I am starting think about building my next bike. I am thinking about a Soma Fog Cutter, a CroMo frame. It would be used for fast coffee rides and extended rides, but not brevet distance rides.
It is available with two forks: A straight blade carbon, or a lugged CroMo fork. Rake, max tire size, brake mount, are the same. The carbon fork is lighter weight and more expensive. Frame and other build parts would be the same.
Should I expect any noticeable differences in riding (feedback) between these two fork options?
Stating the obvious, but have you asked Soma about this? I would hope they can be one good resource and give some guidance since they are directly offering both options.
Man that’s a nice looking bike with some classic lines!
The biggest difference I notice between a straight-bladed carbon fork and a CroMoly fork like the Soma fork…you’ll be able to feel the compliance in the CroMoly fork when you’re pumping at the bottom of little whoops. Or when you ride at a pretty good clip up a ramp…at the little discontinuity in travel from ground to ramp you’ll feel a little damping effect as the CroMoly fork flexes a little.
Just that little difference. That’s the main thing I notice between my steel fork and my carbon fork.
I have not asked them in this particular case. My experience with their email support is less than ideal. Their typical response is either no response at all, or unhelpful answers.
Bummer. Not that you need my opinion, but if that’s the experience I had in shopping, I’d be hesitant to head that direction considering it could be similar in dealing with any future problems.
Thanks. My experience is exclusively with CroMo forks and I do like them for the comfy ride they provide. I was wondering if Carbon forks add some other benefits, beyond weight savings ( and in this case internal routing for the brake cable)
In general, a carbon fork will damp road vibrations better than a cromoly fork. It will also tend to be stiffer / more precise when cornering. Some of tha damping may be negated in this case by the alloy steerer.
A cromoly fork may be more comfortable overall on rougher roads, but not as stiff / precise.
But the fork construction will be the biggest determinant of the ride qualities…I have seen carbon forks that were super-noodly and, conversely, steel forks that were ungodly stiff. But based on the pictures in your links, I would say there is a good chance the above generalities will hold true.
Worth noting that the carbon fork option will allow you to use 45mm tires, while the steel fork only has clearance for 42’s.
I haven’t ridden modern cromoly forks. My last steel bike I got in 1984 and sold in 2002. My understanding is that steel forks are a lot less skinny and compliant than of old. But also less noodly. My bikes since then have had carbon forks. Given the wider tyre ability you can forget any comments about road buzz. The tyre and its pressure will determine that far more than the fork.
You need to consider if you want to mount anything on the fork. With the steel fork you’ve got the rack mounts and could braze additional fittings. The carbon fork you are more limited. Steel forks are proven to be able to last the owners lifetime if you keep rust at bay. Carbon forks the jury is still out.
Good point about tire width/pressure. I’d be running 30 or 32 width on road brake with pressure well below maximal, so compliance may not be th defining difference between forks.