Help with a build: dirt road MTB with suspension fork. Bizango? Groove?
I'm stuck in the mud before I make some purchases. I am building a suspended, hardtail mountain bike to tour on. I've narrowed the frame choice down to two frames. The Soma Groove and the Voodoo Bizango. Problem with the Soma is that it requires an 80mm fork. As far as I can tell, there is only one coil spring 80mm fork on the market. It's a White Brothers and out of my budget.
So, unless someone knows of another fork, I'm going with the Bizango. Any comments on the frame paired with a Rock Shox Tora 318 Coil U-Turn Fork? Is it a decent fork? The whole "dial in the suspension" seems a little strange. The other niggle, is that the Bizango doesn't have rack mounts on the seat stays. But the guys at the LBS swear that a seat post clamp with rack attatchments is perhaps even stronger than braze ons. Is it acceptable to attach a rear rack to a seat post clamp? Seems kind of jerry rigged to me.
I had a tora on a bike that was designed around an 80mm fork and had no problems. Nice fork, no problems with it or the feel of the bike with the greater suspension. I was going to use it on a Groove but Surly came out with the LHT 26" larger frame sizes. By the way you can always adjust the fork down to 85mm.
I know that ACA touts coil spring shocks, but (IMHO) air shocks are reliable enough. The big issue for you will be whether the chainstay length will be long enough for pannier / heel clearance.
The clamp on the seat post works fine, but you'll get a cleaner look with braze ons. Just me, though. Again, the bigger issue is whether you'll be able to mount racks with disc brakes. There are work-arounds, but you'll have to play around with not much guidance. An art, not a science. Talk to Wayne at www.thetouringstore.com .
The simple solution is to get a BOB trailer, which many favor over panniers for off-road touring. There's even one with its own shock. Be sure to at least upgrade the tire before setting out.
Good advice ya'll. Not planning on running discs, but am glad that I have the option for the future. The heel clearance issue is a big question mark, I think I'll buy a Tubus Logo rear rack to get the heel clearance, just to be safe.
I've hemmed and hawed about the LHT, but have decided that I really do want a suspension fork.