here is a longwinded thread about fork material
and the debate centers around carbon fiber versus
the entire text is here, and i will paste my
own replies below. they are the bold type:

> I don't get it , I know it's nostalgic to have a well made lugged
> steel bike, with a balanced look of a lugged steel fork but can't
> we agree that Carbon forks have replaced steel in this area of
> design where there is no dispute to the merits of carbon over
> Titanium , Aluminum or carbon steel in fork manufacturing.
generally speaking, CF is popular and ubiquitious (wrt forks)
because it allows for ease of manufacturing, profitabilty, and
acceptance via the 'buzz' level. the key word here is manufacturing.
forks have become a commodity. if you can accept this, there's
no reason not to use CF as a material. imo, when a maker chooses
to buy forks from a supplier, he's essentially hung out the white
flag inferring that he's conceded to market pressures.
> As we speak the industry is building new Cross Carbon forks
> with spacing
for fenders and rack mounts
well there you have it. it's all tied to the industry, and i do
not say that in a disparaging way. the only way these cats
survive is to breed efficiency. heck - i defy anyone here with
a stock portfolio to show that they invest in any corporation
that is not lean, efficient, profitable, and responsible. but i
digress. bicycle companies choosing CF or pre-fabbed parts
in order to make their own are simply living life as part of
the food chain. if they don't go with the market tide, they'll
soon vaporize. i'm reminded of this little nugget attributed
to phillipe dufour who said,
"...everything is designed to be made on a machine."
the quote* is perhaps taken out of context to support my
opinion, but that opinion stands; the industry chooses
what it has to in order to survive, and the copycats and
pretenders and those next in line copy from the top down
in the hopes that they too can all ride out the trend.
* ps
the entire interview lives here.
> not all carbon forks are the same. some are better and more expensive.
> not all steel forks are the same. some are better and more expensive.
> funny coincidence that.
trust me...
this thread may never have been about only
premium grade cf forks, but it was never about
inexpensive steel forks. even back in the day,
inexpensive steel forks were, well - they sucked.
> to voice pro-carbon sentiments often brings out a less than charming
> or charitable side of steel fans, IMO. why go there?
i think this debate is always inane without qualifiers.
cf is a material. a fork is a thing. there are reasons
that some things are made with some materials. all
too often, those reasons have to do with money, or with
the market - and both of which are hard to seperate from
each other, no?
at the highest level, quality=quality. but for nearly all
off-the-shelf stuff, a compromise exists somewhere.
there is the "thing" (in this case, forks.) and then there is the debate
> that surrounds the "thing". i find that often the debate takes on a life
> of it's own that has not so much to do with the "thing" being debated.
> steel vs carbon often seems to trigger ancillary debates and feelings,
> IMO. that was my point; i have nothing intelligent to add to a debate
> about forks, because as you often, rightly, point out: a bike is a whole;
> i can't discern for sure, always, if a sensation is due to the fork or to
> something else.
the thing with me is that i try to follow the thread
to the letter of the law, and respond accordingly.
(well - unless jerk and doof meet me for happy hour).
when smiley first wondered aloud:
"...why you'd go the way of a steel fork with the
advancements that carbon has made in the last 10
years in fork designs."

i kinda felt that it's an emotional issue from the very
beginning. to wit, i think i summed it up well by infer-
ing that one shouldn't broadstroke the issue without
knowing all the details that led him to believe that
cf, had in fact, made these suggested advancements.
imo there is cf good and there is cf cheap. the same holds
true with anything made for a market. again, imo, this
issue is not about the thing - it never is. it's about the
standards set for the thing by the thing makers and
marketers, as well as the bounderies set by the consumers
who buy into this. it's all inseperable. that's why we have
light conversations about it.
related question for e-ritchie. i always thought it was harder to build
> a good fork than a frame. any thoughts on this?
> i will pay you $.02 a word.... 20 word limit.
you think about this stuff?
OK , Richie and all , Can you guys tell me if their exsists any lousy
> Steel forks that you've seen on bikes , not your own but by others .
> If so then I also heard that building of a very good steel fork is not
> an easy task but takes a master to really make one right. After all its
> like a tuning fork if its done wrong its wrong. Carbone Fibre is if done
> right is much better from a reapeatability standpoint of more right
> ones built then wrong ones coming off a mold. Your comments please.
there are "millions" of lousy steel forks.
good steel forks more likely represent a technique
than technology. cf forks, otoh, more likely repre-
sent a technology. that's not to suggest it's "bad";
my point remains that it has been embraced, even
co-opted, because it yields higher profits for industry
than does "hand-work", which is what it replaced.
i don't think i can say any more succinctly than this:
do folks want to have good products for less money, and
more choices too? well - it's the technology that allows
that to occur.
All sizes of Colnago C50's have a 43mm fork too. This doesn't make
> any sense either. It's a mystery. Before everyone jumps up and says it's
> done to save money...
when they went to straight blades in '91, it
was to save money. oh - it was marketed
as 'eeeeez better', but it really was a move
to increase in efficiency in - get this - steel
fork making. ya' can't make this stuff up.
sure, in '91 I can believe they were trying to cut costs.
isn't that linked to the entire thread -
when is cutting costs not an issue in manufacturing?
how can you seperate the thing from the thing meister
Wha? Define "easier".
> If you are prepared to invest millions of dollars in molds, testing
> machines,
prototypes, material suppliers, computer design equipement,
> become an
expert in scheduling carbon layup, getting certification in
> adhesive use ...

> sure , by that definition it's "easy" to make carbon forks.
they - "they" - do this because the expense ultimately
replaces the one component that is not available: a skilled
work force, one that it would take to make as many superbly
built, fine things, as is needed to satisfy the market "they" created.
Steel forks? Call Kirk for some parts, and rent some tanks, and
> get a block of wood to bend the tubes. The skill of brazing is childsplay
> compared to designing the layup schedule for carbon. Just because the
> carbon fork may arrive to you in a box, doesn't mean it just magically
> popped out of a mold!!
i have a full day of play planned after breaky.
It's all about volume and production investment.
> I have a few hobby builder friends who have built a few dozen forks...
> anyone here make their own carbon forks?
apple ibooks to molteni oranges.
Maybe yes, maybe no. If Colnago buys a CF fork from Asia, all
> they've done is substitute one skilled work force with another.
> The Carbon work force has it's own highly skilled requirement.
> One is not "easier" than the other, each has it's own set of challenges,
> and costs involved.
> None of it means anything. What is important is control. If Colnago
> just slaps any fork on the front becuse they believe it's a bolt-on
> commodity
whose design isn't intregral to the performance of their
> product, "they" have
an inferior product. If "they" choose to outsource
> the manufacturing to experts
in the field, their product can be better.
> Kinda like JB painting your frames.
i believe "business" dictates where the parts and vendors
are chosen from. if colnago and its ilk could still profit from
locally made products, made in the same way and of the same
materials (albeit with a 2006 quality) they would. but since
they can't, they bid it out to the subcontractors who complement
them the best. again, it's less about quality, or made-by-hand,
and more about efficiency. and, once again, i have no issues
with any of it. i simply see the timeline that got us all here
differently than most.