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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 03-22-07, 10:34 AM   #1
clearwaterms
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suspension fork or solid, hybrid

okay,

I am slowly narrowing down my bike selections. I am hoping to have two or three bike choices and then pick LBS's that carry those bikes. My question is on a budget bicycle is it better to have a suspended front fork or a solid front fork? This will be for mostly road and hardpack trails.

I am looking at options from trek / kona / and gary fisher.
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Old 03-22-07, 11:05 AM   #2
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Definitely solid

Cheap suspension forks tend to bounce a lot, and it's yet another maintenance item. They also slow you down on pavement.

If you decide the ride is too harsh later, a suspension seatpost is cheap and mechanically far less hassle.
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Old 03-22-07, 11:41 AM   #3
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I got a Trek 7100 5 months ago. I ditched the suspension seatpost almost immediately and 2 weeks ago replaced the suspension fork with a rigid fork. The bike handles much easier and of course I am WAY faster now . BTW all my riding is on paved roads (although in some cases I use the term 'paved' very loosely).
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Old 03-22-07, 12:03 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by conurejade
I got a Trek 7100 5 months ago. I ditched the suspension seatpost almost immediately and 2 weeks ago replaced the suspension fork with a rigid fork. The bike handles much easier and of course I am WAY faster now . BTW all my riding is on paved roads (although in some cases I use the term 'paved' very loosely).
two of the bikes I am comparing are the 7200 and the 7.2. The 7200 having the suspension seat post and suspension fork, the 7.2 being a rigid bike. if you had to do it over again would you have rather just purchased a 7.2 to start with?
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Old 03-22-07, 12:50 PM   #5
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I'm not a fan of suspension. Extra maintenance + completely unnecessary on the paved roads. I'm lazy about maintenance myself, plus I rarely ever hit the mountain trails, so nope, none of my bikes have any suspension on them.

But I guess it would be necessary if you ride off-road on bumpy trails a lot more than when you're on-road.
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Old 03-22-07, 01:10 PM   #6
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A good ridgid fork is better than cheap suspension. The difference between a good and bad steel fork is considerable. A butted chromoly steel fork will be strong, reasonably light and a bit flexy, enough to absorb a lot of vibration. Bad steel forks are heavy, have massively thick unyielding arms and you can feel every bump in the road.
Most low-end bikes with ridgid forks use the bad variety.

Riding off-road on a good steel fork used to be the norm, I take my lightweight steel road forks on tracks and trails.
Whilst you are buying a new fork, ensure that it has threaded holes for proper bolt-on mudguards.
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Old 03-22-07, 05:01 PM   #7
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On a budget bike, skip the suspension. You need to put your $ toward more important things.
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Old 03-22-07, 05:17 PM   #8
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I have a 2003 Trek 7300 and got rid of the seatpost moons ago and just replaced my front fork with a rigid a couple weeks ago. I can't tell you the difference in the ride. I did have to go with a threadless setup, but did get a nice steel fork for a very reasonable price. I would highly recommend the rigid fork.
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Old 03-22-07, 05:32 PM   #9
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I have put nearly 5,000 miles on my Trek 7200. My LBS switched the springy seatpost when I bought it. I still have the stock front shocks, they don't bother me.
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Old 03-22-07, 05:35 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clearwaterms
two of the bikes I am comparing are the 7200 and the 7.2. The 7200 having the suspension seat post and suspension fork, the 7.2 being a rigid bike. if you had to do it over again would you have rather just purchased a 7.2 to start with?
Knowing what I know now, yes I would have gone with the FX. At the time of purchase, I was very heavy and out of shape - I figured I needed the really upright position and wasn't sure how much I would actually be riding. The 7100 was perfect for the first 2 months - it was comfortable for me and that's what kept me riding. Soon however, still heavy but in slightly better shape, I started tweaking the adjustments on the 7100 and now I have basically turned it into an upgraded FX.

It is now definitely MY ride, the new Trek 7.conurejade
The moral of the story - don't get something that's totally uncomfortable for you now or you won't ride it - but also keep an eye to the future. Prepare to get bitten by the cycling bug.
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Old 03-24-07, 12:39 PM   #11
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I have a Trek 7500 with the front suspension (usually locked out) and I'm also considering replacing it with a rigid fork. Do I need to go threadless on the headset and utilize a cross fork because of the brake bosses in order to utilize the original caliper set?
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Old 03-24-07, 12:47 PM   #12
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A rigid fork will save you effort and money.
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Old 03-24-07, 07:36 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickillus
I have a Trek 7500 with the front suspension (usually locked out) and I'm also considering replacing it with a rigid fork. Do I need to go threadless on the headset and utilize a cross fork because of the brake bosses in order to utilize the original caliper set?
Not always, I went threadless because my LBS found a nice fork that was threadless and $150 cheaper than the threaded fork. The cost of the headset and stem was less than $75.00, so it was a no brainer decision. You just have to account for your brake type on the fork. Since I have V-Brakes, I had to find a fork that worked with them. It was the best upgrade decision I ever made on my bike.
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Old 03-24-07, 09:13 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaxgtr
Not always, I went threadless because my LBS found a nice fork that was threadless and $150 cheaper than the threaded fork. The cost of the headset and stem was less than $75.00, so it was a no brainer decision. You just have to account for your brake type on the fork. Since I have V-Brakes, I had to find a fork that worked with them. It was the best upgrade decision I ever made on my bike.
+1
My LBS found a very slightly used fork from a Trek 7.5FX that was threadless and cost me less than $25. Since it was from a similar model, it fit perfectly and the brakes were no problem. I was ok with going threadless because I was already looking for more/easier to find stem options. Definitely a decision for the better!
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Old 03-25-07, 09:59 AM   #15
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Hey guys,

Thanks for the info. You know, I really like the 7500 except for the fact it weighs 31 lbs. with the fork suspension. I wouldn't mind sinking a few dollars into it but wonder if I should just wait to put the money into a road bike. Thanks for the info.
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Old 03-25-07, 10:46 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by nickillus
Hey guys,

Thanks for the info. You know, I really like the 7500 except for the fact it weighs 31 lbs. with the fork suspension. I wouldn't mind sinking a few dollars into it but wonder if I should just wait to put the money into a road bike. Thanks for the info.
I too have visions of a road bike dancing in my head; but since I plan to keep my 7100 as a commuter, I really wanted to do some upgrades and change out the fork. I am very happy with the changes and felt it was well worth the money spent, but that's me. Everyone's opinion will be different - do what makes you feel good about your bike and what keeps you riding!
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Old 03-25-07, 11:14 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by conurejade
I too have visions of a road bike dancing in my head; but since I plan to keep my 7100 as a commuter, I really wanted to do some upgrades and change out the fork. I am very happy with the changes and felt it was well worth the money spent, but that's me. Everyone's opinion will be different - do what makes you feel good about your bike and what keeps you riding!
Me too, I plan to get a road bike sometime this year, but until then, I am making this ride as comfortable as I can.

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