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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 06-26-07, 05:27 AM   #1
Fleet
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FatGuy Fork?

Hi everyone - it's been a couple of weeks since I last posted about replacing the fork on my bike. I'm down to 3 choices, and was wondering if anyone had any recommendations?

For background, I'm replacing the Suntour SR fork on my 02 Hardrock. It is the cheapest Hardrock they sold that year, with entry level components. Cantilever brakes make the new fork tricky to find. I am a heavy heavy rider, at 290lbs, but don't do any drops, just some XC and Street Riding. This mountain bike gets little "mountain" use. More tooling around the neighborhood stuff. I have a Kona Dew that I cruise on now, and would like this HardRock as a backup and occasionally a trail XC bike.

I have found some decent deals on RockShox

2007 Dart3 for $140
2006 Tora318 Air for $250
2007 Reba Race Air for $360

I'm having trouble justifying the Reba. It costs about what I paid for the Hardrock! But I could swing it if that's what it takes to hold me. I have my doubts that the Dart 3 will hold me for long. The Tora has some mixed reviews, but seem common on decent-spec new bikes. Any heavier riders have experience with these forks? I want to "set it and forget it" and just ride the bike.

I'm not enjoying bottoming out the Suntour riding down the street any more. I hate to throw away this bike and buy a new one - nothing wrong with it but the fork.

Thanks for any help.
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Old 06-26-07, 05:31 AM   #2
Tom Stormcrowe
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Why not go rigid fork for a path/XC/Street? It seems to me that the front suspension just tends to dive under extreme load anyway, unless you spend a lot of $$ on it.
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Old 06-26-07, 05:52 AM   #3
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What Tom said. You should be able to get a nice steel fork for half the price of that Dart.

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Old 06-26-07, 06:09 AM   #4
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Why not CARBON? I put a Carbon fork from NASHBAR on my Clyde Bike build and I am VERY happy with that fork. I am using the disc brakes on the fork and it works just fine. I've been riding on Rail Trails with it and it's been fine under my 275 lbs. Might want to give it a look.

My reasoning, I didn't want to waste the weight or the "POGO" effect that I get while up out of the saddle.
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Old 06-26-07, 06:49 AM   #5
Fleet
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Ah this is why I like this forum - new ideas. I never thought of putting a rigid fork on my Hardrock. Not sure I like that idea, but it is different. A rigid would definately be able to handle my weight, and it is relatively inexpensive.

At this point however, I'm looking for a traditional mountain bike, with suspension fork. Surely there are some big guys out there who ride mountain bikes with suspension forks.
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Old 06-26-07, 07:03 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ang1sgt
Why not CARBON? I put a Carbon fork from NASHBAR on my Clyde Bike build and I am VERY happy with that fork. I am using the disc brakes on the fork and it works just fine. I've been riding on Rail Trails with it and it's been fine under my 275 lbs. Might want to give it a look.

My reasoning, I didn't want to waste the weight or the "POGO" effect that I get while up out of the saddle.
I know what you mean about the "pogo" effect of a suspension fork - I have that problem in my TREK 820 - It really gets into a sympathetic oscillation when I'm stomping up a steep hill. I'm buying a Surly Long Haul Trucker - steel frame and fork - as a heavy duty road bike. I'm 6' - 2-1/2" with 24" wide shoulders, a size 52 chest and size 38 waist, size 14 feet, and weigh 265 lbs. I figure that the difference in weight between an aluminum/carbon-fiber bike and steel amounts to what a pair of my shoes weigh!

I vote for a steel fork with no suspension. Steel is nice and "springy" so it soaks up the bumps, and if it's overstressed it bends, then it springs back into shape. If it's really overstresses, it bends and doesn't spring back into shape - but it just needs help from your truck bumper, a 2 x 4, and your car service jack.
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Old 06-26-07, 08:44 AM   #7
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There are plenty of forks out there that will work and there are also lots of options with replacement springs that would make a fork more suitable for a larger rider.
I have ridden a Manitou Black, older Marzocchi Z1 Bombers and currently a Marzocchi MX Comp, all have worked fine for me at 235 and I am on "real" mountain bike trails. These all have pre-load and damping adjustments that take away the pogo stick feel. With the pre-load cranked all the way down the bike hardly pogo's at all on the road.

You should take a look on the Pink Bike (it is a mountain bike site) classifieds to get a sense of what used forks go for as there are tons of mid level forks that are replaced almost as soon as the bike rolls out of the shop. As for the 3 choices you have listed, the Dart is an entry level XC fork that is meant to be relatively lightweight so it may not fit the bill but I think that that Dart 3 comes standard with a lockout, which would let you lock it in place when you wanted to make your frontend more rigid.
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Old 06-26-07, 04:00 PM   #8
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As a clyde you will be hard pressed to find a suspension fork that will work correctly for you, been there, done that and unless you are willing to spend big bucks you will be disappointed with the results.

Down side of being the large economy size indeed.
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