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Old 05-02-05, 12:27 AM   #1
capsicum
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Why choose less fork travel?

Question, if a fork model can be had in 80, 100, and 120 all within a handfull of grams and assuming they all come on equivilant bikes(geometery adjusted for fork length), why would a person go with the shorter travel setup?

This is in regard to XC type usage.
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Old 05-02-05, 12:29 AM   #2
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Less weight, less bob, sharper handling.
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Old 05-02-05, 12:35 AM   #3
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Vanilla RLC 130 sub 4 pound coil fork, with great feel.
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Old 05-02-05, 12:40 AM   #4
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More so the latter two reasons
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Old 05-02-05, 02:12 AM   #5
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There is no point having excessive travel on the front, it makes for quicker handling and not as much bob. Also it has a "stiffer" feel to it.
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Old 05-02-05, 05:41 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hopper
There is no point having excessive travel on the front, it makes for quicker handling and not as much bob. Also it has a "stiffer" feel to it.
So why not get the one with more travel but with stiffer springs?(with the apropriate preload and damping adjustments of course)

On dirtbikes, travel is generally kept the same. But intermediate riders tend to prefer softer springs which tend to ride in the middle of the stroke in bumpy terrain, while more advanced riders use stiffer more bottoming resistant springs that stay near the top of the stroke normal bumpyness but actually make better use of the mid stroke resulting in a more comfortable ride in moderate sized bumps. (granted a lot of motos have fancy cartridge shocks/forks that have high low and middle speed damping and depending on rider and use, straight or progressive rate srings availible)
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Old 05-02-05, 08:16 AM   #7
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When he says stiff, I think he is talking about flex in the bushings/stanchions/crown, etc.

Also, what it comes down to a lot of the times is just what the frame was designed for, so your question is kind of a moot point to begin with, as no frame can have the same handling with an 80mm fork that it can with a 130mm fork.
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Old 05-02-05, 10:26 AM   #8
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This quote came up a little while ago
"Too much travel is negative travel"
Its true, i would never get over 80mm for my XC/road uses. Too much makes steering feel off if you ask me. Not to mention its lighter
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Old 05-02-05, 11:03 AM   #9
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I can honestly say I don't like short travel. I find my handling skills are dictated by how I ride. I ride over the front very heavy so I can really rail corners, a longer travel fork is what I use and need. I can't run a short travel fork (except when djing)

Downfall is going up...it tends to be slower and suckier (haha what a crap word)
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Old 05-02-05, 01:23 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seely
.... what it comes down to a lot of the times is just what the frame was designed for....

The handling characteristics and geometry are selected by the designer for its intended purpose. Longer travel forks on a frame intended for shorter travel will change the effective angle of the front of the bike adversely affecting its handling characteristics.
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Old 05-02-05, 02:38 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maelstrom
I can honestly say I don't like short travel. I find my handling skills are dictated by how I ride. I ride over the front very heavy so I can really rail corners, a longer travel fork is what I use and need. I can't run a short travel fork (except when djing)

Downfall is going up...it tends to be slower and suckier (haha what a crap word)
Made my day.

As for riding over the front, yeah I do that all the time and don't notice it. Of course when I go down steeps (not DH) I keep my ass over my rear hub. I like stiff forks (in terms of suspension stiffness) I like to have the thing take the rough bumps out, but otherwise, I like my bike to feel snappy.
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Old 05-02-05, 04:30 PM   #12
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I'm alot more like Maelstrom, I come from an MX background so I like the feel of a reasonable amount of sag, the handling of a longer fork that lets me get out front more and the extra ability more travel gives you.
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Old 05-02-05, 05:24 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squeegy200
The handling characteristics and geometry are selected by the designer for its intended purpose. Longer travel forks on a frame intended for shorter travel will change the effective angle of the front of the bike adversely affecting its handling characteristics.
Um... that was my point...
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Old 05-02-05, 06:16 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squeegy200
The handling characteristics and geometry are selected by the designer for its intended purpose. Longer travel forks on a frame intended for shorter travel will change the effective angle of the front of the bike adversely affecting its handling characteristics.
And that is why I said, frames intended for the same purpose but with geometry corrected for the fork length.

Quote:
When he says stiff, I think he is talking about flex in the bushings/stanchions/crown, etc.
The bushings shouldn't have much play on any decent fork, even a long fork. Heck my 23 year old moto, with 8 inches of suspention, doesn't have any noticable bushing play.
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Old 05-02-05, 06:26 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by capsicum

The bushings shouldn't have much play on any decent fork, even a long fork. Heck my 23 year old moto, with 8 inches of suspention, doesn't have any noticable bushing play.
Ride a RockShox SID and then ride a Fox F80x, and say that... the SID feels like a wet noodle under my massive 155lbs!
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Old 05-03-05, 01:31 AM   #16
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Do you know how much of a weight weenie some of the XC guys are? They will want to keep every single gram off their bike. Also less tavel will feel stiffer in bushings and crown, but it is not as noyiceable with high quality forks. Why have travel you don't need, all it will be is extra weight and more bob.
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Old 05-03-05, 02:51 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hopper
Do you know how much of a weight weenie some of the XC guys are? They will want to keep every single gram off their bike. Also less tavel will feel stiffer in bushings and crown, but it is not as noyiceable with high quality forks. Why have travel you don't need, all it will be is extra weight and more bob.
Ok so it's mostly about bob and some weight. But any highend fork(that has good bushings) has lockout, sooo.....


I guess I need to get out and test some high end hardtails. (don't want rear suspention clouding the test)
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Old 05-03-05, 06:34 AM   #18
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My previous two forks had 3 " travel which seemed adequate. I upgrade a year ago to a 4" Fox air which can be modified to 3". It steers/handles so much better at 4" than the old forks at 3" because it's a much better fork and it has the bigger tubes. After a year of some rough XC, I much prefer 4" with the Fox better than the 3" I had before.

It works well with the 3.7" Fox Float shock on the rear. As far as bobbing is concerned, I don't notice a difference. That's probably due in part to the adjustable low-frequency bump-valve which locks the fork until you hit a certain size bump.

I think the bottom line is that generalizing about travel implications is not all that useful. You need to compare actual forks it would seem.

Al
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Old 05-03-05, 03:19 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by capsicum
Question, if a fork model can be had in 80, 100, and 120 all within a handfull of grams and assuming they all come on equivilant bikes(geometery adjusted for fork length), why would a person go with the shorter travel setup?

This is in regard to XC type usage.
All things being equal, the difference between 80, 100, 120 will be in the flex (which translate to handling). However, if the fork materials/construction is adjusted for the longer travel and flex is kept equal, then it is about weight.

Bike geometry will always be affected as everyone has suggested. Bob can increase with travel, but with today's technology bob can be managed very well.
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Old 05-04-05, 02:06 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al.canoe
My previous two forks had 3 " travel which seemed adequate. I upgrade a year ago to a 4" Fox air which can be modified to 3". It steers/handles so much better at 4" than the old forks at 3" because it's a much better fork and it has the bigger tubes. After a year of some rough XC, I much prefer 4" with the Fox better than the 3" I had before.

It works well with the 3.7" Fox Float shock on the rear. As far as bobbing is concerned, I don't notice a difference. That's probably due in part to the adjustable low-frequency bump-valve which locks the fork until you hit a certain size bump.

I think the bottom line is that generalizing about travel implications is not all that useful. You need to compare actual forks it would seem.

Al
Don't go through the trouble just for a thread like this, but it would be cool if you converted the FOX forks from 4 to 3 inch just to see what difference it would make, being an identical fork and all. BTW, does the conversion affect the overall fork length(in part or a full inch) or just the travel?
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Old 05-04-05, 06:00 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by capsicum
Don't go through the trouble just for a thread like this, but it would be cool if you converted the FOX forks from 4 to 3 inch just to see what difference it would make, being an identical fork and all. BTW, does the conversion affect the overall fork length(in part or a full inch) or just the travel?
I would have done what you propose except it requires dismantling the entire fork and installing a plug. I believe you do lose an inch in length. Since the fork is so perfect the way it is and the overall bike (Stumpjumper) handles so well on everything I ride in N Florida, Tennessee (Ocoee) and N Georgia (Unicoi, Tsali, Ft Mountain, Bull Mountain complex) I really want to keep things as they are except for experimenting with new tires now and then. The Fox Float 100 RLC was the best $500 I've ever spent on mountain biking.


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Old 05-06-05, 12:15 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al.canoe
I would have done what you propose except it requires dismantling the entire fork and installing a plug. I believe you do lose an inch in length. Since the fork is so perfect the way it is and the overall bike (Stumpjumper) handles so well on everything I ride in N Florida, Tennessee (Ocoee) and N Georgia (Unicoi, Tsali, Ft Mountain, Bull Mountain complex) I really want to keep things as they are except for experimenting with new tires now and then. The Fox Float 100 RLC was the best $500 I've ever spent on mountain biking.


Al
That's the fork I've been oogling, though I don't have a frame worthy of it, yet.
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Old 05-06-05, 06:17 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by capsicum
That's the fork I've been oogling, though I don't have a frame worthy of it, yet.

The frame doesn't matter all that much if it's a hardtail IMO. Also, you might could use it on your existing frame and later transfer it to a new one. I'd leave the fork Steerer tube extra long to insure it would fit a new frame.

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