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Old 07-06-06, 06:42 AM   #1
Peek the Geek
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Is my Fork Toast?

My suspension fork isn't doing the whole suspension thing very well anymore. Things were working fine until last night...

Last night I decided to do a quick ride after putting the kid to bed, and it turned out to be a pretty nice one for a while. But then after going through a small rock garden my fork started to make this nasty clunking sound, and it kept locking up over bumps instead of compressing.

I stopped riding and pushed down on the front of the bike several times to try to compress the fork manually. Sometimes it would lock up and not compress at all (but not like normal lockout---this time it had a harsh sound/feel to it). Sometimes it would compress okay but make a squishing(?) sound. And sometimes it would completely bottom out with relatively little resistance.

During the very slow ride back to my car, the fork was clunking continually and not compressing over bumps.

So, is my fork done for? I'm taking it into the shop today, since suspension systems are the one part of bikes that I know very little about. I'm sure they'll tell me what's up, but I wanted to arm myself with some opinions and knowledge before going in. Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 07-06-06, 06:47 AM   #2
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That's pretty strange, what fork is it? I'm not too knowledgeable with forks either but maybe something to do with the compression is blown?
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Old 07-06-06, 07:45 AM   #3
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That's pretty strange, what fork is it? I'm not too knowledgeable with forks either but maybe something to do with the compression is blown?
It's a Manitou Skareb Elite. Came stock on my '04 Marin Pine Mountain.
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Old 07-06-06, 09:38 AM   #4
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20 to 1 they should be able to repair it. Luckily forks are pretty modular and can usually be fixed easily. It is going to depend on dolla value. Is it worth what they say to fix or replace with a newer model
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Old 07-06-06, 10:01 AM   #5
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20 to 1 they should be able to repair it. Luckily forks are pretty modular and can usually be fixed easily. It is going to depend on dolla value. Is it worth what they say to fix or replace with a newer model
Yeah, the thought of replacing it altogether has occured to me, especially since I have some extra money in my pocket from the sale of one of my road bikes. So I'm trying to wade through the marketing-speak of the various fork manufacturers' catalogs and web sites.

I've got a couple initial questions, though.
- Since my current fork has 80mm of travel, do I need to stick with an 80mm fork since that's what the frame is designed for? If so, that limits my choices by a lot.
- What's the price range for good, mid-level forks? I want something that's a worthwhile improvement over the Skareb Elite, but I don't need a top-of-the-line fork for the mainly recreational XC riding I do.
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Old 07-06-06, 10:44 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peek the Geek
- Since my current fork has 80mm of travel, do I need to stick with an 80mm fork since that's what the frame is designed for? If so, that limits my choices by a lot.
The rule of thumb that gets thrown around here a lot is not to increase your fork travel by more than 20mm.

The critical number, however, is not the fork travel, but instead the axle to crown height - this is what affects your bike geometry (most significantly, the effective head angle), and therefore your bike's handling characteristics, which are the real concern here. The relationship between fork travel and axle to crown height is typically linear, but not always - for example, my old 05 Marzocchi 66R has 150 mm of travel and my 06 has 170mm, but the 06 66RC2X is actually shorter A to C than the 05. So I gained about an inch of travel while actually dropping the front of the bike the same amount.

Axle to crown heights can be harder to dig up, but depending on your choice of fork, you can add travel and still retain or tune your current geometry to your liking.

Last edited by cryptid01; 07-06-06 at 10:51 AM.
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Old 07-06-06, 10:50 AM   #7
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If you bought it from Performance/Nashbar/Supergo, give them a ring (1-800-PBS-AIDE/1-800-NASHBAR). They will replace or refund the original price any defective product at any time, even if you don't have the reciept. I've had similar problems with a Black fork in the past and this way was much quicker than waiting on a manufacturer warranty process.
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Old 07-06-06, 10:58 AM   #8
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If you bought it from Performance/Nashbar/Supergo, give them a ring (1-800-PBS-AIDE/1-800-NASHBAR). They will replace or refund the original price any defective product at any time, even if you don't have the reciept. I've had similar problems with a Black fork in the past and this way was much quicker than waiting on a manufacturer warranty process.
Performance et al do not sell Marin Pine Mountain bicycles, so they probably won't replace the fork that came on mine.
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Old 07-06-06, 02:32 PM   #9
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I had a bud that had a problem that sounds just like yours. It was a broken spring. He works for Ohlins and he reworked the internals and now has a trick XC fork. It's kinda strange to have a spring break but I guess that would be a cheap fix.
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Old 07-06-06, 02:41 PM   #10
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Well, I dropped the bike off at the shop, and the mech said he'd take a look at it and let me know what it would cost to fix.

He also suggested I watch for closeout deals online if I'm interested in replacing the fork. Unfortunately, closeout '05 stuff seems pretty limited by now, and the '06 stuff is still mostly selling for full price.

So when do online retailers start seriously closing out their '06 forks?
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