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  1. #1
    Give it a crank
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    Rigid forks on AZ trails

    I started out riding in AZ some 20 years ago on a cheap rigid bike. A lot has been improved today, and something just keeps ringing a bell these days to give it a try again with today's improvements.

    Things like lightweight graphite forks and frames, big tubeless tires, 29" wheels...

    Any experiences on riding rigid forks on our chunky trails?

  2. #2
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    I've been running a Vassago ODIS (Chro-Moly) fork on an Al hardtail frame with tubeless Panaracer Rampage (29er) for about a year.

    Riding on chunk? Well...the chunkiest trail I've ridden it on might be Javelina (SoMo) or some of the stuff out at Gold Canyon. It's all doable but I'm much more tired than if I were to do the same ride on a bike with suspension.

    The rigid bike is a single-speed too but I really feel the difference in my upper body and not the legs.

    When carrying speed through chunky sections your handling will suffer a bit too as the front will skip a bit more than with a suspension fork.

    All this said, it's a fun change but I'm considering replacing the fork with some suspension when I can scrape some bike funds together.

  3. #3
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    Don't, and there is no carrying speed through chunk w/ that sh~t. There is arthritis, however .
    Nice KOM, sorry about your penis.

  4. #4
    Ahhh the pain....
    Reputation: Raybum's Avatar
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    I too remember back in the day, riding my rigid 1995 Stumpjumper Comp all over Somo and PMP. Then I scraped together enough cash to buy a Rock Shox Judy with all of 1" of travel...WOW...what a difference. About a year ago I borrowed a friends bike that had a rigid fork and rode some stuff up in Flag. I quickly decided it was not for me...sketchy around turns, rough as hell. However, I think on the right trails (ie, Sonoran, T100, DC), it might be the right choice... I could not imagine descending Bell Pass to the west with a rigid fork... Or Windgate to the west...
    Your limits are both physical and mental. Suffering will help you find and overcome both.
    http://onegear-ray.blogspot.com/

  5. #5
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    My singlespeed has a rigid carbon fork, it is what I ride 95% of the time.
    I love it, it actually does not transfer as much vibration as you would think. You can ride everything you can on a suspended bike, just not as quickly. It handles great in corners and is a rocket uphill.
    Trails like T100, Papago, Desert Classic, all are way more fun rigid.

  6. #6
    My other ride is your mom
    Reputation: Maadjurguer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raybum View Post
    Or Windgate to the west...
    Descending Windgate to the west on my Pivot 429 still hurts my hands...can't imagine rigid.

  7. #7
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    Don't miss the sore wrists.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mtn-Rider View Post
    I started out riding in AZ some 20 years ago on a cheap rigid bike. A lot has been improved today, and something just keeps ringing a bell these days to give it a try again with today's improvements.

    Things like lightweight graphite forks and frames, big tubeless tires, 29" wheels...

    Any experiences on riding rigid forks on our chunky trails?
    there are folks out there riding rigid all around the area. I tried it for a while. Loved the way it made my bike handle on smoothish stuff. Didn't love the way the front end would "push" on rocky downhill turns. Just couldn't keep the front end on the trail. Plus, I'm old and it tended to be painful after a few hours.

    One side benefit of a rigid fork is that you learn to pick better lines.

  9. #9
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    I took a rigid for the first time on North Sonoran Preserve last weekend and loved it. It was perfect for it.
    Not sure about McDowells Preserve, it's hard enough on my HT with 80 mm Front shock.

    However I live right next to Sonoran so I will probably get to use it a lot, I doubt I will get rid off my other HT with a shock.

  10. #10
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    Rockychrysler having his way with Hangover fully rigid. I don't much get the rigid fork thing myself but it didn't seem to bother me when that was the only option. But that was 20+ years ago.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Rigid forks on AZ trails-ho1.jpg  

    Rigid forks on AZ trails-ho5.jpg  

    Rigid forks on AZ trails-ho6.jpg  

    Rigid forks on AZ trails-ho7.jpg  

    "Fart in a paper bag, after eating the #17 plate from filibertos. STRAVA!" M77Ranger.

  11. #11
    Give it a crank
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    I've been slowing down my riding this year, which is what has me wondering if rigid might be my next mtb treat. I simply don't bomb downhills anymore, seek no KOM's at all, don't race, and am usually riding along looking out for good photo angles. A lighter bike with no suspension kind of makes sense for the way I'm riding now.

    There's also another angle to where I'm coming from in considering a rigid bike. I've been riding my "goofer", a rigid '92 Trek 820 Antelope mostly on the streets and easy dirt trails. I've taken it on some rough stuff like to the white house on trail 8A. At slow speeds it's plently capable of handling the terrain, it's just that riding fast is not an option. So I keep wondering what kinds of improvements it would need to make it better though not necessarily faster.

  12. #12
    Ahhh the pain....
    Reputation: Raybum's Avatar
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    Gill, you need a cross bike with mustache bars... that's the only logical evolution!
    Your limits are both physical and mental. Suffering will help you find and overcome both.
    http://onegear-ray.blogspot.com/

  13. #13
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    Go for it. As long as you pick your lines well you'll be fine on even the rockiest of trails. 29in wheels and a high volume tubeless front tire go a long ways toward making it an enjoyable experience. To me the best part of a rigid fork is not having to maintain a suspension fork.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mtn-Rider View Post
    I've been slowing down my riding this year, which is what has me wondering if rigid might be my next mtb treat. I simply don't bomb downhills anymore, seek no KOM's at all, don't race, and am usually riding along looking out for good photo angles.
    That must be nice, not to be obsessed with incessant suffering.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by azmtbkr81 View Post
    To me the best part of a rigid fork is not having to maintain a suspension fork.
    Having it rebuilt once a year is that big of an inconvenience?

  16. #16
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    Been riding rigid MonoCog 29er with ardent 2.4 up front for 2 years now. I've done just about everything from SoMo, Hawes, BCT, Sedona, Flag. Its definitly doable, but you will need to compromise a bit on some trails. I find the middle of the monsoon season is the worst because there are so many unexpected rocks and ruts and not much smooth trails.

    I still love the looks I get on many trails as I pass >$4K FS bikes through the chunk on a $300 bike. Obviously not the best riders or I would have no chance...
    26FS & 29Rigid... best of both worlds

  17. #17
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    A couple of weeks ago up in Pinetop at ToWM, 2nd place overall in the 50 miler was on a Rigid SS! Crazy good!
    -boom

  18. #18
    Ahhh the pain....
    Reputation: Raybum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by metalaficionado View Post
    That must be nice, not to be obsessed with incessant suffering.
    some of us actually enjoy incessant suffering....
    Your limits are both physical and mental. Suffering will help you find and overcome both.
    http://onegear-ray.blogspot.com/

  19. #19
    SamuraiBunnyGuy
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    i like my cartilage

  20. #20
    Got a suspension fork
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mtn-Rider View Post
    I started out riding in AZ some 20 years ago on a cheap rigid bike. A lot has been improved today, and something just keeps ringing a bell these days to give it a try again with today's improvements.

    Things like lightweight graphite forks and frames, big tubeless tires, 29" wheels...

    Any experiences on riding rigid forks on our chunky trails?
    I rode a Niner Carbon fork on my Kona Unit for many miles. I love how it feels and how easy it is to pull the front end up over rocks and obstacles on technical climbs. I used to run a big 2.4" front tire at around 20psi. The McDowell passes were what finally did me in though, I was getting too beat up on those super rough rides of 3+ hours. Eventually I put on a suspension fork, but I'm riding rigid recently and I just like the feel better.
    ONE SHOX, ONE GEAR, LOTS of FUN! www.TrailFu.com My Rides

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mtn-Rider View Post
    I've been slowing down my riding this year, which is what has me wondering if rigid might be my next mtb treat. I simply don't bomb downhills anymore, seek no KOM's at all, don't race, and am usually riding along looking out for good photo angles.
    My .02, it sounds to me like comfort would be more important for the way you've been riding than lighter weight. Keep up the good work on the photos!

  22. #22
    Give it a crank
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    Quote Originally Posted by randyharris View Post
    I rode a Niner Carbon fork on my Kona Unit for many miles. I love how it feels and how easy it is to pull the front end up over rocks and obstacles on technical climbs. I used to run a big 2.4" front tire at around 20psi. The McDowell passes were what finally did me in though, I was getting too beat up on those super rough rides of 3+ hours. Eventually I put on a suspension fork, but I'm riding rigid recently and I just like the feel better.
    That's the kind of setup I had in mind, it makes a lot of sense on climbs and smooth trails but it's the chunky downhills you have to pay for.

    Quote Originally Posted by stevland View Post
    My .02, it sounds to me like comfort would be more important for the way you've been riding than lighter weight. Keep up the good work on the photos!
    Will do, thanks. I think you're right about ride comfort vs. weight, rigid forks seem to have their place.

  23. #23
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    I've been riding a rigid 29" fork for about the last four years. I love the way the bike tracks and how it makes me pick better lines. I've ridden it on National, Mormon and even on DJ's crazy SSAZ ride down Milagrosa :-) Fruita, Salida, Durango, CO trail.

    Run an Ardent 2.4 tubeless at 18 psi and really enjoy it. It's on my Ti SS, which is the only mountain bike I own.

    A couple weeks ago I put my Reba on and while the cush was nice, I missed the responsiveness.
    If you're lucky enough to be in the mountains,
    you're lucky enough.

  24. #24
    slower than you
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    Rockychrysler having his way with Hangover fully rigid. I don't much get the rigid fork thing myself but it didn't seem to bother me when that was the only option. But that was 20+ years ago.
    ain't nothing wrong with rigid.
    "Let our people travel light and free on their bicycles." Ed Abbey
    http://www.rockychrysler.com/

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockychrysler View Post
    ain't nothing wrong with rigid.
    Truer words were never spoken.
    "Fart in a paper bag, after eating the #17 plate from filibertos. STRAVA!" M77Ranger.

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