Carver Carbon O’Beast Fork Install

Yes, the Mukluk has seen some love lately.  First there were the Husker Düs…and now some carbony goodness.

Full carbon, including carbon steerer.

Ok…it does have metal dropouts.

Stock enabler fork weighs 1176 grams, with star nut.

Carver weighs 576 grams (with compression nut).

Yes folks…600 grams.  1.33 pounds of weight loss.  The Salsa Enabler fork weighs a little more than twice as much as the Carver.  That’s among the reasons I was interested in the swap.  Other reasons?  1) I’m curious to see how the carbon fork changes the ride quality; 2) I’ve been frustrated with corrosion on the steel fork, especially in areas where the tires throw crud at the fork; 3) it is purty.

The obvious downsides: 1) I lost my anything cage mounts…but I’m not such a huge anything cage user; and, 2) being carbon, it might turn into a carbomb and asplode.

Install was pretty straightforward.  The very bottom of the steerer, where the headset crown race resides, had one groove on it (from manufacturing) that had to be gently sanded away.  Since this is RATG, everything was cleaned while it was apart.  Things that move were lubricated, things that aren’t supposed to move were loctite’d.

Use of the Carver fork did require installation of a 5mm brake adapter, to space the rotor away from the hub.  The fork does come with the adapter (and longer rotor bolts), free of charge.  Here’s the old rotor setup:

Machined aluminum spacer:

With rotor.

And loctite.

Plenty of rotor clearance.

Here’s a terrible picture, intended to show that the clearance with the Carver fork is basically the same as the clearance with the Enabler.  BFLs will fit fine.

The fork has a carbon finish that melds down to a gloss black finish at the dropouts.

And it looks good on the Muk.

Carbon steerer + Thomson Stem.

Total ride time on this fork thus far: about 5 minutes, laaaaate last night.  Too soon to give any kind of review.  Thus far, I can say the install was easy, the fork looks well-built, the fork is insanely light, and the fork looks pretty.

UPDATE:

Since posting, I’ve been able to put some hard miles in on the fork.  Here are my initial ride impressions…

1.  The fork has more give to it than the stock Enabler steel fork.  That’s saying something, because the stock fork is pretty compliant.  With fat tires, small bump compliance isn’t really an issue–the tires take it up.  So it’s the larger bumps, dips and jumps that are of concern.  The O’Beast does a good job of taking the edge off of larger jolts–which is one of the reasons I wanted it.

2.  Handling is predictable.  Controlling several pounds of fatbike wheel + tire with an all-carbon fork was something I was worried about, frankly.  That has not been an issue at all. Control is excellent, and there has been no diminution of fine control in technical areas, or reduction in handling ‘feel’ while doing hard cornering.

3.  Weight reduction is excellent.  I have really come to appreciate the loss of a significant amount of weight off of the front end.  It makes lofting the front much easier, and makes bike control palpably easier, as well.

4.  Durability.  Too early to tell.  In all honesty, I have some concerns about the long-term durability of an all-carbon fork (full carbon steerer), on a fatbike.  I’ve seen the pics of fat bike frames that have buckled behind the head tube because of the amount of force that a fat front tire can generate.  I have faith that Carver has engineered this properly, but there’s a part of me that’s still a little chicken.  I’ll keep updated.  So far, no weird pops, no cracks, no weird groaning, etc.

Overall, it’s been a very positive addition to the bike.  A majority of the time, you don’t notice that it’s there, and when you do notice it, you notice it for a positive reason (e.g. ‘wow, it was easy to pick the front end up to get across that log’, or ‘whoa, that rock edge didn’t jolt nearly as hard as I had expected.’)  Aesthetically, everyone that has seen it has loved it.  Well…almost everyone.  I’m still quite happy with it at present.

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14 thoughts on “Carver Carbon O’Beast Fork Install

    • I’m very interested in this, too…but in the interests of honesty, I got everything put together by about 12:30 last night (this morning), and only took it for a spin around the block and through a few vacant lots. I just don’t have enough time on it to be able to give any really compelling reviews about its stiffness. I am a bit nervous about the lightness, full carbon steerer, etc., but it looks well made. I can say that in the initial ride I did, it seemed totally fine. I dumped it into a few hard corners, on hot asphalt, with 4″ Husker Düs at 12psi…and did a few hard stops with the new SRAM XOs on the Muk (details to come), and didn’t have anything even remotely concerning. No scary noises, no scary handling, no scary flexing.

      • Thats good. I am pretty interested to hear how it compares with the salsa fork, which is a pretty flexy fork in the sceme of things. The fatback carbon fork also has a full carbon steerer, but folks have been riding those aggressively for a while now and there don’t seem to be any problems, so I would not let that worry you.

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  6. You’ve got a large spacer stack under your stem. Most people that manufacture bikes or run bike stores recommend no greater than 30mm stack height under the stem and then a 5mm spacer above the stem (with the steerer tube cut about 2mm below that.) That was Greg’s recommendation at Speedway Cycles / Fatback when I picked up their carbon fork for my 9:Zero:7.

    Any new updates on the fork 1 year later…?

    • I ran it for about a year and then sold the bike. I never had any issues with it. That said, the Salsa carbon fork I’m running now is much nicer–much less flexy in a rotational/torsional fashion, and equally as compliant for quelching chatter.

      The pics you see there were immediately after the install; I hadn’t cut the steerer yet as I wasn’t sure what length I wanted.

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