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Old 08-17-02, 12:29 PM   #1
Buddha Knuckle
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Coil Spring forks...an endangered species?

Hello all,

I am slowly putting together in my mind the ideal mountain bike (I know everybody here fantasizes about the perfect bike, so I am laying it out). It goes something like this: Santa Cruz Chameleon, XT/XTR, V-brakes, and - naturally - the perfect 3-4" travel fork. I know next to little about current suspension fork technology, and I wonder where all the coil spring forks went. I can't justify putting an air fork on a bike designed to be durable and trouble free over years of pounding. Coil springs were everybody's favorite only 3-4 years ago because they were durable, tuneable (through a selection of springs, even dual-rate springs!), responsive AND plush. So where'd they go? Also, I remember when the Z2 came out (I watched from a distance b/c I could not afford them), and everybody gushed about oil bathed coil spring internals but complained about the weight. So is oil-bath damping worth the extra weight? Are there alternatives that work almost as well?

Does anybody still run old Judy's with Speed Springs? I rode a borrowed bike for a day mt. biking in Ecuador (best $35 I ever spent) - it was a '96 c-dale F1000 with a modified Judy (back when they were yellow) and a fat Ground Control 2.1" knobby up front. That bike rode like an athletic bulldog, eating up the trail upwards and downwards. That fork was simply amazing.

Thoughts?

BK
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Old 08-17-02, 02:38 PM   #2
Hunter
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Yes I run a RS Judy DH on one bike, equppied with Speed Springs. My best friend has a Judy XC with the venerable Speed Springs as well. Currently Marzocchi makes a MXC, MXC-ECC, MXR, EXR, Shiver SC, ZR1 & ZR1 FR QR 20Plus, Z1 Wedge, Z1 Drop Off, Dirt Jumper1, Dirt Jumper2 etc etc with coil springs. Fox has a few models with coil springs as well.
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Old 08-17-02, 09:18 PM   #3
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Open bathe spring forks are far more common and popular than air. I prefer their feel. And so do many other riders. On dh, freeride and dirtjumping anyways.

They are not going the way of the dodo. Just have becoming more and more perfected.
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Old 08-18-02, 04:40 AM   #4
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Coil sprung forks will never dissappear. It's hard to beat the feel of a coil. Though, i went from a first gen Z2 to a first gen SID, and now i'm onto a SID 100 fork. The SID 100 is an amazing air sprung fork...it almost feels like a coil (ie: not sticky, doesn't need a curb to move into travel, sensative to small stuff, and runs low pressure). The maintainence so far has been low. I've changed the oil a few times, and everytime, the oil comes out clean. The air never leaks either. Air forks are getting a lot better as well, 'different strokes for different folks.'

And i believe oil bath is only used to bathe the spring/seals so there's less friction inside the fork..not used for damping (as i know my SID's used cartridges for damping as did the bomber).
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Old 08-18-02, 09:55 AM   #5
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The oil is also used to change the bottoming out point. You can also change the viscocity to change the feel of the fork.
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Old 08-18-02, 10:46 AM   #6
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I also think coil forks will be around forever, but the thing is air forks are getting better and better and also more expensive. All of the new manitou blacks use coil springs except for the elite air. Coil forks tend to be more durable but maintenance is a thing of the past for most air forks anymore. One thing for sure though is that my Fox forx beats the crap out of most every fork out there with it's feel. coil or air
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Old 08-19-02, 05:56 AM   #7
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My present hardtail came with a Judy XL. I upgraded the springs with the hard setup and changed the oil to 10 weight, it worked well, and then I sold it to get a Marzocchi Marathon 80, which is an air fork.

I enjoyed the Judy while it had its new setup, but I'm a weight weenie.
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Old 08-20-02, 08:29 AM   #8
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I appreciate the feedback.

I've been looking closely at the Marzocchi MXR, MXC, and Atom race. The challenge now is to suss out which one of those represents the best value for me. I can't wait to put the hammer down in Jim Thorpe this fall.

The Knuckle
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Old 08-20-02, 10:21 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Buddha Knuckle
I appreciate the feedback.

I've been looking closely at the Marzocchi MXR, MXC, and Atom race. The challenge now is to suss out which one of those represents the best value for me. I can't wait to put the hammer down in Jim Thorpe this fall.

The Knuckle
All get great reviews, but I think the new batch of Marzocchi's will be out in September with significant changes to the line up...
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Old 08-20-02, 11:41 AM   #10
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Thanks for the tip RichardD,

I think a new line-up will probably drive the price of '02 forks down. Hopefully in time for a fall purchase.

I have to see if I dig up some info about the innovations, but I am skeptical about untested innovations.
Which brings me to the meat of this post. It looks like the difference between the MXC and the MXR is the new floating valve in the damping mechanism. Supposedly the new valve allows the fork to be more sensitive over pebbles and cobblestones. Is this worth the $50 upcharge? Probably not, I am thinking, but I am curious about what others think. The other available gizmo is the ECC switch, which allows the rider to reach over and change the ride height of the fork to optimize it for climbing. Now this seems like it could be worth the $30-40 upcharge, provided it works as advertised. Anybody have any thoughts about ECC? The last innovation is the HS?? oil bath valving found on the flagship Atom Race. To tell the truth, though, I don't think my fork should cost more than my frame.

BK
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Old 08-20-02, 07:59 PM   #11
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The ECC is fun to play with.
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