Introduction by Francis Cebedo
I’ve used several rigid steel forks and carbon forks over the years. There’s nothing like the light weight and steering accuracy of a rigid fork on a 29er. Couple that with a singlespeed and it’s a match made in heaven since all your power translates to forward movement as there’s none of that dreaded fork bob on hard efforts and out-of-the-saddle efforts.
But rigid forks are… ahem, rigid. And for the uninitiated, they can be a daunting experience on a rocky downhill. The good news is the 29er wheel has come to the rescue and it acts like a half inch of suspension. Couple that with a big tubeless tires and that’s another layer of cushion available. And finally, not all rigid forks are created equal. Carbon fiber has a bit of give to it and it dampens vibrations. It also has forward and backward movement that take up some of the trail shock.
The White Brothers Rock Solid is a great fork at a good price point. It is much smoother than any steel fork I’ve tried. It’s got more give too than the Niner RDO fork. The only smoother fork I’ve tried is the Syncros carbon fork with carbon steerer. But the Syncros brand is in transition to Scott Bikes and the products are hard to get at the moment. So The Rock Solid is a great option and available in many lengths: 425, 445 and 465 mm. http://www.mountainracingproducts.com/white-brothers/rock-solid/ for details. (Edit: 6/22/12 From Paul at White Brothers – “Now also in 490mm for 100mm 29′er conversions.”)
I’ve used them over the years on 26ers, 29ers and 650b. I’ve never had an issue and I’m sold on the product. The only caveat is I’m only 145 lbs and kind of an XC rider. So I was happy to hear the ‘bruiser’ of the company, Adam LaBarge was testing the product. Read on and see how it held up to his riding.
Review by Adam Labarge
So you bought yourself a fully rigid 29er and now you are considering upgrading that heavy stock steel fork. Or maybe you are experiencing a bit more vibration and hand fatigue than you were expecting. Steel bikes are supposed to be compliant, right? Or you are just looking for ways to shed some serious weight of the steel stead you ride? I was in a similar position a few months back, so I arranged with White Bros and MTBR to give the 465mm Rock Solid carbon fork a try.