The eXotic Monocoque UD Carbon Rigid 29er fork is a good priced lightweight rigid carbon fork but with a few reservations
What they say: eXotic make the highest quality carbon fiber, aluminium and titanium bicycle components for MTB, road and BMX under the eXotic brand. Our design and manufacturing processes are truly innovative & our components are the perfect balance of light weight & strength. This eXotic Monocoque Mountain Bike fork is constructed as a single structural piece which makes it unlike any other eXotic fork.
What it is: The eXotic Monocoque UD Carbon Rigid 29er fork is constructed from unidirectional and 3K carbon fibre, with a tapered steerer tube, post mount disc tabs and a quick release axle. It’s available for all three wheel sizes, I tested the 29er fork. It’s light, as you’d imagine, at just 788g with an uncut steerer tube, and saves a shedload of weight over a suspension fork.
Word of warning, the fork comes with a rider weight limit of 97.5kg (215lb). If you pass that test, the eXotic fork is very nicely made with a high quality finish, with the carbon fibres running all the way from the dropouts to the steerer tube. There’s massive tyre clearance, great for winter mud-plugging. It’s designed for 100-130mm corrected bikes, I replaced a 120mm fork on my 29er hardtail with no ill-effects on the handling.
At just 788g, the carbon fork has a dramatic impact on the overall weight of the complete bike. It has an impact on the trail as well, with rapid acceleration on smoother trails and surprisingly good manners on roots and rocks. The fork looks like it might beat you up on anything but the smoothest trails, but that never proved to the be the case. Still, the ride is a lot more involving and you have to work the front-end a lot more, using the low weight to float the front wheel over more significant trail obstacles.
There isn’t a 15mm thru-axle option, so you’re stuck with the 9mm quick release axle. Not a problem for if you have a hub with interchangeable end caps, but will provide compatibility issues for some. There’s also no brake hose guide, so I instead resorted to a strip of unsightly electrical tape to stop the brake hose flapping about. There was also no carbon-specific steerer plug either, both issues which are an oversight on a £260 fork.
Who it’s good for: There’s a lot to like about the experience of riding a rigid mountain bike, and the eXotic carbon fork is a good price for the low weight and performance. The lack of a 15mm bolt-thru axle option is a drawback though, as is the lack of a brake hose guide.