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New Fork for Raleigh XXIX - questions

Old 02-13-20, 12:23 PM
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telebianchi
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New Fork for Raleigh XXIX - questions

Last June a friend gave me a killer deal on his 2012 Raleigh XXIX single-speed w/Gates Carbon Belt Drive. I actually got it thinking it would be a nice change from my Schwinn Madison single-speed for easy brunch & brewery rides with slower riders. I sold the Madison almost immediately which returned more than what I paid for the XXIX and switched out the Raleigh's brakes from BB5 mechanical to hydraulic Shimano. The surprise was that the Raleigh reinvigorated my mountain biking and in the past eight months I have hit more dirt than I had in the previous three or four years combined. So much so that I've already signed up for two spring races -- my only other mtn bike race was a snowy day in 2014.

So, I am thinking of doing some upgrades to make things every slightly more comfortable:

First thing is I'm keeping an eye out for tubeless rims (I already had tubeless ready tires) to run lower pressures on a wider base. The Weinmann rims that came on the XXIX are not tubeless ready and only 19 mm wide. But those I can figure out for myself.

The second thing, and where my questions lie, is with a new fork. First question is going to a lighter carbon fork or slightly heavier suspension fork. The stock fork is steel. I haven't weighed it directly but based on a few internet forums I've found it's probably in the range of 1300-1500 g (2.87-3.30 lbs). It is suspension corrected. The XXIX also came in a geared version (and in 2013 a SS version) with a Fox 29 100 suspension fork. My new choices are slightly limited thanks to a 1 1/8" straight steerer. My current wheels are old QR hubs. Buying used is always an option, too. (Note: for all of the below I know I need to confirm axle-to-crown length, rake and offset to be sure they will work with the XXIX frame.)

Thanks in advance for your opions.

Option 1: Carver Classic XC 465 carbon legs. $190 list. Weight is 800 grams/1.76 lbs. This would be a weight savings of 1.1 - 2.5 pounds. Possibly ride feel improvement thanks the carbon but who knows for certain. There are some similar Chinese no-brand forks for a little, but not much, less money. Used White forks I've seen start around $180-$200. For better or worse, I'm a little leery about buying a used carbon mountain bike fork unless it's from somebody I know.

Option 2: Lighter steel fork from Salsa, Surly, etc. Cheaper than the Carver but a little heavier. Probably still a weight savings over the stock Raleigh fork. The one's I've looked at are listed around 1080-1200 grams (2.38-2.65 lbs). Could save some more money buying used if I find the right configuration. Not sure if it's worth the money for dropping just a few ounces.

Option 3: Used Fox Float 29 100 fork like came on the XXIX. On eBay and other places these seem to be in the $250-$325 range. Similar RockShox are in the same price range. Any of these could be more expensive in the end if they need rebuild &/or regular service. The Fox is around 1530-1550 grams from pictures on scales found through google search, so a slight to almost no weight increase over the stock fork.

Option 4: SR Suntour XCR Air Sprung fork. $134 direct from Suntour via Amazon (I haven't checked with local dealers yet). New with warranty. I've read/watched reviews that say it is good for what it is -- a low priced air shock. Is it a Fox? No. Will it leave you busted miles from home or wish you still had a rigid fork? Unlikely. But it's heavy at 2300 grams / 5 pounds.
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Old 02-13-20, 02:35 PM
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A fork for that should very cheap, because it doesnt fit much of anything anymore.

QR front, non tapered steerer. Nobody wants that.

I believe I have just seen one for sale on MTBR for $100.

PS, those bikes are great, I have one.
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Old 02-14-20, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Reynolds 531 View Post
A fork for that should very cheap, because it doesnt fit much of anything anymore.

QR front, non tapered steerer. Nobody wants that.

I believe I have just seen one for sale on MTBR for $100.

PS, those bikes are great, I have one.
I thought I'd be able to find used forks at a reasonable price due to the straight steerer and QR hub. But so far no such luck. I need to put a "looking to buy" listing on the local FB bike marketplace.

The first race isn't until April 25 so I have some time to keep looking.

Thanks for your comments.
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Old 02-16-20, 09:17 PM
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you actually planning to race with a gates setup? wow
That's a heavy bike but great commuter/coffee getter
I have a Whisky fork on my single speed Carver which is wonderful, and a gates system on my commuter which is also wonderful
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Old 02-17-20, 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by qclabrat View Post
you actually planning to race with a gates setup? wow
Sure, why not? I can assure you my legs do not put out enough watts to bust that belt.

Originally Posted by qclabrat View Post
That's a heavy bike but great commuter/coffee getter
It's also a great play bike in the woods. Had it out for 90 minutes Saturday morning before the trails started to thaw into muddy goop.
As for it's weight, it's about 25 lbs. Not a featherweight but much less than my 2010 Trance and about ten pounds less than my fat bike. One of the things that made me fall in love with the XXIX is actually how light it feels compared to other mountain bikes I've ridden. Additionally, by end of summer I plan to have dropped the same weight as two XXIX bikes from my own big fat ass. Already twenty pounds towards that goal. Maybe at that point I'll start being more concerned about the weight of my bikes.

Originally Posted by qclabrat View Post
I have a Whisky fork on my single speed Carver which is wonderful, and a gates system on my commuter which is also wonderful
I've been keeping my eye out for a Whisky. But the new price is more than I'm willing to spend at this point.
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