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  1. #1
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    Should I upgrade my Guardian fork to the Recon?

    I like my XC28 fork, but I'm a bit concerned that I might damage it because of my weight. I'm about 227 pounds right now, and can probably get down to 200ish or less after several months of biking...but realistically, with the way the weather in Nebraska is, that's at least 3 months down the road.

    Today we had some nice weather, and I rode my Guardian on 2 pavement rides. I tried to bunny hop a puddle that was on the bike trail, and the fork either topped out or bottomed out (sorry, not sure which is which), and that was a little disturbing.

    I'm heading to Arizona to go mountain biking in 2 weeks and I want to make sure the bike is as well equipped as I can get it. Pricepoint has the Recon on sale for $269 here:

    RockShox 29er Silver Recon TK Solo Fork 2012 at Price Point

    Am I correct to assume that's an air fork?

    I wasn't planning to upgrade my fork, but now I wonder if I should take the plunge and do it. Kinda kicking myself for not getting the Goblin, but oh well.

    I'm also looking at getting a seat post clamp with quick release. Can anyone tell me what size I'll need?

    Also might pick up another handlebar without a 9 degree backsweep. Any budget recommendations from Pricepoint or Nashbar?

    Thanks in advance for the feedback!

  2. #2
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    Well how high is your preload set on your current fork? If it wasn't set for stiffer than it was probably adjusted for the average rider (160) which then you would probably bottom out. That fork you linked is a solo air so only one side of the fork has to be filled to control both. That fork is much better than the XC28 but check the preload as you may not need it. And the seat post clamp you need is for 31.6mm. As for handlebars I don't know much to reccommend but i'm sure someone around here will.

  3. #3
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    Your seatpost is 31.6mm the clamp you need is 35 or 34.9mm both will work. If you pull of the stock clamp its stamped on it somewhere. On the bottom I think. The Recon would be a good choice. I would definitely upgrade to some thing better before your trip. XC28 is just not stiff enough and doesn't have enough spring for heavy riders.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the feedback. I'm still on the fence about the fork upgrade, but I may not need to. I took sbf12's advice and I was able to adjust the preload to make it stiffer, and also adjusted the rebound control to the "Turtle" setting. Went outside in the rather frigid weather and did some bunny hops. Didn't notice any topping/bottoming out, so I think I'm ok as long as I don't damage the fork.

    Today I ordered a set of platform pedals from Nashbar to avoid falling off an Arizona cliff while attached to the bike. While on their site I also found a slightly wider (660mm) carbon fiber Nashbar branded handlebar, and decided to splurge on a sub 2000 gram Cole wheelset for $300, minus a 20% President's day discount that got good reviews from Bike Radar here:

    Cole 29er Lite Mountain Bike Wheelset Review - BikeRadar

    Didn't really WANT to spend the money, but I figure this will take something like 3 to 5 pounds off the weight of the bike. I noticed I was short of breath on much of yesterday's ride, so anything that would give me an "edge" when climbing up Arizona hills will surely help out. I did see a set of WTBs on Jenson USA for $99 but I had to "outdo" the wheelset that comes with the Goblin!

    Here is the link the the WTB and Cole wheelsets for anyone who is interested:

    Sram 306 Disc/Wtb FX23 29Er Wheelset > Components > Wheel Goods > Mountain Bike Wheels | Jenson USA Online Bike Shop

    Cole 29er Lite Mountain Wheelset - Mountain Bike Wheels / Wheelsets

    On an unrelated note, my front derailleur cage appears to be bent inward. Is this something that I should request a replacement on? I've got some photos listed below:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Should I upgrade my Guardian fork to the Recon?-img_0846.jpg  

    Should I upgrade my Guardian fork to the Recon?-img_0847.jpg  


  5. #5
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    As far as the derailluer goes maybe try to bend it a bit outwards so it doesn't rub the chain either that or you could take it to LBS. But its only an Sram x-3 so no big deal as far as that goes.

  6. #6
    Airborne Product Dude
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    That looks like it took a slight hit in shipping. You can easily bend that back so that it is parallel with the back plate and it should still function just fine. That would be much easier than replacing it. If you feel uncomfortable with that, give us a ring and we can see about sending a replacement.

    I've been running a Cole 29er Lite wheelset on one of my 29ers for awhile now and really like them. They are super stiff and roll fast. They are a little heavy compared to some other wheels out there but they've been good to me so far.

    The Solo Air Recon is a great fork. It's definitely an upgrade over what you have so if you can swing the $$$ I whole-heartedly recommend it as an upgrade!

    Jeremy
    Airborne Dude.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDaddyFlyer View Post
    That looks like it took a slight hit in shipping. You can easily bend that back so that it is parallel with the back plate and it should still function just fine. That would be much easier than replacing it. If you feel uncomfortable with that, give us a ring and we can see about sending a replacement.

    I've been running a Cole 29er Lite wheelset on one of my 29ers for awhile now and really like them. They are super stiff and roll fast. They are a little heavy compared to some other wheels out there but they've been good to me so far.

    The Solo Air Recon is a great fork. It's definitely an upgrade over what you have so if you can swing the $$$ I whole-heartedly recommend it as an upgrade!

    Jeremy
    Thanks for the response. I'm in fortunate position where I could afford a Recon fork, but in the spirit of frugality, I think I'm going to stick with the XC28 and see how it does in Arizona. I just took another brief test ride up and down some curbs with the new preload adjustment settings, and the fork seemed to do quite well. I'm thinking I can re-adjust the rebound settings for even better performance. It also did a lot better in lockout mode and I did not experience the same problems I previously mentioned, so that is a good sign.

    On that note, how about offering an upgraded Guardian (maybe call it the Gatekeeper LOL) and offer an XC32 or Recon fork for heavier riders? Maybe offer some other minor upgrades, and sell it for $899. I'm not in the bike business, but I bet its extremely doable!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by getagrip View Post
    Thanks for the response. I'm in fortunate position where I could afford a Recon fork, but in the spirit of frugality, I think I'm going to stick with the XC28 and see how it does in Arizona. I just took another brief test ride up and down some curbs with the new preload adjustment settings, and the fork seemed to do quite well. I'm thinking I can re-adjust the rebound settings for even better performance. It also did a lot better in lockout mode and I did not experience the same problems I previously mentioned, so that is a good sign.

    On that note, how about offering an upgraded Guardian (maybe call it the Gatekeeper LOL) and offer an XC32 or Recon fork for heavier riders? Maybe offer some other minor upgrades, and sell it for $899. I'm not in the bike business, but I bet its extremely doable!
    It only rumors right now but it is said they have something on the table that will be in between the Goblin and the Guardian. It will feature middle of the road parts , better than the guardian less expensive than the goblin. I'm looking forward to something like that too.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by sfb12 View Post
    It only rumors right now but it is said they have something on the table that will be in between the Goblin and the Guardian. It will feature middle of the road parts , better than the guardian less expensive than the goblin. I'm looking forward to something like that too.
    In light of the post I made today, I wish it was available when I picked up my Guardian. LOL When that does happen, maybe Airborne will "accidently" order some extra forks and be able to offer Guardian purchasers a reduced rate on an upgraded fork (hint, hint).

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by getagrip View Post
    In light of the post I made today, I wish it was available when I picked up my Guardian. LOL When that does happen, maybe Airborne will "accidently" order some extra forks and be able to offer Guardian purchasers a reduced rate on an upgraded fork (hint, hint).
    hahahaha. now if only they could pick up some extra 26" forks on accident so others may get that reduced rate too .

  11. #11
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    I gather the fork would have been a much better upgrade, but I've yet to upgrade my wheels to compare. Those are next. I rode on the XC28 on my Giant Talon at 220 lbs. and I could tell it was not good after a few rides on it. I got a Rock Shox Reba and it turned the bike into a whole new animal. Way plusher on small bumps and much more controlled on the bigger ones. Steering and tracking is much improved with the tire staying more planted to the ground and not deflecting all over the place. I looked past the Recon to save the half a pound in weight. Come spring, I'll be watching my wife on her new Guardian with a fork upgrade in mind, knowing how much it'll improve the ride and subsequently, her enjoyment. First we'll have to see if she takes to MTB'ing, hence why I didn't get her a Goblin.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by tuskenraider View Post
    I gather the fork would have been a much better upgrade, but I've yet to upgrade my wheels to compare. Those are next. I rode on the XC28 on my Giant Talon at 220 lbs. and I could tell it was not good after a few rides on it. I got a Rock Shox Reba and it turned the bike into a whole new animal. Way plusher on small bumps and much more controlled on the bigger ones. Steering and tracking is much improved with the tire staying more planted to the ground and not deflecting all over the place. I looked past the Recon to save the half a pound in weight. Come spring, I'll be watching my wife on her new Guardian with a fork upgrade in mind, knowing how much it'll improve the ride and subsequently, her enjoyment. First we'll have to see if she takes to MTB'ing, hence why I didn't get her a Goblin.
    Originally, I wasn't planning to upgrade the wheelset, but at $240 before shipping, they seemed like too good of a deal to pass up. You are right in that a fork is probably the better upgrade, but I have yet to field test the XC28s. I'm pretty sure that the Reba is eons above them in terms of overall performance, but I still want to field test the XC28s to prove that they can be used in many trail riding situations, and by heavier riders. If I discover that they aren't so great as others have attested to, I'll certainly report that here, but everyone has their opinions, based on riding level and terrain. What's kind of cool is that I get to test them out in basic terrain like Nebraska, and more rugged terrain in Arizona...kinda makes me feel that I'll be able to give a more unbiased review, at least for those who can't afford a bike costing more than $700.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by getagrip View Post
    Originally, I wasn't planning to upgrade the wheelset, but at $240 before shipping, they seemed like too good of a deal to pass up. You are right in that a fork is probably the better upgrade, but I have yet to field test the XC28s. I'm pretty sure that the Reba is eons above them in terms of overall performance, but I still want to field test the XC28s to prove that they can be used in many trail riding situations, and by heavier riders. If I discover that they aren't so great as others have attested to, I'll certainly report that here, but everyone has their opinions, based on riding level and terrain. What's kind of cool is that I get to test them out in basic terrain like Nebraska, and more rugged terrain in Arizona...kinda makes me feel that I'll be able to give a more unbiased review, at least for those who can't afford a bike costing more than $700.
    I can tell you right now for for $675 that bike is a steal. Bikes in my LBS that are comparable are like $900 and for a couple hundred bucks more than that I could get a goblin.

  14. #14
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    Problem with the XC28 (os older Dart models, or any fork with 28mm diameter stancions) is flex. The stancions are steel, so even at your weight it's unlikely that they'll break without something going terribly wrong. Flex however can be noticeable in bumpy situations and it may put you off a bit.

    If you plan to upgrade, either now or later, it would be better to start looking from the recon gold RL upwards, which has Motion Control damping. The Silver TK version is stiffer than what you currently have, but not really better in absorbing shocks. If you're not in a rush wait for the right deal and buy.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by justwan naride View Post
    Problem with the XC28 (os older Dart models, or any fork with 28mm diameter stancions) is flex. The stancions are steel, so even at your weight it's unlikely that they'll break without something going terribly wrong. Flex however can be noticeable in bumpy situations and it may put you off a bit.

    If you plan to upgrade, either now or later, it would be better to start looking from the recon gold RL upwards, which has Motion Control damping. The Silver TK version is stiffer than what you currently have, but not really better in absorbing shocks. If you're not in a rush wait for the right deal and buy.
    Thanks for the advice. Around here, you rarely see rocks, or at least ones that are very big at all. Its more common to run over tree roots or really small rocks. I've never ridden in Arizona, so I don't know how bumpy the ride will be. I'm going to try and stick with the beginner trails, and not tackle anything too technical. Over in another thread, one guy suggested that I buy elbow and knee pads, and I'm pretty sure that if I tackled terrain that required that kind of protection, the XC28 forks would NOT be sufficient. If I see a rocky section, I plan to jump off the bike and walk...not that I want to be a "girlie man", but I really don't want to come back to Nebraska with a broken arm or worse!

    But yeah, there is a certain amount of "dang I should have gotten a Goblin!" going on in my head, as I could have afforded one if I had waited 2 weeks. So, I guess you could say that I'm waiting for stuff to break before upgrading, or if I come across a really good deal like the wheelset. So if I do upgrade, I MUST OUTDO THE GOBLIN!!! LOL

  16. #16
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    Ok...so I'm thinking out getting the Manitou Tower Expert Fork shown below. How does the fork compare to the Recon/Reba:

    Manitou Tower Expert 29er QR Fork 2012 at Price Point

    The one concern I have is will it fit my new wheelset? Please forgive my ignorance, but I ask that because of the word "QR" in the title, and if my understanding is correct, it has to do with the diameter of the skewer. Also, anything else I would need to know about it? e.g. Does it require a special headset or will I have problems transferring over the crown on the existing fork?

    Also, I saw a really good deal on a new Shimano LX Crankset on Craigslist for $90 with an external bottom bracket. What size bottom bracket does the Guardian have?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by getagrip View Post
    Ok...so I'm thinking out getting the Manitou Tower Expert Fork shown below. How does the fork compare to the Recon/Reba:

    Manitou Tower Expert 29er QR Fork 2012 at Price Point

    The one concern I have is will it fit my new wheelset? Please forgive my ignorance, but I ask that because of the word "QR" in the title, and if my understanding is correct, it has to do with the diameter of the skewer. Also, anything else I would need to know about it? e.g. Does it require a special headset or will I have problems transferring over the crown on the existing fork?

    Also, I saw a really good deal on a new Shimano LX Crankset on Craigslist for $90 with an external bottom bracket. What size bottom bracket does the Guardian have?
    That fork should fit your Guardian just fine and work with your wheels and HT. Everything should transfer over just fine. If the fork doesn't come with a new star-nut you'll want to order one of those at the time you place your order.

    The BB shell on the Guardian is a 68mm threaded (BSA) standard.

    Hope that helps!

    Jeremy
    Airborne Dude.

  18. #18
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    Just ordered the Manitou Tower Expert. Got a new one on eBay for $310 after shipping. Seemed to have really good reviews. So much for the field test with the XC28. Will probably buy the LX crankset, and that will be it for upgrades for a while! So yes, I could have gotten a Goblin with the price of the upgrades, but at least I'll have the "baddest" and fastest Guardian on the planet!

  19. #19
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    One more question - is the bottom bracket on the Guardian square taper or Octalink? Need to make sure I have the right tool to remove it!

  20. #20
    Airborne Product Dude
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    Octalink!
    Airborne Dude.

  21. #21
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    Thanks!

    For anyone interested in upgrading their Guardian fork, here are the review links for both the Recon and the Tower Expert:

    Manitou Tower Expert 29er Forks Reviews

    RockShox Recon Silver TK 29 29er Forks Reviews

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by getagrip View Post
    Just ordered the Manitou Tower Expert.
    Lol.....that didn't take long. Hope the fork works ou for you.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by tuskenraider View Post
    Lol.....that didn't take long. Hope the fork works ou for you.
    Yeah. If I weighed less, I wouldn't do it, but it seems like the right move for now. The Tower seemed to be the best bang for the buck, and some people are saying it performs like a $600+ fork. I'm going to hold off on the crankset upgrade for now, though. Seems like it would be better to get some wear and tear on the bike - maybe ride if for a season, then upgrade the whole drivetrain at once.

  24. #24
    TXTony
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    Sounds to me like you got a plan. Gotta love it when a plan comes together

  25. #25
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    I cant wait to hear how this bike performs for you once its all together. Make sure to tell all about it after your trip.

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