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  1. #1
    OM boy cyclezen's Avatar
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    MTB-Changin Fork Travel Setup - comments?

    I posted this in MTB forum, but would also appreciate comments from you 50+ MTB-ers who don;t visit that forum
    here goes...
    OK, I have a Trek 7000, circa 98-99, which has a Manitou SX TI fork - 80 mm travel.
    I'd like to 1. try something 'newer' with adjustments which really work (fork has been great, but the adjustments never seemed to have much impact...) 2. get a fork with lockout
    3. service the Manitou, but not be out of action in the meantime, since this is the best time of year for ridin in our back country - late spring to Fall the back country is incredibly hot, desert-like...

    The Trek setup - Manitou Fork is 80mm.
    see attached pics ...

    What impact should I consider in goin to a fork which has:

    1. 100 mm travel
    2. 120 mm travel

    Note the Manitou has almost no offset, so its possible a 'longer' fork/travel setup may not affect 'trail' if the fork has some additional forward offset (compared to the Manitou)

    Some forks have multi-adjustments - how well do those work? Some have to be torn apart to set a different travel (Tora)
    I'm not looking for a high-end fork or spending big dosh... used but in good condition is a consideration...

    Any and all comments and ideas are appreciated, especially from anyone whose upgraded on an older frame...
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  2. #2
    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    Changing the fork "ride" height will have an effect on your handling. How much is difficult to say. I have taken an MTB in the opposit direction, installing a shorter rigid fork precisely to make the bike quicker in the steering inputs. That bike though had a specific purpose and terrain as part of my handling requirements.

    Nominally, what you are proposing will raise the nose of the bike. It will probably not steer as quickly (that can be a surprise on your first fast downhill turn). I don't think that I would go much beyond the 100mm fork.

    You might get excellent results from one of the modern 80/85mm travel forks. Something like a Marzocchi MX series. They can be had in the low to mid $200 range depending on the sales and much of that series comes with Oil damping, Spring with LP Air preload and rebound adjust. You will probably not find a lockout in that series at that price.

    The surprising thing to me was how much fun by bike with similar geometry to yours was after putting on a rigid (slightly suspension corrected) fork. It took a lot of weight off the bike and made me become a more technically proficient rider.

  3. #3
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    In addition to the possibly adverse handling changes from a longer fork, you would also be increasing the load on the point where the headset attaches to the downtube, possibly leading to a cracked frame. I would not use a longer travel fork on a bike not designed for it.

    A newer 80-85mm travel fork might be a good idea if you can find a good one within your budget.

    I'd go for option 3 and save up for a new bike built for more travel if that is what you want.

    Everyone seems to think lockout is a wonderful thing for a fork, but I never use that feature on my bikes. But then I never ride my suspended MTB on the road.
    Last edited by BluesDawg; 01-12-09 at 10:39 AM.
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  4. #4
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    From friends experience on XC trail riding- then an increase to 100mm will probably not be noticed much-if at all. However if you do much technical stuff- it could give you a few surprises.

    I have stayed 80mm on the Bianchi and never bothered to change it. In fact I have as I have it set to its hardest setting and only get around 50 to 60mm on even the roughest downhill taken at speed. I often feel that a fork with lockout would be an advantage- especially uphill- but then I am a rider that prefers rigid to suspension. Just a pity that the body needs a bit of cushioning.
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    OM boy cyclezen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
    From friends experience on XC trail riding- then an increase to 100mm will probably not be noticed much-if at all. However if you do much technical stuff- it could give you a few surprises.
    I have stayed 80mm on the Bianchi and never bothered to change it. In fact I have as I have it set to its hardest setting and only get around 50 to 60mm on even the roughest downhill taken at speed. I often feel that a fork with lockout would be an advantage- especially uphill- but then I am a rider that prefers rigid to suspension. Just a pity that the body needs a bit of cushioning.
    Thanks, you 3, for the comments so far. I guess I should add that I'm thinking of an upgrade to disk on the front. The lockout is mainly for climbing, and mostly steeper pitches - I don;t really notice any bobbin on the flat or lower grades (or street).
    Rigid Fork - did that for many years, but just no fun on the descent. Descending is about the only thing I'm good at, should at least try to max that performance better. And way rocky on almost all trails. You crash out here at speed and you're likely gonna come away busted. So sensible works well and a nice fork to control the crazy stuff would add a good safety edge.
    I do luv that bike though and foresee no need to go newer and add the weight (and expense) of rear suspension.

    So Finding a newer fork with both V-Brake bosses and disk, lockout, and decent durability is the key. I'm not into racin, so a pure xc 80mm race fork is really not the most suitable. But most all-rounders go from 80-85 to 120 and some from 100 and up.
    Been lookin at a Tora, but that means tearing it apart just to set it to 100mm (or 80).

    ANyhting else out there which might be easier to setup as 80 or 100mm?

    Please do keep the comments coming (more good stuff comin out of here, than the MTB forum...)

  6. #6
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclezen View Post
    Rigid Fork - did that for many years, but just no fun on the descent. Descending is about the only thing I'm good at, should at least try to max that performance better. And way rocky on almost all trails. You crash out here at speed and you're likely gonna come away busted. So sensible works well and a nice fork to control the crazy stuff would add a good safety edge.
    I do luv that bike though and foresee no need to go newer and add the weight (and expense) of rear suspension.

    Then whatever you do, don't try descending a rocky trail on a good full suspension bike or you'll start justifying the weight and expense. Actually, my Stumpjumper with 120mm travel at both ends weighs a pound less than the Rockhopper hardtail with 100mm in front that it replaced (but at considerably higher cost). I do love that bike. It has completely changed my approach to mountain bike riding.
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    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    Senior Member big john's Avatar
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    I have a bike that came with a 100mm fork and I have a 130mm fork on it now. This fork has a travel adjust feature that can be operated while riding, but I don't often use it. I like the ability of this fork to absorb the rough stuff. I am way up in the air, however.
    I wouldn't put more than a 100mm fork on your old hardtail. Is that an elastomer spring fork? My ex-wife had an elastomer Manitou and I bought a coil spring kit for it and it made a huge difference.

    edit, I just realized it's a Ti spring.

  9. #9
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    I thought the RockShox Tora 318 U-Turn had travel adjustable on the fly from 85 to 130 just by turning a knob on top of the fork.
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    OM boy cyclezen's Avatar
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    Thanks Guys,
    MAXX thats a great rec for the Marzocchi MX Pro. I hadn;t considered it, but it looks like a good match, and $200 for the fork and Post Kit - OK.
    Yeah Blues Dawg, the 318 U-turn is adjustable on the fly, but I;ve only seen it right around $300 for a new one - a bit stiff on the price. I know, you forget about the price once you;re out ridin and everything works great.
    Looks like I have some decisions to make.
    Thanks a bunch guys, I report back once I decide and after I get one on and go for a bimble...

  11. #11
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    $215 for the Tora 302 U-Turn right there at Maxx's link.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

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    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    The Tora 302 is also a very good fork.

    Remember, if you are careful and do not take off too much steerer tube (use a couple of spacers even if they are above the stem), that a purchase like this can be moved to other bikes in the future. In other words, buy a good suspension fork, it will be with you for several years.

  13. #13
    Senior Member freeranger's Avatar
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    Doubt you'd notice any difference going from 80mm to 100mm. Each inch (25.4mm) in fork travel only makes about 1 degree of change, hardly enough to notice. Wouldn't hesitate to change it over to 100mm.

  14. #14
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    My larger concern would be frame integrity. I definitely wouldn't go over 100mm.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

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    OM boy cyclezen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maddmaxx View Post
    ...

    Remember, if you are careful and do not take off too much steerer tube (use a couple of spacers even if they are above the stem)...
    zactly what I wuz thinkin
    and currently I have way too much drop from saddle to bar height, almost like a road racing setup - it currently is 3 3/4 inch drop. The bike, when I got it, was setup for a guy about 4 inches shorter than I. I did fine with it for the very occasional offroad rides I did up until this year. But now, with planning to spend at least 1/3 of my ridin time offroad, I need to get it setup better.
    I wanna get up to at least 2 3/4 drop or maybe more, but there's nothing in the current fork, which means either a riser bar or higher angle stem or both.
    A longer steerer with some shims will help solve that issue.

    Thanks guys, for all the great comments. I think you have me lookin in the right direction.

  16. #16
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Talked to a couple of riders today and asked what the difference would be on handling if you went as high as 100 mm travel. Basically- nothing. The difference would not be noticed unless you were a top rate rider that "Needs" the ultimate. They did suggest a lockout for climbing though.

    And as an addition--If you are going Disc- Think about a bolt through axle. Especially as you will be getting a new wheel. A few years ago there was a problem with QR's pulling out of the axle when using large disc's and heavy breaking. The problem may not be around as much nowadays- but play safe.

    And having ridden Both Marzochhi and Rockshox- I would prefer a Rockshox. The Marzochhi's seem to give a lot more bob that was difficult to adjust out. But it also depends on the price's that are available- and a local service agent if you think you may need one.
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    OM boy cyclezen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
    Talked to a couple of riders today and asked what the difference would be on handling if you went as high as 100 mm travel. Basically- nothing...

    And as an addition--If you are going Disc- Think about a bolt through axle. Especially as you will be getting a new wheel. A few years ago there was a problem with QR's pulling out of the axle when using large disc's and heavy breaking. The problem may not be around as much nowadays- but play safe.
    ...
    Thanks Stapfam - yeah concensus is that 100 should not be a big diff. so I'll look for something settable to 100, U-turn might be nice...

    funny story about my 1st encounter with modern bolt-thru.

    Heading out to a backcountry ride, I'm driving the 'Red Tomato' which holds 4 bikes. One rider has a new bike to her - Disk. I go to remove the front wheel, course I don;t have my glasses on, nor have I, at that point, ever seen a modern bolt-thru... The whole rig is black, so very hard to distinguish stuff (when everything is fuzzy anyway). I'm tuggin at that DAMM skewer and it just won;t budge ! She's lookin at me sortta sideways...
    Finally I stop the Man-thing and check it out once more... Allz I can see is this fuzzy red thing, looks like a button... press it... Dang! the whole skewer head pops out! I turn the head and it all unscrews easily. I look up - fool's grin to hide my gaff... She says nothing, just one of those shemale exasperated "GUYZ " looks... course she avoided me the whole ride as if I was gonna crash in some flamin ball.
    was a great ride anyway.
    sometimes 'stoopid' is a good learnin tool

  18. #18
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Now on those bolt through axles- If you finish up with the "OLD" type that I have- carry two allen keys to be able to unscrew the thing. And don't forget the one for the pinch bolts aswell. So ride weight has just gone up by a lb or so. Time to Get down the gym and sweat the weight off (Sauna's are fantastic for that)

    But I do have more than 100mm travel on this thing.
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  19. #19
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    I suspect you'll not find many forks with the combination of 100mm travel, through axle bolts and discounted prices at this time. Within a very few years it will probably be hard to find a MTB fork with regular quick release, as the through axle seems to be well on it's way toward becoming the new standard. But not many XC forks prior to 2009 came that way.
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  20. #20
    Bike Junkie roccobike's Avatar
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    cyclezen, Having done EXACTLY what you propose to do, I think you should go with the fork you want. I upgraded my son's 2001 Hard Rock from a 75mm fork to a 100mm fork. I checked with the folks on the mechanics forum. The only concern with the change was the potential stress on the head, and no one was really concerned about that given the extent of the change in fork travel.
    Consider some practical application points. You're not riding an air fork so consider that on a spring fork, there is a difference in riding geometry between a 150lb rider and a 200lb rider because the same fork compresses more when the rider mounts.
    After making the change from a SR Suntour spring fork to a Manitou Axle with oil rebound and HD springs, I rode the Hard Rock on the local technical trail. The bike handled great. The superior qualities of the better fork (and I know the Axle is an entry level fork) more than made up for any geometry changes (yes the Manitou lifted the front end about 3/4"). I would be more concerned about obtaining a quality fork than increasing by 20mm. But I would not push it to a 120mm fork. At some point the stress factor on the head does become a concern.
    As for buying a new fork, I didn't twice. Instead I purchased used F-100 Fox air forks for both of my MTBs. I paid $220 with shipping for a standard F-100 and $250 with shipping for an F-100 with terralogic, both off ebay. Both forks have performed well, but the standard F-100 was exceptional. BTW, now that I've gone air fork, I won't go back.
    You need to go the way that meets your needs, but don't allow a small change in dimensions to force you to buy a fork you're not happy with.
    I'm attaching a pic of the Hard Rock after the Manitou was added.
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