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  1. #1
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    Head Tube/Front Fork Suspension Question

    Hey,

    I recently dusted off my 15 year old Brodie Catalyst. While this is an awsome MTB, there is absolutely no suspension. Now that I am on the wrong end of 35, I am thinking that I might like to try a front suspension - but I have a small issue. The head tube on this bike is only 1" in diameter and my local bike shop has told me I can only purchase a "low end" fork.

    I have been searching, but as of yet I have not seen any "high end" manufacturers who offer a 1" fork (i.e. Rockshox/Marzocchi/etc.)

    If I am going to do this I want to do it right.

    Can anyone give some advice to this old man??

    Cheers,

    Midlothian

  2. #2
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    You're going to have trouble finding a high-quality fork in 1". Unfortunately the suspension manufacturers have left 1" headtube bike owners behind. There might, however, be a solution.
    But before getting to that, you should consider the advantages & drawbacks of doing so. Your frame was manufactured without suspension mind (an assumption on my part based on its age). Putting on any suspension will lift up the front end, thus changing (reducing) your head tube angle and affecting the ride of the bike. Especially any fork with over 80mm travel. Your bike will exhibit less responisve steering. Talk to your LBS and have them determine if the ride quality will suffer too much.
    The next issue is that you probably won't be able to find a threaded 1" replacement. Going threadless is a nice upgrade, but will involve replacing the stem and headset. If the bike is still stock and equipped with quality stem and headset, you may want to rethink. Additionally, you probably still have cantilevers, which require a cable stop. Today's suspension fork braces no longer have brake cable stops. So, to obviate the necessity of a cable stop, you'd have to upgrade to V-brakes. Now you're talking replacing brakes and brake levers. Time to reconsider!
    And the above argument assumes you'll be able to get a quality 1" fork in the first place. Well, I know of a frame builder who was considering offering fork steer tube replacement. Specifically, replacing the stock 11/8" with a 1". It's relatively easy replacing them in most forks - you just need the appropriate tooling and a replacement steer tube that reduces down to 1" after exiting the fork crown. Kelly Bike Co. (www.kellybike.com) was considering offering this service, but I don't know if they ever started it. You may find someone else in your area who can do this for you.
    Given all the difficulties, I'd keep the bike stock and enjoy it for what it's worth: an excellent rigid hard tail. And being on the "wrong end" of 35 (like myself!), you would probably benefit even more by going with a nice cross country full suspension bike. All my riding buddies who've taken the plunge, have done so happily, never intending to go back. (I'm still holding out, however.)

  3. #3
    I couldn't car less. jeff williams's Avatar
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    From what I understand, since the frame is pre-suspension the headtube angle is not correct for a very long travel fork -even 100mm may blow the steering.
    Say 80mm..you want to spend over 200$ for 80mm?
    Better some CF bars if it's just vibration that bothers.

    Some exclusive suspension companies will press a 1 inch steerer, I did see a good one -it was a special order to get the steerer -they even did THREADED!

    Is the headset original?..probably threaded....So..are you going to pull it as well?
    Threadless headset, new stem, and fork...and the shop charge for pressing in the headset.

    $$$..like over $300.

    I ride a chromoly '90 T.R, no suspension -chromoly fork.

    What I did was pull everything off the bike and lightened it to 22 lbs, semi -slick rear, knobbie front. The lightening was losing 2 chainrings, shifter\F-derailler and ANY fender\light\rack\QR axle levers....shorten bolts\chopped bars,seatpost.

    Now it's light enough to ride fast. Being chromoly, it has little vibration anyway, I run a large tire front with low psi = 1 inch fake travel.
    Depending on how well you maintained or long you rode the drive components -i'd look into replacing more integral components to update the ride.

    Like:
    V-brakes and single digit levers.
    A new cluster and chain if worn.
    A re-packing of all the bearing and race systems.
    A new set of good pedals if needed.
    Is the bb loose ball? Better maintain it...they can be kept running, one that has sat for years need to be inpected and probably re-packed with balls. -Or a new cartridge BB put in..(not super expensive $20-40 part.)

    also...a new cable set and housing, this will help shift and brake..the stuff just doesn't hold up for 15 yrs.

    The re-building of my bike was around $550. Yes I like it a lot to spend that.

    I would consider the threadless headset\stem if going suspension..it will increase the amount of fork you can choose, also if your old quill fails -it is hard to find such mtb gear anymore new.

  4. #4
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    OR you could invest in a new ride, a new bike will be mutch easier to find parts for, and may be backed by the shop you buy from......

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the info. I have already sent my bike in for a major overhaul (re-packing all bearings, replace cables, etc.) and I am also upgrading the following:

    Headset (shimano sealed 105 - would Chris King sealed be better option - which one?)
    Raised Handlebars 20mm (Pazzazz Carbon 166g)
    Clipless pedals (TBC)

    Thinking about replacing:

    Cranks (wanted to go Carbon)
    Front V-Brakes and levers (u-brake on back - can't be replaced??)


    And that's about all.

    Thoughts?

  6. #6
    I couldn't car less. jeff williams's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Midlothian
    Thanks for the info. I have already sent my bike in for a major overhaul (re-packing all bearings, replace cables, etc.) and I am also upgrading the following:

    Headset (shimano sealed 105 - would Chris King sealed be better option - which one?)
    Raised Handlebars 20mm (Pazzazz Carbon 166g)
    Clipless pedals (TBC)


    Thinking about replacing:

    Cranks (wanted to go Carbon)
    Front V-Brakes and levers (u-brake on back - can't be replaced??)


    And that's about all.

    Thoughts?
    Most of the stopping power is front, the u-brake rear is wierd....no idea what to do.
    Steel frame? Weld canti-bosses?
    Find the meanest U-caliper on earth?
    Upgrade the front to V- or Disc if you decide on the suspension fork maybe.
    Not all new forks have the bosses for caliper brakes.
    And never a cable stop so center pull cantilevers are quite redundant now.

    The V-lever (you need specific levers or travel agents) will work on the rear brake, but will be set up really slack compared to the front.

    Some nice stuff to consider.

    ODI hex off grips..really nice grips ..I like ruffians, no flange.
    HQ tires, nothing improves a ride more than good tires suited to your terrain.
    HQ pads for the front and rear, stock say Shimano V-pads are crap...low end.

    Go koolstop or Jagwire. Specific -cartridge pads, good idea.
    http://www.jagwire.com.tw/

    Use softer (red) compound pads to increase grab.
    I use harder (black) rear as I slow rear feathering the brake -stop hard using the front =softer pad front.

    You using a possibly less efficiant rear -perhaps reverse and use the softer rear to ballance the braking 'feel' of having a better modulating front V.

    Some nice new CF bars would probably work well for you if you decide against the suspension.
    A lot of small tweaks might get the bike to where it feels like a fresh ride.

    Post pics when it's done. I post my monster of the same age.

    By the way..my '90 T.R would have STOMPED your Brodie racing back then .
    Not sure about now...and you're younger than me.

    I'll have to bushwhack you with a few branches to keep the lead.
    -Tossing goathead thorns behind me from my knapsack.

    Oh..Go Cris King if not just for the 'Bling!!' factor, the old girl deserves it.
    Last edited by jeff williams; 05-04-05 at 04:00 PM.

  7. #7
    blithering idiot jhota's Avatar
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    Marzocchi makes a 1" suspension fork. but it's expensive.

    as someone who rides a suspension-converted bike, don't expect a huge difference if you go that route. it's nice, but not that nice. if i can find a threadless disc-compatible non-corrected 1" rigid fork, i'll probably convert back to rigid.

    btw, i converted to a suspension fork "back in the day," when 1" was standard...

  8. #8
    I couldn't car less. jeff williams's Avatar
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    http://www.bmxbasics.org/new/bmx0895.html

    Some info on U-brakes...maybe look towards bmx for rear brake upgrade ideas?

    Mentioned was increasing cable size for leverage and Posi-Stop, a seatpost clamp cable stop??

  9. #9
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    I want to do the same thing with my old Trek 920. According to the Marzocchi site, all their forks are 1 inch compatible using a kit. A sweet Marathon Race here I come.

  10. #10
    yes... You're on my left jstream's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by badsac
    I want to do the same thing with my old Trek 920. According to the Marzocchi site, all their forks are 1 inch compatible using a kit. A sweet Marathon Race here I come.
    I did that a year or so ago with my 930. At the time, the only available fork was an RST Capa TL. Not much of a fork, but it was threaded, and had a brake setup for canti's. Added a susp seatpost as well. The result? A bit easier on my aging body than original. Hands and wrists felt a bit better after rides, but didn't do a thing for the trashed back. Yes, the bike just didn't fit me anymore, but still there was little diff. Got my new ride a few weeks back (see below), and while it's been very cold here, and I've been fighting strep for the last two weeks, I've had enough time on the new bike to know that there is a world of difference! Rides that hurt like crazy, I no longer feel. Trails that were unrideable in the fall, I can now cruise over. I'm thinking now of taking the very reliable parts off the 930, and either building up a 'cross frame, or getting a cheap ($119) Access frame and building a city bomber.

  11. #11
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    Well well well.... Out of the loop for a few years and I forgot about the competitive nature of the MTB crowd. However, I do need to say that no one could touch me on my Brodie - unless we were going through a bog (darned U-Brake).

    I may be nuts but here is what I am doing:
    (by the way I am a bit upset with the locals for recommending I just buy a new ride - for this one is too old!)

    New Schwalbe Fast Fred Tires (rather light - 350g - lookout for punctures)
    New cables throughout
    Repacked bearings throughout
    New Headset - Want Chris King, can't find it in Canada, so settling on FSA or Shimano 105 (lightest possible - 100g target - remember the 1", threaded restriction here)
    New pedals - Shimano PD-M545 or Crank Brothers Mallet C (which is better?)
    New Pazazz Carbon/Aluminium Handlebar
    New Grips
    New Avid Arch Rival front brakes (don't need to change the lever because there is a little pulley that can be installed to take up the additional slack on the cable)
    New pads on the U-Brake
    Not changing the fork

    I know I am probably spending way too much money on this old lady, but she is my pride and joy and I have always been a bit of a Grognard in this respect - ie. going against the trend. Once all is said and done I will post her picture!

    Thanks for all of your input!

    PS couldnt open the picture???

  12. #12
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Midlothian

    New Avid Arch Rival front brakes (don't need to change the lever because there is a little pulley that can be installed to take up the additional slack on the cable)


    I know I am probably spending way too much money on this old lady,
    You are spending way too much on this bike.

    As for the "little pulley" (they're called "Travel Agents") I wouldn't bother with it they're a real pain to work with when used in the "doubler" setting which of course is what you'll be using. Just get the new levers.

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