Mountain Biking - Marzocchi Forks
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Okay, so I haven't been mountain biking a long time, and I've got a few questions about forks. First off, I'll say that my bike is a Haro Werx single speed (2001), that was fully rigid, but due to the lack of foresight upon its previous owner to leave enough steer tube to facilitate a headset change in case of headset crap-outtage, I've decided to buy a new fork. I would get a used fork, but there is a serious lack of tall people selling forks on eBay (I'm 6'3, ~200lbs), so I've done my research and narrowed it down to either the Marzocchi MX comp with ETA, or the Marzocchi Dirt Jumper III. This brings me to the next question, how much does travel really affect the handling of a bike? I couldn't find out what Haro recommends for the amount of travel on that bike, and since the Marzocchi forks are 105mm and 110mm travel forks respectively, I don't want to drop $300 on a fork. I've been to my LBS, and I just wanted to get some other opinions/recommendations...
PS - if any of you tall dudes are well endowed with disc compatible forks with 9"+ of steer tube, let me know!
12-19-04, 09:10 PM
The best solution in that case is to measure the distance from the crown to the dropouts and try to find a fork with a similar measurement. That way you're not jacking up the front end or lowering it too much.
Okay, so I've done the research, and here's what I've found (all measurements of dropout to crown):
current rigid fork (Dimension disc specific from what I can tell): 410mm
Marzocchi MX comp w/ETA (105mm travel): 373-478mm
Marzocchi Dirt Jumper III (110mm travel): 388-488mm
I'm assuming that under my weight, the fork would compress about 20-30mm, right? So I think that either of those forks wouldn't change the ride too much. I hope. I'll ask the guys at Bicycle Therapy the next time I'm there.
Thanks for the advice!
12-20-04, 02:03 AM
sounds about right... both forks would suit you fine... There's another rider on here considering the very same two forks and basically, if you plan on using the bike for a lot of urban/dj stuff and not much XC (if any at all), go with the DJ III. Otherwise, go ahead and get the MX Comp as it will have much better compliance over smaller bumps and won't be as likely to "pack up" and affect your handling. The MX Comp will still take a beating, so it's not like it's going to be a noodle. :)
12-21-04, 05:17 PM
Fork length really does affect the ride. I cannot stress that enough. Get it wrong, and you will destroy the ride.
I commute on a lovely old steel Avanti Hammer MTB (also v large, circa 1998), originally designed for a 63mm fork.
Currently it's got a 100mm travel Duke XC in it. Commuting is okay - very, very stable at speed, but lacks responsiveness when weaving through the traffic (I am an ex courier/messenger - so I like to get ahead when the traffic is stopped/slow).
What cheesed me off was, after a few months enjoying the "feel of steel", I chucked some knobbies on her, to go out for a thrash off road*. What a dissappointment!
Singletrack was a chore! The sweet 71 degree head angle had porked out to about 68 degrees. Slow to turn into corners, the bike's front end felt floppy out of the saddle (known as "wheel flop"), and the front tyre would push out in hard turns (understeer in moto speak). I didn't want to ride it offroad again.
So, as you have identified, don't do it! I have sourced an old Marzocchi Z2 Superfly (70mm) to chuck on it, and expect big things (singletrack bliss) in the future. 100m is overkill for my road commute anyway.
I have owned Marzocchis, Rockshox, Lefty's, Headshox, Scott's, and RSTs over the years, and they all have positives and negatives.
Both the Marzocchis you have mentioned are great forks (reliable, with quality travel).
If you spend most of your time with both wheels on the dirt, for for the MX Comp. Good weight, great seals, and will deal with all but huge drops/jumps.
Pricewise (at least here in Australia), they represent excellent value as well.
* I have far too many bikes, but every new one I build up is like a new lover - some are good, some are not so good, but occasionally one comes along that makes you redefine your past experiences
12-21-04, 06:25 PM
Honestly, it does affect the ride, but i went from like 80mm to 130mm and it didn't throw off my riding one bit, it made it better with the nicer fork (marz z1 fr). Throw the eta on for hills and i climb just as good as i did before. I ride XC with some good drops and downhills, but nothing to serious, mostly technical singletrack. Good luck, i don't think i gave any advice really.
12-21-04, 06:32 PM
With a longer fork (much longer than you are used to) you have to change how you ride. You MUST go over the front more and really drive the fork into turns. Takes more skill but generally it doesn't slow you down.
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