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.
mtn. biking 101
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 and rear shock upgrade recommendations

    I was an avid BMX rider back in the day. So far back it was called "Freestyle." I'm 37. I was laid off in June, so to look for something to fill my days, I bought a hybrid Diamondback and have been riding the **** out of it. I found myself wanting to venture on trails more than road riding, so I did the impulsive thing and bought the Gravity 1.0 full suspension. It's worth noting it's a decent started bike and am already planning on upgrading the bike once I find work.

    To my point: I'd like to upgrade the fork and rear shock, but I'd hate to purchase equal or worse gear as I can't really afford to make such a mistake while living on savings and unemployment. I have a budget of 200-250 for the upgrades. If it matters, I'm a solid 6'3" 225.

    Thanks in advance for any advice!

    Side note: I'm jealous of you riders that have been doing this for years. I definitely should have bought a bike years ago instead of putting it off for so long.

    Peace, love and ****!

  2. #2
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    You might be able to get a used fork or shock for 250$ ,check ebay,craigs list and pinkbike. You should just ride bike as is until you can replace it.To make your $$ go farther look for a lightly used bike.

  3. #3
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    Yea, I've been scouring CL and haven't found anything in my budget. Keep in mine, I live in Austin, Texas and since the Lance Armstrong era, we have a TON of riders here that have a lot of money and most of the bikes I found were in the 500-1000 range.

    I was just looking for details for simple upgrades. Something to make my experience a little more enjoyable.

    Thanks for the reply!

  4. #4
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    There is a Suntour loyalty upgrade that may help. Search for Suntour fork upgrade in the beginners category. Start there and see what you can find other than that, I don't think I would spend a ton of money on upgrades.

  5. #5
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    Last time I needed to replace a fork, I decided it was Recon Gold or go home. That was while I was still in school, after losing my job in '08. So I was in a similar situation and ultimately I decided that $300 was more than I could justify.

    A teammate got me out of that situation - that bike has a 2001 Marzocchi now. Actually a really nice fork, although I do need to find a new knob for the rebound damper...

    What's on the bike now?
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  6. #6
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    It's like a frigging mirror. I'm 36, 6'5" and 230lbs. I have an FSX 1 that I bought last year and upgraded bits and pieces as they went on sale. I've ridden a lot of trails on it, and it's a good bike. However, I've also bought a 29er hardtail and it's much more fun. The FSX is a fun trail bike, but it will never be an efficient trail bike (definately not race worthy).

    The rear shock on the FSX1 doesn't have rebound and that's what really hurts that bike's rear suspension. I did upgrade my rear shock to the hydraulic lockout type used on the fsx3, and it does help. I'm not sure if the price is worth it though. The lockout seems to limit compression and damping at the same time, so it's not a true damper. Also, it's a 6" shock, and those are difficult to find. Motobecanes use a 6.5" shock which is much more common. Personally, if you find a cheap rear shock that is dampened on ebay, go for it. Otherwise, keep the rear shock that's on there. I think the Rockshox Monarch is available in the 6" (150mm) length.

    Another thing, since the rear is un-dampened, every large bump will try to throw you off the bike. It was a night and day change when I went clipless on this bike. In general, I recommend clipless pedals. So much more efficient, you never wonder if your feet are going to come off the pedals, and they just give you better control of the bike.

    I also upgraded the fork to a rockshox XC32, and it's ton's better. I'd highly recommend a fork upgrade, because it truly helps this bike out. I came across the following, and I'm actually thinking of buying one to replace my XC32. The nice thing about the Raidon is it's an airfork, so the pressure cane be set for your weight. Most coil-spring forks bought online will come with the medium spring, which just doesn't work as well. My 29er has a recon silver, and it's just a better fork than the XC32.

    Raidon fork from Bikes, Bike Parts, Cycling Clothing & Accessories. Hop on! - Bikewagon just incase the link is dumb.

    SR Suntour SF11 Raidon DS LO AIR 26" 70mm MTB Fork Black - Bikewagon

    Other upgrades I've done; rear derailure, cassette, wheelset, BB7 brakes, WTB tires, new shifters.

    In all, the only upgrades I truly felt were worth it were the fork (hydraulic dampening is a must) and the clipless pedals. The next in line was tires (slightly more aggressive tread and lighter), wheelset (lighter), and the brakes (better quality). The drivetrain upgrade rearlly didn't feel any different on this weight of bike, and the quality of the stock Acera/Alivio stuff is good.

  7. #7
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    The OP has a budget ,watts what the guess on how much you spent on your upgrades?

  8. #8
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    The total was actually low. Bought the fsx1 from bikeisland.com and it had a busted fork for extra $ off. Bought the fork for $130 on super sale. All the other upgrades were zero cost because I bought, swapped parts, fixed up and sold some bikes. The final cost came out at account $350.

    The above link for a fork and a set of couples pedals and shoes would cost about $150-200. Better tires could be had for an additional $30 or less if you can find some used.

  9. #9
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    I hope that the 70mm Suntour fork can be adjusted for more travel.

  10. #10
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    It looks like it's actually supposed to be 80mm, and it doesn't look like it's adjustable.
    http://srsuntour-files.dbap.de/_publ...-DS-LO-air.pdf

    Even if it's 20mm shorter, the fsx1 starts with a lax headtube angle, so this would probably put it back about 69-70degrees vs the 67-68 degrees it starts with. I actually put a 80mm suntour XCM on my bike before I put the XC32 on it, and other than a severely mismatched spring (soft spring with a 230lb rider, felt a little squishy and bottomed out a lot) the bike still handled good.

    FYI, the link to the gravity fsx 1 geometry shows the headtube angle at 64 degrees. I'm led to believe that's a bit off. When I measured it with an angle gauge, my bike headtube was sitting at 68 deg when resting.

    MSRP $995 | FSX 1.0 Dual Suspension : Gravity Bikes

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