I have a Specialized Rockhopper (circa '96/97) with a rigid fork that I would like to upgrade to front suspension. I have not ridden this bike seriously in almost 4 years, and want to give it an overhaul that includes new brakes, headset, and hopefully the fork. I believe this bike has a 1" threaded, and I'm looking for some options in a 1" threadless.
I have done some research, so I know all about how this will change my geometry, cost me a certain amount of money, etc. What I'm looking for is some suggestions for a decent fork (primarily light XC, no big drops, no big hills as I'm in North Florida) that will fit my bike... and please, no "go buy a new bike" is not an option. This bike is in cherry condition with decent components, so I'm not going to scrap it just for a new fork since I'm already planning on upgrading brakes and headset, anyway.
Also, I think this bike may be "front suspension ready" or something, maybe not. Either way, how much will it really raise my front, and will the potential benefits of front suspension outweigh any negatives in geometry or steering? I'll sit quietly and wait for any suggestions on makes/models... THANKS !!!