Written by Jesse Stevens Thursday, 06 April 2006 00:00
Tester: Jesse Stevens, Team Bikeman.com Rider, Certified Bikeman Product Tester
Conditions: Sweet West Virginia single track.
Review: CARBON…….. It’s the wonder material that’s been working its way into every component on your bike in the last 10 years. The mention of the word stirs some trepidation in some as we cling to our antiquated ideas about what makes something strong and durable. Consider that carbon fiber is being used to reinforce concrete walls where we once used steel.
I will admit, even though I know that my Pace RC31 carbon fork is just as strong as my Kona Project 2 fork, I felt hesitant at first ride it on anything except fast non-technical trail. However I knew that if I was going to review this thing it needed to be put to the test. So I started myself slowly with short sections of rocks and roots and steadily moved up to the most technical and usually painful trails in my area, this means Kanawha State forest in Charleston, WV. The trails in this park are notorious for steep, technical, sustained down hills, and steep technical and sustained climbs. I have taken the Pace RC-31 carbon rigid fork up and down every one of the scariest rockiest descents and it comes out at the bottom just as strong and light as it was at the top, and without a scratch. This fork inspires an unheard of level of confidence when you’re descending and cornering, in fact I will say it’s the best rigid fork I have ever had.
One of my questions that wasn’t answered when I was looking into carbon rigid forks was “does it really take the edge off of riding rigid?” well here’s the honest answer, no it does not. It is more comfortable than aluminum, and in my opinion more comfortable than steel, but if you need to take the edge off then you need a nice suspension fork. This fork is as comfortable as a rigid fork can get, and it chops 600+ grams off the weight of your bike, you can’t ask for anything more than that. In addition, it’s high enough to drop a 29er front wheel in and run 26-29 until your Carver 96’er comes in (Carver 96er review coming soon!!).
Another big worry is price, this is an expensive rigid fork there’s no doubt about that. But compare its price to a nice suspension fork that weighs 2-3 times as much and you’ll find that its just an average priced quality fork. You can rest assured that this will be the nicest rigid fork you have ever had the pleasure of riding. Give it a whirl and start on the easy stuff if you like, but I think you will soon find yourself confidently screaming down the nastiest trails in your area and flying up climbs more that 1 pound lighter than you were before. The one big drawback is that you will have to keep a rag with you at all times to wipe off the drool, because this definitely turns heads and strikes up conversations. Bottom line: AWESOME FORK.
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