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  1. #1
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    Upgrade to suspension?

    I have a Norco Bush Pilot, I think it's a 92 model (is there a way to tell for sure?) with rigid forks that I am considering upgrading. I haven't pulled the fork off but the outside diameter of the steer tube is 1 3/8, so I hope that as it is cro-moly it is likely a 1 1/8 inside.

    I live on a gravel road which quickly goes to potholes when the rain starts and my elbows/shoulders just don't absorb as much bouncing around as they used to. So I'm figuring some inexpensive shocks and probably new front brakes to fit them (I have centre pulls now).

    Can this bike do the upgrade? And if so then what would be a good affordable (read low budget ) suspension fork?

  2. #2
    Senior Member mtbikerinpa's Avatar
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    If it is 1-1/8" then it is an easy drop in replacement usually. There may be some investment involved if you do not have ahead-set(threadless) headset and handlebar stem already. The cost is minimal, avg being less than 50 for the works.
    The choice of forks is a little more varied as well as complex. If you are looking for a basic, never let you down working fork, I would say a Rock Shox Judy XC would be a good fit. They can be had new or used, but the used ones are often around the 50-70 dollar point. To go below 4 lbs will result in a jump in cost, which unless you are racing I would say would not be worth the extra money. I would look at www.pricepoint.com for starters or if you feel lucky, even ebay has some deals.
    Brakes have come a long way since the center pull cantilever. The cantilever design is a classic and is dependable when tuned propperly, but the place to look now(esp when getting a new fork) is disc brakes. There are some dependable cable actuated ones that lack the sophisticated feel of the hydraulics, but are a far cry more affordable (less than 60 dollars per caliper). The performance and reliability difference will make you a believer right away and pads will last dramatically longer. The downside is you will need a new front hub to accomodate it, which can be had for a decent rate. http://www.gaerlan.com/bikeparts/parts/disk/disk.html
    Aviation Mechanic, Bike racer, Fitness Equipment Restorer

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  3. #3
    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    My advice for an economical fork would be a used Marzocchi coil sprung model. One of the Z-2's, if you can find one on e-bay. They were called different things over the years, Atom Bomb, Atom 80, etc. (mine is a Z-2 Atom Race), but if you see the Z-2 designation, it's a good short travel fork. The reason I say this is that for "bang for the buck," even a used Marzocchi is worlds better than an elastomer sprung RockShox or Manitou. Spring kits are still available for these forks (around $35), either through your LBS or I believe Speedgoat may have them. Use any synthetic motorcycle fork oil in 5-10 wt when changing the oil, these forks are oil damped and are, in my experience, bomb proof.

  4. #4
    Senior Member cyclodan's Avatar
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    quote"I think it's a 92 model"

    I would offer that unless you have meticulously maintained this 14 year old bike and there are no other issues with it at the moment, AND have all the tools, the know how and are prepared to shop all over the net for the best deals you will quickly exceed the value of the bike and maybe more than the replacement cost of a new mid level bike from your local bike shop.
    Not trying to be a wet blanket just realistic.

  5. #5
    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MERTON
    modern suspension forks will really screw up the handling of this old frame... get a new bike.... in fact... just get a full suspension (of the $1000 plus range that is)... if you can
    Great advice. The guy says he wants to upgrade an older bike on a very low budget, and you suggest buying a "$1000 plus" bike. And you're wrong about the handling, a short travel suspension fork will work fine. I've done it....have you?

  6. #6
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    Great advice from all of you! And I have considered a complete new bike altogether. My bike gets tuned every year and all components function near to the condition when they were new, so I don't feel a need to start from scratch. BTW a good friend is a bike mechanic who does build from scratch so tools and know-how are available.

    One other question though, how does rider weight play into choice of shocks? I'm 220 pounds

  7. #7
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    Great advice from all of you! And I have considered a complete new bike altogether. My bike gets tuned every year and all components function near to the condition when they were new, so I don't feel a need to start from scratch. BTW a good friend is a bike mechanic who does build from scratch so tools and know-how are available.

    One other question though, how does rider weight play into choice of shocks? I'm 220 pounds

  8. #8
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    Great advice from all of you! And I have considered a complete new bike altogether. My bike gets tuned every year and all components function near to the condition when they were new, so I don't feel a need to start from scratch. BTW a good friend is a bike mechanic who does build from scratch so tools and know-how are available.

    One other question though, how does rider weight play into choice of shocks? I'm 220 pounds

  9. #9
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    Great advice from all of you! And I have considered a complete new bike altogether. My bike gets tuned every year and all components function near to the condition when they were new, so I don't feel a need to start from scratch. BTW a good friend is a bike mechanic who does build from scratch so tools and know-how are available.

    One other question though, how does rider weight play into choice of shocks? I'm 220 pounds

  10. #10
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    Great advice from all of you! And I have considered a complete new bike altogether. My bike gets tuned every year and all components function near to the condition when they were new, so I don't feel a need to start from scratch. BTW a good friend is a bike mechanic who does build from scratch so tools and know-how are available.

    One other question though, how does rider weight play into choice of shocks? I'm 220 pounds

  11. #11
    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    The Marzocchi Z-2's I mentioned have the spring kits matched to the rider's approx. weight, and I found the kits still available at Cambria Bicycle Outfitters for $28, thru mail order. The kit you would need if you find a used Z-2 is the X-Heavy, which is matched for someone over 210 lbs. I believe. Or you may find that the existing springs in the fork are fine, if you go that route.......I seem to be pitching the Marzocchi Z-2 a lot lately, but it's only because I've had numerous elastomer forks, and new air forks, if you went that route, are very expensive, and I wouldn't buy a used one because there tends to be more maintenance issues with them (although if I did recommend a used air fork, a Marzocchi Z-1 would be my choice). I've had such good luck with my own Z-2, I feel strongly that for someone who's not terribly concerned about a few extra ounces of weight, they're the best short travel forks out there. Good luck whatever you decide-

    P.S. All of this assumes you're correct about the steerer tube size on your bike. If it takes a 1" steerer, there will be few choices available, I'm afraid. There were some 1" suspension forks made, but not many.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by well biked
    The Marzocchi Z-2's I mentioned have the spring kits matched to the rider's approx. weight, and I found the kits still available at Cambria Bicycle Outfitters for $28, thru mail order. The kit you would need if you find a used Z-2 is the X-Heavy, which is matched for someone over 210 lbs. I believe. Or you may find that the existing springs in the fork are fine, if you go that route.......I seem to be pitching the Marzocchi Z-2 a lot lately, but it's only because I've had numerous elastomer forks, and new air forks, if you went that route, are very expensive, and I wouldn't buy a used one because there tends to be more maintenance issues with them (although if I did recommend a used air fork, a Marzocchi Z-1 would be my choice). I've had such good luck with my own Z-2, I feel strongly that for someone who's not terribly concerned about a few extra ounces of weight, they're the best short travel forks out there. Good luck whatever you decide-

    P.S. All of this assumes you're correct about the steerer tube size on your bike. If it takes a 1" steerer, there will be few choices available, I'm afraid. There were some 1" suspension forks made, but not many.
    Great information, thank you very much. I may well be purchasing this item as it fits all my needs perfectly. I pulled the fork down and it is 1 1/8 as suspected. Thanks for all the research you've put in. I will be looking at this Cambria today.

  13. #13
    Senior Member erader's Avatar
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    the frame may not have the proper geometry for suspension but for what you'll be using it for you'll probably be fine.

    also look at the winwood carbon fiber rigid fork. i have one on my 1 x 9 litespeed pisgah and it is AMAZING for smoothing out bumps.

    i just came off a rigid steel MTB about the same year as yours and the LS feels like it has suspension in comparison.

    the winwood cost me $250 but nashbar sells what looks like a debadged winwood for $100 less.

    this is a great fork and i can't recommend it enough.

    ed rader

  14. #14
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by well biked
    Great advice. The guy says he wants to upgrade an older bike on a very low budget, and you suggest buying a "$1000 plus" bike. And you're wrong about the handling, a short travel suspension fork will work fine. I've done it....have you?
    Not only will it work fine but, if you are doing real mountain biking, a short travel suspension fork with decent damping will make that bike ride and handle so much better than the same bike with a rigid fork that it's not funny.

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