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Thread: Why Ride Rigid?

  1. #1
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    Why Ride Rigid?

    Ok so perhaps it's my age but I have come full circle in my bike endeavors. I started back in the day with no suspension then went to forks only and to full suspension and then on to the 29ers. After riding a 29er I realized that I could easily get by on a hardtail but lately I have been considering going completely rigid with a Niner carbon fork.

    My question for my vast MTBR brothers/sisters is if you ride rigid and even better if you are a convert to rigid why?

    Am I insane for wanting to rip a $900.00 state of the art fork off my bike only to replace it with something that's going to beat me to death

  2. #2
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    It's all personal preference and dependent on your age, terrain and riding style. I have a rigid and a HT and soon an FS and for me the rigid just makes trails interesting again and much, much more challenging in general compared to the HT and most definitely FS. Once you get some nice high volume tyres for a rigid and you know how to properly ride one - hardly if ever sit down except on tarmac then you'll generally be all right. I don't ride my Monkey alot on trails, mainly if I'm lending out the HT or riding with newer riders where I know no matter what they're riding they'll be struggling to keep up even if I'm on a rigid. I'd like to change that with some nice new high volume tyres this year, and a new wide wheelset, just waiting on them to become available is all.
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    Skills to pay the bills

    It helps you develop better trail skills. You don't have a bunch of squish to save your arss when you just plow through the rough. I find it makes me faster when I ride my RIP after a few rides on a hardtail. I actually prefer hardtail over full suspension.

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    Like Lynx, I have a ss rigid, a HT and a FS. I would not rip that 900 fork off for a bone shaker set up, IF it is your only bike. If it is one of many in a stable go for it, variety is the spice of life. I ride my rigid mostly in the winter simply because the rides are often shorter anyway (cold, less time, gets dark etc) and having a ss rigid add a lot of value to time ratio on any trail. In the summer time it gets slicks and a trail-a- bike for me a my girls.
    A rigid bike is a bone shaker, still fun, pick lines etc but you will not want it every ride. I am 35 been riding in the PNW since 90 and like you I have come full circle in the riding world, I just kept examples of modern technology along the way, I will keep my Monkey SS Rigid but My stumpy fsr 29er is just waiting for better weather.
    P.S I am also hoping KOOKA and purple ano everything are not far way again (jk) children go ask dad if you don't know.

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    I converted to rigid because I was getting a touch bored on my local trails.

    I stuck with it because I find it more fun and the instant power transfer and predictability are addictive!

    It isn't for everyone, so If you want to give it a go on the cheap, the Kona P2 29er is something close to $30 on bikeman.com. The geometry is pretty close to the niner fork.

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    Been riding MTB (Klunkers?) since the late 70's - rigid everything to inch-and-a-half travel forks to nearly 7-inch FS bikes. 5 years ago I bought a rigid 29" SS. 6 months later all my 26" bikes were sold, except one that has hung in the garage with one ride on it the last 4-1/2 years. I'm 50, decent skills but was finding myself going stupid fast down stuff that if I came off, could have been the last time I was upright. Rigid makes me pay attention, slow down a little and still have as much or more fun on a given trail. The response to pedaling and standing is incredible, and really can't be duplicated on any suspended bike. Unless a trail is really rough, I can pretty much keep up with the rest of the crowd on the FS bikes, and stay ahead of many of them, unless they are just plain younger and faster than me. Bars, set-up and tires make a big difference on a rigid - and 29" helps immensely. FWIW, effectively my 29" Rigid SS is my only bike the last 5 years now. If my fitness drops, I'm slow. But I get back to shape faster with the SS and I for some strange reason enjoy it. Give it a try - you'll be able to get a lot of your money bike on a Niner or other name-brand CF fork if you don't like it. And if you really love it, you'll come out ahead after you sell that $900 bouncer from the front!
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  7. #7
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    why ask why?
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    Quote Originally Posted by pamt View Post
    Ok so perhaps it's my age but I have come full circle in my bike endeavors. I started back in the day with no suspension then went to forks only and to full suspension and then on to the 29ers. After riding a 29er I realized that I could easily get by on a hardtail but lately I have been considering going completely rigid with a Niner carbon fork.

    My question for my vast MTBR brothers/sisters is if you ride rigid and even better if you are a convert to rigid why?

    Am I insane for wanting to rip a $900.00 state of the art fork off my bike only to replace it with something that's going to beat me to death
    I rode my 1st mountain bike for nearly 22 years. It's a fully rigid DB Axis XT and I've ridden all of the old trails around the SF Peninsula back when suspension forks weren't all that great and they were really heavy. I managed just fine on Tioga City Slickers. The only real trouble I remember having is when I was going down old Alpine where it turned to dirt and hit fully dried washboard. The ridges were probably 3" high and close packed... I almost ate it and had to slow down to a crawl. It handled most of the terrain pretty well, just really rough stuff was a nightmare or impossible.

    I still have that bike and it still rides great but I'll never take it off-path again I'm too fat and old now, that's why I built up a really nice 29er :P However if you have a nice front fork, I don't see a point in taking it off unless you never really utilize it.

    I'll never go FS unless I start doing the off-season ski-resort downhill stuff.

    tl;dr: if you have a nice fork, enjoy it on a nice hardtail.

  9. #9
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    I do it because I appreciate the connection to the trail.

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    I bought my rigid SS because I moved right next to a trail network that was kinda boring with suspension. It definitely "livened" up those trails, but I was surprised by how much fun it is everywhere else too. Up until a few weeks ago, it was my only XC bike and I rode it almost everywhere on group rides--this really pushed me since I was trying to keep up with a group of guys on 5-6" bikes. It's been a real ego boost for me to know that I can still rip it up on a bike where I'm not "buying my skills"...

    The skills refresher I got from the rigid has definitely made me faster on my DH bike (and now my Shinobi too). I am much more proactive with the front wheel now instead of just letting the fork plow through stuff. I'm also a lot more loose on the bike and use my body as suspension more. I wouldn't want my only bike to be a rigid, but I don't ever see NOT having a rigid in my stable after all the fun I've had on my Unit.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by stinkyto View Post
    Like Lynx, I have a ss rigid, a HT and a FS. I would not rip that 900 fork off for a bone shaker set up, IF it is your only bike. If it is one of many in a stable go for it, variety is the spice of life. I ride my rigid mostly in the winter simply because the rides are often shorter anyway (cold, less time, gets dark etc) and having a ss rigid add a lot of value to time ratio on any trail. In the summer time it gets slicks and a trail-a- bike for me a my girls.
    A rigid bike is a bone shaker, still fun, pick lines etc but you will not want it every ride. I am 35 been riding in the PNW since 90 and like you I have come full circle in the riding world, I just kept examples of modern technology along the way, I will keep my Monkey SS Rigid but My stumpy fsr 29er is just waiting for better weather.
    P.S I am also hoping KOOKA and purple ano everything are not far way again (jk) children go ask dad if you don't know.
    Rigid doesn't have to be a "bone shacker", maybe if you're using skinny tires and high pressure it is, but a fat tire and low pressure take a lot of the small stuff away.

    Having said that yeah it's still rigid so you can't get lazy and plow into stuff. The only bikes I have are rigid, and its there's plenty of rocks around here.

  12. #12
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    I bought a rigid bike because the price was good. The first order of business was to put some suspension on the front end. I never had any intention or desire to ride rigid until I did. That was 4 years ago. About 3 years ago had a similar experience on single speed. I now have two working bikes, both ss and rigid. I think it has a lot to do with the larger wheel, don't think I would have enjoyed either on a 26er.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by bzo75 View Post
    It helps you develop better trail skills. You don't have a bunch of squish to save your arss when you just plow through the rough. I find it makes me faster when I ride my RIP after a few rides on a hardtail. I actually prefer hardtail over full suspension.
    I agree with everything but the last sentence. Rigid makes you a better rider, and makes you faster on your front suspension or full suspension bike. It adds some variety to your rides. Try this one: Do the same ride twice in a weekend, Saturday on a bike with suspension, and Sunday on a bike without any. It's like two different trails! Fun!

    And I don't prefer rigid over FS, I like both equally for different reasons.
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    Simple free time is limited, so with less mechanical moving parts less time fixing those moving parts that break or fail equals more ride time. I don't buy into rigid's only good for certain terrain cause all I got is nasty rocky terrain. It's just takes a certain attitude

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    Quote Originally Posted by meltingfeather View Post
    why ask why?
    Best answer.....you win meltingfeather

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    Quote Originally Posted by ATBScott View Post
    I'm 50, decent skills but was finding myself going stupid fast down stuff that if I came off, could have been the last time I was upright. Rigid makes me pay attention, slow down a little and still have as much or more fun on a given trail. The response to pedaling and standing is incredible, and really can't be duplicated on any suspended bike. Unless a trail is really rough, I can pretty much keep up with the rest of the crowd on the FS bikes, and stay ahead of many of them, unless they are just plain younger and faster than me.
    I completely agree.

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    Because I'm broke.

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    If you do go rigid off road, make sure it's carbon (it doesn't beat you up as much as steel - you will feel the front cockpit lighten up making it that much easier to lift up rock formations, roots, that would otherwise get soaked up by a suspension fork). Sure, rigid is fine off road - look at all the cyclocross guys on road frames with micro knobbies, but not if you ride the trails with my group of full suspension geared cyclists.
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  19. #19
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    Chicks dig it. No, really - I was riding my rigid SS down a rocky stretch of local trail and stopped to let an uphill biker pass, who happened to be an incredibly gorgeous young lady. Her eyes glanced down at my bike and she said (swear to God) "Ooooh, you're riding *rigid*. All I could do was grin and say "Why yes, yes I am".

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattybfat View Post
    Simple free time is limited, so with less mechanical moving parts less time fixing those moving parts that break or fail equals more ride time. I don't buy into rigid's only good for certain terrain cause all I got is nasty rocky terrain. It's just takes a certain attitude
    This one (above). I also hate the expense and ethics behind the "planned obsolescence" of suspension. My seven year old bike is still state of the art for a rigid bike. Adding suspension to my bike would neither increase my enjoyment or time spent riding. Might I go a bit faster? Maybe, but I'd also most certainly spend less time riding and more time fiddling and it would piss me off immensely to be laying out the bucks for new seals/new bushings/new fork every year or couple of years so I would be less happy with suspension. And I'm not even sure I'd be faster -- nothing goes uphill like a rigid bike and I spend more time going uphill than down, so...you do the math.
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  21. #21
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    I ride rigid because I'm a cheap bastard! The idea was to buy a cheap(er) bike and upgrade as I could afford it, but after getting used to the ride and learning HOW to ride it, it's all good now!

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    Quote Originally Posted by TreeFarmer View Post
    I converted to rigid because I was getting a touch bored on my local trails.

    I stuck with it because I find it more fun and the instant power transfer and predictability are addictive!

    It isn't for everyone, so If you want to give it a go on the cheap, the Kona P2 29er is something close to $30 on bikeman.com. The geometry is pretty close to the niner fork.

    sent from my pho.e , so expect typos dammit!
    Right now the disc only fork is out of stock. The disc+canti fork is currently in stock at $30. Does anyone know if the disc only fork will be $30 also when its back in stock?

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    I used to ride rigid all the time in Michigan. Now I live in the Pacific Northwest, and riding rigid all the time took a toll on my aging body. Now I ride whatever bike suits my mood and the trail.

    I'm lucky enough to have a bunch of bikes, so I keep one singlespeed rigid and I ride it in the winter. Fewer moving parts to wear out in the Oregon mud, and it makes some trails that would otherwise seem too easy more fun.

    Also, a fully rigid ti singlespeed is *light*. That brings a certain kind of fun as well...

    For what it's worth, I really like the Niner carbon fork. It seemed scary-light at first coming off a heavy salsa steel fork. But I've grown to trust it and really like the way it rides. If you do go rigid, you could do worse than the Niner fork.

    Enjoy!

    Quote Originally Posted by pamt View Post
    Ok so perhaps it's my age but I have come full circle in my bike endeavors. I started back in the day with no suspension then went to forks only and to full suspension and then on to the 29ers. After riding a 29er I realized that I could easily get by on a hardtail but lately I have been considering going completely rigid with a Niner carbon fork.

    My question for my vast MTBR brothers/sisters is if you ride rigid and even better if you are a convert to rigid why?

    Am I insane for wanting to rip a $900.00 state of the art fork off my bike only to replace it with something that's going to beat me to death
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  24. #24
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    because I can

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    ... and if we just ... I am 47 years old

    And just started riding rigid again after 10 years on a ht. My 1st mtb was a rigid, and for my 10th anniversary I wanted to return to my roots. I am hooked, I hardly touch my ht's any more. Not because the rigid (Voodoo Soukri) is a better bike. My fav is my Ted Wojcik. I am going to most likely convert it to rigid ss. Rigid riding is much more fun to me, especially ss.
    It's all you, so its a much better total body workout, and it improves your skills big time. I especially like riding rigid in more technical terrain to see just how cleanly I can pick my lines. I will probably never own a fs bike for that reason.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe_Jitsu View Post
    I used to ride rigid all the time in Michigan. Now I live in the Pacific Northwest, and riding rigid all the time took a toll on my aging body. Now I ride whatever bike suits my mood and the trail.

    I'm lucky enough to have a bunch of bikes, so I keep one singlespeed rigid and I ride it in the winter. Fewer moving parts to wear out in the Oregon mud, and it makes some trails that would otherwise seem too easy more fun.

    Also, a fully rigid ti singlespeed is *light*. That brings a certain kind of fun as well...

    For what it's worth, I really like the Niner carbon fork. It seemed scary-light at first coming off a heavy salsa steel fork. But I've grown to trust it and really like the way it rides. If you do go rigid, you could do worse than the Niner fork.

    Enjoy!
    I'm very impressed with the niner fork but one of the big reasons is I have a tapered head tube so I'm limited to which fork I can put on

  27. #27
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    This topic comes up often enough, but we're all glad to sing the praises of rigid riding.
    At least in this Eastern half of the country, the long travel bikes seem to only hold an advantage on designated DH areas. The rigids climb well, traverse efficiently, and in the right hands, conquer low-speed chunk pretty easily due to their inherently precise front wheel placement and demand for focused attention and development of instinctive reactions - or, as kristian said, "more proactive with the front wheel". The slight loss of downhill speed has probably saved me more than a few broken bones over the years, too. And since I'm very accustomed to rigid riding, it takes several long days of hard riding to really get me fatigued. Don't expect to feel that in your first rigid season, but don't be discouraged either. Most rigid riders develop a relaxed and efficient style that doesn't fight the bike. And yeah, if you do go back to suspension, you will be dangerously "more faster" - be sure to invest in some armor if you do.

    Just do it!

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    PS - being over [insert age here] is no excuse to not try it

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    Quote Originally Posted by Holmes View Post
    Chicks dig it. No, really - I was riding my rigid SS down a rocky stretch of local trail and stopped to let an uphill biker pass, who happened to be an incredibly gorgeous young lady. Her eyes glanced down at my bike and she said (swear to God) "Ooooh, you're riding *rigid*. All I could do was grin and say "Why yes, yes I am".
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  29. #29
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    Why not?
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    Quote Originally Posted by canyoneagle View Post
    This story is made of awesome.
    Agreed

  31. #31
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    I have a riding buddy who started the spring on a rigid Niner Air9. By summer, it had a Reba on it. By Christmas the Air9 was replaced with a squishy Jet9.

    Apparently rigid is not for every body.
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    Everything is subjective. Just try it. Fork swap takes maybe 10 min.

  33. #33
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    I think riding rigid makes you a better rider,as you need to pick a smoother route I love the beauty/clean lines of a rigid SS HT. I like that my rides are a stealthlike silence with only the sound of my breath working away up the trail.

  34. #34
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    more free time.

    SS rigid FTW.

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    I'm over 40, been riding since my early 20's and I've been back to full rigid for a couple of years. Ride at most twice/week so keep that in mind. Started rigid by default, went through a couple of F/S including a 6" and now back to a rigid 29er. Even did some DH a few times on a rental. As has been stated, with big tires and low air pressure, a rigid bike is perfectly comfortable on technical terrain. It's actually really good on flat rock gardens; you may not realize how much a front fork bobbing around can mess up your technical riding.

    It's not more efficient except on really smooth stuff. It's a bit slower on DH but not nearly as much as most people think. I ride in NJ where the DHs are maybe a few minutes at best (figure 500 ft vert max). It's more like my peak speed is slower but many parts will be just as fast. I might still be willing to fly down an embedded babyhead section but loose stuff and big chunk are made for suspension.

    Best thing - it's far more fun. My 6" was making easy trails boring. Unfortunately, with a 6", many trails are really easy.

  36. #36
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    Because it is what your wife rides (ostensibly).

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    Just do it, hate it, and pm me when you want to sell your Niner fork for pennies on the dollar.
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  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by umarth View Post
    Because it is what your wife rides (ostensibly).
    Anyone know anything more about this "ostensibly" brand? I can't seem to find any info on the google.
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  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spinnyspinspin View Post
    Anyone know anything more about this "ostensibly" brand? I can't seem to find any info on the google.
    Try under ..smart**ss, idiotic jokes, morons.

  40. #40
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    i recently bought a rigid Redline Flight Monocog, it rides so nice no need for a suspension fork. if i throw a bigger front tire on that bike it will ride even smoother.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by colker1 View Post
    Try under ..smart**ss, idiotic jokes, morons.
    I do apologize. I forget from time to time that this is a forum for intellectuals with no sense of humor whatsoever. I've clearly disrupted the informative and humorless thread we had going on.
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    Quote Originally Posted by colker1 View Post
    Try under ..smart**ss, idiotic jokes, morons.
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  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spinnyspinspin View Post
    I do apologize. I forget from time to time that this is a forum for intellectuals with no sense of humor whatsoever. I've clearly disrupted the informative and humorless thread we had going on.
    For what it is worth, colker1 is burning me, though I have little doubt that he'll clarify if we presume too much.

    However, I appreciate your effort.

  44. #44
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    Either way he's acting like somebody **** in his cereal. And while it could have been me, I certainly don't remember doing it.
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  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spinnyspinspin View Post
    Either way he's acting like somebody **** in his cereal. And while it could have been me, I certainly don't remember doing it.
    he does that a lot.
    Quote Originally Posted by pvd
    Time to stop believing the hype and start doing some science.
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  46. #46
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    I have a rigid, ss, 26. I like the sturdy feeling on climbs. The minimal weight transfer during braking helps stability. The steering feel into turns is immediate. However, my favorite is the ability to feel the trail beneath you.

    Rigid vs Susp, Quality vs Quantity

  47. #47
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    I always liked this:

    "Full suspension is for chubby, emasculated, unskilled, nancyboys who are too indecisive to pick a line." - DWF



    Plenty of good answers here. For me, it builds skills and keeps you honest. Like ATBScott, I started mountain biking in the 1970s before they were called mountain bikes and it brings back good memories of crazy times.
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  48. #48
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    The best reason to ride rigid is do you can tell anonymous strangers on the internet that you ride rigid.

    Just try it what do you have to lose? If you dislike it sell the fork if you like it sell the other fork if you are on the fence get a second headset race and swap till your heart is content.
    Try this: HTFU

  49. #49
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by pamt View Post
    I'm very impressed with the niner fork but one of the big reasons is I have a tapered head tube so I'm limited to which fork I can put on
    A tapered head tube means you can run any fork made except for a straight 1.5.

    Just saying.

    And carbon vs. steel has less to do with the feel than the weight.

    I consider the terrain around my house to be pretty technical, and can go faster downhill with a fox 120 than with my rigid forks. But nothing comes close to the handling of an un-suspended bicycle for most riding.

  50. #50
    Combat Wombat
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    "Full suspension is for chubby, emasculated, unskilled, nancyboys who are too indecisive to pick a line." - DWF

    I like that! Man oh man could I stir up the pot on our local forum with that one.

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