This Carbon Fiber Thing May Not Be So Bad After All

I am everything that is old school about bikes. Steel’s my first choice for frames, and I roll single-gear like I did as a kid, in part because it’s pure and simple and because I’m still very much a kid at heart.

So in the wake of my fork-bender a couple Tuesdays ago (which aged the kid in me substantially and put him in a corner with a dunce cap on) I was faced with a rather surprising limited range of online replacement options of the one-inch threaded steerer tube variety. I found nothing on performancebike .com and the only thing nashbar.com had for me to those specific specs was one made of carbon fiber.

Now, I’ve nothing against the higher-quality materials. If bikes can be made better, stronger, faster than so be it. But with that technology usually comes a pricetag at which I’m inclined to scoff and pfffft. Then there’s the fact that such lighter materials are lost on me because on a bike I’m always a clydesdale, never a thoroughbred. My ass may be one made a bit less flabby from the thousands of miles I’ve slowly and steadily logged this year, but it’s the hind end a great dane not a greyhound.

In short, I was entirely retiscent to purchase the aformentioned forks — and probably would not have had:

  1. I been presented any other options, and
  2. This item had not been priced so palatably at $90

As mentioned in the previous post, mounting them on the bike proved a success Saturday morning, but despite an earnest desire to take Le Noir and her new front end for a bit of a test ride, I never got around to it. So it was only with this morning’s commute did I get my first taste of what these carbon fiber forks might be like.

And I just have one thing to say…

AWESOME!

I’ve long heard of carbon fiber for lightness, responsiveness and strength, and that’s no lie. Less aware was I of its magically delicious shock-absorbing capabilities and wow, ain’t that the truth. On the way to work I found myself riding over rugged stuff I’d typically avoid just to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. And I wasn’t. Low-end they may be, but Le Noir’s new fork makes the road regularly traveled that much smoother.

Now if they only made carbon fiber underwear!

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Will

Will Campbell arrived in town via the maternity ward at Good Sam Hospital way back in OneNineSixFour and has never stopped calling Los Angeles home. Presently he lives in Silver Lake with his wife Susan, their cat Rocky, dogs Terra and Hazel, and a red-eared slider turtle named Mater. Blogging since 2001, Will's web endeavors extend back to 1995 with laonstage.com, a comprehensive theater site that was well received but ever-short on capital (or a business model). The pinnacle of his online success (which speaks volumes) arrived in 1997, when much to his surprise, a hobby site he'd built called VisuaL.A. was named "best website" in Los Angeles magazine's annual "Best of L.A." issue. He enjoys experiencing (and writing about) pretty much anything creative, explorational and/or adventurous, loves his ebike, is a better tennis player than he is horr golfer, and a lover of all creatures great and small -- emphasis on "all."