Forking confusing forks...

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Forking confusing forks...

Postby familyguy » Fri Feb 27, 2009 3:03 pm

All y'all...

I’ve just started looking at MTB’s to replace my flat bar roadbike (which I rarely use due to having two other roadies…I don’t mean to brag, its just the kind of lifestyle I lead). I would be using it for commuting, so a lockout would be a plus, and some limited trail riding (eg: Manly Dam, Red Hill), so its gotta be capable. Hardtail XC bikes are the go from what I’ve read of other ‘help me buy a bike’ threads (in which the spec levels and general model opinions are discussed a bit).

Things such as drivetrain levels and groups are fairly easily understood, as like most road components they follow standard lines. There only seems to be SRAM or Shimano as players in the MTB drivetrain industry. I’ve seen other things such as cranks from FSA among others, but the only shifters/derailleurs/cassette makers seem to SRAM and Shimano. Is this the case?

The most confusing aspect of scouting MTB’s (particularly in this early snooping stage) is FORKS!

So far I’ve managed to deduce the major players as being Fox, Marzocchi, Manitou, RST, RockShox, and SR Suntour. Are there others?

From what I’ve read RST are to be avoided at all costs for ANY off road work. Rockshox Dart are worth steering clear of, but the Tora and above are quality. SR Suntour I cant find a website nor many reviews worth considering. Fox, Manitou and Marzocchi all appear to be higher end units, and priced to match.

Is there a list (subject to personal opinion) of XC forks?

Getting a capable fork would influence the budget, as its probably an easily overlooked part of a MTB purchase.

Jim
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by BNA » Fri Feb 27, 2009 3:19 pm

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Postby Kalgrm » Fri Feb 27, 2009 3:19 pm

G'day Jim,

Welcome to the world of dirty thoughts. :)

You're pretty much right about the drive train: Shimano and SRAM are the only serious players in the field. Top is XTR and X.0 (Shim. and SRAM respectively), next is XT and X.9, then LX and X.7. Shimano have Deore below that level and some useless crap below that. For all practical purposes, XT and X.9 are as high as anybody except serious racers need.

Forks: in the area you're looking at, which is hardtail XC bikes, the only serious players are Fox and RockShox (the latter owned by SRAM). You can forget the others for XC work.

RockShox offer the best bang for your dollar at the lower end (Tora Air is the lowest you should consider: heavy but fully functional) and aren't too bad throughout their range above that. I want Reba Team as my next shocks. Fox have some innovative technology at higher ends too.

You haven't mentioned brakes yet, but I guess that will be the subject of a new thread ... :twisted:

Cheers,
Graeme
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Postby familyguy » Fri Feb 27, 2009 3:34 pm

Wait for it...........

Air or Coil?

Fire away.

Kalgrm wrote:You haven't mentioned brakes yet, but I guess that will be the subject of a new thread ...


I hadnt even thought of stopping. I'm sure we can incorporate brakes, maybe I'll change the thread title once the forks are dusted :shock:

Jim
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Postby Kalgrm » Fri Feb 27, 2009 3:51 pm

I hadnt even thought of stopping.

That's the spirit! ;)

Air is both lighter and more adjustable. Coil springs (for setting the sag height) can be exchanged for ones that suit your weight, but air forks are adjustable for all (normal) weights.

Coil spring forks have their place in the downhill discipline because they are stronger (taking bigger hits on jumps) and weight is no problem there. Coil spring forks are often cheaper too, but that should not be a consideration here.

Cheers,
Graeme
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Postby familyguy » Fri Feb 27, 2009 9:13 pm

Thanks for the info Graeme. Trying to steer clear of coil forks if I possibly can. Loads of things around with RockShox Dart or SR forks, but this is a five-plus year bike, not a tester for 6 months to see if I like it. I already kinda figure that I enjoy riding bikes :)

Jim
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Postby Kalgrm » Fri Feb 27, 2009 9:20 pm

familyguy wrote:Thanks for the info Graeme. Trying to steer clear of coil forks if I possibly can. Loads of things around with RockShox Dart or SR forks, but this is a five-plus year bike, not a tester for 6 months to see if I like it. I already kinda figure that I enjoy riding bikes :)

Jim

Yeah, you're going to have to spend more than $1200 to get a MTB with halfway decent forks these days. However, I can tell you that it won't last 5 years - you'll be upgrading within two* .... MTB riding is more fun than you think! :)

Cheers,
Graeme

* don't let the familygal read that. :D
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Postby Z1 » Sat Feb 28, 2009 1:27 pm

definately go air sprung, unless you really want to hammer it ie down hill, dirt jumping or street. coils are alot heavier and have very minimal adjustment.
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Postby trailgumby » Mon Mar 02, 2009 1:09 pm

Air forks are good. Rockshox are regarded as being simpler, more utilitarian, but with less finesse than Fox. The consensus these days among magazine reviewers is that lockouts are less useful for eliminating pedal bob than platform damping unless you are going to spend significant time on the road.

Unfortunately I can tell you little about the better forks in either brand from personal experience, because both of my bikes are ... drumroll please ... Lefties! 8)

When you're ready to try a lap of Manly Dam, feel free to drop me a PM. We live very close by the trail and my son and I would welcome the excuse to go for a ride. There's no need to worry about holding us up - we just cruise, so there's ample opportunity to re-do or work sections sections out if you want, and there'll be no pressure to ride sections when you aren't comfortable.

Just be careful - the Surgeon-General warns that Mountain Biking is addictive. :lol:
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Postby familyguy » Mon Mar 02, 2009 1:48 pm

Kalgrm wrote:
However, I can tell you that it won't last 5 years - you'll be upgrading within two[/quote]

Yes, well, that mirrors the road bike. Curse the fact that taking the fork off and re-installing it fixed the creaks that I thought were the frame giving out...

trailgumby wrote:Air forks are good. Rockshox are regarded as being simpler, more utilitarian, but with less finesse than Fox. The consensus these days among magazine reviewers is that lockouts are less useful for eliminating pedal bob than platform damping unless you are going to spend significant time on the road.


Utilitarian is good. I'm sure the whole pedal platform/brain/lockout thing will increase the more you look into things. As mentioned, I'd be doing some road riding too, so a lockout fork is figuring highly. Gotta start someplace though. I watched a guy on a Scott Jekyll ride past me on sunday with barely a hint of bob. Then I watched a guy on an indentical bike ride past once I'd stopped, bobbing like an absolute cork. Setup, setup, setup.

trailgumby wrote:When you're ready to try a lap of Manly Dam, feel free to drop me a PM. We live very close by the trail and my son and I would welcome the excuse to go for a ride.


I may do just that once I get my behind into/onto gear.

Jim
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Postby Bnej » Mon Mar 02, 2009 8:20 pm

Rock Shox do a range:

Dart -> Tora -> Recon -> Reba -> SID

They also do variations within the range - coil, solo air, dual air; motion control, mission control dampers... The SID is super light XC, the Reba's high end general purpose.

Fox do one fork of each kind, with three damping systems possible.

For XC, you will get an F-series. These have a number for travel, then the damper.

So: F100RL is 100mm, Rebound + Lockout. R=Adjustable Rebound, L=Lockout, C=Compression (gets complicated, but you can tune out bob and still have it react to bumps)

Manitou do the Minute and the R7 forks for XC. Not common at the moment but they've been bought by Hayes and will probably be making a comeback.

Then you can have through axle or quick release on your front wheel. If you get the choice, get a through axle. It's safer, stronger, stiffer, easier and better. Lower end forks will be QR only.

Get at least a Tora or Recon and you won't go far wrong.
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Postby familyguy » Thu Mar 12, 2009 8:03 pm

Well, having picked brains and received quality feedback, I feel as though I've let the side down somewhat..."why? how could YOU possibly have let US down?" I hear you ask...

Weeeelllll. A visit to the finance spreadsheet revealed a significant shortcoming in budgetary requirements. Therefore a second hand model was sought out. Figuring I'd be looking at middle of the range models for what I scrounged up, I went looking. Tried a couple of second hand bikes at stores, then jumped onto ebay for a squiz.

Then I ended up with one of these. I should have it by sunday with luck.

Please dont hit me...

Naturally, I look forward to being berated for not getting hydro brakes, X.7/DEore XT or above components, air forks, etc, etc.

:D

Jim
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Postby Kalgrm » Thu Mar 12, 2009 11:07 pm

No problems at all Jim. You need to get a bike that fits within the budget, so we can't berate you for doing so.

Well, not rationally, anyway ... ;)

Congrats on the new bike, but as usual, it's not real without the pics to prove it! :)

Cheers,
Graeme
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Postby Bnej » Fri Mar 13, 2009 4:00 am

It's fine, it'll get you by.

Looks quite good really for the price.
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Postby familyguy » Fri Mar 13, 2009 7:32 pm

Well, I got it home tonight...somewhat earlier than expected.

Nice surprise, Tektro Auriga Comp hydro brakes instead of the Hayes mechanical rotors listed on the website :)

Pics to prove it happened:
Image

Gave it a clean earlier, before trying to set up the front fork for sag with the preload adjustment. Getting there... Back hub is noisy, but I was taking it to the LBS for a service anyway.

Jim
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Re:

Postby Z1 » Mon Mar 30, 2009 5:09 pm

Kalgrm wrote:G'day Jim,

Welcome to the world of dirty thoughts. :)

You're pretty much right about the drive train: Shimano and SRAM are the only serious players in the field. Top is XTR and X.0 (Shim. and SRAM respectively), next is XT and X.9, then LX and X.7. Shimano have Deore below that level and some useless crap below that. For all practical purposes, XT and X.9 are as high as anybody except serious racers need.




one little point " then LX and X.7. Shimano " the LX line has been removed from MTB and moved to trekking/touring duties and replaced with SLX which IMO is excellent stuff.
looks cool is tuff and a fair bit cheaper than XT with not alot of quality lost especially in the front end(shifters and cranks) which i actually prefer opposed to XT. haven't had alot to do with the SLX discs but from the riding i have done they feel wicked stronger than XT maybe a touch less modulation.



as far as forks go, definately go air sprung if you are serious about riding and want to commute. if you want more reliability and less servicing issues coils are tough and significantly cheaper and heavier. lock out is a must on new forks IMO.




congrates on the buy, be weary of the tektro auringa's i have had a couple of sets of low end hydro's and while they work they can be a real biatch when they want to.
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Re: Re:

Postby familyguy » Mon Mar 30, 2009 8:41 pm

Z1 wrote:one little point " then LX and X.7. Shimano " the LX line has been removed from MTB and moved to trekking/touring duties and replaced with SLX which IMO is excellent stuff.


Yeah, I picked that up when LX wasnt listed on the Shimano website.

Z1 wrote:congrates on the buy, be weary of the tektro auringa's i have had a couple of sets of low end hydro's and while they work they can be a real biatch when they want to.


Please explain? The brakes are fresh and feel solid currently with b*gger all pad wear, so I'm not touching them until I absolutely have to.

Jim
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Re: Re:

Postby Z1 » Mon Mar 30, 2009 10:13 pm

[quote="familyguy
Please explain? The brakes are fresh and feel solid currently with b*gger all pad wear, so I'm not touching them until I absolutely have to.

Jim[/quote]



they can have alot of issue not will have can have. keep an eye on them coz in my experience once they start to play up they get on a roll. if you keep them serviced and keep an eye and ear out you may be able to avoid to many issues.
make sure your braking technique is good as the biggest problem i've found is they get real hot compared to higher end models
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