Cheap forks

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Cheap forks

Postby drubie » Tue Feb 08, 2011 9:55 am

I notice a lot of the entry level MTBs have Suntour SR forks on them (which can be bought from Ebay for $130 shipped). I assume these are either a coil spring or elastomer.

However, the place that has the Suntour forks also have a "Spinner Aeris" forks which are more like the exxy ones and use air for around $220.

If both are approx. 100mm travel, which would be better for some introductory XC racing? The magic eight ball app on my phone told me to buy the Suntour ones!
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by BNA » Tue Feb 08, 2011 10:18 am

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Re: Cheap forks

Postby Alistair » Tue Feb 08, 2011 10:18 am

What length steerer tube do you need?

If you don't need an especially long one i think the forks section on rotorburn would be a better bet. Those Suntour ones are apparently better than they used to be, but the limited reviews out suggest there is still a long way to go. Second hand is a much better bet in my mind.

Old Marzocchi stuff is cheap and nicely built if you can find it. I bought an 02? Atom 80 from here and it is a lovely fork. Rigid might be worth considering if you are on a budget too? I use a surly 1x1 on one bike and it is better than a cheap pogo fork.
Last edited by Alistair on Tue Feb 08, 2011 10:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Cheap forks

Postby zero » Tue Feb 08, 2011 10:22 am

There is a guy in melbourne flogging 2008 rockshox tora air forks for $179, new, uncut steerers on ebay.

Tora is their entry level air shocks. After 5 years, my 2006s still work fine but have become a little clicky at the top of the travel when locked out after spending most of 25,000kms locked out on the road. Not anything that affects them when bombing down a firetrail descent.

Looking at the photos, 2008 seems to be same castings, fittings etc as mine. Haven't ridden a spinner, so you'd have to research the brand.
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Re: Cheap forks

Postby drubie » Tue Feb 08, 2011 10:46 am

zero wrote:There is a guy in melbourne flogging 2008 rockshox tora air forks for $179, new, uncut steerers on ebay.

...

Looking at the photos, 2008 seems to be same castings, fittings etc as mine. Haven't ridden a spinner, so you'd have to research the brand.


I am considering going rigid, but my technical proficiency (ahem) means that I think I'd be more confident with a boinger (as long as it doesn't bottom out too often).

Will look into the Tora forks - thanks for the tip. I did have a dig through Rotoburn but I just don't want to spend $500, trying to keep the budget down to $300 total (got frame, wheels, derailleurs, controls, just need the fork and maybe some better v-brakes or a better rear v-brake and a cheapie front disk).

The spinner aeris reviews are a bit confusing - some suggest "light and extremely expensive" but that doesn't seem to match the fork on ebay at all.
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Re: Cheap forks

Postby zero » Tue Feb 08, 2011 10:57 am

Don't think those tora's will be coming with v-brake posts, so you'd be up for a wheel, disc, caliper, lever, pads and hose/cable. If there was a way to verify the Spinner claim of being ex: rockshox oem, then they'd probably be worth a punt.
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Re: Cheap forks

Postby drubie » Tue Feb 08, 2011 11:15 am

zero wrote:Don't think those tora's will be coming with v-brake posts, so you'd be up for a wheel, disc, caliper, lever, pads and hose/cable. If there was a way to verify the Spinner claim of being ex: rockshox oem, then they'd probably be worth a punt.


I dunno - it's one thing to be an oem manufacturer, quite another to be making a cheap clone of a much better fork. I'd go second hand but for $220 shipped I think a (better) fork might require work. The spinner is appealing in that it has v brake studs which will keep the cost down substantially.

On the rigid idea - one thing that intimidates me a bit is the steep / short downhills through gullies that I hoped the suspension fork might make a bit easier. True or not?
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Re: Cheap forks

Postby trailgumby » Tue Feb 08, 2011 11:27 am

Yes, true. But more becasue it reduces arm pump and significantly improves your ability to control the bike on rough terrain.

Toras are good. That price for NOS is pretty danged good.

Stay away from Suntour for the time being. My experience of them to date has been pretty ordinary. The set we have on my son's old entry level Otero dually was supposed to be the lowest of their 'decent' range, but it has the spring too soft and too long. This makes it impossible to back the preload off enough for 25% sag, and my son complained numerous times about the fork bottoming out, yet he was only 55-60kg at that time. Pretty basic stuff to screw up.

So until there are consistently good reports on these SR air sprung units, I'd let others take the risk and stick with the known product (RS Tora).

Disc brakes: Avid BB7 cable brakes should be available pretty cheap used - you can use them with V-brake levers. believe it or not, they're better than some entry level hydros. :)
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Re: Cheap forks

Postby Alistair » Tue Feb 08, 2011 11:54 am

Have you got disk wheels? If so i would go that way - it is definately worth finding the money for some calipers. BB7s have plenty of power but just take a bit of mucking around to setup.

I like the rigid too - it feels familiar and a bit bmx like. It isn't great on rough trails, particularly bumpy and steep downhills. Probably not ideal for what you are after though.
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Re: Cheap forks

Postby drubie » Tue Feb 08, 2011 12:33 pm

Alistair wrote:Have you got disk wheels? If so i would go that way - it is definately worth finding the money for some calipers. BB7s have plenty of power but just take a bit of mucking around to setup.

I like the rigid too - it feels familiar and a bit bmx like. It isn't great on rough trails, particularly bumpy and steep downhills. Probably not ideal for what you are after though.


No - no disk wheels. If I buy wheels (say $200) + fork ($220) + BB7s you're basically looking at the price of an entry level bike from the LBS. If I had any brains, I'd just do that I suppose.
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Re: Cheap forks

Postby zero » Tue Feb 08, 2011 1:39 pm

drubie wrote:On the rigid idea - one thing that intimidates me a bit is the steep / short downhills through gullies that I hoped the suspension fork might make a bit easier. True or not?


Seat post lowered for those sections so you can get your backside further back helps most. After that its kinda debatable I think. I like my sus fork for those sections because its softer onto anything at the bottom, but I'd have it set pretty hard if i had to do a lot of that on a particular section to stop it shortening too much with brakes and weight transfer.
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Re: Cheap forks

Postby Alistair » Tue Feb 08, 2011 2:32 pm

drubie wrote:
Alistair wrote:Have you got disk wheels? If so i would go that way - it is definately worth finding the money for some calipers. BB7s have plenty of power but just take a bit of mucking around to setup.

I like the rigid too - it feels familiar and a bit bmx like. It isn't great on rough trails, particularly bumpy and steep downhills. Probably not ideal for what you are after though.


No - no disk wheels. If I buy wheels (say $200) + fork ($220) + BB7s you're basically looking at the price of an entry level bike from the LBS. If I had any brains, I'd just do that I suppose.


Just look secondhand - i have a few forks with v posts so they aren't rare.

Rigid would certainly be the cheapest option and tempting if you are on a budget. It teaches good technique as your ass and body gets smashed if you don't get out of the saddle. With big tyres it is ok provided you are willing to pick the right lines.

My rigid bike climbs amazingly well which is nice, and the fork weighs a lot less than anything with suspension. That said, there are plenty of cheap second hand forks around if you can wait for the right deal to appear.
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Re: Cheap forks

Postby drubie » Tue Feb 08, 2011 3:02 pm

Alistair wrote:My rigid bike climbs amazingly well which is nice, and the fork weighs a lot less than anything with suspension. That said, there are plenty of cheap second hand forks around if you can wait for the right deal to appear.


The frame currently has a Surly Cross check rigid 700c fork in it - I've tried it out on single track and (aside from my own shortcomings) it wasn't too bad - the biggest issue I had was brake control on the road levers and drops - it's very hard to get any kind of precision or pick your line at speed with that setup.

I'm sorta thinking that I might replace the drops with a flat bar + trigger shifters that I have here and leave the rest of the bike as it is, then test it out on some of the stuff that scared me. That's basically a zero dollar option.
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Re: Cheap forks

Postby Alistair » Tue Feb 08, 2011 3:14 pm

I think that is a good idea. Get some big tyres and run them with the pressures as low as you can to see if it is workable.

My rigid has a short a - c height so a road fork probably wouldn't be that different in geo. It is a different experience, but has some advantages over the slacker setup on the other bikes. I like how it feels sharp and cntrolled in tight stuff... the obvious trade off is stability coming back down.
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Re: Cheap forks

Postby Quinns Rocks Roadie » Tue Feb 08, 2011 7:19 pm

drubie wrote:.....If I had any brains....

Image
I see that you are on an audio electronics forum also ... :mrgreen:
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Re: Cheap forks

Postby Nobody » Tue Feb 08, 2011 9:00 pm

Alistair wrote:I think that is a good idea. Get some big tyres and run them with the pressures as low as you can to see if it is workable.
+1.
2.2"+. Try say 22psi in the front. Make sure the tyres are good rollers if you want to run really low pressure like this though.

Alistair wrote:My rigid has a short a - c height so a road fork probably wouldn't be that different in geo. It is a different experience, but has some advantages over the slacker setup on the other bikes. I like how it feels sharp and cntrolled in tight stuff... the obvious trade off is stability coming back down.
True but a less experienced person may be better off with the slacker setup. Less likely to go OTB. I've got a 413mm 1 X 1 fork too. Surly now sell a longer 453 axle to crown fork. Drubie most likely will end up with a sus' fork, but just in case he doesn't.
http://surlybikes.com/parts/1x1_fork/
http://surlybikes.com/parts/troll_fork/

If you are after something really cheap, Dimension do a similar fork. I have a Dimension fork on my road bike and believe they are good for the money.
Disc:
http://aebike.com/product/dimension-mou ... 6-qc30.htm
V-brake:
http://aebike.com/product/dimension-26- ... 4-qc30.htm
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Re: Cheap forks

Postby trailgumby » Thu Feb 10, 2011 10:31 pm

zero wrote:
drubie wrote:On the rigid idea - one thing that intimidates me a bit is the steep / short downhills through gullies that I hoped the suspension fork might make a bit easier. True or not?


Seat post lowered for those sections so you can get your backside further back helps most.

Actually, that is good advice. Good pickup, zero. :D

A frame with a slightly shorter top tube helps as well, as does a shorter stem, say 30mm shorter. Or you'd pick a frame with a slacker head angle or slightly shorter top tube. The downside would be the bike gets a bit wandery on the climbs. But that is tolerable: you can bail if you have to on the climb, but OTB's tend to to catch you by surprise and the landings hurt... as nobody can testify.

On the entry level hardtail suggestion, yes it would be cheaper, but it is worth mentioning that in that price range "suspension" forks are named somewhat aspirationally. ;)

Suspension does help with rough trails. I most notice it with my dually. It's much easier to bomb down loose, rough, marble-covered fire trail like on Sunday and maintain control than with my hardtail. Tyre choice accounted for part of that, but not having the bike bounce around (as much) trying to buck me off helped with the confidence.
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Re: Cheap forks

Postby Nobody » Fri Feb 11, 2011 3:06 pm

trailgumby wrote:A frame with a slightly shorter top tube helps as well...
Can you please elaborate on the reasoning for this? I've actually gone the other way to get more distance (2.5cm) between the BB and front hub and compensate fit length with a shorter stem. Seem to be less tippy to me. If the head angle is getting slacker to keep that distance, then fine. But I can't see the benefit of shortening the front hub to BB distance.

trailgumby wrote:... as nobody can testify.
*Nobody (prevents confusion) :) . Yes it hurts, but it happens to most people sooner or later. Still generally better than being hit by a car.

trailgumby wrote:On the entry level hardtail suggestion, yes it would be cheaper, but it is worth mentioning that in that price range "suspension" forks are named somewhat aspirationally. ;)
+1.
Had a couple of "suspension" forks on cheaper hardtails. Nothing worth keeping yet.
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Re: Cheap forks

Postby trailgumby » Sat Feb 12, 2011 10:05 pm

Sure, no problem. :D

It's a similar effect as a short stem. For a given rider's arm length, it lets you hang more of your butt further behind and off the saddle over the back wheel. A long top tube puts more of your weight on the front of the bike as you're more leaned-forward in your position, and you have slightly less scope for moving your bodyweight around. Another way of looking at it would be that a slightly shorter frame allows you to move the bike out in front of you more.

Some frame designers opt for it so that they don't have to go with too short a stem. A shorter stem tends to make the steering more responsive - it is possible to take that too far and it becomes excessively twitchy.

I was fairly fixed in my views on what was a suitable frame top tube length for me, until I reviewed that folding mtb last year. The HTT length was almost a full frame size short for me, and I almost turned it down. I was really surprised how well it descended. Kind of an "Aha!" moment - it made sense of why DH bikes are up to 50mm shorter in the HTT length than their equivalent size (large for me) than XC bikes.

Getting and keeping the front wheel up was easier, and hucking off intermediate drops (up to 2 1/2 feet or so) didn't feel that sketchy - keeping the bike level off the lip didn't require as much windup in the body english before leaving the ground. Not bad for a hardtail. :D

As expected, keeping control of the beast on climbs was a bit of a challenge, but this was in part because the narrow bars and the relaxed steering angle made it a bit "floppy" at slow speed.

Sorry about the novel. :oops: Does that help?
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Re: Cheap forks

Postby Nobody » Sun Feb 13, 2011 12:31 pm

Thanks. It does in part, and I can see your logic, but that is assuming the BB to front hub distance stays the same by the head angle getting slacker as the TT gets shorter. On frames with the same head angle and seat angle, as the top tube gets shorter so does the BB to front hub distance and in theory the overall wheelbase gets shorter too.

To explain it another way. If you use the front hub as the reference point and head and seat angles stay equal, then the handlebars stays in the same place, but as the frame get smaller, the saddle and BB get closer to the front hub. Since the BB is on of the two reference points you hang back off (the other being the bars) I can only see shorter TTs as a disadvantage for descending.

Makes sense, or am I missing something?
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Re: Cheap forks

Postby trailgumby » Sun Feb 13, 2011 1:34 pm

Yes, all those things are going to help: more relaxed fork angle, shorter stem. I'd add shorter chain stays as well - confused yet? :lol:

Let's do this thought experiment: geometry stays the same, seat stay length included, all that changes is the length of the front triangle. Yes, BB gets closer to front hub.

Even this change on its own makes the bike a bit easier to handle on tech descents. It does this by helping the rider to more easily get their weight back closer to and even behind the back axle by providing a shorter overall bike. Another option would be to ... grow longer arms. :wink:

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Re: Cheap forks

Postby Nobody » Sun Feb 13, 2011 9:24 pm

trailgumby wrote:Yes, all those things are going to help: more relaxed fork angle, shorter stem. I'd add shorter chain stays as well - confused yet? :lol:
Thanks for reply, and yes. :oops:

trailgumby wrote:Let's do this thought experiment: geometry stays the same, seat stay length included, all that changes is the length of the front triangle. Yes, BB gets closer to front hub.

Even this change on its own makes the bike a bit easier to handle on tech descents. It does this by helping the rider to more easily get their weight back closer to and even behind the back axle by providing a shorter overall bike. Another option would be to ... grow longer arms. :wink:

Image
I think the pic helps to visualize it, but in this example the front hub still looks about the same distance as a normal bike thanks to the head angle. I would have thought that a longer frame would help with stability, but the pic says a lot about what obviously works for DH. Thanks. :)
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Re: Cheap forks

Postby drubie » Tue Feb 15, 2011 7:43 pm

Interesting reading above!

Anyhoo, as the old curse of Ebay descends upon me, I missed all the things I wanted to buy and won stuff I don't really want. Will have to see what the "RST Omni" forks look like when they turn up but I suspect they'll gather stuff for some time as another BNA member made me a very (perhaps overly) generous offer on some good forks for my project.

Since I'm a MTB numpty, I'm sure the build will be somewhat eccentric, but it's all a learning experience I suppose.

Can anybody recommend a good first aid kit :D
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Re: Cheap forks

Postby Nobody » Tue Feb 15, 2011 8:30 pm

drubie wrote:as another BNA member made me a very (perhaps overly) generous offer on some good forks for my project.
You can say Shaun's name. I don't think he'd mind.

drubie wrote:Since I'm a MTB numpty, I'm sure the build will be somewhat eccentric, but it's all a learning experience I suppose.
Sorry, but you have to have lots of money to build things "somewhat eccentric". I'm afraid to say that you (like me) will only be able to build stuff that is weird, strange, etc. :wink: :mrgreen:

Can anybody recommend a good first aid kit :D
As someone who is amply qualified from fracturing and bleeding repeatedly, I would say it is better to just not go too far from home. That way when you get injured you can just ride home reasonable quickly on the nearest road for first aid. May not work for everything, but the remainder is what a mobile is for.

The best tip I can give you is walk anything that looks too hard. There will still be plenty of stuff left that will likely catch you out and cause you to crash. You don't need to add to it.

Anther good tip is to treat damp/wet wood like ice.

Always wear gloves off road.

Watch the trees. Give them good clearance because sometimes they can jump right out in front of you at the worst possible time. You know how I know it.... :oops: :(
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Re: Cheap forks

Postby Mulger bill » Wed Feb 16, 2011 12:15 am

Nobody wrote:
drubie wrote:as another BNA member made me a very (perhaps overly) generous offer on some good forks for my project.
You can say Shaun's name. I don't think he'd mind.


Agreed :) Anything to stop you unfairly bagging Taters :P

Can anybody recommend a good first aid kit :D
Nobody wrote:As someone who is amply qualified from fracturing and bleeding repeatedly, I would say it is better to just not go too far from home. That way when you get injured you can just ride home reasonable quickly on the nearest road for first aid. May not work for everything, but the remainder is what a mobile is for.

The best tip I can give you is walk anything that looks too hard. There will still be plenty of stuff left that will likely catch you out and cause you to crash. You don't need to add to it.

Anther good tip is to treat damp/wet wood like ice.

Always wear gloves off road.

Watch the trees. Give them good clearance because sometimes they can jump right out in front of you at the worst possible time. You know how I know it.... :oops: :(


Nobody has nailed it perfectly. Did he mention gloves? Never fingerless.
Oh, BTW, first aid kits... :wink:
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Re: Cheap forks

Postby trailgumby » Wed Feb 16, 2011 8:14 am

Seeing this thread seems to have reached a successful conclusion, maybe I'll start a "riding tips for mtb newbies" thread?

I suspect it might turn into a bit of a "stupid things I have done" competition between nobody and me :oops: ... which will at least be entertaining if not educational... :lol:
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