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Chromoly: don’t call it a comeback

28 03 2012

Is the race community’s love affair with the carbon fiber fork coming to an end?

It’s beginning to look that way.

Heck, when you have a big name like Olympic contender Mike Day saying things like, “always good to have a chromoly fork…and not have a road bike fork on your 20 inch” (when he’s being interviewed about GT’s 2012 lineup) then you know things are starting to shift.

On the Bodogs Race Report, in a post called Chromoly is the new carbon fiber, the writer talks about his own experiences with the different types of forks that are currently available:

Speaking only from experience I have personally witnessed no less than half a dozen cases where carbon fiber has failed, two cases where aluminum has failed (Both at the welds) and no cases where chromoly has failed.

He also sees a move back to chromoly in response to what he’s observed out at the track:

The new trend has returned to the beginning. Parts companies are building affordable chromoly forks that are stiffer and lighter than the most expensive carbon fiber forks on the market.

These same companies are also starting to play up the benefits of chromoly in their marketing. In a recent ad in Pull Magazine, CLIQ/Haro compared the chromoly Cliq fork to the Sinz carbon fiber fork.  At half the price, no rider weight limit and (as an added blow) a lighter weight overall it’s hard to argue that carbon fiber is a better choice. The ad finishes with the tagline,“Does any of this make sense to you, cause we’re still confused.”

Clever.  With more and more people getting the sense that they’ve been sold a bill of goods with carbon fiber forks, I think we’ll continue to see people voting with their wallets and going with the tried and true benefits of lightweight chromoly forks.

4130…It’s good to see you back at the race track, my old friend.

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7 responses

31 03 2012
Stefan

Thank you for this article. I have just recently got back into riding BMX and the Redline Flight Pro 24″ I picked up has Carbon Forks. For me being 170 pounds, I looked at them and said to myself, one wrong curb or landing and Im going to end up shattering these things. Good thing I still have my full face helmet. I have only ever ridden on Chromoly Forks and your article has educated me on technology and science is not always better than “keep what works”. Thanks guys.

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8 10 2016
lumberjake

As much of a fan of chromoly, when it comes to racing I see little reason to choose the metal.
Racing is about winning, period. Not ride quality, not durability but pure precision steering and no wasted energy.
Durability is not really a factor nor cost as most are sponsored. Besides, carbon is growing cheaper and better every year.
There is simply no way a chromoly fork can approach carbon weight savings while still being stiff and, if very light, nearly as durable.
There is a reason carbon has taken over almost completely in every sport with a structure.

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