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  1. #1
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    Recommendation for good inexpensive xc fork and wheelset

    I am just getting back into mountain biking and really loving it again. Before this, I think the last time I rode was in 1998. It's been a while. Things have changed a lot equipment wise. I recently bought a 1996 Kona Kula and have been riding the trails around here and found that the hardtail was a little harsh for my gettin' older bones. So I picked up a 2000 Kona King Kikapu frame after reading good reviews about it here. It came with a 1998 Marzocchi Bomber QR20 Z3 fork. I just bought some BB7s for it and have been looking for disc wheelsets to complete the build. However, the 20mm front axle wheelsets seem much more expensive than the standard 9mm and less availability, especially used in the price range I want (i.e. cheap). Do I really need 20mm axles? I am of the opinion that I had a good time riding my 1996 Pulse Comp and that I don't need the latest and greatest. I was able to ride fast and hard on very technical trails with it and it held up very well. Looking mainly for reliable and easy to work on since I do all of my own wrenching. I would like some recommendations on good xc forks and wheelsets that I can look for used and hopefully get a good deal on. I am ok with old school as long as I can still get parts. I am 6'1" and weigh 195 lbs (will probably end up around 180 lbs in the next couple of months as I have already lost about 40 lbs). I plan on doing AM with a little bit of jumping, but nothing crazy. I am thinking that forks with the 9mm axle will allow me to buy cheaper wheelsets and can therefore have multiple wheels ready to go depending on where I am riding. Hopefully I can sell the Bomber to offset the cost of a 9mm axle fork. I have spent a lot of time looking around at rims and forks, and there is just so much time in looking at for sale ads and then cross referencing to the MTBR reviews. Any advice is appreciated. Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Not sure what your exact budget is, but one of the best all mountain forks on the market is the X Fusion velvet rl2. You can get it with 9mm quick release. They run about 400 bucks, but perform like an 800 dollar fork. If you want something cheaper look at the Manitou Match Comp. They run just over 200 dollars and you still get a good damper. I'm not really an expert on wheels.

  3. #3
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    If you think you would ever move the fork to another frame then spend the little bit of extra money and get a thru axle fork and wheels. If not, look for a used Reba. QR forks are going away, for the most part, so getting them used is easy and cheap. You should be able to find a Reba fork on the used market pretty cheap. Fantastic fork.

    Performance bike has some house brand wheels that are rebranded Sun Ringle and are pretty affordable. Otherwise, look at bicyclewheelwarehouse.com for one of their lower priced wheelsets. Hand built and less than $200.

    I will say that unless you are going retro on purpose, the benefits of a thru axle fork are noticeable once you ride them. Might want to just suck it up and bite the bullet.

  4. #4
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    Hit up ebay and pinkbike and look for a used older fork. I picked up a manitou r7 platinum off ebay for $90 shipped for my old spare bike. I think it performs better than the fork on my good bike .

  5. #5
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    Thanks for all the replies. Especially Pwshadow since you somehow found my post that was a month and a half old and took the time to answer it. It was my first post and I admit I was a little disappointed with the lack of replies. But better late than never. Thanks. I ended up with a Mavic EN 321 rim with a Specialized 20mm hub on the front and a Mavic EX 729 rim with Saint hub on the rear. Both are very heavy and burly, which is what I thought I wanted since I used to have a tough time keeping my rims true. However, I guess that rims have gotten a lot better and it seems these may be overkill for the kind of riding I do. I recently got to test ride some newer bikes and was amazed at how nice they were and I really could tell the difference between my 33 lbs bike and the sub 30 lbs bikes. I did not think a few pounds would make much difference, but it really does. I have been looking for a good fork, and have not found one yet. The R7 seems to be the one I have been keeping an eye out for the most. I have read only good things about it. I just looked at the Velvet and it sounds like a great fork, too. It may be a little out of my price range, but I saw some people got great deals on Ebay, so maybe with a little patience I can, too. In the mean time, I will keep using the Marz Bomber. It is rideable and keeps me on the trails, which is the main thing. I have been trying to ride as much as my body will allow, but unfortunately, I found out that I have Lyme disease, which sucks. It explains a lot of things, though, including why I was having such a hard time riding my hardtail and my muscles and joints hurt so much. Endurance has been tough, too. Hopefully with lots of antibiotics, I can come back strong. If anyone else has come back from Lyme, I would love to hear how long it took you to get back to full strength on the trails. I am hoping I can get back to 100% or close to it before the riding season is done.

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