Reading this month’s What MTB it struck me how many bikes and bike parts are now being made from carbon fibre. So it got me thinking about the cunning weave (and I’m not talking about a particularly fine wig) and the fact that few of my riding buddies have adorned their bikes with this most bling-tastic of materials.
True, Simon at one point in 2002/3 was running carbon bars on his PRST-1 but he kind of lost faith when it became clear that 18 stone and aluminium cross country forks were not compatible with durability or safety, let alone carbon fibre. Since then, carbon has been used to produce an ever wider variety of bike related bling, from frames to rear mechs to shifters to cranks and forks and everything in between.
Carbon fibre has many qualities but principally being light and strong allows it to be tuned just so. It can make a rock solid and efficient platform as a frame material or it can be used to provide some compliance while still retaining adequate strength. It’s this bit that interests me because my main priority with bike tweaking is to get something that is durable but helps filter out all the stuff that causes fatigue. Coil sprung forks, fat tyres and so on fall into this category but I’m prepared to take the associated weight penalty for the comfort they provide.
But it now occurs to me that maybe carbon fibre can give me some comfort without the weight hit. OK, so I can’t stretch to a new pair of Pace forks (and given their oft talked about reliability, I’m not sure I’d want to) but I’m thinking of dipping my toe in the carbon waters with some carbon riser bars this Christmas. Easton offer their legendary Monkeylites with a two inch rise which should do the job nicely and they’re not that expensive really considering the potential for reducing trail buzz.
Provided I get on with these alright they could open the floodgates for a carbon frenzy!