One of the most common questions we're asked is which carbon forks are compatible with our steel frames.
Some carbon forks are labelled as specifically for an external (or non-intergrated) headset, such as a the Columbus Minimal below. However, the only thing that makes these forks different is the styling around the crown, where they are likely to have a rounder shoulder, compared to other designs. Just to repeat, ANY fork with a straight 1-1/8" steerer will be compatible.
Planet-X are well known for really good kit at great prices. Their Pro Carbon Road Forks come in a 1-1/8" option and will do a great job at under 400 grams and £100. They are available in a number of colours including white, black and pink.
Another option is the Ritchey Comp - a nice looking fork in one-piece monocoque high-modulus carbon construction. Available from about £150.
Finally, our favourite - the Enve 2.0. We're big fans of the Enve range - take a look at Mark's Stainless in Seattle build, which features a full Enve finishing kit of forks, seat post, stem and bars. Enve 2.0 forks are around £350, but a top quality product and well worth the investment.
There are plenty of options out there. You'll also find carbon forks for our steel bikes from 3T, Deda, Kenesis and Easton. Please feel free to get in touch if you need any advice.
Why don't you use internal headsets?
We decided to to use the 1-1/8" external headset size for a number of reasons. Most importantly, there are a huge number of internal, semi-integrated, tapered and other variations on the humble headset now. The bike industry has a nasty habit of throwing out dozens of new specs, only to make them obsolete a few years down the line. Do you really think you'll be able to find replacement headsets for all those standards? That means if we'd happen to buy into the latest and greatest spec that no one supports in five years then a worn-out headset or cracked fork could mean your frame becomes a paperweight.
That's not what we're about. We want to make heirloom worthy frames to last a lifetime - component specification is part of that. The 1-1/8" size is so well established headsets in this size will always be available.
The move to tapered steerer tubes with 1.5" or larger diameter is also puzzling. I'm sure you've heard this is the greatest thing since sliced bread, but seriously - when is the last time any of us had any problems with an "undersize" 1-1/8" head tube? Also, have you noticed that the bike industry recently "improved" the bottom bracket area by moving the cups outside the BB shell (essentially, adopting the same design as a 1-1/8" external headset)? How can moving some bearings into one tube, and moving other bearings out of a tube both lead to a great improvement?