What features would you like to see in long travel 29" forks? They might not be exact copies of 26" forks' features they may offer more tuning possibilities, etc.
I sent a few e-mails to White Brothers Cycling and they replied as follows:
Dear White Brothers
I wrote several suggestions concerning the 29" forks, I would be grateful if you forwarded this message to both your bosses and technicians.
I enclosed e-mails from Turner, Ventana, Niner and Santa Cruz at the bottom. I enclosed as well links for a website with first DH 29" bicycle with something like your remade dual-crown fork!
Presenting Fork sketches or picture to the Frame builders and target Riders.
As far as riders are concerned you might present it here in "Manufacturers 29 News" on Mtbr
of course if you approve stuff like this. Some manufacturers did so, gathered feedback and benefited quite much.
Even in alpha testing stage might be very favorable. You could acquire attention and boost imagination of different style riders. They know what lacks in their forks, it may encourage a number of them to write down the feature list plus draw a draft in CAD to depict some new construction solutions that they believe would ameliorate the riding characteristics. If there is a nuance that might cause trouble (construction compatibility with certain handlebars, stems, frames) it can be nipped in the bud.
Furthermore such pre-premier draft presentation allows you to correct issues and determine what the riders are really dreaming of, and that, in turn, ensures sales prosperity and, due to lack of any 29" forks from 130mm onwards, frame builders fidelity in the target market. Designing a variety of frames based on your forks ,frame manufacturers will be accustomed to your products and when other fork alternatives appear, the creators of which, will have to compete on already saturated market. Judging from the e-mails, which I received from frame producers, if there is the fork, there is a appropriate frame, tire ( the widest for now 2,55") and other „apparel" round the corner. Generally you could contribute to boosting 29" development and filling the niche.
The riders could have the opportunity to partly participate in fork building and know what it roughly is capable of, before it is released.
Your technicians for instance could draw a sketch of the fork and deliver it to the frame builders (with or without recommendation for target application) and then they reply with designed frame and other requirements to you. They would have an option either choose you as fork supplier or wait in patience for other fork manufacturer to join 29" market.
There would be no time interval, when frame manufacturers start designing whilst certain fork is being designed, the fork would come out (and be sold) on the bike on the release day of both. No need to wait in warehouse for them to come up with a suitable frame.
Consult some for instance Intense, Turner, Ventana, Specialized sites. Intense after releasing 5.5 29" with 5,75" rear travel, it is presumed that they are in need for building 6.6, 29" M3 29" Uzii 29" and other in 29" versions. Tight cooperation is welcomed.
Intense 5.5 29" with your Fluid 130mm http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?p=2647844
Lenz Behemoth with 130mm Lance goes big (on the Behemoth...)- Mtbr.com
I had a vena for creation and I invented several 29" forks. I based it on gaining some experience in MTB World from a consumer point of view. What are your views on implementing varied hue and colors of your products any my forks' ideas?
For instance it can match with red aggressive Freeride Bike or blue with moderate feminine XC bicycle or toned pastel green for light Trail/ light AM.
The suspension forks:
- XC Lighter 29" Magic 80 and 100 The weight is a crucial thing. Multitude of colors and hues. Perhaps 28-30mm stanchions?
There is a substantial number of people wishing to ride XC style. They are deterred because of added weight. With light HT frame and fork more riders may switch to 29" and compete on races being heavier but overcoming obstacles with ease and maintaining speed and momentum. Special for-race-only stiff fork version needed.
Tighter fork stanchions' clearance for leisure trekking& cyclo-cross bicycles up to 1,95" tyre
- XC; Trail and light AL/Enduro Adjustable length forks similar to Rock Shox Revelation, Pike and Marzocchi Bomber. The weight is also a crucial thing for keeping the whole bike reasonable for all-day journeys, especially when at times you must carry your bicycle owing to steep ascend. Multitude of colors and hues welcome
Introduce an adjustable 3 axle 29" Fluid version f. ex 100-130, 100-140 and 100-150mm oil-air for hard XC and middle AM purposes.
It could have intelligent automatic lock-out when the fork „detects" no bumps when on hard-packed surface f.ex asphalt. When falling into a hole and bumping into obstacle it activates and remain active till it receives jolts- cheaper version with lever pop-lock. What is of high importance is to ensure equal efficiency in both extremes 100 and 150 Fork ought to be equally plush, functional and when in 130 it ought to perform exactly as non-adjustable fuid 130mm and this same pertains to 100 and 150mm positions.
Generally functions existing in some models of Rock Shox, Marzocchi and Fox. 100 for XC and uphill on very rough terrain 130 and DH sections on 150mm. such 100-150 fork could fit numerous bicycles with about 110-150 of rear wheel travel. Versatility. It must be very light. Maybe different price ranges depending on weight and features like Rock Shox offers.
All in all, such customization 100-150 will satisfy majority of people (and equip many bikes) when riding on road and then roving in the mountainous tracks. Keeping the weight in cutting-edge "premium" version under 2 kg would be an unrivalled success.
- Enduro- All Mountain 36mm very stiff stanchions forks (Fox uses 36mm)with axle; single crown, common and adjustable, all adjustable coil and air versions. In coil versions the weight does not matter much.
Adjustable 140-170mm and/or 140-180mm both in coil and air
Standard forks about 145, 160 and 180mm versions maybe only coil.
Different colors and hues
- Freeride Double Crown coil axle; 36 or 40mm stanchions Weight does not matter
Extreme Freeride & moderate Downhill beefy Double Crown axle, 40mm stanchions The heavier the better. Big wheels will let the riders to skim over rocky gardens on slopes and detracting to a lesser extent in comparison with 26".
Scrutinize this website with 29" DH bike and your remade 29" forks
and a fork
http://bcdracing.com/29s/index.html There is a thread concerning this issue on Mtbr.com
Downhill on 29" wheels now it is reality.- Mtbr.com
Groove 29" 180mm; 203mm
- Extreme Downhill Beefy Double Crown axle the heavier the better, 50mm stanchions accepting custom 165mm or wider hub and flange configuration wheels. Accepting 4 inches tires. Examples taken from Motocross for instance Marzocchi.
Necessary contact with rims' and hubs' builders. This innovative step is indispensable, since standard of 135mm and even 26" DH 150mm hubs and flanges will not stand such abuse of 29"-622mm rims.
Now there exist bikes with 12,5" of rear travel and following fork would match them perfectly
Monster Groove 29" in 3 versions:
230mm; 260mm and over 300mm of travel length. Stanchions function like in a moto-cycle when they come into each other (bushings?) form below unlike other forks where it is from above.
Perhaps adjustable 280-330mm
for extreme bike accepting 4 inches tyres. Consult sketches with frame builders. Frames allowing both 29" wheels or front 29" and rear 29", 26" and 24". Rear 24" and front 29" would create substantially short bicycle to let the rider better swerving into corners- controllability. The weight would be over 5 kilograms or more and that's the asset.
Bike featuring 4 inches tires
Custom-made forks for frame builders .
An example- Manitou custom for Gary Fisher HI FI Genesis 2.0/3.0 bicycles.
Perhaps once you will start working on rear suspension as well and maybe WB frames? You would be capable of to releasing your own bicycles. Experiment with hues and colours, sometimes a fork in certain hue may appeal more to someone than original black and white, and that might decide as well whether the fork is sold. Bike manufacturers tend to produce a variety and multiplicity of bicycles to please and attract everyone. Therefore to achieve that they require as many similar in travel forks but differentiated in features and functions, weight, materials and finally the price.
Specialized is probably testing a 29" with a Fox fork 29" because they offer a 29" XC tire and no bicycle to mount it on. The mistake on the part of Fox (if it is true) is such that they do not reveal the project and those, for whom eventually the fork is designed, cannot comment and express what they need in 29" fork. The frame companies might be thinking about other bikes in 29" (exact copies of 26") but still be limited by the lack of fork. A detailed offer for them would be a wise deed, before their fork suppliers make a move.
It is not just magnifying the fork for 29", perhaps bigger forks need more tuning features or some other polishes can be welcome.
For instance hardness problem in air-oil forks- the more the fork is pressed due to unevenness the more it gets harder, since the air, like other gases, becomes harder the more it is squeezed. Owing to longer stanchion it could accommodate 4 air chambers, 2 per stanchion. Upper chamber may gradually compress and when reaching some pressure level then squeeze the lower chamber. In similar way you could create less hard forks when working and achieve a level of unmarred travel suppleness like in coil- oil dampers.
As one can observe big wheel dampers may exceed in efficiency their smaller brethren.
29ers use rims of 622mm but formerly there were 630 (called 27") 635mm (called 28") and completely obsolete 640mm.
29.5 - setting a new standard for big wheel bicycles!- Mtbr.com Used as postman bikes 30-40 years ago.
or an example of funny over-sized wheels, definitely not in need for suspension.
New big wheeled ride...- Mtbr.com
In the future in 29er movement those rims' sizes might be revived and make much fuss, will it be possible in future to design a fork with adjustable clearance for rim sizes from 622 to 635? Of course taking into account the tire height for each, ( fo.ex 2 to 2.5 and 3-4 DH) for each size. It is unlikely to turn up, but just be aware of their existence.
What are WB plans for future?
Perhaps Rear shocks' Design both oil-air and titanium coil, from 70 up to 330mm travel when mounted. Frame design&production in distant future? That business move would render you independent and free. You could then patent your own rear suspension solutions on your frames.
Summarizing you will see whether such agenda is feasible, however if your goals are by far contrary, I may thank you for reading my ideas and I practiced my English writing at the same time. Just for sheer curiosity -after discussing- ask your technicians to reply whether my suggestions are accurate. I wrote it inspired by altruism and with desire to mark and solidify 29" parts' presence on the market.
Attached messages from frame builders:
Our RIP 9 full suspension frame has 4.5 inches (115mm) of rear travel, which is as much or more travel then you will get out of any production 29er now available. It works very well with the WB Fluid 130 or Maverick DUC 32 for a do-all trail bike. We started out by designing our suspension for 6" of travel and downsized from there to match up with the current 29er forks on the market. When the appropriate fork comes along, we'll be ready.
We will use our own suspension design, not license something from a third party.
We are very familiar with the Behemoth and I have spent time on one myself. As Lance mentioned when he tested it, the rest of the parts, like the fork, are just not there yet for a true FR/DH 29er. However, there is nothing the Behemoth is capable of that a similarly equipped RIP 9 could not do.
We do make hard tail frames in Reynold 853 steel and Easton Scandium as well as the 7000 series aluminum. We have to plans at this time to build a FS Ti frame. On a FS frame you want the "give" to come from the suspension design, not the material.
The fork manufactures are going to be coming out with longer travel forks in the next 1-2 years. There is a huge upfront cost to cast the new magnesium lowers. ($100,000) not counting R& D time. In the future all fork manufactures will have plenty of 29er offerings as the market gets larger.
From David turner
The 29 market is so small right now that fork makers are very cautious about building more expensive 29r forks. This statement is backed up by Rock Shox adding the Tora to the 29r market, not a Pike or Revelation which are more expensive products. White Brothers does build the 130, I don't believe it is adjustable on the trail. Please don't forget Maverick, they make a fork that is 29r compatable as is customizing the Cannondale Lefty.
You can read all about those options as Mike Curiak did an extensive test of all the 29r forks on the market, do a search on MTBR 29 forum.
All our frames are alu. Titanium is heavier and more flexible, so it seems to be good for those that love to look at it.
No I do not plan on making all models in 29. With no large fork makers making ANYTHING longer than 120mm in travel for 2008 the market will not be going up in travel at a very fast pace, so no FR and DH stuff from the big makers. Shoot with only 80-120 that means that All Mountain will not even be a possibility. As for the other end of the spectrum which is XC racing, a 26 wheeled bike can be much lighter and as you know by watching World Cup XC, all those riders care about is weight as many still race hardtails with very stiff settings on their forks. So I think that in the years to come most 29r bikes will be trail bikes, and hopefully a big fork maker will make a 140 travel as I have asked each one of them recently. But that will not happen in 2008 that I know of, and I have asked that too.
My frames function the same as ICT, as a former ICT licensee I know that the performance we are getting now is no different kilometer after kilometer in the dirt. VPP functions like a high pivot bike so it locks out more and more as one shifts into a smaller ring. They exhibit the same traits as a raised pivot while brakes are applied as well.
I did see a picture of an Intense 5.5 29r. The only fork available with travel anywhere close is the White Bros 130 as you have pointed out. Manitou has a Minute 120 for 29 wheels that will be out later this year as a 2008 model. But 120 is a long way from a Nixon 140! Still no All Mountain.
I really don't know what you are looking for? What do you want from a 29r? Do you have a 29r now? What don't you like about it?
For Ventan with reply form them.
- Do you intend to build a frame with 130mm (or more) travel equipped with White Brothers fluid 130mm (or more) 29" fork?
Perhaps equipped with custom fork?
[SPG] We already do...we have two models right now in El Capitan and El Rey that can be upgraded to 5" of rear travel. And when the forks catch up, I will indeed build frames to go with them. Looks like in 2008 Fox and Manitou are planning on throwing their hats into the 29er ring and I will be right there with a frame to match when they do. The fork selections at 130mm are White Brothers, and let me see...hmmm...oh, yes, and White Brothers (I don't count the detuned 110mm Maverick.) So I can't wait for more forks.
This same pertains to DH/FR 29" bike with custom fork
[SPG] Same thing, once we have forks to build around it becomes much easier to design longer travel frames. I do think there are some limitations in big travel with the big wheels which might open up some 69 combinations but we gotta have some forks first.
- Will you apply such (similar) technology as: VPP intense or ITC Ellsworth?
[SPG] If the design requires it then yes, but I haven't seen an absolute need yet so I wouldn't hold your breath if I were you. Most of those patented designs make light of their good points through diligent marketing while down playing inherent limitations at the same time. Every bike design has compromises and usually if you are screaming really loud that your this-and-that is the best then you are probably overlooking something...that is what I like to focus on in my designs, don't overlook anything, make minimal compromises, and try to get the best overall package out of the final design.
I shall definitely purchase one when (if) such is constructed.
For comparison I enclose a link for WB fork 130mm test together with Behemoth Lenz frame also with 130 travel. Tested by world leader FR & DH rider.
Lance goes big (on the Behemoth...)- Mtbr.com
[SPG] El Capitan with 5" rocker will hold its own quite well against the Behemoth. And we have them in stock right now. And since we build everything in house, if you want one with custom geometry we can do that as well.
-Do you use other materials for frames f.ex. Magnezium-Titanium with carbon fiber parts or pure titanium?
[SPG] Mostly aluminum, some steel, and a small bit of titanium where it makes sense. I have considered magnesium for a few bits in the past but the environmental issues and the fire hazzard in working with it for the savings of a couple of grams isn't worth the risk to me. Did some carbon parts way back when (1992 or so), but carbon is not the best material to use in limited production with custom sizing so we probably won't be doing any of that any time soon.
Thanks for your interest in Santa Cruz.
We have no current plans to make or offer a 29" wheeled model anytime in the
near future, sorry.
We currently have our hands very full keeping up with current 26" model
demands and other new projects currently in the pipeline.
While it would be a fun side project, adding a 29er to the mix at this time
is just not possible.
Thanks for your interest in Santa Cruz, and let me know if you have any
Santa Cruz Bicycles
Santa Cruz, California
2 Responses from White Brothers:
Thank you very much for your email. 29” forks represent the main part of our product line, so they are an important focus for us. We have always been at the forefront of design for the 29” market and we plan to keep it that way. Longer travel forks (both single-crown and dual-crown) are in development and adjustable travel forks are also on the horizon. I can’t give you any specific time frame for introduction of new models, but I assure you they are a top priority here.
Please keep you eyes open for more 29” models from White Brothers.
Thank you for your input. It is much appreciated. I will read this over and if I have any news for you, I will let you know. You have raised many good points, but it is not possible to reply in much detail right at the moment, other than to say “we’re working on it!”
VP Sales and Marketing
Mountain Racing Products
Well now what do you think? What kind of forks (what features and tuning possibiliteis, what adjustable travel range) would you like to see in WB or any other 29" forks? Perhaps fork manufacturers are reading this thread and many benefit from our input.
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