I am an occasional rider who bought my last bike 15 years ago (an all-aluminium Saracen with shocks). I've put about 400-500 miles this year and am thinking of taking up one of the Cycle to Work schemes to get a new bike.
So I remember when I went from my steel, fully-rigid Diamond Back, to my Saracen. "Wow!" is the only way I remember the luxury of getting shocks. I plan to do 20 miles a day (90% road / 10% off-road) for commuting, and have been advised to get a carbon fibre cyclocross bike. But no cross bikes seem to have shocks, and, despite what I've been told, I just cannot believe that carbon frame & forks can offer the same amount of shock absorbtion as shocks.
There's much BS floating around about the wonders of carbon fibre, and while I would like a light bike, by the time I've added lights, mudguards, and a trip computer for road use, saving a few ounces here and there seems a bit silly.
The gearing of the bike I am thinking of (Planet X XLS Shimano 105 Cyclocross) seems perfect, with a top gear of 46/11t on 700c wheels. My biggest complaint about my Saracen is the lack of a really long gear for the roads, but the lack of shocks on the Planet X really does worry me. As an aside, I am most definitely not Mr. Super-fit, being 5 1/2 decades young, and with the weight problems (85-90Kg) that go with being such a spring chicken.
So does anybody have some real empiric evidence that CF forks are as good as Shocks for the use I have in mind or is there just too much marketing BS out there to form a firm opinion ?
Any sound advice would be appreciated !