You know how I was ranting about tapered cyclocross forks? Well, I tried one, and it wasn't half bad. In fact, it was mostly good. This thing was so stiff, it carved like a scalpel. I bet it could really rail a grass corner with the right set of tires at the right pressure.
Unfortunately, it had an integrated headset. The beating that a cyclocross fork takes on a jungle-cross course drive the bearings into the soft (relative) aluminum head tube, eventually yielding it, resulting in a throw away frame. For this reason, traditional headsets are the best choice for longevity since most of the stresses of riding are internal to the headset itself and when and if it fails, it can be replaced.
Other details about the Giant TCX cross bike that may be of interest to our readers:
- It came with Kenda Small Block 8 tires which seemed to work great during a limited ride
- All top tube cable routing
- A nice flat spot for easy shouldering
Of course, all that stiffness comes at a cost in the form of less compliance on rough terrain. Less compliance results in more bouncing which means lost energy. So, if you're used to riding hard and fast trails, this bike and fork would make an awesome rig. Roots rocks and other such things? Maybe steel with a traditional straight carbon fork.
BTW - this bike I rode had a ~60cm frame and the name Vanessa on the top tube. Vanessa, whoever she is, is a big girl.