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Buying a Used Fork--Guidance

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Buying a Used Fork--Guidance

Old 06-24-20, 12:50 PM
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lothian
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Buying a Used Fork--Guidance

Turns out, the suspension fork on my mountain bike is entry-level, pre-loaded coil, pos. After a bit of research I'm persuaded a new fork is my Next-Big-Expense for this bike. To save money, I plan to shop used. I'll Google the various specs, features, tech of each make and model that piques my wallet. My present concern, though, is: How does one evaluate a used suspension fork, particularly in light of the fact that used forks are typically no longer installed on a bike. Caveat emptor.

Suggestions? Advice?

Last edited by lothian; 06-24-20 at 01:27 PM.
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Old 06-24-20, 01:22 PM
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Don't. No one just sells a good suspension fork. 99% of used suspension forks are from one of these scenarios:
- a fork that sucks gets sold in order to upgrade
- a formerly good fork was never serviced and is shot now. The LBS tells the owner it is not worth repairing and better sell it to buy a new fork.
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Old 06-24-20, 01:24 PM
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# 1) don't get one so old you cannot find a rebuild kit for it..
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Old 06-24-20, 01:49 PM
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Question: is the rest of the bike good enough to justify the expense of a new fork?
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Old 06-24-20, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
# 1) don't get one so old you cannot find a rebuild kit for it..
This and make sure the chrome is perfect and it's straight.
And the second post is pretty accurate
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Old 06-24-20, 05:02 PM
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I suspect that the best approach may be to find a used bike (with a maintainable fork) and keep/sell the old one. You will be able to check the function of the fork, which will not be practical when buying just the fork alone. It seems like used forks, like used brifters, have a strong chance of winding up being duds, as HerrKaLeun points out.
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Old 06-24-20, 10:31 PM
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How are you saving money buying an unknown product with no support? I am genuinely curious. I can understand buying a used fork because you are trying to complete a vintage build and there isn't a new fork that quite meets your needs or wants but doing it to save money is unlikely to work.

Forks need maintenance and service and my guess is a good portion of people who might be selling a used fork aren't always doing that. If it is a more recent fork I might be able to get rebuild kits and parts needed if it is older that can be tough. Plus if it is more recent I will get zero warranty so I shoot myself in the foot if I need something done that could have been covered.

If the bike is worth upgrading and the fork you are looking at might be compatible with the next bike you get then go for something of high quality. FOX, RockShox, Marzocchi, Cane Creek, Mantiou all make some good quality forks but get it new. If you want ultimate sexiness then the new Mantiou R7 Pro fits the bill quite well. I love me some FOX Kashima coating but oooooweeeee silver crown and silver logos on a black fork,,,humina humina hu-mi-na!
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Old 06-25-20, 03:07 AM
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I'm with the others on this - be very careful about buying a used fork. Having said that I did manage to get a Manitou one recently that's worked out ok, but I paid very little money for it.

On the other hand, do have a hunt around eBay etc for new bargains. My experience is that shops quite often sell the last one or two of a discontinued item on eBay at good prices. Don't forget that there are a lot of different headset standards these days so make sure your new fork will fit ok.
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Old 06-25-20, 08:51 AM
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How do you ride your mountain bike? Are you off-road a lot and do all that technical stuff? A higher-end fork would be a good idea if your bike is worthy of it. Back in the late-'90's I bought an entry-lever Rock Shox fork with a 48mm suspension travel and never had any problems with it. I ended up selling the bike since I basically aged out of mountain biking.
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Old 06-25-20, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by lothian View Post
Turns out, the suspension fork on my mountain bike is entry-level, pre-loaded coil, pos. After a bit of research I'm persuaded a new fork is my Next-Big-Expense for this bike. To save money, I plan to shop used. I'll Google the various specs, features, tech of each make and model that piques my wallet. My present concern, though, is: How does one evaluate a used suspension fork, particularly in light of the fact that used forks are typically no longer installed on a bike. Caveat emptor.

Suggestions? Advice?
Buying something that can still be serviced and rebuilt is a good idea. If you're looking on eBay or something like that, I'd just ask the seller straightforward questions: Do you know if it works like it should? When was the last time it was serviced? Does it hold air? Leak oil?

If all the answers sound good and the seller has a good rating, you probably still have a 30 percent chance that you'll spend $150 to $200 putting new seals on it or some other service. So just add at least $50 in your head to whatever you'd pay for a used fork.

Looking for a NOS fork on eBay is not a bad idea; you might be able to get a big discount, especially if you're looking for a 26" wheel, or a straight steerer, or something like that.

Finally, I would consider a suspension corrected rigid fork. If your old fork was useless, your bike will ride just as well -- better, actually -- with a rigid fork.
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Old 06-25-20, 09:53 AM
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Depends on how old your bike is. If you have disc or v-brakes. The truth is, no one makes a high quality v-brake fork. There are cheap ones and used ones. Nothing in between.

I’ve bought used forks off eBay with good success, but I have limited the purchases to Marzocchi oil bath Bombers. I’m riding 90’s 26ers with a max of 80mm. That doesn’t mean you’ll find a good fork or even one from that era that will fit.

If you have disc brakes, it opens things up. As already noted, is your bike worth the investment in an expensive fork? If not the reality is find the “best” cheap fork and just ride the bike until you’re ready for a better bike.

There will be a lot of good bikes on the market a few years from now when people who bought during the pandemic have long stopped riding.

John
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Old 06-25-20, 10:02 AM
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...consider a suspension corrected rigid fork."
That is an excellent suggestion, ljsense. Thank you. I thought I needed a fork because I own a bike with a suspension fork.
Fact is, given how I ride and the surfaces I typically ride on, I don't need a suspension fork.

My research continues: forums.mtbr.com/shocks-suspension/what-does-suspension-corrected-mean-767451.html

Last edited by lothian; 06-25-20 at 10:10 AM.
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Old 06-25-20, 10:03 AM
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The ramifications of fork failure are significant. This alone would deter me. There are many places that sell new forks which aren't the current model. That would be my choice.
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Old 06-25-20, 10:06 AM
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Truth is a good CF rigid fork and larger volume tires is better than a cheap suspension fork.
Buy good suspension, or go rigid. There is no happy medium.
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Old 06-25-20, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by HerrKaLeun View Post
Truth is a good CF rigid fork and larger volume tires is better than a cheap suspension fork.
Buy good suspension, or go rigid. There is no happy medium.
Troof. Also, avoid used carbon.
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