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  1. #1
    Senior Member rayfrady's Avatar
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    Suspension Fork question...

    I just purchased a new Specialized Mountain bike. Its the first one I've ever owned with a suspension fork. Being a newbie to this, what is the difference between a stock suspension fork and a high dollar fork, like a Fox?

    Thanks,

    Ray
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  2. #2
    Writin' stuff ZeCanon's Avatar
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    feel, stiffness, weight. But feel is the biggest. A fox will feel oh so much nicer (depending on what came on your bike...)
    Velo Magazine/VeloNews.com tech guy get in touch or hit me on the tweeter @CaleyFretz

  3. #3
    Official Website Waterboy born2bahick's Avatar
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    adjustability

  4. #4
    In search of moar cowbell dminor's Avatar
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    I like Pete's answer; but I'll go just an ounce further.

    Depending on which specific fork you have, it may have a partial elastomer (a flexible rubber-like plastic) stack for springing, sometimes on top of a coil spring, sometimes elastomers only. Better-quality forks will be coil sprung, air sprung or a combination of the two.

    Better forks have hydraulic damping; and the better of the 'better' forks have external adjusters that control the various aspects of the damping: rebound (the most basic and necessary damping characteristic); then maybe high and low-speed compression damping; lockout blow-off pressure, etc. There may be another aduster for suspension "platform" - - how much it resists plunging from the rider pedalling while still retaining bump sensitivity.

    In other words, there are a lot of higher-end forks out there with some pretty sophisticated hydraulic circuitry geared to the fork's specific use.

  5. #5
    Senior Member rayfrady's Avatar
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    Thanks guys. I've always wondered why the big price difference. Now I see why.

    Ray
    '08 Kona Kula
    '06 Trek 1000
    '08 Specialized Hardrock Pro

  6. #6
    BFG
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    Just say no to brakes. BFG's Avatar
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    When i was a newbie as well, i didnt think there would be much difference in feel, i was like "The only difference is travel, looks and price.." Boy was i wrong.

    You have no idea how much of a difference it makes going from a low end to a decent fork. Highly reccomended.

  7. #7
    Smarter Than He Looks Sinker's Avatar
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    OK, so what does that mean on the trail? I've got a semi-entry level hardtail with a cheap fork. If I shell out the money for a fork upgrade (assuming I could find one that would work with v-brakes), I'll get a more advanced hydraulic system, more adjustability and better feel, right? So when I leave the parking lot and come to the first spot that has a bunch of forearm-sized roots, what difference will I notice? Then when I have to clear a 10" diameter log...how will that be different? After that is a small rock garden, then a little downhill bobsled-ish slalom deal.

    I guess I'm asking what does an upgraded suspension fork actually do better than a low-end one?

  8. #8
    BFG
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    Just say no to brakes. BFG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sinker View Post
    OK, so what does that mean on the trail? I've got a semi-entry level hardtail with a cheap fork. If I shell out the money for a fork upgrade (assuming I could find one that would work with v-brakes), I'll get a more advanced hydraulic system, more adjustability and better feel, right? So when I leave the parking lot and come to the first spot that has a bunch of forearm-sized roots, what difference will I notice? Then when I have to clear a 10" diameter log...how will that be different? After that is a small rock garden, then a little downhill bobsled-ish slalom deal.

    I guess I'm asking what does an upgraded suspension fork actually do better than a low-end one?
    Ajustability is a big thing yeah.
    The stability i guess is one way to put it...You can have preload, sag and rebound how it should be amd you won't feel like you're going to washout each turn.
    I know i felt more confident on a decent fork than your low end RST job, the adjustability enables you to set it ow you want it for you ride - almost perfect. And many, if not most XC forks these days are V Brake compatible.

  9. #9
    In search of moar cowbell dminor's Avatar
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    The rebound dampening that your low-end fork most likely lacks is going to be the biggest thing that you will notice immediately in any technical-riding situation. That is what makes any suspension 'real' suspension and not just a pogo stick on the front. It means the the fork will not recoil harshly from whatever causes it to compress and cause you to momentarily lose a bit of control. Look for externally-adjustable rebound - - this means you will be able to speed up or slow down that rate of rebound to suit your riding style and the conditions.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sinker View Post
    I guess I'm asking what does an upgraded suspension fork actually do better than a low-end one?
    Absolutely. A good fork can soak up a bump, or bumps, that a cheap one won't. It could be the difference between riding on, and having to get up.

  11. #11
    Type 1 Racer rydaddy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sinker View Post
    I guess I'm asking what does an upgraded suspension fork actually do better than a low-end one?
    Energy will dissipate through the fork as opposed to your upper body.

  12. #12
    Official Website Waterboy born2bahick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sinker View Post
    I guess I'm asking what does an upgraded suspension fork actually do better than a low-end one?
    Keeps from beating you to death when you want to ride hard. Makes an easy ride more enjoyable with less fatigue.

  13. #13
    Smarter Than He Looks Sinker's Avatar
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    Thanks for the great info!

    I'll start a separate thread asking for recommendations.

  14. #14
    In search of moar cowbell dminor's Avatar
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    Be very specific about what kind of riding you intend to do, what the bulk of your riding terrain consists of, what you want it to do for you (i.e. - - "help me keep control but not be too complicated," "have a lock-out feature," etc.), your weight (if it's unusual one way or the other) and how much you intend to spend on such an upgrade. These are all questions that will have to be pried out of you post-by-post if you do not lay it out in your thread.

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