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Budget fork upgrade for older MTB?

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Budget fork upgrade for older MTB?

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Old 03-28-18, 04:43 PM
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woodardhsd
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Budget fork upgrade for older MTB?

I've had a 2002 Gary Fisher Wahoo since new. Until last year, I had slick tires on it and just rode it around on the street. I have a road bike now and want to return the Wahoo to a MTB. It has a Rock Shox Judy TT 80mm fork on it right now, but i bottom out on the slightest bump. I'm only 180 lbs. The fork is probably the worst part on the bike so I thought I would see about upgrading it a bit.

How would I know what type of replacement fork to look at? Any recommendations in the $100 range, or is that too low for anything decent? I was thinking maybe a take-off from a newer bike?
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Old 03-29-18, 06:45 AM
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Might want to look into an air spring fork, you'll always be able to adjust it for your weight/riding. RST makes forks that are not entirely terrible for $100 or even less. I think it's more like $200 to $300 for an air fork, even an RST.

If you know the wheel size and travel etc you can look for closeouts on ebay, forks depreciate quite a bit even when new in box. You also generally want to match the fork length, called the axle to crown measurement.
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Old 03-30-18, 08:37 AM
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It's a 26" wheel bike with 80mm fork travel, and V-brakes. I haven't measured the axle to crown length yet. Is it a huge deal to go from 80mm to 100mm travel?

Looking all over the internet and eBay, there's not much out there for less than $200, let alone $100. There are a bunch of SR Suntour XCT and XCM for $75ish, and some RockShox 30 Silver's for $170 that look like they would work.

If I'm going to have to spend around $200, I feel that would be better invested into a new bike.
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Old 03-30-18, 10:06 AM
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What type of mountain riding do you do? Most of these older MTBs work best with a rigid fork and used for moderate off road / gravel.
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Old 03-30-18, 10:36 AM
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There are a few decent local trails, but nothing really mountainous. It's pretty flat here in eastern NC. I'm not really sure the best way to describe them, ho here's a couple videos.


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Old 03-30-18, 12:19 PM
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I want a suspension fork for the top video, but it can be done on a rigid. The trail in the 2nd video should be good on a rigid, aside from the jumps they do.

As you are seeing, old good suspension forks are rare so not many people replace them. You can look into rebuilding your judy fork, but only you can decide if it is worth it over a new MTB in the end.

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Old 04-03-18, 10:50 PM
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You mentioned that you may want to invest in a new bike. To myself, that seems like the better option. It might be a lot of work to find the proper fork for your bike, and even then, it could be used and might not last that long. Bikes have come a long way since then and I think it will be worth the upgrade of a whole new bike and taking your time finding a replacement fork for your Fisher. But I am also into new shiny things so that's my perspective.
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Old 04-04-18, 12:00 AM
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I'd definitely second the rigid forks suggestion. Suspension is why so many bikes go to recycling and a fully rigid mountain bike is still a lot of fun and a go anywhere bike. Once you've fitted rigid forks you are done. That same bike could be used 20 years from now. It's a very small investment too especially if you buy secondhand. For me you either do suspension right with a decent model (not justified here) or you may as well go rigid. It's not like such an old bike is going to be competitive nowadays even with decent suspension forks. Also a fully rigid mountain bike is just about the most versatile bike you can have, you can use it anywhere, in any weather, a true workhorse that can take a lot of abuse. If you don't like it then at least you'll have a fully working bike you can sell on anyway.

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Old 04-04-18, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by WannaGetGood View Post
You mentioned that you may want to invest in a new bike. To myself, that seems like the better option. It might be a lot of work to find the proper fork for your bike, and even then, it could be used and might not last that long. Bikes have come a long way since then and I think it will be worth the upgrade of a whole new bike and taking your time finding a replacement fork for your Fisher. But I am also into new shiny things so that's my perspective.
^^^What he said.
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Old 04-04-18, 10:23 PM
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I looked & looked & looked for a "not spring" fork for my 1997 Trek 6500zx. It was 1 & 1/8 threaded with cantilever brakes, 26 inch wheels.
What I eventually went with was a Rockshox Recon 100mm (the white one was $30 cheaper), I swapped the headset for a threadless, hit the co-op for a stem & spacers. $300 all told. Later on I decided to utilize the disk brake option. A Hope disc hub, 180mm disc & a wheel builder set me back $250 more.

That's $550, (probably $600 including miscellaneous) for front forks & disc brakes. I dunno if I'd do it again. But to me I don't know if a new mountain bike at $600 would really be worth owning either. I've had my Trek a long time, so for me it was more for friendship reasons with a trusted comrade than financial sense...It's sporting XTR 2x11 as well. 21 years is a long time to amoritize upgrades.

How long do you intend to keep your bike?

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Old 04-05-18, 03:04 PM
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I hadn't even considered rigid. I will look into that some more. Just a quick glance online, I'm seeing a few choices from Pyramid, Sunlite, and Dimension. Are any of those any good, or should I stay away? Any good brands to look at?
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Old 04-06-18, 02:02 PM
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Why would you want rigid for off road trail riding?
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Old 04-07-18, 09:35 AM
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Really good suspension forks, bought new, fall into the "I did not pay that much for my bike" price range.



many Asian brands have several price ranges , in forks.. others like the German Magura, don't make 'small budget' forks.





....
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Old 04-07-18, 07:53 PM
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Rockshox Recon is available for v brakes and 26er. Looks like a nice option for rebuilding that late 90's mtb.
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Old 04-10-18, 02:10 PM
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woodardhsd
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How much better is the Recon than the 30 Silver?

https://www.amazon.com/RockShox-Reco.../dp/B06XWQW7Y5
or
https://www.amazon.com/RockShox-30-S.../dp/B06XCS5TB5
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Old 04-10-18, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by woodardhsd View Post
Post links to the product pages in the Rock Shox / SRAM site.
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Old 04-11-18, 06:32 AM
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Not sure if this is the right one for the 30 Silver TK. Doesn't say 26" at the top, but does under "axle to crown measurement"
https://www.sram.com/rockshox/products/30-silver

Recon:
https://www.sram.com/rockshox/produc...on-silver-tk-1
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Old 04-11-18, 07:14 AM
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Originally Posted by woodardhsd View Post
Not sure if this is the right one for the 30 Silver TK. Doesn't say 26" at the top, but does under "axle to crown measurement"
https://www.sram.com/rockshox/products/30-silver

Recon:
https://www.sram.com/rockshox/produc...on-silver-tk-1
The Recon is definitely a better fork.

It looks like they have the same damper design (turnkey) which is not all that great, but just fine for the price.

The Recon is an air fork, which means it is adjustable for your weight. The 30 is coil, which is great (IMO) if it is the right spring for you your weight, but otherwise you will need to buy a different spring (~$25).

The most significant difference IMO is the chassis of the two forks: the Recon uses 32mm stanchions, the 30 uses (you guessed it) 30mm stanchions. The Recon will be a stiffer fork where it needs to be. Better tracking.

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Old 04-13-18, 09:21 AM
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woodardhsd
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Just out of curiosity, what makes the 30 Silver TK fork better than a Suntour XCM Details - SR SUNTOUR Cycling or XCT Details - SR SUNTOUR Cycling
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Old 04-14-18, 09:48 PM
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While not as plentiful on eBay as a few years ago, older Marzocchi Bomber oil bath are nice bullet proof vintage forks. I'm still riding them on a couple of 90's mountain bikes.

John
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Old 04-15-18, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
While not as plentiful on eBay as a few years ago, older Marzocchi Bomber oil bath are nice bullet proof vintage forks. I'm still riding them on a couple of 90's mountain bikes.

John
I was going to recommend an older Fox F100 Float. Then I looked at what they're selling for on ebay. Good Lord, the used prices on a 26" Fox have hardly budged in 10 years. Maybe the Marzocchi is the better way to go.
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Old 04-15-18, 06:59 PM
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Even the old bombers are costing more these days. This one looks interesting...

https://m.ebay.com/itm/Marzocchi-Bom...-/132577206337

John
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Old 04-16-18, 07:00 AM
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
Even the old bombers are costing more these days. This one looks interesting...

https://m.ebay.com/itm/Marzocchi-Bom...-/132577206337

John
The steerer on this one is around 2" shorter than on my bike. There are a few spacers on top of the headset, but not more than 1" or so. I'm noticing most of the used forks are cut anywhere from 7"-8". I'm assuming that's going to be a problem for my bike.

The two brand new rock shox forks have a steerer that's just about right.
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Old 04-16-18, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by woodardhsd View Post
The steerer on this one is around 2" shorter than on my bike. There are a few spacers on top of the headset, but not more than 1" or so. I'm noticing most of the used forks are cut anywhere from 7"-8". I'm assuming that's going to be a problem for my bike.

The two brand new rock shox forks have a steerer that's just about right.
Back in 2000-ish, that was a top notch fork. However, things have come a looooong way since then.

I would actually love to have that fork if I were putting together a vintage bike.
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Old 04-17-18, 09:40 PM
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I retro-fit my '96 Proflex Reptile with an ugly white RockShox Recon like the one discussed in this thread. It transformed my old bike. I liked the bike overall but the ancient manitou spring fork didn't like my 220lbs. I wouldn't settle for anything less than an air fork since the weight charts seem to top out around the 180lbs mark.

Then after I ran the fork for a season I decided to tear it down, clean all the seals, and put new oil in it. While looking at the manuals and watching the YouTube videos I found that the 100mm fork has a 2cm spacer that can be removed which will up the travel up to 120mm. Since it's crazy rocky here in AZ I tossed the spacer in the trash and now enjoy 120mm of travel. It also had the ability to move the spacer down to 80mm of travel. I guess you could dial in the crown height or whatever but I really like mine with the extra travel. The downside of my tear-down was that I put the wrong oil back in it. It's supposed to have 15wt and I put 5wt in it. So it's not as plush. With the rebound at it's slowest it feels like the 15wt oil at it's fastest. Oppositely, this bike has no rear shock, only a spring with about 3" of travel. So the spring and the springy air fork feel really balanced together. Due to the balance I haven't felt compelled to switch the oil.

In my case, I feel like I'd have to break the $1k mark to replace this ride with one that performs better. At that point it feels like I should go closer to $2k to really get something that would be worth the investment. I just keep riding this crazy old bike though.

*edit

I came back and added a picture of this crazyness. You can see the extra travel on the fork in the pic compared to the stock photos. Note the crazy worn down tires from all of the rocks here. These never get ridden on asphalt at all.
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