If you have read my previous article about Hope disc brakes, you may have noticed a reference to ‘fork oil on the disc’. This was due to my aged Marzocchi Z3’s which would dribble oil onto my disc just when I needed it the least!
I used this as my feeble excuse to ‘invest’ in a shiny new set of Pace EVOIII forks. Said forks were purchased over the internet form Bromley Bike – one of Bike Magic’s banner advertisers – for the reduced price of £360 (plug-plug).
I fitted them myself, which also required the fitting of a new caliper half, and the unexpected purchase of a new brake piston (seized) and a headset (rusted). With all this new hardware duly fitted, the brakes bled and the disc and pads degreased, it was off to hit the trails around Sheffield.
The first shock was the amount of movement, standing up uphill gave about 80mm of travel, which was distinctly unpleasant. The first mile of off-road was similarly unpleasant. However I then managed to ride a nasty drop off which I had never yet cleared since converting to suspension, the steering stiffness allowing me to wrestle the fork through, just like a rigid fork. My mate behind me went over the bars!!
Once I had decided to stop watching the forks moving up and down, I quickly realised than the forks were just eating up the terrain. They had an extra 25mm travel compared to the Z3’s, but most of this is taken up in negative sag. This means that the forks can offer an enormous increase in traction, even over muddy terrain, whereas the old forks offered only extra comfort. The Paces are very very stiff both in steering and braking.
Upon reaching the rocky downhills of the route, on Burbage and Blacka moors, the forks really showed their high speed stuff. It was just so much fun compared to the old forks, the steering was almost as crisp as rigids, but the extra traction and comfort as the forks simply absorbed the rocks was superb. The disc brake was also better than it had even been, partly due to fork rigidity, and partly due to oil-free disc.
As an engineer I was extremely impressed by the construction of the forks. They are expensive, but you can see what you are getting for your money. Carbon lower legs offset the weight of the steel upper legs. I think this is an excellent idea, hard chromed steel is a far better bearing surface for forks, and makes the whole fork stiffer. Hard anodised aluminium legs, as used by most other manufacturers is much much softer than chromed steel, and will last only 2 or 3 years hard use.
The aluminium machining was perfect, and the alignment of the magnesium disc mount also perfect. It was good (and unique) to see bolts coated in copper grease before assembly – top marks.
Essentially this is not only a superb fork, but a hand made british product (just like Hope brakes), which manages to remain competitive against the mass produced competition. I can wholeheartedtly reccommend them, despite the high price.