CarbonCycles eXotic Boost Monocoque UD Carbon 29er fork review £244.00
A beautifully-made, smooth-riding and incredibly light rigid carbon fork
Jun 5 2020
Beautiful one-piece construction
Just enough give at the axle to prevent sore hands
That loose thru-axle nut
Only one finish
110kg weight limit
You're looking for old-school handling and new-school specs
CarbonCycles' eXotic Monocoque 29er fork is a Boost-spaced, through-axle rigid fork formed in carbon fibre as a single piece. It's very light at 886g, offers just enough flex for comfort and feedback, and is extremely well-finished. If the 49cm axle-to-crown works with your frame, the weight reduction and transformative feel it delivers over suspension or even rigid steel forks are well worth the cost.
The eXotic Boost Monocoque is a 110mm-spaced fork and will easily take a 29 x 3” tyre, though it's perfectly happy running more regular widths too. With an axle-to-crown measurement of 49cm, it's designed to replace a 29" 100-130mm suspension fork, a 130-140mm 650b fork, or even a 26" fork with 150mm travel. It's also available in non-Boost spacing.
Beneath the tapered steerer the crown is massively oversized, while the legs flow smoothly out all the way to the dropouts, where aluminium inserts protect the carbon.
Two cable guides fit neatly to back of the leg with reusable clips, so fitting brake lines to the post-mount discs it takes is simple. It’s a good looking and well-finished fork. With no brace required, it swallows the 3” Surly Dirt Wizard tyre with ease.
You might think a rigid carbon fibre fork would be harsh, but the Monocoque is not. There's just enough rearward movement at the tips to stop your hands from feeling every rock and root, yet no matter how hard you brake, there's never a feeling of unwanted flex.
Fit a normal 29x2.4” tyre and what you get is acres of mud clearance – I can get my fist in the gap between the tyre and the crown, which means no mud issues ever.
With no moving parts, the Monocoque is also very light (886g with the steerer cut and the thru-axle installed). The massive drop in weight over the MRP stage fork (2.054Kg) I had in my test frame beforehand, or even over the original Surly fork (1.092Kg), makes itself felt as soon as you press down on the pedals and the terrain gets twisty.
The lightness of the construction and the directness of zero travel mean your every input is beamed directly to the contact patch. On fast, smooth singletrack on this fork is amazing. The feedback keeps you involved and requires your total attention. Planning the smoothest route is essential to maintain speed, although the sheer lack of weight means lifting the front over roots and rocks is easy.
The only fly in the ointment is the QR15 axle system, which is an odd design where the threaded part that receives the axle is loose. It's much like an old quick release, except the nut is not attached to a skewer and you could easily lose it in the car or on the trail.
At £201 this fork is excellent value against the likes of Whisky's £550 No.9 fork or the new Enve MTN fork at £650. Both these have five-year warranties, too, while the Whisky option has no rider weight limit – the Monocoque has a total rider and kit weight of 110kg. Then again, they're around three times the price. A closer comparison is the Planet X’s Selcof 27.5/29er fork at £250, or the Kinesis Maxlight Boost at £320.
If you want to lighten your hardtail, winterproof it or just try something a little more old-school, then Carbon Cycles' beautifully-made eXotic Monocoque fork will reward you with an excellent ride experience at a sensible amount of money.