Hyland Steel Fork

Civia recalled the carbon forks on their Hyland in March and the replacement steel forks are arriving at dealers now. I picked mine up today and it looks great. For 2010 the Hylands will come spec’d with this fork. It’s clearly a better choice than the old carbon fork for use on a commuter bike.


13 Responses to “Hyland Steel Fork”

  • David says:

    Well yes, it’s a better choice in that it isn’t a defective design. I plan to put a proven cyclocross carbon fork on my next commuter and don’t expect any problems.

  • Alan says:


    It’s not just a design issue – carbon is not a good choice for bikes that will be subjected to dings and scrapes in bike racks and train storage areas. If someone has a point-to-point commute with secure bike storage and doesn’t lock their bike in public bike racks for shopping, etc., then I suppose carbon is fine.


  • Saddle Up says:

    Do people really leave and park $1500+ (Rivendell, Civia etc.) bikes at public bike racks? I wouldn’t even think about parking any of my valuable bikes at a public bike rack, having a carbon fork is a secondary non- issue. The beater bike gets left in public.


  • Daniel M says:

    I have a little bit of a rant to add – I think that disk brakes force design compromises in rigid forks. Rigid forks should have a bend to them to give some shock-absorbing qualities, but disk brakes force the fork (and rear triangle) to counteract the braking torque much closer to the axle (axis of rotation) than rim brakes do. Shorter lever arm = more force, and this force is concentrated right around where the bend in the fork SHOULD be, which effectively tries to “unbend” a curved fork. (Or bend a straight one in the wrong direction!) With rim brakes, in both the front and the rear, the force is being applied much further from the axis. Longer lever arm = less force, which is furthermore applied near the END of the fork/seatstays, where they join the crown/seat tube and transmit the force to the rest of the frame much more effectively.

    All solutions to this problem involve some sort of stiffening of the fork (and rear triangle, for that matter), which then takes away from its shock-absorbing qualities. In most cases, the fork ends up straight-bladed; in some others, the brake side is stiffened more than the other, which can result in each blade responding to shock differently, leading to the fork allowing the wheel to “twist” slightly when you hit a bump.

    In Civia’s own press release, they admitted that making the fork stiff enough to counteract brake torque made the fork TOO stiff such that forces were concentrated in the crown, causing failure. Carbon is only part of the problem here.

    I understand that disk brakes are superior in wet, icy, and muddy conditions, but I think they create as many problems as they solve. In addition to the inherent complexity of the brake and rotor combination, and the fact that the frame has to be designed to counteract the torque much closer to the axis, you are also now transmitting all of the braking force to the ground THROUGH the spokes, which puts much more strain on the wheels; furthermore the clearance for the front disk requires that the front wheel be dished.

    On a mountain bike with front suspension, I get it. The suspension fork is designed from the beginning to be torsionally rigid but shock-absorbing in a straight line. For a transport bike, I just don’t think it’s worth it unless you’re riding in snow and ice and/or hauling exceptionally heavy loads.

    Thanks. I feel better now.

  • David says:

    I see your point, but the fork doesn’t act in isolation, it’s part of a system with the frame. You can recover the shock absorbing qualities imparted by a bend in the fork by changing head tube angle and other parameters while still haveing a very strong fork.

    I guess it depends on the rider’s situation but you can certainly add a layer of carbon over and above that strictly necessary to handle the loads as a “sacrificial” layer to absorb physical damage without affecting structural integrity and I’m near certain this is done with the cyclocross forks. After all, cyclocrossers aren’t exactly gentle with their equipment either.

  • AdamM says:

    Well done Civia for producing such an elegant steel fork, it looks lovely.

    I’m inclined to agree with Alan that steel is inherently better suited to the knocks and scrapes that a commuting bike is normally subject to than carbon, whether it’s fork or frame.

    Daniel is quite correct in his observations that a hub brake (disc or drum) introduces additional factors in fork design over a rim brake. The traditional curved steel fork simply isn’t stiff enough to resist the loads from a hub brake and, as a result, a hub-braked fork is generally slightly less comfortable to ride. However, for a commute bike, I would argue that the reduction in rim wear and tear, having reliable braking in all conditions and a less frequent need to repalce brake pads offsets any minor loss of comfort which, as Alan points out can be tweaked through other elements of the overall bike design.

  • AdamM says:

    Alan, two questions I forgot to ask:

    1) How do you keep your bikes so clean? The disc brake and front wheel on that bike look brand new and as though they’ve never been ridden!

    2) Are you happy with the Alfine dynamo hub? Any thoughts on how it compares to, say, a SON hub?

    My longer term plan is to fit both an IGH and a dynamo hub to my Singular Peregrine for daily commuting duties so always keen to hear thoughts from someone who uses both!

  • Alan says:


    1) I wash my bikes fairly frequently. I have it down to a science and it only takes 10 minutes.

    2) Yes. Honestly, any decent quality dynamo is sufficient. The Alfine and newer Nexus hubs are excellent. They may have just slightly more drag than a SON, and perhaps over time the SON will prove more robust, but for the money the Shimanos seem like a very good deal.


  • Apertome says:

    I’m glad Civia is taking care of the issue, but if I had purchased one of these bikes, I would be very upset. First they ship a high-end bike with a dangerous fork, so they recall it, but then it takes two months to get a replacement? Ouch …

  • dynaryder says:

    @Daniel M:

    All but my first commuter have had discs. I’m currently running a farmer’s market bike clinic,and I get a weekly reminder about why I hate rim brakes. I own/have owned numerous models of both cable and hydro discs,and none have ever given me the headache that canti’s and older calipers can. Disc pad replacement and adjustment is way easier than rim brakes(cartridge pads help,but are rare). Plus there’s no rim wear,the pads last much longer,and your brakes are uneffected if your wheel isn’t perfectly true. You can keep your primative rim pinchers.

    Back on track,people are just now getting their new forks? I’ve had mine for like a month now. I was actually surprised to see this article since I figured this would’ve been old news by now.

  • Alan says:


    “Back on track,people are just now getting their new forks? I’ve had mine for like a month now. I was actually surprised to see this article since I figured this would’ve been old news by now.”

    Perhaps I’m low on the priority list… :-) (I suspect they ran out and had to wait for a second shipment).


  • Daniel M says:


    Back off-track, I completely agree with you about cantis and older calipers. I have had a pair of Avid V-brakes and levers on my ’97 Gary Fisher Hoo Koo e Koo since it was new and they have been and continue to be superb. I have toured extensively on that bike and have since replaced every other component and both wheels, but the brakes and levers soldier on. Because of my dislike of cantis, I spec’d my Sam Hillborne with V-brakes, and the feel through the drop-bar V-brake levers and interrupters is absolutely wonderful. I have cantis on my outgoing Bianchi Volpe and it will probably be the last pair I ever own, at least of the short-arm (read: no stopping power) variety.

    As to the old “you can still ride it if the rim is out of true”, I would feel much LESS comfortable doing so on a bike with hub brakes than with rim brakes, since all of the braking is done at the hub and transmitted to the ground THROUGH the spokes of a wheel which now has some sort of tension imbalance. The first time I saw a manufacturer’s label recommending to “check spoke tension before each ride” on a disk-brake equipped bike, I started to feel uneasy about the idea.

    To each their own, of course. You and countless others love disc brakes. I just think the trade-off in added complexity is rarely worth it.

  • David says:

    I think your worrying about a red herring. If you get out of the saddle to climb a hill on any bike, you’ll putting as much torsion through the spokes of the rear wheel as when you stop with a disc-equipped bike.

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