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Carbon Rigid Forks - For General Riding and Racing?

Jonesy.Jonesy. Posts: 94
edited June 2009 in XC and Enduro
Does anyone here have carbon rigid forks on their bike, and do you race with them too? I'm talking both standard XC and also enduro races.

I'm going to be upgrading my outdated suspension fork soon, and I'm very tempted to go the rigid route, but I fear that I may have forgotten just how much of a ride improvement a suspension fork gives you. I've not been on a rigid bike since the 90s!

If I were to get a suspension fork it would only be an 80mm travel, but that's still more damping than a carbon would give you!

Any thoughts / experience? Does the lightweight, sharp handling outweigh the slightly rougher ride?
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Posts

  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    Only you can decide really! Time to test methinks!

    The Exotic carbon fork is about 800g. A SID is 1450g, while some other sus forks come in at slightly less.
  • gezzzagezzza Posts: 324
    supersonic wrote:
    Only you can decide really! Time to test methinks!

    The Exotic carbon fork is about 800g. A SID is 1450g, while some other sus forks come in at slightly less.

    A Ritchey carbon fork is less than 500g :shock:

    I dont think i could give up front suspension and go rigid im just not that hardcore
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    Not sure I'd trust a 500g fork on an MTB!
  • Jonesy.Jonesy. Posts: 94
    Yeah I've read a few horror stories about the Ritchey fork failing on people, plus it's just about the most expensive carbon rigid on the market.

    I've seen the Exotic one, and I've found somewhere selling it at a very reasonable price...so I'm very tempted to buy it, test it out, and if it's just too hardcore for me, then I can always stash it away for those times when I might want to do some road touring and lighter trails...

    I'll let you know how it goes, if I decide to buy it!
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  • jairajjairaj Posts: 3,009
    depends on the type of riding you do. My fully rigid bike which has the exotic forks is awesome on smoothish single track. The steering response is second to none, just point it and it goes there. My local forest trails are made of hard pack dirt or soft loamy carpet stuff with the obligatory roots thrown in. In these conditions i find the carbon damping sufficient. i think on a bumpy rocky surface like you get in Wales for example it might get a bit too much? tho i haven't tried it there.

    Try one out and keep the steerer uncut or reasonably long and if you dont get on with you can always try and sell it on so you don't loose out too much?
  • Jonesy.Jonesy. Posts: 94
    Yeah my local trail is similar, mainly hardpack and not too many rocks or bumpy bits. So I reckon it might be worth a go. Back in the days before front suspension I used to ride a fully rigid steel bike on all kinds of terrain, and I think you just get used to it - you tend to bend your arms more to absorb the bumps, and when a fairly big drop came up, you just kind of braced yourself and went for it! (though I won't be attempting drops on carbon....)
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  • SalsaSalsa Posts: 753
    I've had both the straight legged & Ritchey WCS carbon forks, the WCS style ones are much better imo. A lot stiffer & more precise, only downside is they lower the front of the bike (they are supposed to replicate an 80mm fork) so it's easy to clip the pedal on turns until your used to it.
    My bike is designed for an 80mm fork though.
    Pair them off with a carbon bar & seat post & there's more than enough compliance for most smooth single track riding, the only thing locally I struggle with is constant small bumps like a bunch of roots or stones.
    They are not jarring at all, I have a steel single speed with steel forks & that's really jarring off road over the same terrain.
    It's a lot easier to pick lines at speed with the direct steering rather than just rely on suspension & not picking lines, I also fly up the hills.
    There's also other factors like your bike geometry is constant & more predicable, also you can lift the front over stuff quicker because of the weight.
    I bought my first set when I was riding a lot of on road due to injury but ended up selling my previous Fox RLT80's because I liked them so much.
    I got my WCS used but as new for £150 but you can get Trigon/Token ones around that price new & they are supposedly the same fork, I have heard the odd problem with that style of fork but as long as you buy from a good seller (maybe not a Taiwan Ebay because they could be official rejects) they should last fine.
  • ride_wheneverride_whenever Posts: 13,279
    I've got a pair of '09 sid race forks and they are amazing. So bloody fast in comparison to the tora's that i had on before, and about half the weight!!!!! I had steel rigids on before, and they just shook me to pieces, even on fairly smooth terrain. The sids are brilliantly supple and seriously tough all things considered.
  • Jonesy.Jonesy. Posts: 94
    Salsa wrote:
    I've had both the straight legged & Ritchey WCS carbon forks, the WCS style ones are much better imo. A lot stiffer & more precise, only downside is they lower the front of the bike (they are supposed to replicate an 80mm fork) so it's easy to clip the pedal on turns until your used to it.
    My bike is designed for an 80mm fork though.
    Pair them off with a carbon bar & seat post & there's more than enough compliance for most smooth single track riding, the only thing locally I struggle with is constant small bumps like a bunch of roots or stones.
    They are not jarring at all, I have a steel single speed with steel forks & that's really jarring off road over the same terrain.
    It's a lot easier to pick lines at speed with the direct steering rather than just rely on suspension & not picking lines, I also fly up the hills.
    There's also other factors like your bike geometry is constant & more predicable, also you can lift the front over stuff quicker because of the weight.
    I bought my first set when I was riding a lot of on road due to injury but ended up selling my previous Fox RLT80's because I liked them so much.
    I got my WCS used but as new for £150 but you can get Trigon/Token ones around that price new & they are supposedly the same fork, I have heard the odd problem with that style of fork but as long as you buy from a good seller (maybe not a Taiwan Ebay because they could be official rejects) they should last fine.

    Thanks for the feedback. The Ritchey ones do look very nice, but out of my price range. I can't seem to find anywhere in the UK selling the Trigon or Token ones, though I might be able to purchase them from abroad. I'll do some more digging...

    My bike is designed to have an 80mm fork so the Ritchey ones would be perfect. That's also why I'm looking at the Exotics, because they offer a 420mm length. The ride I have at the moment is already very sharp and responsive, even with the crappy old forks I have, so I can only imagine what it'll be like with the rigids! I guess the downside is coping with roots and stone sections, as you say, but you'll gain speed in other areas.

    Perhaps it's the nostalgia of early mountain biking days, but I do remember flying over all sorts of terrain on my rigid steel tank of a bike and how much fun it was. And for the price of a top notch lightweight suspension fork, I could get a carbon rigid and upgrade my wheels at the same time (there are some good deals on rims and wheel builds at the moment). So when I look at it like that, it's a no brainer.
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