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I'm looking to replace the suspension fork on my MTB (which has blown a seal) with a rigid fork now that I'm exclusively commuting in the city. During my research I came across the
MOSSO 26" MTB Carbon & Aluminium Rigid Straight Fork on eBay, one of the cheapest "carbon" forks in this category at only 80 bucks.

What's the catch? Which parts are are aluminium vs carbon? How do they compare with pure carbon or pure aluminium? Is this just a gimmick to make aluminium forks look cool by coating them in purely cosmetic textured plastic?

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No, in this case it means that the steerer tube is alloy, but the fork blades are carbon fiber. About the only products where you may see a layer of carbon over an aluminum core are stems, which is usually to make a cheap stem to match a good quality carbon handlebar.

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The Mosso web site doesn't give a full description. Looking at the photo it appears to be a carbon fork with an aluminum steerer tube. This is not an unusual combination. Many road bikes are offered with this setup. I can't say anything about the quality for the price perspective. I did recently purchase a factory Specialized fork that had a carbon fork and aluminum steerer and it was also $80 and that was from my LBS.

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