Off road touring with suspension forks? Maintenance?

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Off road touring with suspension forks? Maintenance?

Postby Cheesewheel » Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:06 pm

Thinking about decking out a touring bike with suspension forks (front only) ...... not sure if I would be better off posting this in the MTB or Shed section

I've already got a MTb fox FIT forks (good quality air suspension fork) on a dual suspension bike and I have never had a problem with them. If I used a similar make for off road touring I obviously wouldn't be plunging down 10ft drops etc (Even MTB'ing I stick to pretty tame fire trails). I just figure, as far as touring goes, that if I ever had an issue with the air pressure in the fork in the middle of nowhere I probably wouldn't have the necessary carbohydrate reserve to get anything close to the right air pressure with my trusty portable hand pump.

My basic conflict with the philosophy of touring is the less maintenance issues it has, the better vs the more comfort it gives for rides, the better . So I am in two minds which way to go.

Has anyone got any anecdotal stories or good advice about maintenance issues of front suspensions for touring?
(or even compatability issues of pannier racks - like say old man mountain http://www.oldmanmountain.com/ - on carbon frames?)

I've got two options ($-wise they seem to weigh in as more or less equivalent ..... although it would be a lot less mucking about to convert the MTB)- Deck out my MTB with pannier racks (and probably different hubs and rims) or deck out my Surly LHT with a front suspension fork ((see if I could possibly get away with still keeping the rim brakes)
This is what I have on my MTB

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Fox 32 Float 120 FIT RLC 15QR


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Fox Float RP23

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Mavic Crossmax ST rims
(seems there are a host of maintenance issues with these wheels
http://www.socaltrailriders.org/forum/general-discussion/17241-wheelset-roval-traversee-vs-crossmax-st-disc.html
apparently they have poor seals. Also if you broke one (or several) of the aluminium spokes you would probably have to ride 500km to get a replacement. Guessing I would have to swap the wheels over for something more suitable for touring.

Its a Ghost AMR Lector 9500 (2011)
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ideas?
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by BNA » Thu Sep 20, 2012 10:55 pm

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Re: Off road touring with suspension forks? Maintenance?

Postby Aushiker » Thu Sep 20, 2012 10:55 pm

For what it is worth I currently have my Surly Long Haul Trucker for road/dirt road touring and my Giant XTC 2 hard tail for off-road touring. The Giant XTC 2 is now setup with a rack on the front (Tubus Swing)and now pulls my Extrawheel Voyager. Previously it pulled a BOB Ibex.

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I had considered/am considering selling both bikes and replacing them with Surly Orge as an all round touring bike.

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Andrew
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Re: Off road touring with suspension forks? Maintenance?

Postby Cheesewheel » Fri Sep 21, 2012 12:18 am

Aushiker wrote:For what it is worth I currently have my Surly Long Haul Trucker for road/dirt road touring and my Giant XTC 2 hard tail for off-road touring. The Giant XTC 2 is now setup with a rack on the front (Tubus Swing)and now pulls my Extrawheel Voyager. Previously it pulled a BOB Ibex.

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I had considered/am considering selling both bikes and replacing them with Surly Orge as an all round touring bike.

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Andrew

I notice that you took your surly on your recent tour (even though it had an emphasis on dirt roads). Were you in two minds about taking the hard tail? I notice that it has an air suspension. Have you ever had any maintenance issues with it that make you doubt its integrity as a reliable piece of touring machinery?

I found this blog http://www.ridingthespine.com/gear/gearlist.html

where they say (to confirm my fears) :

Good suspension fork is sweet -- it really does help, Fox Vanilla is ideal because it uses a coil spring and does not rely exclusively on air / seals (newer Vanillas ones only come disc-compatible, 04 is latest with V-brake bosses available), FOX is extremely spendy, look on EBAY, consider rebuilding. Others can work. -- don't get an air fork-Sean would love to tell you why.

Some relatively inexpensive coil forks to consider:

Marzocchi Dirt Jumper 3 (Disc Only)

Rockshock TORA

Manitou Axel Elite

Rigid forks are ideal for pavement, but on the off-road sections we would have been hating life.


My surly LHT has 26" x 1.6" tyres and kind of close fitting mudguards. I custom built it as a asphalt mountain climber mule (since all the good rides in my area are terrorized by mountains) and if I ever ran into thickish mud it would quickly turn into a cement mixer. I am kind of looking for an off-road mule derivative.

I am even seriously considering a pugsley, with this call out to the general community
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=56641

I was toying with the idea of getting a custom dummy after this guy's blog coming to my attention ...
http://bicyclenomad.com/2012/07/10/reck ... big-dummy/
... apparently the long frame keeps the front mech out of the mud a bit ...
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... a small reprieve in such conditions I guess :?


Also found this one, probably a step further in my direction from the Ogre
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Surly Krampus with 29 " x 3" tyres
Looks kind of promising although it does have issues with a front Derailleur catching the tyres - the tech specs make mention you have to be careful about how you put in double or triple chain rings.

Crankset & BB Shimano SLX, 170 on Small, 175
Front Derailleur None, Yep :(
Rear Derailleur Shimano SLX, 10-speed Shadow+


I don't seem to find much on seat post suspension?
Are they just for imaginary people?
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edit - just found this thread ... seems like seatpost suspension is meant for imaginary people
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Re: Off road touring with suspension forks? Maintenance?

Postby Aushiker » Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:26 am

Another add to this thread. It might be worth checking out this thread at MTBR which shows lots of bikepacking setups (mountain bike touring).

Andrew
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Re: Off road touring with suspension forks? Maintenance?

Postby Aushiker » Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:29 am

Cheesewheel wrote:I notice that you took your surly on your recent tour (even though it had an emphasis on dirt roads). Were you in two minds about taking the hard tail? I notice that it has an air suspension. Have you ever had any maintenance issues with it that make you doubt its integrity as a reliable piece of touring machinery?


No issues with taking the Surly and really didn't consider the XTC 2. The XTC 2 just does not have the carrying capacity: I needed to carry at the most 18 days of food and 38 litres of water.

As to the air suspension/maintenance with the XTC 2. No issues so far but keep in mind my tours with this bike are generally only short ones ... seven to 10 days. My biggest complaint but has been how the front end gets light with the trailer. I am hoping the racks and panniers on the front will overcome this issues.

Regards
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Re: Off road touring with suspension forks? Maintenance?

Postby WarrenH » Wed Sep 26, 2012 7:08 pm

How is off-road touring with a suspension fork?

It is absolutely delightful.

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Trust the bike.

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Re: Off road touring with suspension forks? Maintenance?

Postby il padrone » Wed Oct 03, 2012 11:17 pm

I am intrigued by the tout terrain SC32T touring fork for its low-rider rack capabilities and the sensible 'upside down' configuration, but the website seems to lack a price for me. I seem to recall previously seeing a price of 595 but not sure whether US $ or euros.
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Re: Off road touring with suspension forks? Maintenance?

Postby il padrone » Wed Oct 03, 2012 11:33 pm

Cheesewheel wrote:I was toying with the idea of getting a custom dummy after this guy's blog coming to my attention ...
http://bicyclenomad.com/2012/07/10/reck ... big-dummy/
... apparently the long frame keeps the front mech out of the mud a bit ...

Front mech? Wha's dat??

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Re: Off road touring with suspension forks? Maintenance?

Postby silentbutdeadly » Thu Oct 04, 2012 8:48 am

il padrone wrote:I am intrigued by the tout terrain SC32T touring fork for its low-rider rack capabilities and the sensible 'upside down' configuration, but the website seems to lack a price for me. I seem to recall previously seeing a price of 595 but not sure whether US $ or euros.


That looks like a modified version of the German:A Flame fork...which I thought only came in a 26" version. However, they've just launched a 29 fatbike version as well...

Another possibility is the German: A Kilo (both 26" and 29") which can be had with either an air shock or a steel spring http://www.german-a.de/en/kilo.html and with options such as suspension lockout, V brake mounts, 1" steerer tube and mounts for lights, fenders and low riders. Pricing starts at 800 euros for the steel spring version (though you can knock 20% of that cause it includes VAT). Stupidly light, too. Around 1.4kg for the steel spring version.

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Re: Off road touring with suspension forks? Maintenance?

Postby il padrone » Thu Oct 04, 2012 9:10 am

Just found the price for that Tout Terrain fork - 690 euros, plus I'd need to get a disc hub built into a wheel, and another 299 euros for the Arkel panniers to suit. Going to be well over $1000 to set up a conversion. Hmmm.....

Riding the interminable corrugations of central Australia has convinced me that maybe a swappable front end would be of value to convert my rigid fork bike for any more outback touring. But this cost maybe just too much.
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