front suspension recommendations

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front suspension recommendations

Postby Gordo » Sat Dec 03, 2011 10:23 am

I want to upgrade my front forks. at the moment im just looking at rockshox recons gold. they come in a few diff models and im finding it a little confusing. There is RL TK and R models? Lots of talk of Motion control, solo air, or coil etc etc. whats what and which is better? All i want is something that bounces up and down with about 100mm travel and lockout, and allows me to get more places in comfort. Whats the smartest choice?

any other brand forks worth considering. dont want to go over 500$...

Also if i whack 120mm travel forks on a hardtail am i asking for trouble? Over the net ive heard things like it might crack your frame and what not. Not sure if i want too much travel as i have visions of the forks digging in and me going over the handlebars.
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by BNA » Sat Dec 03, 2011 10:55 am

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Re: front suspension recommendations

Postby trailgumby » Sat Dec 03, 2011 10:55 am

Solo Air is good. I have RS Solo Air internals in two of my Cannondale Lefty forks and I'm pretty impressed. Low maintenance and easy to set up, no second chamber to worry about when tuning.

Coil Spring will be slightly more linear, but will weigh a lot more, and if you are outside the target weight range you will need to change springs. With air forks you just change the pressure, and you can tune the progression by altering how much oil is in the air chamber (changes the air volume).

You might get away with 120mm on a hardtail, but it depends on the maximum axle-to-crown height the manufacturer certifies for the frame. If you exceed this, and the forks is too long, you can easily fold the front of the bike under you on a trail obstacle. This would be most likely to occur at speed, and would not end well. So if you can't find that out, I would stick to 100mm.
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Re: front suspension recommendations

Postby Mulger bill » Sat Dec 03, 2011 10:54 pm

Hmmm. RL= Rebound damping+ lockout. R=Rebound damping only. Pretty sure that TK was RS's method of adjusting the fork travel, "Turnkey" or some such...

My old hardtail ran a set of 100mm Recon Solo Air, RL with poploc remote lockout. Good fork, soaked up the bumps well and hardly complained about the big hits either. IME, it was a little flexy fore and aft over square edged hits but never enough to tuck under or buck me.

While the Fox 32 on me new bike is waaaaay ahead in most points, I really do miss the remote lockout. Reaching down and swiping the lever needs more planning If I want to avoid pain.
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Re: front suspension recommendations

Postby AlMac » Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:00 am

If possible, my No.1 would be to get something with a thru axle (but can you at that price point)? I found standard QR are way too flexy (and thankfully now a thing of the past).
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Re: front suspension recommendations

Postby trailgumby » Sun Feb 12, 2012 2:17 pm

AlMac wrote:If possible, my No.1 would be to get something with a thru axle (but can you at that price point)? I found standard QR are way too flexy (and thankfully now a thing of the past).

I'd second that - a thru-axle is a definite improvement. However, if you have a straight 1 1/8" steerer they may be a little harder to find than if you have a tapered steerer.

Ultimate in stiffness, plushness and steering accuracy is the Cannondale Lefty, for which 1 1/8" steerer adapters are now widely available. They're a bit like cheating actually - you can just bomb straight through stuff.
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Re: front suspension recommendations

Postby Gordo » Sun Feb 12, 2012 3:04 pm

scrapped the fork upgade thing. but, yeah, the through axle + tapered steerers all seem the go. im just going the full hog and getting a new bike with hopefully all that or similar.

trouble is im thinking specialized. they dont do the thru axle. they have os28 (rockshox) and os 24 (fox) end caps on the roval wheels which are a tincy bit lighter and stiffer than the thru axles -- so they say! They still use forks with the standard drops (9qr) and these ends caps attach to that . Prob is its all proprietary. What if i want to upgrade my wheels. well i cant use anything other than roval (or 9qr, which i dont want to do coz its not an upgrade)...and that will be expensive compared to buying something over the net thats standardized like 15QR. Or i have to buy new forks and then front wheels with 15QR. I thinks thats one of the probs i face with buying specialized (I could be wrong about all this the tech stuff though). But its all an expensive exercise it seems. Comes down to how good their roval 29 wheels are....or how cheap their next line or wheels are. knowing my luck the answer to those two questions will be 1) 'not very good' and 2) 'very dear'. Still, i did like the epic.

actually thought about a scalpel 29. the shop i go to also does cannondale. There is none in the shop and not many on bike exchange last time i looked. Unknown quantity for me. the lefty is again proprietary which makes me a little cautious. Knowing me im likely to want to try and pull my forks to bits and i dont know if should go there with the lefty....same issue i face with the specialized brain rear shock: proprietary.
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Re: front suspension recommendations

Postby trailgumby » Sun Feb 12, 2012 7:36 pm

Gordo wrote:actually thought about a scalpel 29. the shop i go to also does cannondale. There is none in the shop and not many on bike exchange last time i looked. Unknown quantity for me. the lefty is again proprietary which makes me a little cautious. Knowing me im likely to want to try and pull my forks to bits and i dont know if should go there with the lefty....same issue i face with the specialized brain rear shock: proprietary.

One of my mates has just picked up a Scalpel 29er. If I can charm him into giving me a ride, I'll let you know how it rides.

Lefties are bomb-proof. The only thing that can go wrong with them is the pin-races break, a very rare occurence if you perform the periodic bearing reset, which is an easy low risk user-performable task. Earlier models occasionally used to blow lockout seals if you landed hard with a locked-out fork, but MY2010 and later dampers have a blow-off so that problem is resolved.

RLC Sport in Brizzie will upgrade your old damper to MY2012 Solo Air PBR for abut $50 more than a standard service, which I've had done to my hardtail and the bike is completely transformed.

Nothing steers more accurately than a Lefty. See second half of the following vid:

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Re: front suspension recommendations

Postby Gordo » Mon Feb 13, 2012 2:52 pm

The Scalpel 29 looks great. I reckon it'll ride like a dream. biggest obstacle will be price.
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