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Verdict: 
Really good internally routed disc brake fork for your next cyclo-cross or gravel build
Weight: 
450g
TRP Carbon Cyclocross Fork
8 10

If you're building up a cyclo-cross or gravel bike and you're looking for a thru-axle fork for the front end, this TRP Carbon Cyclocross fork gives a very good account of itself and is definitely worthy of recommendation.

CX disc forks have been around a while now, and there's plenty of them about, but thru-axle ones are harder to come by. We recently reviewed the Enve Cross Disc fork and Dave Arthur liked the build quality and performance. The TRP Carbon Cyclocross fork shares many of the same characteristics: it's a full-carbon design, the axle-to-crown height is almost the same (397mm to the Enve's 395mm), and it's a similar weight (well, a bit lighter – 450g against 461g).

> Find your nearest dealer here

There are differences too, though. For starters, it's £80 cheaper. The TRP also uses an internal hose route where the Enve has an integrated hose clip that's clever but not quite as neat. And a big plus of the TRP fork is that it has mudguard mounts.

Trp Carbon Cyclocross Fork - hose routing.jpg

Trp Carbon Cyclocross Fork - hose routing.jpg

There are three versions of the fork: a 15mm thru-axle one, a 12mm thru-axle, and a 12mm with the mudguard mounts. I'd go for the last option, which is the one we're testing here. The mudguard mounts are simply threaded holes in the rear of the fork; to fit a mudguard you screw in an adaptor. Obviously if you don't want 'guards you can take the adaptors off, preserving the clean lines of the fork. And it has very nice lines, with a two-tone matt black/gloss black finish and an elegant shape.

Trp Carbon Cyclocross Fork - crown mount.jpg
Trp Carbon Cyclocross Fork - mudguard mount.jpg

I fitted this to my Kinesis Tripster ATR. There's a new version of that frameset now – see here – but the old version is still a great bike. The fork was the weak part of the package, though. It was early in the days of big-clearance carbon disc brake forks and it didn't even have a post-mount disc mount (it was an IS mount) and it could be a tad flexy under heavy braking.

Fitting the new fork made an immediate and noticeable difference to the front end of the bike. It's stiffer overall and that's especially noticeable in the lack of rotor rub from the front disc, which was sometimes an issue on the old fork. I'm less convinced there are obvious benefits to a thru-axle at the back of a bike, but the fork really does track better, with the bigger axle holding everything together at the bottom.

Trp Carbon Cyclocross Fork - disc mount.jpg

Trp Carbon Cyclocross Fork - disc mount.jpg

Pulling out the wheel for fettling is simple (the fork comes with a DT Swiss axle) and putting everything back together is a much more precise affair. Sometimes with a quick release you'll put the same wheel back in but the disc will be slightly misaligned because you've tightened up the QR a bit more, or a bit less. That wasn't an issue at all with the thru-axle.

Trp Carbon Cyclocross Fork - thru axle.jpg

Trp Carbon Cyclocross Fork - thru axle.jpg

Winding in the axle revealed that it felt slightly tight at one part of the revolution, suggesting that the threaded insert was a tiny bit off true. It wasn't ever an issue and it didn't affect the performance of the fork, but it's worth noting. The only other possible issue is that we're still on post-mount here, not flat-mount which is the newer standard. If you're buying a groupset to build up your bike, make sure you get post-mount callipers. You can fit post-mount to a flat-mount fork with an adaptor, but it doesn't work the other way round.

> Thinking of building up your own bike? Check out our guide

Clearance for 700C tyres is a claimed 40mm, and that seems about right given the fit of 35mm Schwalbe G-Ones within the blades. That might rule out some bigger monster-cross-style tyres but it's fine for general purpose rubber; if you're ever likely to go big then the Enve, which takes a 45mm tyre, might be the better bet.

Trp Carbon Cyclocross Fork - tyre clearance.jpg

Trp Carbon Cyclocross Fork - tyre clearance.jpg

Overall, this is a really good fork for a higher-end CX or gravel build. It's well made and it performs as you'd want: it's stiff and precise. It's not really giving away anything to the more expensive Enve fork in terms of performance, and the option for mudguard mounts means it's more versatile. Recommended.

Verdict

Really good internally routed disc brake fork for your next cyclo-cross or gravel build

road.cc test report

Make and model: TRP Carbon Cyclocross Fork

Size tested: n/a

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

TRP distributor Upgrade says: "With an ever expanding offering of disc equipped road and CX bikes on the market it makes perfect sense for one of the Worlds leading brake manufacturers to design a fork specifically around the disc brake. Using their 20+ years of experience of brake manufacture, TRP have put together the ultimate carbon Cyclocross fork."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

* Weight: 450g

* Internal cable routing

* 1.5' tapered carbon steerer

* 40mm tyre clearance

* 397mm axle to crown

* Rake 50mm

* Options for 12mm or 15mm DT Swiss Thru Axle

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
9/10
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
7/10
Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Very well, an effective upgrade or a good starting point for a new build.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Axle options, mudguard mounts.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Axle thread slightly off true, flat-mount version not available (yet).

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? I did, in fact  1

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your score

It's versatile and a good performer, and gives a very good overall performance.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 43  Height: 189cm  Weight: 92kg

I usually ride: whatever I'm testing...  My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR, Kinesis Aithein

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track

Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.

15 comments

Avatar
TypeVertigo [415 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

Yummy. Will take a good long hard look at this fork as a possible replacement for the one on my Giant TCX SLR 2, which still uses QRs and has an alloy steerer. The fact that it mounts fenders/mudguards is what sold me.

By the way Dave, what wheels or hubs did you use with this fork?

Avatar
itchieritchie [2 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

 

Daft question. I have a rim brake Trek Domane. I'm happy with the setup. After a bike fit and an upgrade to Ultegra with some lovely new 3T bars, Lizard Skins and Dura Ace wheels, I finally have a bike that is light and comfortable for me. 

I do sometimes wish I'd waited for the disc version to come along though. 

Would retro-fitting a disc fork be such a crazy idea? Obviously I can't go disc out back because the frame isn't designed for it, but if I put ONE hydraulic lever to cover the back shifts and front brake...my braking would be immeasurably improved. In any case, I use just the front brake for 90% of my shifting so this is the one that counts. 

I fully appreciate that the levers would be mismatched but cosmetics and aesthetics aside, is this possible and or even a sound idea?

Anyone ever heard of somebody doing similar to their rig?

 

 

 

Avatar
1961BikiE [390 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Itchieritchie - you could of course go for a cable operated disk brake. TRP Spyre or HyRd. Then you having matching controls and save the expense of buying a hydro lever.

Really pleased to see they are offering a version with mudguard compatibility.

Dave, do you think a 650b wheel would allow for a more voluminous tyre/knobbly. Nothing too mad obviously but maybe a 2"?

Avatar
gsavill90 [34 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Itchieritchie - I'm sure I remember entry level mountain bikes having a front disk brake and a rear rim brake in the late 90's. Go for it!

Avatar
shutuplegz [53 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
gsavill90 wrote:

Itchieritchie - I'm sure I remember entry level mountain bikes having a front disk brake and a rear rim brake in the late 90's. Go for it!

 

Itchierritchie I had one such bike a few years back and wouldn't reccomend it!

 

Admittedly this was a mountain bike, cable disc up front and v-brake on the rear. In dry conditions it wasn't so bad but in anything more than slightly damp conditions it made for a challenging ride! The reason for this was due to the fact that the front brake wasn't affected by crap/water on the rim like the rear brake. So trying to brake 'steadily' downhill using both brakes, you naturally apply a similar level of lever force, obviously allowing for the fact that you usually put more braking effort through the front but what would happen is that the rear 'v' brake would suddenly clear the rim of crap/water and 'grab'. With both brakes doing this you quickly learn to modulate accordingly, but I found it quite difficult to brake using one 'method' for the front wheel and a different one for the rear! Maybe it was just me, but I ended up going down hill in a series of lunges, almost coming to a stop, once the v-brake grabbed. I couldn't seem to learn to allow for the difference in modulation between front and rear!

 

Might be a different case on a road bike in dry conditions and could probably be tuned out with the right brake blocks on the rear. 

Avatar
BikeJon [193 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Is it possible to run QR wheels on a disc thru fork? My new wheels with be bolt thru compatible but I have a spare pair that is QR. Is some kind of fork convertor available does anyone know?

Avatar
BikeJon [193 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
itchieritchie wrote:

 

Daft question. I have a rim brake Trek Domane. I'm happy with the setup. After a bike fit and an upgrade to Ultegra with some lovely new 3T bars, Lizard Skins and Dura Ace wheels, I finally have a bike that is light and comfortable for me. 

I do sometimes wish I'd waited for the disc version to come along though. 

Would retro-fitting a disc fork be such a crazy idea? Obviously I can't go disc out back because the frame isn't designed for it, but if I put ONE hydraulic lever to cover the back shifts and front brake...my braking would be immeasurably improved. In any case, I use just the front brake for 90% of my shifting so this is the one that counts. 

I fully appreciate that the levers would be mismatched but cosmetics and aesthetics aside, is this possible and or even a sound idea?

Anyone ever heard of somebody doing similar to their rig?

I'm not sure it's a great idea to retro fit a disc brake to a bike (frame) that hasn't been designed for it. You may also find that the disc fork would alter the geometry as they tend to have longer axle-crown lengths so you can run wider tyres. 

Yes, as the point has been made, the different moderation in braking between the front and rear brakes (especially in the wet) is likely to throw you out.

Avatar
wycombewheeler [1234 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Force at the crown is unchanged, as braking is limited by tyre grip not braking surface. what it will do is achieve the same braking performance wet or dry. 

Geometry is a valid point, worth investigating axle to crown length on current and proposed fork before taking the plunge.

buying wheels will become expensive though as road wheels are more commonly sold as factory built pairs, this will not be an option, so you would be left (I suspect) with buyingquality hubs like hope so front (disc) and rear (non disc) will look similar and replacing rear rim as and when it wears.

Avatar
joules1975 [483 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
BikeJon wrote:

Is it possible to run QR wheels on a disc thru fork? My new wheels with be bolt thru compatible but I have a spare pair that is QR. Is some kind of fork convertor available does anyone know?

 

Most decent newer disc hubs can be converted between QR and bolt through (e.g. Hope Pro II, AM Classic disc hubs) but there is no universal adaptor (a front QR hub is actually wider than a bolt through hub when you take into account the tabs on a QR hub that sit into the dropouts on the QR fork).

 

So, yes if you can buy adaptors for your specific brand of hubs, otherwise, no.

Avatar
reippuert [74 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Great to read - i ordered the 15mm version last week for my new custom TI gravel build.

Avatar
reippuert [74 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
itchieritchie wrote:

 

Would retro-fitting a disc fork be such a crazy idea? Obviously I can't go disc out back because the frame isn't designed for it, but if I put ONE hydraulic lever to cover the back shifts and front brake...my braking would be immeasurably improved. In any case, I use just the front brake for 90% of my shifting so this is the one that counts. 

this fork wont work - it will riun the geometry as its arround 400mm length, you'd need a road fork at 360-370mm. Enve makes a road disc fork.

Avatar
admin [16 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

1961BikiE wrote:

Dave, do you think a 650b wheel would allow for a more voluminous tyre/knobbly. Nothing too mad obviously but maybe a 2"?

hm, probably not. the fork is reasonably narrow for the top third so i doubt it'd make much difference

Avatar
admin [16 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

(that's a 30mm S-One in the pics, not a 35mm G-One)

Avatar
tonytapay [1 post] 7 months ago
0 likes

Hi Dave. You wrote, "to fit a mudguard you screw in an adaptor." Do you have a picture or link to this adaptor?  Is included with the TRP fork? I'm curious what it looks like and where I can get it. Thanks.

Avatar
ken skuse [18 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

 I have a beautiful Kinesis CX Race with an excellent  TRP Spyre 160mm front disc brake plus an Avid Ultimate Cali[per rear brake which weighs just 120 grammes. 

Living in the Carpathian mountains, Transylvania, riding everything from the flat to 5, 10/20% climbs and descents, on or off roads, asphalt, gravel and rocky trails. My front brake normally takes 90 to 100% of the braking. The rear brake is used mostly for trimming, stabilising during descents.  Riding downhill on loose surfaces with drop handlebars with no 'dropper seat post' can be a  real butt clincher, (a. over t.) but with careful use of the front brake, the Avid Ultimate rear brake is powerful enough to lock the rear wheel to steer by the 'seat of your pants.'

   Here the scenery is spectacular through forests and mountains. It never rains only during night times, so nobody owns waterproofs or mudguards. The sun shines every day in the alpine air. Pure water, chocolates, gels icecream and cakes are all free, everybody is happy, especially if you own a Kinesis. Yes, it's a good life, I am staying.

This setup is my choice but t may not be yours, we are all different. It saves me 1/2 a kilo in weight to haul up the long hard climbs, it allows me to customise my 'bike and be an individual.  Good luck to you all and happy cycling...