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  1. #1
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    Buying a fork: axle or steerer tube more important?

    Hey folks, building up a Tallboy. Looking for a fork and I'm seeing good prices on straight steerer tube forks with maxle's, and tapered forks with QR's. Wondering if I'm going to compromise, where it should be? Steerer, or axle? Specifically, I'm looking at 2011-2012 dual air Reba's. Would like the option to run 100 or 120mm. Stan's Arch wheels. I'm 190lbs with gear. Would love to hear people's thoughts.

  2. #2
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    Not sure if this helps or not but I just put a RS Reba Race 80mm w/QR non tapered on my 12 Felt Nine Sport to replace the clumsy stock RS XC28 fork. I also added Stan's Arch EX wheelset with Stan's 3.30 hubs. The stock weight of the bike was instantly slashed from 30lbs to 26Lbs with pedals. It basically is a new bike. Will post pics soon if interested. At 190lbs I don't think you will notice too much a difference either way you decide to compromise. I'm 200lbs and could not be happier with my set up and I ride very aggressive and fast.
    12' Felt NINE Sport

  3. #3
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    Personally, I'd be more tempted to find a fork with a thru axle. Im in the same situation as you and have noticed that its much easier to find a deal on a tapered qr, then a straight steerer thru axle. My reasoning for the thru axle is because if you ever decide to sell it later down the road, it would probably hold its value better. Especially since you can buy adapters for the straight steer tubes, but can't adapt a quick release to a thru axle.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by drz400sm View Post
    but can't adapt a quick release to a thru axle.
    A lot of hubs are convertable from QR to 15mm or 20mm

  5. #5
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    Id take a straight thru axle over a tapered QR. I actually prefer a straight steer because I use angleset's on my bikes.

  6. #6
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    I just think it looks a bit awkward running crown race reducer to fit a straight steerer tube on a frame designed with tapered head tube. Its like a fat guy with skinny legs. However I agree, id take thru axle over tapered steerer if I was forced to make a sacrifice. You'd probably notice much more stiffness than you would a tapered steerer w/ qr


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  7. #7
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    Just a tuppence from me if the choice were mine, I'd go for the tapered-steerer/QR fork. Why? Because I can use a DT Swiss 9mm thru-bolt (as it's very difficult to change a steerer):

    DT Swiss - RWS Thru bolt

    Of course this requires a hub than can accept appropriate/modified end-caps, such as Hope ones (I got some Pro2 QR ones, with a 9mm hole drilled through).

  8. #8
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    I'd say it depends on your headtube length. If you're frame has a reasonably long headtube, the thicker axle likely would be a more immediate improvement.

    But, of course, this begs the question. Why not just get both?

  9. #9
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    Axle - all day long.

    A dt rws 9mm axle is not as good as a 15mm through axle. It's the "through" that makes the big difference. Nothing can make open dropouts as stiff as closed ones.

  10. #10
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    Definitely don't compromise on the axle. In fact I'll never build a bike again with a QR axle, back or front.

    I've got a 2010 Manitou Minute 29 with a 1⅛" straight steerer and a 2012 Tower Pro with a tapered steerer. They are essentially identical forks, both with through axles. I've ridden them both on the same frame and can't honestly tell the difference.

    That said, why don't you consider getting a 2012 Tower Pro 120mm. which has both a tapered steerer and QR15. I know I'm biased but I believe it's a better fork and is cheaper too.
    The trouble with having an open mind is that people will insist on trying to put things in it.

  11. #11
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    Yeah why not both? The TB has a tapered head tube and if you are building this up you can get the wheels you want. I'd probably go with 15mm since that seems to be the way things are going.

    Also do yourself a favor and get a fork with 120mm of travel. Best ammount of travel on the TB IMHO

    Ps that takes the Reba out of the running. I am considering getting the manitou Ronnie mentions or maybe the white bros loop.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mucky View Post
    A lot of hubs are convertable from QR to 15mm or 20mm
    Yea, very true..many hubs are convertible from QR to 15/20MM thru axle...but once you have a fork which is only a quick release...your stuck with it, and will not be able to convert it to a thru axle later down the road. Seems like the trend of the industry is leaning towards 15/20mm thru axles, which makes a lot of sense. Even bikes ive purchased 2-3 years ago came standard with a 15mm thru axle fork/hub combo. In my opinion, youll be able to get a much better deal on a QR fork because they are trying to get rid of them but its going to be harder to sell it off later on if you ever upgrade.

    At least if you had a thru axle, you can use it with just about all new wheels sets which are convertible. Really comes down to what you like. I havent ridden a fork with a QR in many many years so i really cant give you an honest opinion if there is a noticeable difference. I have run plenty of straight street forks and they work fine.

    To the OP...if you find a good deal on a thru axle fork...let us know where they are at! Ive been searching high and dry and seems like my only options for a good deal are on used forks. Which then may require a $100 service...and puts your overall cost around the price of a newer or higher end used fork.

  13. #13
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    mattnmtns, yeah I wanted a dual air Reba with a 15mm or 20mm maxle. Only the 2011 models can go to 120mm of travel. I found a 2011 with 20mm maxle, tapered steerer, and 120mm of travel. The thing that's killing me is that I've also found a 2012 Reba with 15mm maxle and a straight steerer for half the price. I've already got a wheel set that's compatible with 15mm, but not 20mm. So I've been on the hunt for a 2011 Reba with a 15mm maxle. Not having much luck. MIght be time to consider other options.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by drz400sm View Post
    Yea, very true..many hubs are convertible from QR to 15/20MM thru axle...but once you have a fork which is only a quick release...your stuck with it, and will not be able to convert it to a thru axle later down the road. Seems like the trend of the industry is leaning towards 15/20mm thru axles, which makes a lot of sense. Even bikes ive purchased 2-3 years ago came standard with a 15mm thru axle fork/hub combo. In my opinion, youll be able to get a much better deal on a QR fork because they are trying to get rid of them but its going to be harder to sell it off later on if you ever upgrade.

    At least if you had a thru axle, you can use it with just about all new wheels sets which are convertible. Really comes down to what you like. I havent ridden a fork with a QR in many many years so i really cant give you an honest opinion if there is a noticeable difference. I have run plenty of straight street forks and they work fine.

    To the OP...if you find a good deal on a thru axle fork...let us know where they are at! Ive been searching high and dry and seems like my only options for a good deal are on used forks. Which then may require a $100 service...and puts your overall cost around the price of a newer or higher end used fork.
    You did say "can't adapt QR to thru axle" key word being adapt. Which you can with the conversion of some hubs. I do understand what your saying about the fork not being able to be switched. That's a no brainer to me. I totally agree with everything you said about the resale of a QR fork. FWIW, I have a new, never ridden, Fox F32 29 RLC that is a take off from my Giant XTC, if your interested. I was saving it for the wife, but she's not to enthused about me building her a bike.

    To the OP, I would also suggest to get both tapered and 15mm Thru axle.

  15. #15
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    Hubs are also convertible to 9mm thru-bolt for a DtSwiss RWS ratchetting thru-bolt. Stan's and DtSwiss hubs can change endcaps in many cases. Plus you can drill out a 5mm QR hub to take a thru-bolt. This adds stiffness.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by mucky View Post
    You did say "can't adapt QR to thru axle" key word being adapt. Which you can with the conversion of some hubs. I do understand what your saying about the fork not being able to be switched. That's a no brainer to me. I totally agree with everything you said about the resale of a QR fork. FWIW, I have a new, never ridden, Fox F32 29 RLC that is a take off from my Giant XTC, if your interested. I was saving it for the wife, but she's not to enthused about me building her a bike.

    To the OP, I would also suggest to get both tapered and 15mm Thru axle.
    Hey sorry...I can see how some people might not fully comprehend what I really meant. You CAN adapt most hubs from qr to 15....but cannot convert a qr fork dropout to a thru axle.

    Actually, I cant that back. You CAN if you buy the entire fork lower...which almost the cost of a entire new fork

    I'm gonna PM you about your fox take off. Oddly enough, I just picked up a giant Xtc 29er 2....and the marzocchi needs to be replaced badly!

  17. #17
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    Regarding hubs, I have stans 3.30 which can be converted to 15mm, but not 20mm. Here's what I found in my fork search, in case anyone else is on the hunt for a dual air Reba with a maxle.
    Jenson - Rockshox Reba RLT 100M 29Er Fork 2012 w/ 15mm non-tapered - great price
    BIke Bling - has a number of 2010, 2011, 2012 Reba's with a variety of options for dropouts and steerer.
    Ebay - Found a few 2012 Rebas with Maxles new for around $400.

    Appreciate everyone's input. Hope the above info is useful to someone.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbstimp View Post
    Regarding hubs, I have stans 3.30 which can be converted to 15mm, but not 20mm. Here's what I found in my fork search, in case anyone else is on the hunt for a dual air Reba with a maxle.
    Jenson - Rockshox Reba RLT 100M 29Er Fork 2012 w/ 15mm non-tapered - great price
    BIke Bling - has a number of 2010, 2011, 2012 Reba's with a variety of options for dropouts and steerer.
    Ebay - Found a few 2012 Rebas with Maxles new for around $400.

    Appreciate everyone's input. Hope the above info is useful to someone.
    You are going to regret putting a 100mm. fork on a Tallboy.
    The trouble with having an open mind is that people will insist on trying to put things in it.

  19. #19
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    Ronnie, putting a 120mm Reba on my Tallboy. After reading a few threads here, I realized that the TB shines with a 120.

  20. #20
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    When you realize something, isn't it first hand experience?

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  21. #21
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    QR is dead in my book, 20mm thru axle is the Bomb. 15mm must be pretty good as well. I just put a taper 20mm revelation on my rip9, coming from 20mm non taper reba, I don't notice the taper difference. I noticed the thru axle right away.
    beaver hunt

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