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This question already has an answer here:

The all-aluminum frame bike will be cheaper. The aluminum fork should be more robust and less prone to breakage. The carbon fork will be more shock absorbing and comfortable. That's kind of how I see the basic trade off.

Given that I like to ride a touring bike with wide tires (25 to 28 mm) and I use low pressure, I am wondering if I would feel any comfort benefit at all from the carbon fork. And, should just go for the aluminum one.

Is that how you see it?

marked as duplicate by Swifty, Criggie May 26 at 22:03

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    Touring bikes are generally built with steel frames and steel fork and often run large tires compared to road bikes (e.g. 700x32+; presumably you meant mm not cm). Are you sure you want a touring bike? – Batman Oct 30 '16 at 2:56
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    25 mm tires is what I have on my road bike. I wouldn't call it "wide". – Mike Baranczak Oct 30 '16 at 16:12
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    Welcome to Bicycles . We recommend that new members take the tour to get to know how to make best use of the site. This seems like a series of statements then a request for opinions, which is not what stack exchange is for. – Móż Oct 30 '16 at 19:57
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's exactly the kind of question described in Don't Ask – andy256 Oct 31 '16 at 8:01
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    Ok, I don't know a lot about the technicalities of new bikes. Whenever I ask a pretty well specified question to educate myself regarding something I need to know to make a purchase or a bike selection, I invariably receive very well formulated answer(s). That's the good part. The other part is that the same question gets invariably considered for closure or put on hold. When I see the guidelines, I am really unclear why my question(s) is deemed inappropriate. The ones who answered it obviously thought it was fine. – Sympa Oct 31 '16 at 16:49
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What is the make/model of the bike you are considering? It may help in answering your question more pointedly.

There are all carbon forks (which are very expensive), and more commonly, carbon forks with carbon fork arms and an allow steerer tube.

I think you will find the carbon fork much, much better in terms of weight, performance and comfort compared to an alloy fork. Most entry level road bikes ($700 and up) from the big brands come standard with a carbon fork. Road touring is more or less the same. I have an older Specialized Secteur which has relaxed touring geometry and some touring affordances. It came with a carbon fork and I wouldn't want to ride it without one.

As far as durability, it all depends on the built quality, but I think you'd have to try pretty hard to actually crack a carbon fork while touring. I've hit massive potholes and never damaged my fork. I've blown out a lot of tires but the fork remains in tact. They are very durable. I'd be more worried about my alloy frame failing from fatigue than my carbon fork.

A touring consideration, If you want to mount racks or fenders, you need to make sure the carbon fork has eyelets or some hardware to do so. It is not advised to use p-clamps on carbon forks.

So, if you can afford it, I wouldn't think twice. Get the carbon fork. It will steer and handle better, be lighter, and you can pick up the front end of the bike easier (like when hopping your front tire over obstacles to avoid impact).

For me, once I put some carbon on my bike, I usually and up wanting more carbon on my bike. It just has really suitable characteristics as a bicycle material.

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    Most people wouldn't think to call a Secteur a touring bike in any sense. And note that a good alloy fork can be way better than a bad carbon fork. – Batman Oct 30 '16 at 15:27
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    I have full fenders, racks and decent size tires on it so it acts as my touring bike – ebrohman Oct 30 '16 at 18:32
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After much research, I bought a touring bike with a carbon fork and an aluminum frame. It is a Motobecane, I bought it online for just a few hundred dollars. I have already riden several thousand miles on it. The bike rides very well. The carbon fork performs well, and is still like new. I was delighted that buying a good touring bike with a carbon fork & aluminum frame combination did not break the bank.

I also learned that carbon forks rarely break if ever. It is the strongest component of the bike.

Given that I ride with wide tires (25 and 28 mm combination) and low pressure (80 psi), these specs make for an already very comfortable ride. I am not sure the carbon fork makes any noticeable difference in terms of comfort given the mentioned specs.

In the end, I probably could have gone with an aluminum fork with minimal differences in trade-offs (risk of breakage vs. comfort). But, as indicated I really did not pay much more for the carbon fork. So, it is all good.

  • Thanks for coming back and answering your own question! – gschenk May 23 at 8:54

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