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I'd like to have a fork which is lightweight, but reliable and tough enough for the bad roads here in northern Maine. I'm leaning toward the Reynolds Ouzo Pro Lite. I'm getting a frame from Carl Strong. He's tentatively going to use Ox Plat/Col Life tubing. I weight 170 lbs. Any feedback on the Look HSC5? I haven't seen much info on it. The Alpha Q's seem quite light, but I've read they may be whippy. I'd appreciate any input.
 

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wheel to wheel
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Same reply as on WW:
Have you asked Carl what he recommends? See what he says.
I certainly hope he knows your needs better than any of us.

I had a frame built by him several years ago, and had the same debate.
At that time Reynolds OP and Wound-Up were the best options for me.
He recommended the Wound-Up and that's what I went with, for its stiffness.
That was definitely one stiff fork, almost too harsh in my opinion.

I have never used Reynolds or Easton, but I now have an AlphaQ Sub3 on my bike, and I think it's great. It feels much smoother than the WoundUp. And I'm not a small rider.

(And don't let people bother you with gripes about the aluminum glue-in insert. It was all the rage to diss that aspect of the AlphaQ when I bought it, but it convinced me, and now I see that the fork is indeed very well respected, among all ranks.)
 

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NeoRetroGrouch
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HeronTodd said:
Why not have Carl build up a nice crowned, steel fork? Smooth ride and very durable.
Second vote for matching steel! Why would you put a piece of plastic on a beautiful, custom steel bike. - TF
 

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Windrider (Stubborn)
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Third for matching steel......

why would you get a custom steel and not get a matching steel fork?

From someone like Carl, you can get a steel form tuned to ride however you want.

You can always get an Ouzo Pro, but a Strong steel fork...c'mon.....

Len
 

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JerryZ said:
...I've read they may be whippy.
What's "whippy"? Is it something you fear, or a quality you want in a fork? If you mean "wimpy"... I doubt any fork from the major manufacturers will be too "wimpy" for your 170 lbs.

Still, I second asking the builder. Forks are different, and he should know what will work best, and maybe even have something in mind when he builds your frame.
 

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eminence grease
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JerryZ said:
I'd like to have a fork which is lightweight, but reliable and tough enough for the bad roads here in northern Maine. I'm leaning toward the Reynolds Ouzo Pro Lite. I'm getting a frame from Carl Strong. He's tentatively going to use Ox Plat/Col Life tubing. I weight 170 lbs. Any feedback on the Look HSC5? I haven't seen much info on it. The Alpha Q's seem quite light, but I've read they may be whippy. I'd appreciate any input.
Okay, I'll take a different tack.

Personally, I have no interest in a steel fork. I'm not retro-inclined, and I don't care to haul the weight. I have 7 steel bikes including one from Carl and two other customs. They all have CF forks.

Among the custom, the Strong has a Columbus Muscle. The other two have Ouzo Pro and Ouzo Lite. The rack bikes either have their own brand (Colnago, Pinarello), Ouzo Pro or Easton. I have one more steel bike presently on order and it's coming with a painted Ouzo Lite.

When I build a bike these days, Reynolds is my standard spec. They work for me, the quality is top notch and they weigh a reasonable amount. I can't imagine any reason to use steel other than looks. And believe it or not, not all of us like the looks of a lugged steel fork.
 

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terry b said:
Personally, I have no interest in a steel fork. I'm not retro-inclined, and I don't care to haul the weight. I have 7 steel bikes including one from Carl and two other customs. They all have CF forks.

I can't imagine any reason to use steel other than looks. And believe it or not, not all of us like the looks of a lugged steel fork.
If you don't like the looks, that's fine. That's all pretty subjective. The weight difference will be no more than a pound which is a fairly small amount, but there are plenty of weight debates elsewhere. I like steel forks because of the ride. Forks are one of the few things that actually affect ride quality since they are cantilevered off of the frame and free to flex.

There are nice riding carbon forks, too, but they are harder to identify. Most fork flex occurs at the crown and in the steerer. Forks with bonded aluminum steerers are often beefed up at the crown to minimize the risk of failure at that joint. This can stiffen the ride. The aluminum steerers are also generally a bit stiffer than the carbon steerers. However, it's hard to generalize since fork designs differ by quite a bit. With carbon, you have the ability to really tune the ride, but I'm not so sure that all of the suppliers have the engineering resources to do so.

In any case, steel forks are a pretty well known quality. Good builders know how design choices will affect ride. Steel's failure mode is also generally more forgiving than carbon. I understand the appeal of carbon to some, but that doesn't mean that steel is some sort of retro fashion statement. When I sold Waterfords in my shop, I encouraged customers to try their steel, Henry-James-crowned fork before ordering a carbon fork. None were disappointed in the steel fork, and that is what I mostly sold.
 

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Move to dismiss this case

I second the motion, your honor.

I move to dismiss his thread due to the high popularity of CF forks.
I agree, why carry the weight? Yeah, CF forks cost more.
Maybe the poster does not want to deal with the threadless steerer tubes?
 

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Windrider (Stubborn)
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Road cyclist said:
I second the motion, your honor.

I move to dismiss his thread due to the high popularity of CF forks.
I agree, why carry the weight? Yeah, CF forks cost more.
Maybe the poster does not want to deal with the threadless steerer tubes?
A steel fork does not have to be threadless.

I like the ride and the looks....the weight is about what I would lose if i took a dump just before riding...a total non-issue for non-racers.

It's about the ride....I have never been on a carbon fork that rode as well as a good steel fork.

IMO

Len
 

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Len J said:
A steel fork does not have to be threadless.

I like the ride and the looks....the weight is about what I would lose if i took a dump just before riding...a total non-issue for non-racers.

It's about the ride....I have never been on a carbon fork that rode as well as a good steel fork.

IMO

Len
I am talking about threaded steel forks vs. threadless CF forks. Do you really
weigh that stuff? Ha
 

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eminence grease
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The OP was asking a question about a specific CF fork and what he received was a list of people essentially telling him not to "shame" his custom steel bike with a "plastic" fork. I, chose to answer his question with specifics about the product he was asking about. And in particular, the application he was asking about (a custom Strong) since I do have a bit of experience shaming the steel bikes I own.

Everything you say about steel forks is I'm sure, absolutely true. At least within the subjective nature of your experience as a rider, builder and retailer. But that's not to say that their ride is any better or worse than a CF fork and certainly not better than all CF forks. Nor is anything I said about CF any less true.

There must be 100s of 1000s of Ouzo Pros on the road so I think it's pretty safe to say that Reynolds has delivered a product that provides good performance and a decent ride. It's a pretty popular fork after all. And I'm also willing to stick my neck out and say more than likely it's going to satisfy the average rider. At least, it satisfies this average rider who has never detected any of all the CF fork problems you listed.

I think the reason to choose a steel fork has far more to do with remaining consistent with the overall appearance of the bike, rather than the magical properties it imports to the ride. That's not to say that one should choose a steel fork if it rode poorly. In my mind, a fancy lugged steel fork would look pretty silly on a TIG welded steel (or aluminum or titanium) frame. The lines don't follow. And since 1/2 (or more) of every bike purchase has to do with the appeal to the customer's eye, I think that's a significant point. On the flip side, I think a Ouzo Lite would look pretty silly on a lugged steel two tone Sachs (or Heron, or whatever) for the same reason. The looks would be compromised. To that end, I think a lot of people spec steel forks because they look good with what they're buying, which might explain why (in part) why your customers found them so attractive. People don't buy Waterfords because they want to look like Iban Mayon. How many TIG welded full-on aluminum racing bikes did you sell with steel forks?

Now, since the OP didn't specify the look he was seeking, we'll never know. At least until he wades in again. Until then, I think his bike would be best suited with CF, you don't. And that's the beauty of sharing opinions.
 

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Windrider (Stubborn)
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I have a carbon fork, but.....

terry b said:
Hey Len - what do you have on your Ottrot?
a steel fork wouldn't either look right or complement the overall ride. The Frame was designed with a carbon F2 in mind.

I'm not opposed to carbon forks at all, but given the choice I do think they ride better, and when designed as part of a custom steel frame are the bomb.

Ride + looks offset weight for me.

Len
 

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chamois creme addict
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Ouzo Pro, can't go wrong

JerryZ said:
I'd like to have a fork which is lightweight, but reliable and tough enough for the bad roads here in northern Maine. I'm leaning toward the Reynolds Ouzo Pro Lite. I'm getting a frame from Carl Strong. He's tentatively going to use Ox Plat/Col Life tubing. I weight 170 lbs. Any feedback on the Look HSC5? I haven't seen much info on it. The Alpha Q's seem quite light, but I've read they may be whippy. I'd appreciate any input.
I have a custom steel frame from Carl, and it was built specifically around my preference for a Reynolds Ouzo Pro fork. 40 mm rake, 73.5 head tube angle and it handles like a dream.

If weight isn't a concern, and it should not be when building a steel bike, I would choose the regular Ouzo Pro over the Ouzo Lite at your weight. Interestingly, I think Reynolds has dropped the Lite from its lineup but now have a lighter version of the regular Ouzo Pro for 2006.
 

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Windrider (Stubborn)
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Road cyclist said:
Do you really
weigh that stuff? Ha
No, but I (am ashamed to admit) have weighed myself before and after...:D

Len
 

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Los Barriles, BCS, Mexico
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Based on my experiences with bad roads, I would specify a custom steel fork on a custom steel bike. Like the bike, the fork can be built for whatever conditions and qualities the rider wants. I've got custom Ti bikes with CF forks and custom steel bikes with steel forks. They both work well IF they are matched to the bike and purposes.
 

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Big is relative
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I have had ridden my MX Leader with the steel fork and with a reynolds pro. Honestly, the original Max fork was a boat anchor, but it really rode nice, especially on fast descents. With the carbon fork, the handling was about the same, the bike was about a pound lighter, but it just didn't seem right. Having a nice steel frame with a good paint job topped off with a black fork just didn't work for me. I have since had the frame and fork refinished and will build it back up in the near future.

Custom builders are artists, I don't think that you would ever have one balk at building a matching steel fork. My .02.

BTW, If anyone is interested in a 1" Reynolds Ouzo Pro with a CK race pressed on, PM me.
 

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Every little counts...
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I haven't used an HSC5, but recently rode half a season on an HSC4 after switching out an OEM taiwanese fork.

Look forks rule. They are stiffer and more solid. I can't comment on handling as it added some rake compared to what was there before. But it was very stable.
 

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eminence grease
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Len J said:
a steel fork wouldn't either look right or complement the overall ride. The Frame was designed with a carbon F2 in mind.
Exactly. With an emphasis on the "looks" part. I think we all love steel forks, but they're not correct for everything. And since a TIG steel frame looks just like a TIG ti or TIG aluminum frame, well, I don't think a steel fork is the natural choice for that.

Lugged steel - no argument. But regardless of how wonderfully they ride, we're not going to put them on something for that reason only.
 
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