1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
Results 1 to 18 of 18
  1. #1
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    Dump Dart 3 for a rigid fork?

    I have a Sette Reken and love the bike, both on and off road. The only thing I have never been satisfied with is the Dart 3 fork. My kind of riding I seek out is hard pack and fire roads. I do go with friends time to time and end up on some technical rocky stuff. I have been debating about putting on a rigid fork I found on eBay, an Exotic aluminum disc specific/suspension corrected fork for about 100 bucks shipped. The performance of the Dart 3 has been very inconsistent and I was wondering if switching to a rigid fork and high volume tires would be a better option. My Reken is my only bike and is used for everything on and off road.

  2. #2
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    It's definitely worth a shot if you're interested. An aluminum rigid fork will be very harsh compared to what you've got now though. You may have better luck with carbon or steel. Either way, you'll be dropping a few pounds off the front end of your bike by going rigid, so you'll notice a huge difference in how the front end of the bike handles. I say try something if you want to. Riding rigid with larger tires definitely seems like an option for you. You'll still have the option to go back to front squish if you absolutely hate rigid.
    Mountain bikers who don't road ride have no legs...
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  3. #3
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Last time I killed a suspension fork, I did my research and decided that I'd take a rigid fork over anything short of the Recon Gold.

    I have a fair amount of saddle time off-road on my 'cross bike, and a little on rigid mountain bikes. My experience riding the rigid MTB was that when I wasn't going that fast, pre-riding a race course, I found myself wondering why people spent so much money putting suspension forks on the fronts of their bikes. When I was racing, and riding like I meant it, the root beds really beat me up. I don't think that course had any rock gardens.

    If you don't mind me taking a quick trip into egghead-land, I sometimes also think of the different parts of the bike in terms of the frequency of what they're supposed to filter out. The tires do a good job with the high-frequency stuff, "chatter." Especially bigger, lower-pressure tires. The fork contributes, but they actually don't always do a great job. The rider has to take care of the low-frequency stuff - big terrain changes, moguls, landing a bigger drop, that kind of thing. Where I feel like my suspension fork really improves my ride is in keeping my wheel on the ground through the middle-frequency stuff. This is things that are a little big for the tire to handle on its own but come at me too fast for me to react well, or at least for me to control the bike and also pedal it. I already use 2.25" tires, and they're really not equivalent to having suspension, IMO. They do a different job, and I feel like the way tires handle in terms of wallowing (or pinch-flatting!) at too low a pressure and bouncing at too high a pressure is limiting in terms of trying to tune them to give me more "travel" too.

    If most of your riding is hard pack and fire roads, something that a suspension fork can really help with is stutter bumps. I'm not sure if your trails have that, but that's something to think about. When you ride with friends, if you ride through rock gardens with some speed, that's another place where I think you'd want a suspension fork; if you're picking through them more slowly, I think it won't make a difference.

    I think everybody should try riding trails rigid at some point. You can read systems engineer wannabe discussions until I'm blue in the face, but I think what really made me "get it," at least to the extent I have, is that I've had the opportunity to ride a few different platforms and tire sizes on my trails. Not everyone finds they want to have a suspension fork, and not every trail or fire road is more fun to ride with it.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  4. #4
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    Thx for the input. I will switch to rigid but may wait another paycheck to get carbon.

  5. #5
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    See if you can get some saddle time on a rigid setup first. A carbon fork's not going to be radically different from a metal one, so while there's some difference in ride from fork to fork, it won't be as much as the difference between suspension and rigid.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  6. #6
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    Yeah, definitely a rigid steel fork is way better than one of those POS cheapie pogo forks. As I said STEEL, not alu, think an alu frigid would shake every filling out of your head and give you some serious aches. I rode one of those fork son my first bike and looking back I wished the shop I bought it from had told me to get full rigid instead until I could afford better.
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  7. #7
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    rigid for $100? they've had deals on reba and fox in the deals subforum for $300. that's a no brainer for me personally towards having front suspension. I think rigid bikes look nice, but don't ride nice. If you only ahve one trail bike, def front suspension.

  8. #8
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    Any recomendations on a good steel fork? I do want a suspension corrected one to maintain the geometry. I have looked at Nashbar and Surley. I am leaning towards the Surley.

  9. #9
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    The Surly forks are pretty popular out on the trails here. The Kona P2 is a little less popular, but another option. My 'cross bike shipped with one on the front. Salsa makes some forks that cost more but I think the difference is only paint-deep. On another thread, I was recently reminded of the forks that Soma Fabrications offers. These are made by Tange, a Japanese company that does high-end (and mid-range) steel fabrication for bikes including tube sets and forks. So in your shoes, I'd be curious enough to research that a little more. Tange doesn't do a good job at marketing, it's not really their "thing," but they've been around a while and I bet you can find good information around the 'net.

    If you want to spend more money on it, there's a rigid fork by Vicious Cycles... there're really a surprising number of options for steel forks for modern mountain bikes - as in, with suspension and disc brakes - out there.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  10. #10
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    Surly forks have good reviews, I like that they have numerous models available so you can really customize the ride handling of your bike. Check out the Troll fork, you'll get fender and rack mounts, those may come in handy considering the uses of your bike.
    Mountain bikers who don't road ride have no legs...
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  11. #11
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    Might as well go rigid if you're using a cheap fork with little to no damping. Pogo sticks arent really any more comfortable, slow you down, and are heavy. Rigid will teach you some good skills and navigating through terrain that will make you faster in the long run.

    The Salsa forks are nicer than Surly forks which are nicer than Kona forks in my experience. Salsa's weigh less and ride smoother. Kona was heavy and rode really harsh.

    Some of the ebay carbon forks look really nice if you're willing to gamble on your teeth.

  12. #12
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Quote Originally Posted by GTscoob View Post
    The Salsa forks are nicer than Surly forks which are nicer than Kona forks in my experience. Salsa's weigh less and ride smoother. Kona was heavy and rode really harsh.
    Uh-oh, now you're making me curious about swapping the fork on the front of my 'cross bike...
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  13. #13
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    I've only got experience on Surly on my '08 Monkey, but it has proven to be strong and reliable, but I've read many times it's not the most compliant and hence why the did a small re-design to make it more compliant. Heard good things about the Salsa, but they're normally a bit more expensive. Don't think you could go wrong with either and a nice HUGE volume 2.4"> tyre on a wide rim at low pressure.
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  14. #14
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    To the OP- Did you perform any service on your Dart 3?

    Unlike a real "pogo" fork (spring only), that fork has a damper and works fine if you use the right type and amount of oil. And the lockout works perfectly for times when you don't need the extra compliance.
    Joe
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  15. #15
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    Patience.
    You could get a Recon Silver solo air for around 250.
    Why not be patient and get something good?
    I've even seen recon gold's for under 275...
    ...even a Fox for 300.
    Patience is something worth having.
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  16. #16
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    Re: Dump Dart 3 for a rigid fork?

    A rigid will not be faster than a dart 3 on descents an equal skilled rider. Fast is not equal to fun though.

    Sent from my LS670 using Tapatalk 2

  17. #17
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    I agree with Zarr. Patience. The Dart 3 isn't great, but its a lot better than what a lot of other people are riding. Imagine what it would be going through a rock garden on a rigid! Could you wait a month to get something better?

    If so, I'd suggest getting a Manitou Minute Expert, which you can fine online for as low $280. If you can sell your Dart 3 for $100, that brings your costs down significantly. I purchased the 29er version of this fork (Manitou Tower Expert) and was blown away with what I could do on the bike. There was terrain I could ride right through which normally would give me problems...it was like I was cheating.

  18. #18
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    Bull $hit! The Dart3 is a pogo stick and an experienced rider on a rigid will be a LOT faster on something he knows won't be diving all about the place. If I only had the option of a full rigid or a bike with a Dart3, I'd pick the rigid every time, especially the more tech it got.
    Quote Originally Posted by bob13bob View Post
    A rigid will not be faster than a dart 3 on descents an equal skilled rider. Fast is not equal to fun though.

    Sent from my LS670 using Tapatalk 2
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