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  1. #1
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    Difference from a 32mm to a 34mm fork at 130-150mm travel?

    Hi there,

    Wanted some opinions on this topic as it seems there is a lot of bikes I am looking at that aren't consistent with the fork size. For instance, a new Trek Remedy 27.5 has a Fox 34 140mm on the alloy 8 model, and a Revelation 140 32mm on the entry carbon model, I'm assuming to save $ to keep the pricepoint down, but still if you are stepping up to a carbon frame, wouldn't you want the stronger, stiffer fork?

    A new Norco Sight 27.5 specs all their new bikes with 32mm forks at 140mm travel. So does the new Giant trance(non SX). At 150mm of travel, the 2014 Rocky Mountain altitudes are all 34mm Forks, as are the Santa Cruz Bronsons. The 5010 from Santa Cruz at 130mm fork is a 32mm however.

    At what rider weight and fork travel do you start to see serious performance benefits from a 34mm front fork?.....let's assume they are all a 15mm through axle fork. Is there anyone that prefers the weight savings of a 32mm fork on a trail/all mountain bike over the added strength/stiffness?

    I read alot of reviews about how important a 34mm fork is and how much difference there is. Then bike shop people will sometimes say there isn't much difference, and the way these trail/all mountain bikes are spec'd, it makes it tough to understand how they will affect performance.

    Thanks for your input!

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptkevin View Post
    Hi there,

    Wanted some opinions on this topic as it seems there is a lot of bikes I am looking at that aren't consistent with the fork size. For instance, a new Trek Remedy 27.5 has a Fox 34 140mm on the alloy 8 model, and a Revelation 140 32mm on the entry carbon model, I'm assuming to save $ to keep the pricepoint down, but still if you are stepping up to a carbon frame, wouldn't you want the stronger, stiffer fork?

    A new Norco Sight 27.5 specs all their new bikes with 32mm forks at 140mm travel. So does the new Giant trance(non SX). At 150mm of travel, the 2014 Rocky Mountain altitudes are all 34mm Forks, as are the Santa Cruz Bronsons. The 5010 from Santa Cruz at 130mm fork is a 32mm however.

    At what rider weight and fork travel do you start to see serious performance benefits from a 34mm front fork?.....let's assume they are all a 15mm through axle fork. Is there anyone that prefers the weight savings of a 32mm fork on a trail/all mountain bike over the added strength/stiffness?

    I read alot of reviews about how important a 34mm fork is and how much difference there is. Then bike shop people will sometimes say there isn't much difference, and the way these trail/all mountain bikes are spec'd, it makes it tough to understand how they will affect performance.

    Thanks for your input!
    I think through axles increased the stiffness of all forks. I think you've made some good observations about price points and what fork is spec'd. One thing I'd add is the intention of the bike from the manufacturer. The 5010 is a trail bike and the Bronson an AM/Enduro bike. I think what i notice most about my 35mm fork is that it tracks better with out much deflection, there's very little twist from braking, or very little flex when cornering hard. So when I am bombing through some rocky chunder I don't have to compensate for the flex of the fork.

    To answer your question, consider what terrain you are riding first. If you are a trail rider on mostly smooth trails with lots of climbing then you probably don't need the extra stiffness or weight. If you are riding lots of tech stuff and hitting features the stiffness is worth the weight penalty. With the trails I ride and my style I don't think I could go back to a 32mm fork in any travel amount. I moved from a QR 9mm 32mm 140mm fork to a 160mm 35mm 20mm TA. At this point I don't think I need the Lyrik's girth and think a 34mm Fox or 35mm Pike 34mm Mattoc would work just fine and I'd lose a pound off my bike. I think 32mm forks get really flexy in the 130-140mm travel range.
    Narrow is the path to life, few are those who find it.

  3. #3
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    Agreed, it all depends on riding style and terrain. A lot of times you know when you need a stiffer fork. I am only 145lbs and wouldn't feel comfortable riding 32mm stanchions again.

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    I have 2 150mm / 32mm forks from two different brands. Both have 15mm axels.One is much stiffer than the other. I have a 160mm / 34mm fork with a 15mm axel. It is only slightly stiffer than the better of the two 32mm stanchion forks. I also have a 35mm / 170mm fork with a 20mm axle which is much much stiffer than all of them. So what does this tell me? Not all forks of the same dimensions are equally stiff - design plays a part. Secondly, the difference between 32 and 34mm forks with the same axle is not as big as marketers would have you believe (comparing best in class 32mm). Thirdly, axle dimensions and interface makes a bigger difference than stanchion diameter.

    For most riders (really heavy guys excepted) - a 140mm / 32mm fork - particularly the Rev is plenty stiff enough.

  5. #5
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    Yeah I don't get it, stanchion diameter is only tangentially related to stiffness. I guess marketing really has fooled some people. Anyway why do people want a really stiff fork?

    There is a point where the flex becomes unpredictable and dangerous but the same can be said if something is too stiff.

  6. #6
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    I have a rev 150 w/15mm axle on a Mach 5.7c and a BOS Deville with 20mm axle on a Mojo HD. The rev is very good. I'm 200 lbs and ride very rocky technical terrain. I wanted separation between the bikes also. However, if for arguments sake I went to one bike and got a Mach 6 or HDR I would get a 27.5 BOS Deville due to the 20mm axle. I wish Pikes has the 20mm axle. My old 140mm 26er Pike from 7 years ago did !!! But the Rev should not be discounted on a trail or light all mtn bike. I ride both my bikes on the same trails. I just pick my lines more on the pivot. But it has lighter wheels and tires too.

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    Good stuff guys. So, is there a brand, Fox or Rockshox, etc, that makes a stiffer, stronger, beefier 32mm Fork than the others? I'm 190lbs and strong, so if you were me, would you consider a 32mm fork on a 140mm travel 27.5 bike, or make it mandatory that 34mm be a minimum? Thanks again.

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    My 32mm Fox Float CTD 15mm has never been anything but stiff to me. Compared to a 32 rs it seems to be a I-beam in stiffness.
    I think its all marketing hype and a good way to sell more forks.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptkevin View Post
    Good stuff guys. So, is there a brand, Fox or Rockshox, etc, that makes a stiffer, stronger, beefier 32mm Fork than the others? I'm 190lbs and strong, so if you were me, would you consider a 32mm fork on a 140mm travel 27.5 bike, or make it mandatory that 34mm be a minimum? Thanks again.
    If you are set on a 32mm / 140mm fork - my recommendation would be a Revelation. Cheaper and stiffer than the Fox and absolutely rock solid reliable.

    However, for the same or even less $$$ - check out the X-Fusion Sweep. It's 34mm/140mm (can be set internally) and is very very good.

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    Can you get that 27.5 X-Fusion Sweep anywhere yet? I was reading somewhere in here that they are delayed and not avail still.

  11. #11
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    Re: Difference from a 32mm to a 34mm fork at 130-150mm travel?

    Is there a significant difference in stiffness between 32 26" and 32 27.5"? I mean, does it make sense to go for a bigger diameter fork in case of bigger wheels?

  12. #12
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    I am 250lbs, so I flex stuff--a lot. So, what I have concluded using a number of different forks:

    Stanchion size likely doesn't make a difference in flex, but it usually is an indication on how the rest of the fork is built. My Marz 55 (35mm stanchion) is built much stronger/heavier than my Marz 44 (32mm). They are built for different uses, so I expect them to act differently on the trail. I recently switched my 55 to a 44 on my Blur LTc. Rides fine, including more like a XC/Trail bike (which I was trying to get). But it does deflect more that the 55. The 55 is going back on (well, actually a Fox 36 that I want to try).

    Manufacturer makes a difference. My Revelation (15mm axle) flexes much more than my 44 (15mm). Much more. I reduced the travel on the Rev from 150 to 125, and put it on my more XC bike on easier trails. Works fine (always liked RS dual air), but every once in a while I hit the rocks, and it still flexes quite a bit (just not like when it was set at 150).

    What fork is acceptable is not only dependent on rider size, but also on what trails you ride and how you ride them. If smooth, then most forks, even at 140/150mm, may be fine. If you are heavy and attack rough, rocky trails, then manufacturer and stanchion size (as an indicator of fork build) will be more of a concern.

    ptkevin, At 190lbs and strong, you might strongly consider a 34-36mm stanchion just for the stronger fork. If your trails are very rough, then a 35/36 may be the way to go.

    As you may figure, I like Marzocchi. I also use a 66 for DH, but that is in a different world. It will be interesting to see how the Fox 36 Talas works on the Blur.
    Last edited by clydecrash; 11-17-2013 at 06:54 AM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptkevin View Post
    Hi there,

    Wanted some opinions on this topic as it seems there is a lot of bikes I am looking at that aren't consistent with the fork size. For instance, a new Trek Remedy 27.5 has a Fox 34 140mm on the alloy 8 model, and a Revelation 140 32mm on the entry carbon model, I'm assuming to save $ to keep the pricepoint down, but still if you are stepping up to a carbon frame, wouldn't you want the stronger, stiffer fork?
    It was actually recommended to me this week to get the Remedy 9.7 over the 8 because of the Revelation fork. The shop was very anti-Fox, but they felt (for the price point) the Rev rides better than the 34.

    They were salivating over the Pike, but its unavailable for Trek's 2014 lineup.

  14. #14
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    Difference from a 32mm to a 34mm fork at 130-150mm travel?

    Seems like a lot of positives for the Revelation. I am stuck between specialized stump jumper comp and elite, mostly over the fork. The comp has the revelation vs the elite with the fox 34


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  15. #15
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    Oh, and us big guys need to be careful about LBS recommendations. I have not been to a shop yet that understands how a big guy like me affects bikes/components. Not one. Maybe there is one, but I have not found it yet (25years biking, lost count of # of shops). So if over 200lbs (or close to it), be careful.

    I bet the Rev's guts function better than many other forks (I still use a 2007? Reba on my XC HT), but I doubt a 32mm Rev is as strong (stiff) as a 34mm Fox 34 with the same travel.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptkevin View Post
    Hi there,

    ...a 34mm front fork?.....let's assume they are all a 15mm through axle fork. Is there anyone that prefers the weight savings of a 32mm fork on a trail/all mountain bike over the added strength/stiffness?
    ...!
    I recently switched from a 32mm Fox CTD Talas 150/120mm to a RS Pike 150mm SoloAir. 26" wheel. The RS is about 50 grams lighter, cut to the same length, star nut installed. Much prefer the stiffer feel (off-center hits) of the RS. Also went from 90mm to 50mm stem, due to smaller offset of the Pike, much easier to elevate, turn more tightly.

    dave
    SB66c

  17. #17
    JCL
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    Fox 32's are garbage, Revelations are a much better alternative. 34's are an improvement over both but then the Pike is a better fork in every way than the 34.

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