Best fork for my son's Kona Manomano
My 10 year old son has a Kona Manomano (about 2001). It's in great shape, had hardly been ridden before we bought it...full XT, Race Face cranks, Fox Float shock, but the fork is a Manitou SX-R,and it's a bit long in the tooth. He's about 85 lbs, and likes to ride this bike more as a FR than an XC, which it's kind of meant for I guess...He likes to do some drops and jumps.
Can anyone recommend a good replacement fork that may be a bit better suited to this, or should he look to upgrade to a burlier frame?
Dirt Rag Extraordinaire
i'm not sure how much $$$ you have to spend, but i'd get the lad a new bike.
retrofitting and upgrading old bikes can get really expensive. an analogy would be that it's like having an old car; you can spend as much as you like on it, but at the end of the day it's still just an old car. the linkage design on that '02 Kona isn't going to last forever. if you must, get Marzocchi forks, like AM2's or the new 55's. try and get 'em with ETA, which is great for climbing. supposedly Fox are 'cooler', but Zocchi forks are considerably more durable, smoother, and maintanence free.
i'd get him a Santa Cruz Heckler with a cheap build kit instead. it'll be a worthy investment in your kids health, safety, and general well being. i absolutely guarantee he will love you more if you do, lol.
also, get him a good helmet that he'll actually want to wear (like a Gyro Xen), some decent shoes (Specialized Comp shoes are cheap and good quality) and a water carrier for hydration (Camelbak Lobo has extra compartments for carrying a phone, hash pipe etc *kidding). little things like well fitted helmet and shoes, and cold water on demand, massively improve overall comfort, concentration, and therefore safety.
Last edited by m0ngy; 12-30-2007 at 05:30 PM.
"You go up the hill, you go down the hill."
It depends on your budget. Kids that age grow out of bikes pretty fast, so if the bike fits him good now he probably will need a new one in about a year anyway. At his weight I doubt he will break the bike.
If he likes the bike and you want to control your costs, I don't see any reason not to upgrade the fork. Look on E-Bay for a Marzocchi Dirt Jumper fork. They are 100mm and show up on there pretty regularly. I would bet you can get one for around a hundred bucks. It is a heavy fork that is not real adjustable, but they are bullet proof and your boy won't care that it is heavy. He will be jazzed that you are helping him upgrade his bike to make it better. My friends son is about 10 years old and rides cross country with a DJ fork and is happy as can be. If you decide to get him a jumping hardtail frame you will already have a decent fork.
If you decide to get him a newer / better bike I would get him a hardtail that is more suited for jumping if that is what he likes to do. My son had Kona Chute that I got him because he liked to jump. It had a Marzocchi Dirt Jumper fork on it and it was a bomb proof bike. My son rode it on may trail rides with us including Marys and Horsethief at Fruita and the fact that it was a bit heavy and not built for that type of riding never slowed him down.
Above all, make sure your boy stays interested and excited about riding.
I'm not very smart, but I can lift heavy things