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.
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  1. #1
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    Fork Question: RockShox Quadra 21R vs...

    Hey everyone. I have a '96 Trek 8000 with a RS Quadra 21R on it. The bike has seen better days, but still works great, just needs a tune up and maybe some new paint. Anywho...

    Im looking to either rebuild my current fork, or see if my money would be better spent on something else. Im looking at all these entry level forks like the Dart 2/3 ect on ebay for <100 brand new and wondering about how much technology has gained in 16 years :/

    Is my 1200 bike obsolete for the most part in terms of the fork technology of entry level stuff today? Im just trying to see where my money would be better spent. Also, if my shock is a 60mm travel damper, would it be wise to stick with a 60mm replacement or can I go to say 80mm or 100mm damper?

    Any advise you all can give would be great. Id really like to get a gas shock, but dont have the cash to spend on one.

  2. #2
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    Even a Dart 3 would be a step up in performance since it has adjustable rebound damping, compression damping with a lockout, and larger diameter legs (but skinny for current forks).

    You will need v-brakes as none of the current forks have a cable stop for cantilever brakes that were stock on a 1996 Trek 8000.

  3. #3
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    So it doesnt matter that id be putting on something with more travel than the older damper?

  4. #4
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    You would not believe how far suspension has come from your quadra. Good thing too, since that hasn't been made in over 10 years and I doubt you'll find the replacement rubber springs for it.

    You can increase travel, to a point. I wouldn't go over 80mm. You probably won't like the way your bike handles with a 100mm fork.


    I'd be very, very cautious about spending money on a 16 year old bike though. Basically everything about bikes is better now, and a modern, entry-level hardtail will vastly out-perform your bike. A Jamis Durango, for example, goes for about $600; compare that to how much you'll spend upgrading your old bike, only to end up with an old bike with a couple modern components.

  5. #5
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    Or just swap out the front shock to a rigid fork. Can find one cheap and save some weight. Depending on what you use the bike for, the rigid may be a better choice anyway instead of a cheap suspension fork.

  6. #6
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    I have an old Jamis with a Quadra21R. The elastomers are still working!

    You could try replacing the elastomers with springs from Wings-Suspension, innovative suspension tuning for mountain bikes. Although, you might get a bit of the pogo-stick effect. Other than that, I wouldn't put a lot of money into a bike that old. It's better off being relegated to commuter status or something to ride on gravelly rail trails.

    Edit: if you do end up buying a new fork, make sure it fits! Make sure your tube isn't 1" as I'm not sure who makes 1" tubes anymore.
    Bikes, lots'o bikes

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joules View Post
    You would not believe how far suspension has come from your quadra. Good thing too, since that hasn't been made in over 10 years and I doubt you'll find the replacement rubber springs for it.

    You can increase travel, to a point. I wouldn't go over 80mm. You probably won't like the way your bike handles with a 100mm fork.


    I'd be very, very cautious about spending money on a 16 year old bike though. Basically everything about bikes is better now, and a modern, entry-level hardtail will vastly out-perform your bike. A Jamis Durango, for example, goes for about $600; compare that to how much you'll spend upgrading your old bike, only to end up with an old bike with a couple modern components.
    To be honest....my bike works great. Im not going to buy a new bike because someone said its outdated lol (no offense, just saying).

    I just want to get a tune up, and my front fork is not riding like it used to so i was just curious if I should just get a 100 dollar fork off ebay. My bike as a whole system works great...I really dont want a new one until i break the frame.

  8. #8
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    You might as well get a fork of ebay, just make sure it has no more than 80mm of travel, otherwise your handling will suffer. The Quadra was 60mm travel from memory, so 20mm on top is about all you can go.
    I used to have one, 1st suspension fork I ever had, loved it.

  9. #9
    The cat's name is jake
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    What's more important than travel is the axle-to-crown measurement. That's the distance from the center of the front wheel axle to the fork crown race. You can measure this yourself on your existing fork, and compare with the A2C measurements of modern forks.

    You can exceed the stock fork A2C length, but it starts affecting HT angle. With 25mm more of A2C, there's roughly a 1 degree change in head tube angle. The lower the angle, the slacker the steering gets. I personally like slack HT angles - I typically use 67-68 degrees with a 4-5" travel fork for most hardtail frames I build. Other people dislike slow steering, so increasing the A2C more than stock might be unpleasant for you. I'm not sure what the HT angle of your bike was stock - I'd guess it was in the 71 degree area - but I don't know that for sure.

    I highly recommend getting at least a mid level fork (used if need be) if you do much riding. The dampers become much better at that price point. You might consider something such as a used RS Reba (can be had for $150 on eBay), assuming the fork steerer is not cut too short to work with your bike. You can add the stack height of the headset (listed on the mfg. website) to the measured head tube length, and add enough to clear your stem and a couple 5-10mm spacers, and that should be good starting place for identifying steerer length.

  10. #10
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    Hey,

    I have a 1996 GT Pantera with a Quadra 21R fork that is dead. Did you ever replace yours and if so what with? I have been looking at an ebay listing for XCM V3 with 80mm travel and lock out. Its tempting since I don't ride to hard but would like a good suspension with lock out. Thanks in advance.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jmolina34 View Post
    Hey,

    I have a 1996 GT Pantera with a Quadra 21R fork that is dead. Did you ever replace yours and if so what with? I have been looking at an ebay listing for XCM V3 with 80mm travel and lock out. Its tempting since I don't ride to hard but would like a good suspension with lock out. Thanks in advance.
    Apparently they do make one with brakes bosses:

    SR SUNTOUR Cycling

  12. #12
    No good in rock gardens..
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    Bike should be 1 1/8" threadless, so you are good to go.

    BikePedia - 1996 trek 8000 SHX Complete Bicycle

    The Quadra 21R had around 63mm of travel (in theory...). I think you could safely go for an 80mm fork, but not 100mm.
    My Cannondale Lefty keeps failing....

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jmolina34 View Post
    Hey,

    I have a 1996 GT Pantera with a Quadra 21R fork that is dead. Did you ever replace yours and if so what with? I have been looking at an ebay listing for XCM V3 with 80mm travel and lock out. Its tempting since I don't ride to hard but would like a good suspension with lock out. Thanks in advance.
    I've heard the expensive Suntours are good, but that's not one of them.

    If you're not comfortable spending more, slap a nice rigid on the front of your bike and be happy. Seriously. Or see if one of your former teammates can sell you a nice old fork for $50. (Sometimes I wonder if nobody else on these forums has riding friends...)

    IMO, lockouts are unnecessary. I'd rather have a fork with acceptable stiffness and a real rebound damper. Better yet, all that, and a compression or platform damper. But that's getting into more expensive forks; I'm betting you're trying to save some money here. Having had to give up having a compression/platform damper recently, I can say that while I miss it, it hasn't made me no longer like mountain biking and if I'm not fast lately, it's because I haven't been riding enough. On the other hand, a fork that doesn't track well is incredibly frustrating.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    I've heard the expensive Suntours are good, but that's not one of them.

    If you're not comfortable spending more, slap a nice rigid on the front of your bike and be happy. Seriously. Or see if one of your former teammates can sell you a nice old fork for $50. (Sometimes I wonder if nobody else on these forums has riding friends...)

    IMO, lockouts are unnecessary. I'd rather have a fork with acceptable stiffness and a real rebound damper. Better yet, all that, and a compression or platform damper. But that's getting into more expensive forks; I'm betting you're trying to save some money here. Having had to give up having a compression/platform damper recently, I can say that while I miss it, it hasn't made me no longer like mountain biking and if I'm not fast lately, it's because I haven't been riding enough. On the other hand, a fork that doesn't track well is incredibly frustrating.
    Thanks for your opinion but not all of us ride with teams and buddies. As for slapping a rigid fork my bike is pretty much that and I would just like something to be a little easier on my body. Why so negative on entry level forks dude? Not everyone needs the greatest fork out there. Some of us can be perfectly fine with the bottom line stuff if you know what you are getting and intend to use it for what it was designed to do. Ease up a bit.

    As for lock out I think you are right about not needing it. I climb in the saddle so I don't really see a benefit for me. (Just found this out after much research)

  15. #15
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    I'm down on entry-level forks because I've used them.

    I find them to track badly and pogo. Which is actually pretty hard on my body.

    When I killed my last suspension fork, I seriously considered a rigid. I probably wouldn't have bought it if my friend hadn't messaged me on Facebook. (I find whining on Facebook to be a surprisingly effective way to solve problems...) The fork from a teammate is an old Marzocchi Z.2 Atom Sport. It's an early 2000s model. So it's not like I have bike parts raining down on me from the sky. But I often get a sense that people on this forum are riding in a vacuum. Which is strange to me because everywhere I've lived, there've been mountain bike communities and group rides. Even in Manhattan. If what you're looking for in mountain biking is privacy, maybe that's not for you. But I think riding with other people is lots of fun, and it's cool to get to learn new trails, and learn from stronger riders.

    Did you end up getting the Suntour?
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  16. #16
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    Hey Andrw. No i dont want privacy when riding, i ride with friends but i am playing devils advocate to those that might not feel the same. As for you being down on entry level forks i am certain its because they are not meant for your level of riding. If you have been racing and need a high level of performance then an entry level fork will be awful for you. Even if you don't race anymore the need for speed and perfect controll will not be condusive to a long travel fork with springs that will pogo violently when they are compressed to the max.

    I am not some green noob pretending I am an awesome rider. I am an experienced road rider who wants to take his off road to something a little more interesting that XC. To answer your question; no I did not get the suntour. I ended up converting my quadras to springs. They are only 60mm travel so the pogo shouldn't be that bad. I'll ride it like that for a season and then see if an investment in a new bike with a more advanced fork will be worth it. Thanks again for your comments, I appreciate that even thouh I may not agree with everything you said you at least take the time to give your opinion. Where are you from?

  17. #17
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    I now live in Seattle, WA, but I learned to ride mountain bikes in Santa Cruz, CA. And I was living in NYC when I had the displeasure of owning an entry-level fork for a little while. It didn't take much to destroy it. It's not like I was doing dirt jumping or even much in the way of descending.

    I have a little saddle time on a rigid mountain bike and a fair amount of off-road saddle time on my 'cross bike. Also a little on my road bike.

    I borrowed a rigid bike for a race after my previous suspension fork misbehaved. I didn't think I could get it serviced and working (this didn't true, but whatever) fast enough to race my usual bike.

    When I was pre-riding the course, I found myself thinking, "Wow, why do people even use suspension?" It was a technical but flat course. Some of my friends describe it as non-technical but strangely technical. Or, technical yet non-technical. The point being that it was tight and twisty, with a fair amount of roots going across it, usually one at a time, sometimes with significant trail height differences across them.

    When I was actually racing the course, though, I was going faster and the actual root beds and rock gardens really beat me up. By the end, I thought I'd been worked over with a stick. However, I was able to keep my front wheel on the line I wanted through that stuff, something I had trouble with with the previous, entry-level fork on my own bike.

    You can't buy skills. But I think a bad suspension fork is a real handicap. They sell mountain bikes, though. Anyway, I think anyone who needs a new fork and is operating below the Recon (or older Tora on clearance, these things are often overproduced) pricepoint owes it to himself to at least try a familiar trail on a rigid bike. If you come to a different conclusion than I did, fine. That's why it's an opinion. But I think a lot of people would feel differently about how much, and for what, they need suspension if they got a little trail time without it.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  18. #18
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    the funny thing about the quadra is that its only about 2.5lbs. i have a 96 haro escape and switched the frame to 96 khs fxt comp 2.5 in full susp. and both came with quadras. my first mountian bike then a frame swap last year. i also put a rockshox psylo adjustable 85-125mm that i found on craigslist. I have it set at 85mm. it definately changed the axle to crowm more than 20mm. i experimented with the fork at 100 and 125 and the seatpost tube gets too slack for climbing. the older geometrys have shorter chainstays so they cant support too slack of seatubes when climbing without wheeling. but these older geometrys are pretty steep to begin with so a 20-30 a2c change wasnt so bad, but took time to get used too cause that old geometry is a very xc roadie type postition comparitivly. but its very welcome downhill.

    im now on a diamondback mission which is a complete different world; that i also got used on craigslist. but i actually like my khs better for climbing and moderate xc rides. even with the new axle to crown. it more an xc bike being light and still a way more xc geometry.

    i have to say getting an oil damped fork with adjustable rebound was very nice change. but it was noticably heavier at 4 lbs. and the darts are heavier than that, and without rebound adjustabilty, but better dampening and rebound characteristics than straight springs. if you were to get a rocksshox xc30tk you would definatley experience the newer adjustable rebound, but only factory set springs for a guy 160-170 with preload adjust, and with a preset dampening. but the characteristcs will be way plusher than the quadra. but again at twice the weight. if your gonna stick with hardtail an xc30tk 85mm might be a welcomed investment. it will stabilize it for climbing and definatley descending.

    if you want to go full susp; a used bike on craigslist somewhere around 2005 or newer will get you introduced to newer technology. and you definatley experience higher speed control and comfort. its just more stable downhill, but honestly, i could do alot of the same stuff i do now on a hardtail with a spring quadra. its about the rider not the bike for the most part. dont get me wrong though, my 6in mission has me doing things i thought i would never do downhill, and through rocks that you never knew a bike could fly through.
    Last edited by akiracornell; 03-17-2012 at 03:53 AM.

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