Fyxation Sparta QR: Getting Rolling- by Guitar Ted
A couple of weeks ago we reported about a new release from Fyxation. The two models in the Sparta fork range are the FCR and the QR. The full carbon, through axle version is the FCR and we decided to ask about the QR, (quick release) version for test and review. Fyxation agreed to send us the Sparta QR and this will be an in-depth look at it before we get on to riding it.
What It Is: Many bikes preceded the change over to tapered steer tube forks and through axles which are being used for gravel road riding. Bicycles that were in that time period between cantilever, straight steer tubed forks, and the eventual evolution to today’s “standard” of tapered steer tubes and through axles. The Sparta QR is an option which can not only help lighten up those straight steer tubed bikes, but also offer a (theoretically) better ride. The Sparta QR will interface with all the 700c wheels suitable for gravel that were built with quick release hubs, or those that have convertible end caps. Many modern day through axle wheels will accept a switch to quick release end caps, so even riders with the latest tech in wheels should be able to use this fork.
The Sparta QR is fitted with an aluminum steer tube which measures 11 3/4’s inches on our test sample. That should suffice for most frames which can be fitted with this fork. The Sparta QR also features water bottle /frame bag mounting points on each fork leg. The brake mount is the new flat mount style. Don’t fret if you have mtb style calipers though. Most brake manufacturers are providing flat mount to post mount adapters to accommodate your older calipers and new flat mount fork situations. In fact, for this installation, I had to procure a TRP adapter for my TRP/Gevenalle HYDRAULIC calipers.
The Sparta QR also has handy fender mounts, which I will be making use of as the fork gets tested this Winter and into early Spring. Fenders should cover the 40mm tires and leave enough clearance for everything. Speaking of clearances, the Sparta QR is rated for up to a 42mm tire and 40mm tires with fenders. Although, a cursory check of my Irwin Cycling Aon Carbon 35/WTB Riddler 45mm tire combo showed a decent amount of clearance.
Other pertinent numbers are 400mm axle to crown height, 45mm fork offset, and 9mm quick release axle interface. The drop outs face forward to combat wheel ejection issues. This is sometimes seen on traditionally placed quick release drop outs on disc brake forks. Forward facing drop outs pretty much take care of that issue as long as the quick release used is strong and applied correctly.
The Sparta QR also features internal, or more accurately, through the leg, brake cable/hydraulic hose routing. This makes for a cleaner look, and should help aid in making bike clean up after messy rides a bit easier as well.
First Impressions: The fork looks well made with a smooth, flat black finish and subtle graphics in gloss black and white here and there. Basically they are there, letting you know what you have for a fork, but not obnoxiously so. The threaded inserts all work well and the hardware is decent. The over all level of finish looks excellent.
The weight of this example with a full 11 3/4’s inch steer tube is 720 grams. That’s a bit less than the claimed 747 grams, so that was a pleasant surprise. The original fork weighed 1240 grams, (With brake adapter and star nut) so this is a significant difference. As mentioned, a TRP flat mount adapter was obtained to convert the flat mount to a post mount style which is compatible with the brakes on the Raliegh Tamland the fork is fitted to.
Mounting the fork was a straight forward process. Nothing unusual about that part. However, since I have hydraulic brakes, I opted not to disconnect the hose from the caliper, as required by TRP, to route the hose through the fork blade. Had I done that, I would have had two issues. One- The hose run I had would have been too long necessitating a shortening of that hose. Two- I did not have a bleed kit or the bits and bobbles required to shorten the hose. I simply tied the brake hose to the back side of the fork crown for the time being. So, please excuse the somewhat tacky install. I will look to doing it all proper-like in the future should things work out.
Besides that, I noted that the Michelin Power Gravel tire had a decent amount of clearance. Looking back at the review, I see where I wrote that the tire measured out to 42.4mm. So that was encouraging as far as clearances go, but it may make a fender mounting a bit dicey. We will see how that goes in the next update. The fork gave the bike a different look, with the straight blade legs and black livery. I may be biased, but straight legged forks look racier to my eye. Hmm…..
The Sparta QR has 5mm shorter fork offset than the stock Tamland fork, which translates into a longer/higher trail figure. I know that is a mind bender for some folks, so it may be worthwhile to explain that fork trail is a dimension determined by the geometry of the front end of a bicycle. The head angle, (steering axis), fork offset, and to a smaller degree, how much volume a tire might have all contribute to this. Differences of 5mm can be felt, so this is somewhat of a significant change. To keep things really simplistic, I will say here that it should make the Tamland more stable with the 45mm vs 50mm fork offset. Riding will tell the tale, but I already could feel that slow speed handling in snow was enhanced with the Sparta QR. For a deeper dive on this subject you can check out this fork trail calculator.
So Far……The Sparta QR fork offers riders with straight steer tube forks made in steel with disc brakes to swap to a more fully featured, lighter, high performance fork made from carbon fiber and with an aluminum steer tube. The Sparta QR features side mounts for water bottle cages or small racks, fender mounts, and generous tire clearance. The option to mount a fender is also there. Initial test rides show promise. Stay tuned for the “Checkpoint” post coming soon.
NOTE: Fyxation sent over the Sparta QR for test and review at Riding Gravel at no charge. We are not being paid, nor bribed for this review and we strive to give our honest thoughts and views throughout.