Wednesday, May 31, 2006 11.00pm
Carbon forks are almost two a penny these days, meaning riders can get a lot of bang for relatively few bucks and, as these demonstrate, £100 buys a surprisingly competent, versatile fork capable of a lot more than just 'cross.
Sexy, shapely monocoque carbon blades are moulded to a reassuringly solid alloy steerer. Finish in the main is very good, although the drilling for a mudguard mounting bolt was a little utilitarian to my eye. There was a sight imperfection in the lacquer along the left fork blade (although this didn't worsen throughout the test period).
The fork manages to be both reassuringly compliant without being whippy, even when thundering along moderate green lanes and bridal paths. I had toyed with running a hydraulic rim brake but resisted the urge for fear their immense power might result in premature fork fatigue. Tyre clearance should be ample for most, readily swallowing 700x32 and still leaving guards with plenty of room, making them a worthy choice for audax and winter bikes.
The only fly in the ointment (aside from the retaining tabs on the fork ends, which can make wheel removal more of a faff) is that the Visia in inch-and-an-eighth steerer is only designed for integrated headsets. This is a real shame, preventing many riders from retro-fitting to standard frames.
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