Home > Reviews > eXotic Carbon Rigid Fork Review

eXotic Carbon Rigid Fork Review

May 17th, 2008 [print] Go to comments

I went ahead and ordered my Carbon Cycles eXotic carbon fork this week due to my lack of self-control and patience.  But before I work on my personality issues, I thought I’d pass along my first impressions of the fork.

I ordered from CarbonCycles’s eBay store on Tuesday, and received the package on Friday; total price with shipping was $190.  The first thing I do after unwrapping any new bike part is put it on the scale.  eXotic’s claimed weight is 850 grams (1.9lbs), though it actually came in slightly higher than that with an uncut steerer tube.  It’s not a huge difference, but it’d be nice if manufacturers would more accurately post the weight of their parts.

Compared to my aluminum Mosso fork, the eXotic’s crown is a full 2" taller, bringing my bike’s front end up to where it was when I had an 80mm Rock Shox SID.  At the same time, I gained back an inch of lost pedal and bottom bracket clearance, so I shouldn’t smack my pedals while climbing over rocks and roots any more than I did with the SID.  Pedal clearance (or lack of it) was actually the number one reason why I decided to switch to a new fork.

Visually, the eXotic looks great.  The carbon wrap on the legs is awesome, with a high-gloss protective clearcoat.  Since I have an older frame, I still use v-brakes, thus I had to order the fork model (CC-F0245) with the v-brake posts.  The machining on the posts is top-notch, as is the rest of the fork.  It’s no wonder that White Brothers and Origin-8 licence these forks under their own brands (and sell them for a mark-up).

Set-up was simple; no harder than any other fork install if you’ve ever done one.  In fact, it was much easier since I didn’t have to adjust air pressure, compression, rebound and sag.  Low maintenance is definitely a plus when riding a rigid fork.

When I installed the lower bearing race on the Mosso, I needed my wife to hold the fork for me while I spent 15 minutes banging the race down against the crown.  Chalk it up to manufacturing tolerances, I guess, but that thing just about found itself thrown threw a window before I finally got the race on.  With the eXotic, I was able to tap the race into place on my own and with very little effort, the same as both SIDs I’ve previously owned.

With the race on I cut and filed the steerer tube, then took a quick run to the bike shop to get a star nut installed (I bent my homemade bolt-and-nuts install rig on the Mosso last winter).

Some pics before my first ride:

First Ride

After months of the Mosso beating me up, I had high expectations of the ride quality of carbon; the 7005-series aluminum of the old fork isn’t exactly known for damping vibrations like carbon fiber is.  I had about a 10.5 mile ride in various conditions:  gravel rail-trail, road, and rocky single track.

The carbon didn’t feel much different on the rail-trail than did the aluminum, save for the higher, more comfortable front end.  On the road back to my car, I purposely hit every expansion joint I could find, and my hands were no longer beat to death as before (it’s no wonder roadies prefer carbon to aluminum).

Where it really shined is on rocky single track, which is the stuff I ride most.  The only way I can really describe the ride is that every rock and root felt as though it was covered in plush carpet.  In other words, I could still feel the texture of everything I rode over (unlike a suspension fork that soaks up everything), but it felt lightly padded.  In my opinion, it’s the perfect compromise between comfort and control.

One thing I didn’t notice is any flexing of the carbon legs.  It could be due to my low weight (~150lbs) and/or the shorter 26" fork legs, but many other reviewers have found the 29er version has a noticeable (but still welcome) level of flex.

——————

I’ll get more riding in this weekend and over the following weeks as the temps go up (finally) and trails dry out, and I’ll report back as to how well this thing is holding up.  It’s maiden voyage definitely impressed me, though.

Manufacturer link:  http://www.carboncycles.cc

For more images, visit my gallery & specs page:  http://gearinches.com/blog/photos/exotic-carbon-rigid-fork

Final review:  http://gearinches.com/blog/cycling/carbon-cycles-exotic-carbon-fork-wrap-up

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  1. Matt
    November 23rd, 2008 at 05:00 | #1

    Thanks for the write up and photos of the forks, I’m currently rebuilding an On-One Inbred as a commuter and these forks look just the job.

  2. Aaron
    November 23rd, 2008 at 07:39 | #2

    I had all summer and fall to test it out so I’ll put up a follow-up review as soon as I get a chance. I can’t find one bad thing to say about it so far.

  3. Israel
    January 28th, 2009 at 01:29 | #3

    Great job on the review.

    I’ve just (almost) finished my SS rigid conversion of my hardtail; will be my full-time commuter.

    I got a Kinesis aluminum fork to replace my 105-mm travel Zokes comp coil, and am loving the efficiency of a light and stiff front end. ‘wish I had the resources to get a carbon fork though (like the eXotic or its less know brethren like the Saso).

    ‘looking forward to your follow up review =)

    cheers

    Israel

  4. Aaron
    January 28th, 2009 at 04:53 | #4

    Thanks, Israel! I’ll do my best to get to that follow-up review before it warms up and I forget about it entirely. 😀

  5. February 19th, 2009 at 18:35 | #5

    Aaron, thanks for the two fork blogs on the Mosso and now the eXotic. You have really helped me decide what I want to put on my 1×8. By the way, just noticed on the CarbonCycle website that they state the fork weight as 175mm of steer tube – not the 265mm it comes with uncut. They also say the steer tube weighs 4.7 grams per 10mm, so the uncut weight should have been 892.3 gms – which is a bit closer to your out of the box weight of 912gms. Not so bad after all.

  6. Timothy
    January 2nd, 2010 at 11:14 | #6

    Do you happen to know what size brake bosses to get for this fork?

  7. January 2nd, 2010 at 11:17 | #7

    Nope, but they seem to be pretty standard. You could always ask the manufacturer on their forum:

    http://carboncycles.cc/?s=1&t=0&f=viewforum.php?f=11__a__amp;sid=24a235cd56ba5d09ed0f1159af6ea6b5&

  8. March 28th, 2010 at 15:48 | #8

    Nice review props to you man, I receive my forks next week and look forward to them =)

  9. CCQ
    April 20th, 2010 at 18:09 | #9

    Nice review.

    I’d suggest that using v-brakes, you would experience much less fork flex than a disc brake where braking force would be exerted at the end of the fork leg.

    Hoping that someone may have tested this fork with disc brakes? Any comments?

  10. anthony g
    March 19th, 2013 at 23:47 | #10

    Hi, I’m building a rigid stumpjumper m2 and also need to replace an 80mm travel fork. what size did you purchase? I get conflicting info on the size to buy: 425 or 445.

  11. Aaron
    March 20th, 2013 at 03:29 | #11

    Measure your current fork’s axle-to-crown length, and go from there.

    My Epicon’s a-c with it set at 80mm is 470mm, so by going with the 445mm rigid, the front end drops by one inch. To me, that’s just about the perfect amount, since a suspension fork will sag a little just by you sitting on the bike. I wouldn’t want it 2″ lower, which is what I would get with a 425mm.

    Since I have no way of knowing your current fork’s a-c (and it’s likely not the same as mine, since all forks are different), you’re going to have to measure and make a decision. I’d go with whatever size is closest to that, without going over.

  12. Gary
    December 27th, 2015 at 09:11 | #12

    I’m interested in how the new 1 piece carbon forks compare to the old aluminum crown with carbon leg forks. I’m especially interested in rider comfort. I’m riding a steel fork now and want to purchase a carbon fork.

  13. Gary A
    January 25th, 2017 at 20:56 | #13

    I have owned other carbon fork white bros, niner, and steel vassago and surly. I bought the exotic in the 490 length for a little more pedal clearance. The fork is great on the sometimes rough single track I ride. I have been using it for 6 months on 3 different frames I cracked the head tube on my titanium frame and the exotic fork keeps on going.

  1. August 2nd, 2010 at 00:23 | #1