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  1. #1
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    Roadie Convert: Putting together first mountain bike, need fork advice!

    Hi guys. My name is Brian and this is my first time posting in the mountain bike forum. I'm a roadie for gods sake! Don't tell anyone... . .. I went mountain biking for the first time a couple of months ago and.. and.. I've decided to put together a mountain bike.. Secretly, I respect you and your sport, and I mostly despise my snobby elitest roadie peers. Please impart your wisdom on to me! I am in dire need.

    The bike thus far
    20" hardtail aluminum frame
    sram x0 shifters, rear and front derailuers.
    avid SL-V brakes
    avid SD-SL brake levers
    FSA Carbon riser bar
    Generic carbon seat post
    Stronglite Cranks
    On One Stem

    I haven't decided on a wheel set, but i'm probably going to build up some xt hubs on a sun rim. I'd love to hear wheel suggestions, since I know very little regarding the products.

    Most importantly, is my need for a fork. My budget is around 350. Should I buy new, or look for a fox fork on e-bay? I know very little about the quality of various forks on the market, but I'm overwelmingly told that Fox are very nice, and everything else for the most part sucks. Now I know that's a silly generalization, so please advise!

    Thanks guys.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Brian's Avatar
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    You've got oil/springs/air to deal with in front suspension. Pick the setup that suits your intended riding best. If you don't weigh too much, you can get by with an adjustable air fork, rather than dealing with oils and spring weights so much. Fox is good, no question. Marzocchi also makes good forks, but probably less for the XC style bike you're building. XT/Sun for your wheel combo works on our tandem, so they'll be fine for you. Perhaps even a bit overkill. You could certainly go lighter. Hope that helps. Provide some more info on your weight/riding style, and you'll get more help with fork choice.

  3. #3
    mud ain't bad... leadheadnc's Avatar
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    Brian, for $350, you've got some good choices in forks. Fox is undoubtedly one of the best, but how good a fork you will get used is up in the air. For that amount, you can buy a NEW Manitou Black or Axel (both of which are pretty stout) or some Marzocchi forks (harder to find on sale, but worth a look).

    Like Ex- said, you're making a good choice with the wheelset, but I'd also look into some of the pre-built stuff. For the money, some companies are offering great products.

    Not knowing your weight, I question the carbon seat post. At 215 lbs, I haven't had the best of luck with them. That's just something to think about...

  4. #4
    Senior Member Brian's Avatar
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    He's a roadie - probably a skinny little guy. No grog and Mexican food after their rides...

  5. #5
    UareFASTjustNOTfastENOUGH MasterSezFaster's Avatar
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    As asked before, what type of riding will you be doing? I realize XC is what you are going for but are you the aggressive type of rider? Do you like technical sections and fast down hills? Are the trails you will be riding smooth, rocky or rutted or perhaps a LOT of climbing? Yeah you are a roadie but that does not mean you are a frail looking twig that will blow away with the slightest of breezes. That will all be a deciding factor in what type fork you get.

    The two best companies for forks, in my opinion, are Marzocchi and Fox. Marzocchi if you are a heavier rider and Fox if you are on the lighter side (<180 or so). Again, depending on how you answer the questions above will decide what fork I would recommend.

    So what is your budget for wheels? That is the main question before a recommendation. I would ask the same questions above but you can get a very strong yet light weight wheel set that will handle more then any XC rider will throw at them. If you are going to have some built up, as with road wheels, you need to find a good builder. You can buy the strongest rims, hubs and spokes but if not built properly you will be very disappointed and hopefully not end up in the hospital.

    Some advice, do not set your mountain bike up like your road bike, mainly the seat height. You will want it a bit lower if not a lot lower (depends on terrain) because you will need to be able to move around more as you ride.




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    Thanks for the advice guys. To answer your questions,

    I weigh 155lbs
    I'm new to mountain biking, but I'd imagine I'm an aggressive rider. I skateboard and ride a fixed gear thus, I tend to ride a bit crazy for my own good.

    I live in Tucson, Arizona and the riding out here is pretty diverse, though I'll mainly be doing rides through very rocky (and cacti ridden) single track courses. Due to the diverse nature of the terrain, I'd probably want to focus on a good all around fork. I don't anticipate throwing myself down any +4' in the near future, so I don't need anything super pillow-e.


    Regarding wheels, I do want to go fairly light and because I'll be building them myself, it won't be the end of the world if I taco a rim. Rims are fairly cheep and I can repair the wheel myself. I can get new XT hubs at $60 a set, versus XTR for $175 a set. The weight difference is about 325 grams, but at $110 more it's pricey. That's almost a lbs though.. I'll have to consider XTR... Oh, and my wheel budget is around $200-300.

    Thanks again for the advice. Let me know whatcha think : )

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    There's a Manitou Black Super Air Suspension Fork at Supergo for $260.

    100mm travel

    what do you think?

    http://www.supergo.com/profile.cfm?LPROD_ID=25910

  8. #8
    UareFASTjustNOTfastENOUGH MasterSezFaster's Avatar
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    I would stay away from the Black for the terrain you have and how you say you wil be riding. I had a Black on my wifes bike for a while and it just does not feel as nice as the Marzocchi or Fox in that price range and they are not that great of a fork for your area.

    I would say (since you said your budget was "AROUND" 350$) look at the Fox Vanilla, around 400$ or Marzocchi's All Mountain III, Jenson has them for about 345$.

    Manitou makes a couple forks that would work for you but not in your price range. As far as RockShox goes, I have not ridden any of their new forks and have not check prices but the Revelation looks to be nice and a couple of others. Maybe someone else can let you know about the new RockShox.

    XT hubs will work just fine especially since you are not a heavy rider and Sun makes a good rim. If you can find somewhere that has the old Mavic 317's on sale those are a very stron and light weight XC rim. I say look for the older 317 because they would/should be on sale.



  9. #9
    Senior Member Brian's Avatar
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    You can get prebuilt wheels XT hub/Sun Rhynolites for around around $200, probably less. If you only weigh 155, and don't plan on doing big drops, they'll last a long time.

  10. #10
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    [QUOTE=MasterSezFaster]The two best companies for forks, in my opinion, are Marzocchi and Fox. Marzocchi if you are a heavier rider and Fox if you are on the lighter side (<180 or so).


    I am not trying to raise hell here. But I have never heard that about Fox and Marzocchi. Fox has 32 mm stanchions on their xc forks. I believe Marz has 30... i have not heard about the 180 weight limit either. I am assuming that you are talking about air forks. If you use the air fork for what it is- xc, not road gaps, or drops- it holds weights over 200 well. Both Fox and Marz.

    Brianallan- IMO a good fork is almost as important as a good frame. Try to get the best your money will allow. I also think Fox is better than the rest.

  11. #11
    UareFASTjustNOTfastENOUGH MasterSezFaster's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=cod3man]
    Quote Originally Posted by MasterSezFaster
    The two best companies for forks, in my opinion, are Marzocchi and Fox. Marzocchi if you are a heavier rider and Fox if you are on the lighter side (<180 or so).


    I am not trying to raise hell here. But I have never heard that about Fox and Marzocchi. Fox has 32 mm stanchions on their xc forks. I believe Marz has 30... i have not heard about the 180 weight limit either. I am assuming that you are talking about air forks. If you use the air fork for what it is- xc, not road gaps, or drops- it holds weights over 200 well. Both Fox and Marz.

    Brianallan- IMO a good fork is almost as important as a good frame. Try to get the best your money will allow. I also think Fox is better than the rest.
    There is no “weight limit” so to speak on the forks but in my experience, I have seen more Fox forks blow seals with riders over 180 then I have seen Marzocchi. Both are great forks but in my opinion Marzocchi makes a more durable fork if you ride aggressively no matter what discipline. I do know heavier riders on Fox XC forks that have had no problems, even hitting consistent drops of 4’ but as I said, I have noticed the Fox to wear out a bit faster.


  12. #12
    Too Much Crazy
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    brian allan

    I have a 2003 fox float 80 rl that came stock on my epic. I am planning to put it up to bid on Ebay.

    If you are interested PM me. And I will let you know the steerer tube length and see if it works for you.

    I would love to see it put to good use by a forum member.

    It was sent back to fox for regular maintenance last year and has been ridden on a dozen times since.
    I will include the fox air pump.

  13. #13
    ride TRUCKER's Avatar
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    I live in Tucson as well, and all the trails out here are VERY technical and Very rocky and sandy at the same time. I never needed full suspension 'till I moved here.

    For my fork, I use a Fox Tallus R and It's an air shock and I weigh 200 lbs. It's perfect for me. I've been riding Fantasy Island and it's rough on a hardtail.

    I also have some Sun RPM XXL rims on Ringle' hubs. Loud FreeWheel ratchet sound, but they are TANKS. I love Sun Rims, USA made and CHEAP.

    You weigh 155 lbs and you have a 20" frame? Sounds WAAAY to big for a mountain bike, a road frame can be large, but you're gonna want a lot more clearance in an MTB frame. OF course, I don't know your inseam and height, but 155 and 20" just doesn't sound right. I weigh 200 lbs and ride a 16.5" frame.
    Last edited by TRUCKER; 09-25-05 at 12:37 AM.
    Over and Out, TRUCKER.

  14. #14
    Giggity giggity! Dirtbike's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=cod3man]
    Quote Originally Posted by MasterSezFaster
    The two best companies for forks, in my opinion, are Marzocchi and Fox. Marzocchi if you are a heavier rider and Fox if you are on the lighter side (<180 or so).


    I am not trying to raise hell here. But I have never heard that about Fox and Marzocchi. Fox has 32 mm stanchions on their xc forks. I believe Marz has 30... i have not heard about the 180 weight limit either. I am assuming that you are talking about air forks. If you use the air fork for what it is- xc, not road gaps, or drops- it holds weights over 200 well. Both Fox and Marz.

    Brianallan- IMO a good fork is almost as important as a good frame. Try to get the best your money will allow. I also think Fox is better than the rest.
    A weight limit is not as big of a deal with the fork being able to handle the weight as much as the properties of an air spring affecting the ride. When a heavy rider pumps his suspension to the correct sag, it is difficult for him to use all of his travel properly as it would a lighter rider that uses lower pressure to achieve the same amount of sag. The air spring simply ramps up too much with high pressures to even bottom out.
    Rides: 06 Demo8 II, Yeti DJ
    Pin it baby!

  15. #15
    Senior Member nodnerb's Avatar
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    Well. Since no one else has mentioned them, I've always had good luck with Rock Shox. I have a 03 duke xc uturn on my bike right now that I am very happy with. It's built for agressive xc, not too expensive compared to a fox and rides great.

  16. #16
    just try me!! bobflyer's Avatar
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    you might want to try the rockshox duke or the marzocchi MX comp.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirtbike
    A weight limit is not as big of a deal with the fork being able to handle the weight as much as the properties of an air spring affecting the ride. When a heavy rider pumps his suspension to the correct sag, it is difficult for him to use all of his travel properly as it would a lighter rider that uses lower pressure to achieve the same amount of sag. The air spring simply ramps up too much with high pressures to even bottom out.

    If the said person sets his fork to bottom out, then yeah it will be a horrible fork. Not the best way to set it up, air or coil.

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