What fork would fit my bike?
I have a 2006 Specialized Rockhopper that I've put a lot of miles on. The fork seals are leaking and I'm considering upgrading the fork rather than fixing it. I have never swapped a suspension fork before and am not sure what I need to know when selecting a replacement. I see that there are different axles sizes on different fork models. I don't know what size axle I currently have and I don't want to change hubs to accomodate a bigger axle. I don't live an area with big rocks or dropoffs where I need a really strong axle.
I would like to find a good used fork on ebay maybe or a leftover stock from a previous year. Something affordable. What would you guys recommend?
You most likely have 9mm quick release for the fork. Most of the forks you will find used have that. Take off your front wheel...if you have a thin skewer, that is a 9mm quick release. There are some that are becoming more popular with 15mm and 20mm thru-axles, but those are for higher end bikes. If yo uare looking for a replacement fork, you will want to remove yours and measure the length of the tube...one you buy needs to be at least that long, if not longer.
If this is your bike, you have the 9mm QR.
2006 Specialized Rockhopper Comp - BikePedia
When looking for a fork, you want to make sure it has the mounts for rim brakes, unless you plan to swap to disc brakes. In all honesty, I would just rebuild your fork if its the RockShox it came with. It won't be too expensive, and you may not be able to find one worth replacing used.
Most forks are re-build-able, it comes down to if you can get spares, and even if you can, it is cost effective vs a replacement fork. Going that you have a RS Tora, spares should be available, but would look at service cost vs replacement, especially if there is any stanchion wear / corrosion.
For the axle size, it's not about it being strong for dropoffs, more that a thru axle (Maxle) hub will stiffen up the front end, meaning the tracking of the fork is better, i.e. it goes where you point it.