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Old 09-06-09, 02:27 AM   #1
Sonoma76
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Can I add a suspension fork to this bike?



Before the critics start, I want to because 1)I have a sentimental attachment to this bike, 2) it's too rough to ride mountain with right now (don't know how I did it 19 years ago), and 3) money is an issue, can't buy a new bike now.

So is it possible? I think the headtube is 1" so I should be able to find a fork. But will the geometry work? Or is the headtube angle too steep?
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Old 09-06-09, 05:06 AM   #2
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In theory you can do anything you want, in reality the ride might not be quite what it was. Most sus forks have a steerer tube of 11/8" so if that fits then you are good to go. You'll also need a fork with V brake mounts as well as disc brake ones. I say thats cause you'll probably upgrade to disc brakes eventually...
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Old 09-06-09, 08:01 AM   #3
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Old 09-06-09, 10:45 AM   #4
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Pics don't work so I can only assume the worst.

You'll need a fork with <2" of travel, a 1" threaded steerer in the correct length with the correct amount of threading, as well as a brace with a brake housing stop for center pull cantilevers.

Suspension forks with these specs haven't been made since 1997, so you've got quite a search ahead of you. Keep an eye on ebay and craigslist. Vintage forks pop up every so often.


Edit: You'll also need to know whether your 1" headset has an ISO or JIS crown race.

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Old 09-06-09, 11:02 AM   #5
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Maybe you should think about going Ghetto tubeless for $20 and run low, low tire pressures. That will increase the ride quality much more than an archaic suspension fork. I'd personally leave the orig fork on there...that's a sweet vintage ride.
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Old 09-06-09, 12:03 PM   #6
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Maybe you should think about going Ghetto tubeless for $20 and run low, low tire pressures. That will increase the ride quality much more than an archaic suspension fork. I'd personally leave the orig fork on there...that's a sweet vintage ride.
+1

A whole lot more trouble than it's worth.

Looks like a 'vintage' Biopace crank/chainrings, too.
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Old 09-06-09, 01:27 PM   #7
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I had biopace on an old trek in the 90's back then i thought it was the coolest thing ever along with STI shifters...
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Old 09-06-09, 02:25 PM   #8
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..........and I think I see thumbies on there.
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Old 09-06-09, 02:32 PM   #9
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Yeah the original Exage 400 shifters were lost somewhere along the way so I bought some Deore DX thumb shifters.

So what I'm hearing is that it's more trouble than it's worth. Surprising that I'd need that specific of a fork. What if I replace the headset and stem? Could I use a more modern fork, like the $110 Rock Shox Dirt 2 I see on Nashbar?
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Old 09-06-09, 02:55 PM   #10
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Yeah the original Exage 400 shifters were lost somewhere along the way so I bought some Deore DX thumb shifters.

So what I'm hearing is that it's more trouble than it's worth. Surprising that I'd need that specific of a fork. What if I replace the headset and stem? Could I use a more modern fork, like the $110 Rock Shox Dirt 2 I see on Nashbar?
From the pic it DOES look to be a 1" steer tube. Good luck finding even a 1" sus. fork, altho as far as I know you can still get a Marzocchi fork in 1". With that though, your geometry may suffer from the increased axle-to-crown length of the new fork as well as too much travel, 3"-4".

Parts are gonna be like $20 headset, $20 stem, $100 for the fork. Add $50 mechanics fees and you got almost $200. ?

Kinda like putting radials on a hand truck.
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Old 09-06-09, 03:58 PM   #11
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With that though, your geometry may suffer from the increased axle-to-crown length of the new fork as well as too much travel, 3"-4".
The argument could be made though, that slackening that ancient, too-steep, road-bike-derived geometry might 'improve' it more than make it 'suffer' .
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Old 09-06-09, 04:18 PM   #12
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The argument could be made though, that slackening that ancient, too-steep, road-bike-derived geometry might 'improve' it more than make it 'suffer' .
Correct, it most certainly could.

Somehow though, I am imagining that 4" of front travel on that bike would feel funny. Just a hunch.
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Old 09-06-09, 04:21 PM   #13
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http://www.amazon.com/Gila-T6-Suspen.../dp/B000FIDKSQ

Not great, but it is a suspension fork...
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Old 09-06-09, 04:58 PM   #14
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http://www.amazon.com/Gila-T6-Suspen.../dp/B000FIDKSQ

Not great, but it is a suspension fork...
That it is.

9# shipping weight. That makes the fork what, 8 pounds?
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Old 09-06-09, 06:38 PM   #15
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Gila T6 should 'only' be about 5 lbs.

FWIW, I put a 3-4" RST air fork (Aerosa BAS) on a little 17" frame Baracuda that originally had a rigid fork and it rides just fine - - actually more like it's supposed to.
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Old 09-06-09, 07:00 PM   #16
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The argument could be made though, that slackening that ancient, too-steep, road-bike-derived geometry might 'improve' it more than make it 'suffer' .
It would be closer to touring bike derived geometry, and even though the relaxed head tube angle might make steering a bit more friendly, the raised BB height and slack seat tube angle will destroy the 50/50 weight distribution between the wheels. When the weight is biased towards the rear wheel the front end will tend to push, and the taste of dirt gets old after the front end washes out again and again.

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Old 09-07-09, 05:46 PM   #17
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Looks like a nice vintage ride!
I wouldn't do it for the reasons that have been listed above. If you want to take the edge off get some fatter tires or an Alsop stem. Proper forks are going to be tough to find, and arguably not much of an improvement in ride quality, with worse shape handling, weight, and cost.
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Old 09-07-09, 07:19 PM   #18
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So what I'm hearing is that it's more trouble than it's worth. Surprising that I'd need that specific of a fork.

Mtb technology becomes obsolete every four to six years. A bike from 1990 is already four to five generations old. You can add a suspension fork to your bike if you wish, but be prepared to spend six to nine months searching for the correct parts for the conversion.
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Old 09-09-09, 05:18 PM   #19
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reiteration: keep if vintage and...fun. i made my rigid more flexy with 45psi michelin country ATs in the front and country muds in the back...used a flex seatpost and had perfect cush/plushiness for edgy hardpack/rockgardens that appear. in a sense, minimalist FS
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