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Old 11-25-12, 06:01 PM   #1
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Judy DH fork on Bontrager frame

A friend has a mid 90s Bontrager frame with a Marzzocchi Superfly Z.2 fork. The fork does not hold air, takes about 5 pumps before its flat.

I'm thinking that either seals or Schrader valves need replacing, or both.

I stated to her that the cost of repairing may not be worth it, if it is both seals and valves.

I've got a bead on a 1995 or 96 Judy DH fork for $80 CDN. I'm seeking some advice whether or not its worth it to put a used mid 90s fork on this thing or just put on a $20 or $30 rigid fork.

Poor girl doesn't have much money, so a new entry level fork for $140 (tax in) is out of the question. The new Judy DH may last long enough until she is in a better position for a new MTB bike in a couple of years (retraining in school).

The rigid would limit her off-roading though.

Anyone know of any gotchas with the Judy DH?

I guess I need a perspective from another person.
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Old 11-25-12, 06:17 PM   #2
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Judy DH fork should be fine, provided it has a 1" steerer tube (those old Bontragers were for 1" only, right?). Whether to go rigid or suspension is up to you.

If the Judy is used, I would pass. Used suspension forks are something I don't normally buy, and would never buy sight unseen on ebay.
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Old 11-25-12, 06:31 PM   #3
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There are a few issues with fitting a Judy DH, the Judy came out when 1 1/8th headsets were all but standard, apart from the very last Bontrager Privateers (1997-1999 models), all of them were 1" headtubes, if the Judy isn't 1", which is very likely it isn't going to fit. Judy's are long outdated by today's standards, the Marzocchi is old, but will ride better than a Judy of the same age.

The headtube issue will also affect choosing any modern fork, as most are only produced in 1 1/8th" or tapered now, 1" is very rare, this could even cause issues in getting a rigid fork. (all this is on the basis that the bike is a mid-90's model, which will be either a Santa Cruz build or Wisconsin Privateer from 1996/97)

Why can't you get the Z2 serviced? they aren't that hard to service, see here for manuals http://www.enduroforkseals.com/id12.html,

If your friend does choose to get a replacement fork, the old one should have some value if selling on ebay, as Marzocchi's of this age are repairable, and have a retro following.

Not sure why a rigid fork would limit her off road riding, we all managed without them BITD.
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Old 11-25-12, 08:13 PM   #4
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Check your pmail..
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Old 11-26-12, 10:14 AM   #5
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Check your pmail..
Thank you, I'll follow that down and see what happens. I'll try my LBS first and see what they say about servicing.
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Old 11-26-12, 10:31 AM   #6
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A friend has a mid 90s Bontrager frame
you mean one He made Himself, Before becoming a brand name for Trek Corp?
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Old 11-26-12, 10:37 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by jimc101 View Post
There are a few issues with fitting a Judy DH, the Judy came out when 1 1/8th headsets were all but standard, apart from the very last Bontrager Privateers (1997-1999 models), all of them were 1" headtubes, if the Judy isn't 1", which is very likely it isn't going to fit. Judy's are long outdated by today's standards, the Marzocchi is old, but will ride better than a Judy of the same age.

The headtube issue will also affect choosing any modern fork, as most are only produced in 1 1/8th" or tapered now, 1" is very rare, this could even cause issues in getting a rigid fork. (all this is on the basis that the bike is a mid-90's model, which will be either a Santa Cruz build or Wisconsin Privateer from 1996/97)

Why can't you get the Z2 serviced? they aren't that hard to service, see here for manuals http://www.enduroforkseals.com/id12.html,

If your friend does choose to get a replacement fork, the old one should have some value if selling on ebay, as Marzocchi's of this age are repairable, and have a retro following.

Not sure why a rigid fork would limit her off road riding, we all managed without them BITD.
Although I have not measured the Superfly fork steerer tube, the manual I downloaded states that the Superfly is a 1 1/8", thus the Bontrager frame must be a 1 1/8". From a distance it looks 1 1/8" and it is threadless. I will check to be sure, of course, before (if) she buys the Judy DH.

I'm going to ask my LBS about servicing the current Superfly fork.

"Limit" off-road riding might be a strong word, let's just say she won't be as fast, nor as comfortable, on the downhills with a rigid fork as compared to a properly working suspension fork. I was talking to her about rigid forks yesterday and during the discussion I found out she pumps her tires to 80 psi! I asked if her if she falls alot. She said yes. I said, well, try about 25 psi (she's about 110 pounds......when carrying 2 car batteries).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bh47D_OlJ9Q
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Old 11-26-12, 10:48 AM   #8
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Judy's of that era aren't bad forks, easily serviceable and can be tuned easily, but the elastomers are almost certainly shot by now. Factor in at least another $25 for either new springs or elastomers.
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Old 11-26-12, 11:26 AM   #9
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Does she really do hard core off road riding that warrant a suspension fork? I would just go for a rigid fork since she is on a tight budget.
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Old 11-26-12, 11:39 AM   #10
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Does she really do hard core off road riding that warrant a suspension fork? I would just go for a rigid fork since she is on a tight budget.
We are certainly looking at both options. She would prefer a suspension fork, but if the cost of purchasing another fork or servicing is too much, then she'll go with a rigid.

Can't hurt to explore another suspension fork or servicing the current one. Looking is free.
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Old 11-26-12, 12:08 PM   #11
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Although I have not measured the Superfly fork steerer tube, the manual I downloaded states that the Superfly is a 1 1/8", thus the Bontrager frame must be a 1 1/8". From a distance it looks 1 1/8" and it is threadless. I will check to be sure, of course, before (if) she buys the Judy DH.

I'm going to ask my LBS about servicing the current Superfly fork.

"Limit" off-road riding might be a strong word, let's just say she won't be as fast, nor as comfortable, on the downhills with a rigid fork as compared to a properly working suspension fork. I was talking to her about rigid forks yesterday and during the discussion I found out she pumps her tires to 80 psi! I asked if her if she falls alot. She said yes. I said, well, try about 25 psi (she's about 110 pounds......when carrying 2 car batteries).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bh47D_OlJ9Q
Watching your video I was able to ID your Bontrager as a 1999 Privateer Comp http://www.bikepedia.com/QuickBike/B...e#.ULOrvGewXdE (I have the 1998 S with an XT Gruppo and a Super Fly shock). The headtube is 1 1/8"; the original shock was a RS Sid which was pretty anemic and the Superfly I believe was the best shock of the era. It is highly unlikely that your LBS will want to work on your shock and will probably want to ship it out the Marzocchi. The person I sent you too, Peter Mendes is a fanatic about rebuilding vintage Marzocci shocks. He has a lot of NOS parts that are unavailable even through Marzocchi (he actually lives about a mile from the Marzocchi service center in Santa Clarita, CA). Several years back I sent my Super Fly to Marzocchi who said it had a deep pit in one of the sliders and they did not have replacement parts that old. Peter Mendez not only had a replacement slider, he rebuilt the shock and polished all the aluminum for a price less than Marzocchi wanted for a standard overhaul.

As far as the Judy DH shock goes, I first tried an upgrade to the Judy XC. These old Judys have a plastic oil damper cartridge that are known for blowing out. I went through 2 cartridges in a month ($40 @ in 1998) and then replaced it with the Super Fly, so my advice is to pass on the Judy.

Last edited by onespeedbiker; 11-26-12 at 07:02 PM.
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Old 11-26-12, 03:59 PM   #12
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Watching your video I was able to ID your Bontrager as a 1999 Privateer Comp http://www.bikepedia.com/QuickBike/B...e#.ULOrvGewXdE (I have the 1998 S with an XT Gruppo and a Super Fly shock). The headtube is 1 1/8"; the original shock was a RS Sid which was pretty anemic and the Superfly I believe was the best shock of the ear. It is highly unlikely that your LBS will want to work on your shock and will probably want to ship it out the Marzocchi. The person I sent you too, Peter Mendes is a fanatic about rebuilding vintage Marzocci shocks. He has a lot of NOS parts that are unavailable even through Marzocchi (he actually lives about a mile from the Marzocchi service center in Santa Clarita, CA). Several years back I sent my Super Fly to Marzocchi who said it had a deep pit in one of the sliders and they did not have replacement parts that old. Peter Mendez not only had a replacement slider, he rebuilt the shock and polished all the aluminum for a price less than Marzocchi wanted for a standard overhaul.

As far as the Judy DH shock goes, I first tried an upgrade to the Judy XC. These old Judys have a plastic oil damper cartridge that are known for blowing out. I went through 2 cartridges in a month ($40 @ in 1998) and then replaced it with the Super Fly, so my advice is to pass on the Judy.
Thank you for that information. I am now tending away from the Judy DH a bit more.

This is what my LBS said about the fork:

Hi, there's really only three places where air could leak out.

1. the seals. We do have all sizes of seals in stock right now.
2. the schraeder valve. Put some air in the fork then put some soapy water on the valve to see if it's bubbling. The valve can be tightened up with a core tool.
3. the foot nut on the bottom of the fork. You can put air into the fork then use soapy water or a bucket of water to check for leaks there.

If this determines the cause of the leak, great. If it's the seals, we can do an overhaul and replace the seals and inspect the entire internals and fill with new fork oil for $55 + the cost of the seals ($35-45).
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