Forking Hell

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Forking Hell

Postby mmel » Sat Aug 04, 2018 1:23 pm

I've been mostly riding road bikes, but I'm moving to a new home where it makes a lot more sense to ride a HT mountain bike instead, I'm trying to figure out that bang-per-buck sweetspot where components have that good quality, but not full-on $$$ race spec. I'm thinking around Alivio/Deore tier for the drivetrain, but the more I read, the more I find that people say good suspension is more important. I know nothing about suspension forks, what is the bang for buck best compromise on a suspension fork? Am I better off buying a cheaper bike and spending the difference on a good fork separately? Can someone give me an example of a fork that provides a good ride, but doesn't venture into the full-race/weightweenie/$$$ territory?

I'm intending to ride dirt roads, good and rutted fire trails, and non-technical singletrack.


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Re: Forking Hell

Postby andrewjcw » Sat Aug 04, 2018 2:02 pm

Just get a list going of 4-5 bikes you're interested in, then look out what forks they're running. Look up the manufacturer website what they retail for and where they sit in the lineup. If you're any sort of regular/keen rider you'll notice a very big difference between a cheap and mid-range fork. From what I've seen forks are quite hard and expensive to come across in Australia. We don't have the custom build scene of America or Europe. It will be hard to retain value going from stock to a custom build.

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Cardy George
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Re: Forking Hell

Postby Cardy George » Sat Aug 04, 2018 3:37 pm will give a far more comprehensive answer for this question.

You might even be able to pick up a deal on some forks. :D

For the record I 100% back your decision, I commute on a HT every day, but mines not what you're looking for.

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Re: Forking Hell

Postby Duck! » Sat Aug 04, 2018 5:34 pm

Something like the Rock Shox Recon or Reba series of forks perform very well, at not insane prices. The Recon comes in two basic versions, Silver (steel stanchions, heavier) and Gold (aluminium stanchions, lighter, but share the internals, so perform similarly. Adjustments are fairly basic, but adequate for most casual riders, and are a fair cut above the entry-level XC-series forks.

The Reba is another step up, introducing a few more adjustment options, and shares a lot of its internals with the lighter-weight, race-targetted Sid series as well as the longer-travel, Trail/All-Mountain-oriented Revelation series.

Tha lineage can be a bit hard to trace at times, because it tends to branch into different models at similar spec levels as more travel comes into the game, but for XC/short-travel the range is XC28 -> XC30 -> XC32 -> Recon (Silver -> Gold) - > Reba -> Sid -> RS-1. The Revelation branches off from the Reba, then the next step up is the Pike. You're getting into serious bikes once you start seeing those forks.

Fox forks are also a bit convuluted, but you'll typically see the Float series, with a number that denotes travel 100/120 etc and/or stanchion diameter (32, 34, 36 - bigger = stiffer, more serious, in conjunction with more travel). They're addidionally ranked Evolution, Performance and Factory, which mostly relates to the quality of the damper assembly.
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Re: Forking Hell

Postby RonK » Sat Aug 04, 2018 5:47 pm

According to my recent research, Rockshox Reba or Fox Float 32 are generally considered on the theshhold i.e. the entry level for serious suspension.
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Re: Forking Hell

Postby Usernoname » Sat Aug 04, 2018 6:46 pm

In the $1500 - $2000 segment there is a range with the Rock Shox Recon / Judy(boost 110) Silver & Gold towards $2000 Fox 32's come in. Something like the Merida Big 9 XT has Manitou fork and XT drivetrain. depends what bikes you can access to check out. Really hard to compare as all come with different spec. There is also the 27.5 + category (2.8-3" tyres) good on offroad surfaces but not for bitumen.
Also if you are a heavy weight, smaller width forks might be flexy for you but fine for <90kg ... y=cheapest

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