A little background:
I'm new the the mountain biking world - my experience with bicycles has been strictly on the road. I used to race motocross and do a lot of trail riding and have been itching to get back into the woods and ride some single track - so I picked up a mountain bike: a Giant Talon 4 27.5.
I had a budget of about $1k and got it for $100 under MSRP ($600). I rode it pretty hard for two days on some more technical local single track. I was surprised at how well the lower-end drivetrain held up - I've learned from the road world that kit snobbery is just that - and that the lower end stuff is quite capable.
The one disappointment has been the fork - a SR Suntour XCT MLO with 100mm of travel. My first complain (and this is two days in with owning the bike) is that the switch for the lockout (a cheap plastic thing) seems to have stripped a little and doesn't always turn the internal mechanism. There's an indicator on the switch that's now mis-aligned and I have to go by feel if it's locked out or not.
I've also bottomed it out a few times and while not badly or frequently the build quality of this thing is not confidence inspiring and I doubt how long it'll hold up. I'm 220lbs so I'm on the heavier side.
So, I've still got ~$3-400 in my 'budget'. What are your thoughts - MTBR? Is there a killer fork that fits my budget and riding style (XC, intermediate/semi-technical single track)?
Also, with my frame, what computability considerations should I take into account when looking at forks? I don't know if I have a tapered headset or not (I don't believe so, best way to tell?).
Thanks in advance folks! I love the bike, and I figure the drivetrain I can replace as I wear it out but this fork just has me feeling uneasy.
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