On Test now – the SYNCROS FL 29er Carbon rigid fork: by “c_g”

SYNCROS FL_1

If you have read my coverage of Eurobike´10, you will remember how I stumbled across the new SYNCROS FL 29er rigid fork (here). While all the others had been rumored about or at least been announced, this one came to me as a complete surprise (maybe I simply missed its announcement, but the surprise was a pleasant one).

Seeing this gem sitting there at the SYNCROS booth surrounded by their new 29er hoops instantly made me want to ride this baby.

A few things are striking upon first glance: SYNCROS FL_2

* The Monocoque crown/steerer assembly
* 100 % Carbon construction (incl. full carbon dropouts and disc brake tab)
– no metal to be seen anywhere
* Beefy 34mm blades
(round cross section throughout) for excellent lateral and torsional stiffness
* Beautifully understated matte black finish with white (plus some red) decals

SYNCROS FL_3Here are the other specifications and details of the fork:

* Ultralight 585 grams (with uncut 300 mm steerer tube – real weight)
* Room for > 2.5” tires (measured clearance of ~ 90 mm or 3.55””)
* Msrp: Europe 499 EUR (VAT Included) – US and International 529 USD
* NO Rider weight limit
* Disc only (IS mounts)
* max rotor size: 203mm
* Limited 5 Year Warranty
* 480 mm axle to crown length
* 38 mm offset
* Available by January 2011 at your local bike shop

SYNCROS FL_4What?? – Have the SYNCROS designers been missing the fact that rigid 29er forks are getting shorter and receiving more offset?

What might seem a bit odd at first, could actually be a really smart move by SYNCROS. Think about it: For over ten years all 29er frames (be it by a major manufacturer or by your custom frame builder) were designed around 38 mm offset forks and only in the very last few years has the trend in geometry been altered. That is a lot of frames, many of them still being ridden (and loved), often with their original fork, that is sure to have a 38 mm offset.

Enter the new 29er SYNCROS fork and many riders might have the perfect aftermarket upgrade that will not alter their beloved bike´s handling at all (as most other “new generation” rigid forks would).

Here is what SYNCROS U.S. marketing director S. Coffey had to say on this:

“We have dabbled with various offsets, lengths and frames with mixed results. In our ride testing we found that a 480mm/38mm offset obviously works fine on ubiquitous “old school” geometry, and despite the math, still works really well on “new school” bikes.

Note: our lead test rider was Thomas Frischknecht, riding a Scott Scale 29, which is about as new as it gets. In contrast, a newer >45mm offset fork works, but does not work quite so well, on a pre-2008 frame.”

Unlike others, Syncros does not make frames, and unlike Fox, Rock Shox and Manitou our fork business is not heavily anchored to OEM business, so we need to offer a light, strong and sweet-riding rigid for that will work with the largest number of existing bikes out there as an upgrade. At this time a 480mm/38mm offset is the best choice.”

Besides, who of us can claim to KNOW with certainty how such a geometry fork on a “modern” frame will really affect the bike´s handling? Sure the fork will put my front end slightly higher, compared to the 470 mm standard of all other 29er forks on test, after all it suspension corrected for 80-100 mm. But how will the difference in offset show? Will it show at all? And if, how dramatically?

I hope to be able be able to shed some light on these questions by really putting the SYNCROS FL 29er fork though its paces and by testing the alongside other rigid 29er forks and on different bikes to really find out by first hand experience.

Stay tuned for my first impressions soon.

RIDE ON,

c_g

Ps: SYNCROS and their European distributor have been amazingly helpful in getting this fork to me as quickly as possible for what might well be the first ever public review on this fork. (Thanks for that!!).