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26" Front Suspension options?

Old 04-20-24, 03:50 PM
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26" Front Suspension options?

I have an older Schwinn Mesa LTD that came with a Rock Shox J1 (Judy?)
It's long since worn out and was replace with an ebay cheapie and intended to be use only on the local MUP and light gravel.

Due to circumstances, this is my backup MTB and the cheap front shock is WAY to harsh.

1. What are my options for front suspension for an older bike with 26" wheel set?
2. I think the J1 was a 100mm travel fork, is it ok to use a fork with 120mm travel or is there something I should take into consideration?

Note 1 1/8 Threadless not tapered disc

Thanks!

Last edited by CrimsonEclipse; 04-20-24 at 04:00 PM.
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Old 04-20-24, 04:00 PM
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Just go rigid and fly.
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Old 04-20-24, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by soyabean
Just go rigid and fly.
Rode rigid for years. Did more with that bike than some with FS could do.

My trails a packed with roots and I don't feel like getting the crap beat out of me.... again.
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Old 04-20-24, 04:11 PM
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You can fix that with plushy grips and gel gloves.

Saddle, up to you.

The weight savings alone is key, rest can be solved so easily.
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Old 04-20-24, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by CrimsonEclipse
I have an older Schwinn Mesa LTD that came with a Rock Shox J1 (Judy?)
It's long since worn out and was replace with an ebay cheapie and intended to be use only on the local MUP and light gravel.

Due to circumstances, this is my backup MTB and the cheap front shock is WAY to harsh.

1. What are my options for front suspension for an older bike with 26" wheel set?
2. I think the J1 was a 100mm travel fork, is it ok to use a fork with 120mm travel or is there something I should take into consideration?

Note 1 1/8 Threadless not tapered disc

Thanks!

RockShox Fork 30 Silver TK - Coil 100


I know this exists, I also know there are many types of non-tapered forks out there in 1 1/8. From about the mid 2000's to early 2010's 1 1/8 forks were the standard, besides dual crown DH forks. So you can look for used fox f100's, f120's, talas, marzocchi's, rockshox's, etc.
Looks like aliexpress has some options too.

120mm fork would be fine.
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Old 04-20-24, 05:10 PM
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Rockshox makes a few options though I think the Recon or Judy Silver TK is the linear pull brake option (I cannot remember and don't have access to my distributors and the SRAM site kinda sucks for finding that stuff easily). They do a gold version (not in color just higher quality) but I believe that is disc. I know I was looking at them a while back but they kept being out of stock and by that point I had an old Marzocchi and then I sold the everything off the bike and now have a lovely old Fox fork that I am going to use if I build that thing back up.

I will say I did just build up a bike with a disc brake at the front (cable actuated) and linear pull rear and no issues it works a treat and you can get a decent BB7 MTN or TRP Spyke pretty easily. Granted in my case I had stuff in the parts bin including a nice old IS mount BB7 for the fork I used for this project and my friend was super excited by the bike though not sure they have gotten a big chance to ride it yet.

I wouldn't buy random stuff from Alibaba and his 40 thieves or any of the amazon bologne forks I would sooner go full rigid with an aluminum fork (and I don't like aluminum rigid forks) than buy that sort of stuff.
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Old 04-20-24, 07:21 PM
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First, I'd decide air or coil. Air forks are lightweight and more tunable to your weight, but require more frequent maintenance, which can be expensive if you aren't doing it yourself. Coil forks weigh more, but tend to be more forgiving of neglect, and handle cold temperatures well. Making a coil fork softer or firmer involves swapping the spring inside.

If you want a coil fork, the RockShox 30 Silver TK is an excellent choice for what you want to use it for. Suntour XCM or XCT will be cheaper, but they don't have a damper, so they will feel a bit more like a pogo stick.

For an air fork you have more choices, Recon, Judy, Suntour Epixon, etc.

If you go used, make sure the steerer tube is at least as long the steerer tube on your current fork. A brand new fork comes with a full length steerer tube, so you will likely need to trim it down, unless you want to make the bike more upright.

120mm fork would work, but would raise the front end of the bike up, making the geometry more slack. If you do this on a frame that is ridden really hard, you may have an increased chance of the headtube separating from the frame, but there shouldn't be much risk for just riding on bike paths and gravel.
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Old 04-21-24, 05:05 AM
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Rock Shox Recon TK Solo Air C1 26" Fork - 1 1/8" Steerer, 100mm Travel, 9x100mm QR (Black) 90339-220317
https://www.universalcycles.com/shop...&category=5665

I used this one on my 1994 Specialized M2 S-Works and I am very happy with the performance. It did raise the front (increased standover height about 15mm) and slowed down steering response a bit but it makes the bike more enjoyable on the trails. Yes, I ride it on some serious XC trails but don't do jumps.
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Old 04-21-24, 11:20 AM
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First, thank you for all of the suggestions.

Ok, so the candidates are:
Rock Shox Fork 30 TK Silver coil 100
Rock Shox Fork 30 TK Silver air
Rock Shox Recon TK Solo Air C1
Rock Shox Judy Gold RL


So many variations!

Coils seem to be cheaper but have a limited weight range.
Is that correct?
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Old 04-21-24, 11:25 AM
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Full honesty here:
Apparently I don't know [feces] about suspension, so this is an interesting learning experience.

Upon searching, it's reported that TK Silver is cheaper and stiffer, Recon is more plush and heavier, and Gold is plush and light?
Does that sound right?

Right now, I'm wandering toward the plush of Recon since I don't really care about weight.

Last edited by CrimsonEclipse; 04-21-24 at 07:24 PM.
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Old 04-21-24, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by CrimsonEclipse
Full honesty here:
Apparently I don't no [feces] about suspension, so this is an interesting learning experience.

Upon searching, it's reported that TK Silver is cheaper and stiffer, Recon is more plush and heavier, and Gold is plush and light?
Does that sound right?

Right now, I'm wandering toward the plush of Recon since I don't really care about weight.
I don't know a ton about those offerings, but the basics are that coil= heavier and needs preload adjust or a coil swap to adjust for riding style/mass. However they are simpler and tend to be plusher. Air forks you can easily adjust the resistance, are lighter, and are what most modern forks are.
32mm stanchions are generally stronger then 30mm, and aluminum stanchions are lighter. Also take note if you have a 9mm qr wheel or 15x100 thru axle wheel since many hubs are not changeable you want to get the right one.
If it's a backup bike I would go with the cheaper air fork, so you can easily adjust pressure if you or someone lighter or heavier are riding it. I wouldn't splurge for the nicer fork unless you plan on using it a lot, or expect more modern performance out of it.
Of course look for deals, might be able to find the judy gold cheapish.
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Old 04-21-24, 05:24 PM
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Manitou Markhor would be another option. I prefer Manitou (or Fox) over Rock Shox because the lockout is more positive. I’ve never owned a Rock Shox that would lock out rigid. They just got a little…and just a little…stiffer.

Alternatively, SR Suntour offers some forks that might be worth looking at. The Epixon 9 LO R is available in a straight tube air/oil for 26” wheels. The guy at the Berm Peak YouTube channel says the SR is not a bad fork. Some of their cheaper units are kind of heavy but the Epixon is competitive with the Manitou.

The used market for Fox isn’t too bad. Lots of people say that air forks need more attention but that hasn’t been my experience. I have around 8 of them on various bikes and have never serviced one at all. They just keep working.
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Old 04-21-24, 07:43 PM
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I really wouldn't so much want a coil fork unless it was something higher end. I would try and get something that is air. Recon or Gold personally I would go disc at the front and go for the Gold. A used fork could be good but also could use work and that can get expensive and harder to do in the long run especially older stuff they don't support as well.
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Old 04-21-24, 09:53 PM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes
I really wouldn't so much want a coil fork unless it was something higher end. I would try and get something that is air. Recon or Gold personally I would go disc at the front and go for the Gold. A used fork could be good but also could use work and that can get expensive and harder to do in the long run especially older stuff they don't support as well.
What's your reservation with coils?
From my limited view, higher weight, but lower maintenance and price.
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Old 04-22-24, 10:36 AM
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I can attest to the Recon being (IMO) an excellent fork. It's on my Giant Stance and (for me) is perfect. I can hit what I consider serious trail "bumps" and the fork absorbs the hit.
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Old 04-22-24, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by 2old
I can attest to the Recon being (IMO) an excellent fork. It's on my Giant Stance and (for me) is perfect. I can hit what I consider serious trail "bumps" and the fork absorbs the hit.
My experince too. I've grabbed some air and I'm happy with the response. YMMV
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Old 04-22-24, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by CrimsonEclipse
What's your reservation with coils?
From my limited view, higher weight, but lower maintenance and price.
They are less adjustable and way heavier and they don't feel as smooth and comfortable. The high end stuff is decent but unfortunately all of the 26" options are going to be the low initial cost versions not the high end stuff like the Cane Creek Helm Coil.
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Old 04-23-24, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by CrimsonEclipse
I have an older Schwinn Mesa LTD that came with a Rock Shox J1 (Judy?)
It's long since worn out and was replace with an ebay cheapie and intended to be use only on the local MUP and light gravel.

Due to circumstances, this is my backup MTB and the cheap front shock is WAY to harsh.

1. What are my options for front suspension for an older bike with 26" wheel set?
2. I think the J1 was a 100mm travel fork, is it ok to use a fork with 120mm travel or is there something I should take into consideration?

Note 1 1/8 Threadless not tapered disc

Thanks!
There is one fork which might be worth of consideration RockShox Recon Silver TK Solo Air Suspension Fork - 26" | 100mm | Canti/Disc | Straight | 9QR - black I have itmounted on three of my MTBs that have it as their main suspension fork . Older Rock Shox forks are not easy to refurbish and spare parts aren't easy to find, unless you are ok to spend money on a Rock Shox Sid Race then it is another story. This fork is a very versatile and robust and will give you plenty of performance for the price asked.
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Old 04-23-24, 01:05 PM
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On my Jamis Dragon, I have the original Rock Shox Pilot SL which was checked by my bike tech and which works perfectly fine
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Old 04-23-24, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by georges1
There is one fork which might be worth of consideration RockShox Recon Silver TK Solo Air Suspension Fork - 26" | 100mm | Canti/Disc | Straight | 9QR - black I have itmounted on three of my MTBs that have it as their main suspension fork . Older Rock Shox forks are not easy to refurbish and spare parts aren't easy to find, unless you are ok to spend money on a Rock Shox Sid Race then it is another story. This fork is a very versatile and robust and will give you plenty of performance for the price asked.
One of the reviews shows that this shock comes with a spacer that limits travel to 80mm
You have to remove the spacer to get the full 100mm
That's an odd characteristic
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Old 04-23-24, 01:29 PM
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[Just because I want the Interweb experts to squabble some] Put a 27.5 fork on it.
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Old 04-23-24, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by CrimsonEclipse
One of the reviews shows that this shock comes with a spacer that limits travel to 80mm
You have to remove the spacer to get the full 100mm
That's an odd characteristic
Actually it is 80, 100, or 120 depending on internal spacer stack up. That's one of the cool things about this fork. It can be retro fitted to older bikes that may have only had 60 or 80mm of travel in the first place by simply swapping the internal spacers around.
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Old 04-23-24, 09:04 PM
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Originally Posted by base2
Actually it is 80, 100, or 120 depending on internal spacer stack up. That's one of the cool things about this fork. It can be retro fitted to older bikes that may have only had 60 or 80mm of travel in the first place by simply swapping the internal spacers around.
huh...
How difficult is the disassembly?
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Old 04-23-24, 10:12 PM
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Originally Posted by CrimsonEclipse
huh...
How difficult is the disassembly?
The relevant bits start on pages 40-41-ish

I would read the manual thoroughly before getting started. If you can follow instructions, any body can disassemble/reassemble a suspension fork.

AFAIK it is the number of "all spacers" that are below the air top out bumper. More spacers just moves the bumper up, limiting travel. It sure does look that way.

(Asking for confirmation from a more knowledgeable/experienced member, please.)

Last edited by base2; 04-23-24 at 10:53 PM.
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