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  1. #1
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    New question here. New and confused

    I recently bought a 2013 Trek Marlin. It's parts are less than spectacular. I plan on replacing the breaks first with some hydraulics and then replacing the fork. I've been researching both and simply become overwhelmed with all the choices (and the lingo). So now I'm coming to you guys for help. What should I know about forks and hydraulic brakes to make an informed decision?

  2. #2
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    Ride it for a while and see what you are most unimpressed with and start there. Forks and brakes can get very expensive really fast. You may not see any significant difference in performance if you do just a one level higher upgrade. Hydraulics are nice, but a well set up set of BB7's work pretty well as well.

    Honestly, if you knew you were going to want a bike with a nicer fork and brakes, you probably should have bought something else.

  3. #3
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    What brakes do you have now? Both mechanical and hydraulic discs are relatively sensitive to good setup.

    What fork do you have now?

    Some things I look for in a "buy on purpose" component are that I can get maintenance parts for it and that it has a decent reputation for both function and durability.

    In a fork, I want to be able to tune the spring rate for me and I want a rebound damper (that works!) Compression dampers and lockouts are nice to have. A compression damper is more important to me.

    Since it's this year's bike, though, start by seeing if you can return it. The best prices on components tend to be when they're part of a complete bicycle.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  4. #4
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    I have Tektro Novela brakes and an SR Suntour XCM 100mm fork. I got this bike with the idea of upgrading over time since I didn't have the money to jump right into a higher end bike and I just wanted to get riding.

  5. #5
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    There is a fork upgrade programme offered by Nick at Suntour (assuming you're in North America). Upgrading to something like the Suntour Raidon would probably be the most cost effective fork upgrade you could do. Otherwise an entry level air fork like the Rockshox Recon Silver would be another option. The Rockshox Recon Gold or Rockshox Reba are your next, more expensive options.

    If you want to upgrade your Suntour fork

  6. #6
    Riding rigid
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    Make sure you give both the brakes and fork some time to break in. They are on the lower end, so you with probably deem them to be underperforming.

    For brakes, consider Shimano brakes, XTs are going for about $120 each end or look into SLX ($60 each) which are just ask good. Shimano brakes seem to have the least complaints. Check out the following discussion below.
    Nashbar & XT785 brakes ?
    As for fork, Rock Shox Reba and Manitou Towers are good choices. I think the Tower models offer pretty good value. Fox come at a premium.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiwi_GR_Biker View Post
    There is a fork upgrade programme offered by Nick at Suntour (assuming you're in North America). Upgrading to something like the Suntour Raidon would probably be the most cost effective fork upgrade you could do. Otherwise an entry level air fork like the Rockshox Recon Silver would be another option. The Rockshox Recon Gold or Rockshox Reba are your next, more expensive options.

    If you want to upgrade your Suntour fork
    How does this program work and how do I find Nick?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by krupert View Post
    How does this program work and how do I find Nick?
    Click on this link, and read through the thread.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by krupert View Post
    How does this program work and how do I find Nick?
    As Captain America said click on this link:

    If you want to upgrade your Suntour fork

  10. #10
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    I had one of the Tektro mechanicals on the front of a commute bike for a while. They do work. Like everything on a bike, they need to be tuned correctly.

    You can probably get better function out of them if you dress the ends of your brake cable housings better and re-tune the brakes themselves according to SRAM's instructions for the BB7. Here's something on cutting cables at home.
    http://sheldonbrown.com/cables.html#cutting

    Often, hurried workmanship is part of the problem with entry-level bikes.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  11. #11
    Kitty! Kitty! Kitty!
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    Be patient. I wanted to jump right into upgrading my fork (fork and wheelset will more than likely get the bike to where you really appreciate it) and had I done that, I would have missed out on grabbing a Recon Gold for $238 (new). The Raidon (through the upgrade program) is getting good reviews, but to shed some weight, you need to move up to the Epicon and that only comes with 15mm TA, so you'd need to upgrade your front axle (and more than likely your entire wheel). So be patient, especially with winter approaching. Also, scour CL and eBay...you can find a deal if you're diligent and patient.

  12. #12
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    I have a Gravity G29 bike that has the same brakes. I have been riding on them for over a year and they have worked very well for me so far.

    What kind of trail riding do you do?

    When I first got my bike, I was all about upgrading certain pieces of it, including the brakes, but they have served me well up to this point. Unless you feel unsafe and have to walk because you don't feel confident in your brakes, I wouldn't worry just quite yet.

    The more experienced you get, the more you will understand what your bike can and cant do. Once you get to that point, you know which parts need to be upgraded.

    Go out and enjoy your bike. I plan on upgrading my brakes soon because, over the past year, I feel my skill level has increased and my brakes need more stopping power. Either way, I am planning on staying with mechanical brakes, but that's my choice. Don't be so quick to rush into upgrading cause you could spend a lot more money than you need to, to have fun and be safe.

    Everyone here has a ton of knowledge and are great resources but are more experienced than your average rider. I too was overwhelmed when I first got started with the new lingo and where to start with upgrading my bike.

    I cant tell you how many times people have had years of experience over me in riding but thought I was an expert because I was riding rigid singlespeed. If you have a good time, enjoy it and are safe, I wouldn't worry about upgrading just yet.

  13. #13
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    Your brake problem is connected to your poor quality fork. It makes you grab brake on downhills you feel the fork isn't handling.
    Throw this $60 front brake on now with no need to upgrade it in the future.
    BlueSkyCycling.com - Shimano SLX M666 Disc Brake w/ Adapter
    It uses your existing rotor. Or get an HS1 of ebay for $11. Scrub your rotor with brake cleaner and bed in the new pads on a paved hill with 15-20 near stops.

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