and to take on long road/gravel rides.

Aso found this:
Kinesis DC37 CX Disc Fork | Chain Reaction Cycles
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Old 06-01-15, 01:09 PM
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Got it, so you're "upgrade" is to mainly to convert from canti/v-brakes to disc (at least, on the front), right? I think for your purposes (i.e. racing) any of the Surlys will likely be too heavy.

From the specs of the Easton fork you currently have, I'd set aside the Bikeisland one as it just strikes me as "too different" that there's no reason to risk it. The rest are all "close enough" that you probably won't notice a difference.

The Nashbar fork at $125 is pretty good bang-for-the-buck, though of course it's pretty heavy for a carbon fork (and, IMO, ugly with both canti and disc brake mounts). For that weight, I'd personally go with steel along the lines of this. I had one pass through my hands once (didn't ride it or weigh it), but I do recall being surprised at how light it was. I don't know if the weight is the same as the Soma (I believe Tange makes the Soma forks) or if it's a different grade of steel. I do know the specs are different enough to suggest that the Soma version isn't just a rebadged Tange.

The Kinesis fork looks decent on paper (it's by far the lightest of the bunch), although I haven't sought out any reviews. It is ~$200 vs. $125 for the Nashbar fork vs. $150 for the Tange, but only you can decide what is "cheap" and what the cost-benefit of each is.
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Old 06-01-15, 01:26 PM
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WiltingArtichok
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Thanks for your response, dubes. Yep that's exactly right. About 6 months ago I swapped my components from a cheap aluminum frame to a Soma doublecross disc, but kept the Easton and a mini-v brake up front. At this point I'd rather have discs in both the front and rear, hence the need for a new fork.

I'd be open to looking at forks in the mid $200 range, it just seems like there are a lot around 100-150, and then a jump to the 400-500 full carbon jobs.

Thanks for the heads up on that steel Tange fork, it looks pretty sharp.
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Old 06-01-15, 02:03 PM
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As rake is less trail is more, if the crown race seat to hub axis remains the same.
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Old 06-01-15, 02:47 PM
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Your Soma DCD frame is designed for a 400mm axle-to-crown. Salsa Vaya fork is 405mm, Nashbar is 391mm, Soma is 400mm.
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Old 06-02-15, 03:34 PM
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WiltingArtichok
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On that note - if I go steel, would there be much difference between a straight legged and curved legged fork with the same rake?
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Old 06-02-15, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by WiltingArtichok View Post
On that note - if I go steel, would there be much difference between a straight legged and curved legged fork with the same rake?
Maybe on a road bike with rim brakes but a disc brake fork is much heavier/stiffer than a roadie fork. So my guess is, for a disc fork, there's not much difference between straight or raked/curved except the look.

If it was my bike, I'd get the Soma; quality is excellent and it's made for the frame.

Buy it here, use VIP10 coupon for 10% discount:
https://www.universalcycles.com/search.php?q=soma+fork
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