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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    Thinking of new fork for my Giant Revel 1

    So the more I read about the Suntour forks that came on my bike, the more it seems like my fork is a giant POS that is made for cruising in granny gear around my front lawn. What would be the best bang for my buck upgrade? I am a beginner who is just getting into racing and riding on decently technical trails with drops, logs and small jumps etc.

    How is the RockShox Recon? Obviously it seems to be an entry level, but still decent air fork that will be noticeably better than the stock Suntour,

    Is there a better choice that you guys recommend?

    Will the fork mount to my bike without any extra parts or spacers or anything?

    Any help is appreciated

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    I'm debating the same thing. Some advice I got was to ride it till I feel it's holding back my riding, or it breaks. Whichever comes first.

    Here's what I was thinking of buying:
    BlueSkyCycling.com - 2011 Rock Shox Reba RL Dual Air Fork OE

    Sale ends today though,so decide quick!

  3. #3
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    Do I need anything extra to fit it to my bike?

  4. #4
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    I have no idea, I'm a newb at this too.I think all that really matters is if the steerer tube is the right diameter.

  5. #5
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    Once you get a new fork, you will most likely have to cut the steertube to the appropriate length

  6. #6
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    I have a Giant Revel 1 26er with the stock Suntour fork that my wife rides. I ride a Cannondale Trail 29er with a Rockshox Recon air fork. The ride between the two is like night and day.

    The Suntour on the revel is clunky, noisy, not smooth and not well controlled. The coil seems too soft through the first 1" of travel then gets super stiff and harsh below that. The Suntour has gotten progressively worse over the 6 months we've owned the bike. The "rebound adjustment" is a joke. It only makes it ride worse.

    The Rockshox Recon is much smoother. The action is smooth and progressive through the whole range of movement. The rebound adjustment works quite well. The recon is much more predictable at the limit and doesn't bottom out as much as the Suntour even though it has less advertised travel.

    The revel is a great bike, but the fork really has to go. If you can find a used Recon on ebay that is reasonably priced and in good shape, I say go for it.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by nick753 View Post
    So the more I read about the Suntour forks that came on my bike, the more it seems like my fork is a giant POS
    D o you think it is a POS or do other people think it is crap. Most likely you are being influenced to bel;ieve it is a POS. If you're happy with it then ignore the comments. I like to wait about 6 months before I upgrade anything because by that time, I will know what I want to upgrade and what is not up to my liking.

    You also have to ask yourself what you will gain from spending x amount of dollars on something. Will you be faster? Will you have more fun? It may be worth it to save up for a new bike...

    If you've waited 6 months and you've decided you hate the thing, then I will recommend to get a used RS Reba. I got one in very nice shape with less than 100 miles on it for $250. You just have to be patient and scout around for deals. Installation is pretty simple. Just take out the old one, remember where you're spacers, headset, and bearings were, put the new one in, cut it and reassemble. There are plenty of videos on youtube to help you out.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by reedfe View Post
    D o you think it is a POS or do other people think it is crap. Most likely you are being influenced to bel;ieve it is a POS. If you're happy with it then ignore the comments.
    Not sure, I've never tested anything with a better reputation. The only other person I ride with, has the exact same fork on his bike. I am going by what more experienced riders are telling me, they all seem to have the same general thing to say about the Suntour's

  9. #9
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    +100 to Reed if I could.Nick: Just so we are clear, you were happy until someone told you that you shouldn't be, right?

    eb, ou2 - are you reading this? Are you happy?

    Nick: If the case is that you are happy and don't know any better, please do not get a new fork for your bike - especially if your riding buddy has the same fork.

    If you are getting into racing, spend your money on a set of plush bibs with a high end chamois, a solid computer with heart rate monitor, cadence and watt meter. Ride more miles. Do not make any changes to your bike and race against yourself and your buddy. Figure out how and where to be faster on what you have on your local trails. You will break the cartridge sooner or later. That's the time to replace it with a MUCH lighter fork (so start saving now). That will give you the biggest performance gain. Going from an entry level 5lb coil fork to a 4.5 lb fork with more knobs isn't going to win you any races.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by reedfe View Post
    D o you think it is a POS or do other people think it is crap. Most likely you are being influenced to bel;ieve it is a POS. If you're happy with it then ignore the comments. I like to wait about 6 months before I upgrade anything because by that time, I will know what I want to upgrade and what is not up to my liking.

    You also have to ask yourself what you will gain from spending x amount of dollars on something. Will you be faster? Will you have more fun? It may be worth it to save up for a new bike...

    If you've waited 6 months and you've decided you hate the thing, then I will recommend to get a used RS Reba. I got one in very nice shape with less than 100 miles on it for $250. You just have to be patient and scout around for deals. Installation is pretty simple. Just take out the old one, remember where you're spacers, headset, and bearings were, put the new one in, cut it and reassemble. There are plenty of videos on youtube to help you out.
    Great post, there's no reason to change your fork is you don't know why you want to change your fork. It's just a ton of money that you'll spend and not know why. Much smarter places to spend money (if you feel you have to) would be on getting some good pedals (stock pedals are pretty much disposable garbage so get some metal ones with pins for traction), getting different tires if you can figure out what other people in your area like for tires, or accessories for riding like tools or proper clothing.

    And two steps that you'll need to remember when getting a new fork is that you'll need to remove the crown race from the old fork and put it on the new one and you will need to install a starnut (for 90% of headsets). Both of those tasks would be very smart to let a LBS do, they're not complicated but the few bucks you'll spend will save you a potential lot of headache.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by wmac View Post
    Just so we are clear, you were happy until someone told you that you shouldn't be, right?

    Ride more miles. Going from an entry level 5lb coil fork to a 4.5 lb fork with more knobs isn't going to win you any races.
    Preach it!

    Quote Originally Posted by nick753 View Post
    Not sure, I've never tested anything with a better reputation. The only other person I ride with, has the exact same fork on his bike. I am going by what more experienced riders are telling me, they all seem to have the same general thing to say about the Suntour's
    If the majority of MTB'ers told you that the Suntour XCT was the nicest fork ever made, would you think that you are riding the product of the century? You need to draw your own conclusions about your own equipment.

    I'd say you're best bet is to just ride the bike to it's limits, while perfecting your skills. You should definitely check out a book called Mastering Mountain Bike Skills by Mr. Brian Lopes. It will help you get better, faster and more comfortable on your bike. You might be able to find it at your local library (I found a copy at mine in South Florida of all places) or if not you can check it out online. I'd highly recommend it to any mountain biker, beginner or pro.

    Once you've gotten much better and maxed out the performance then you'll probably have saved up enough money to buy a much nicer bike all together. It is waaaaay too easy to get caught up in the upgrade bandwagon.

  12. #12
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    Nick. Mike don't let these guys play you. The only post worth reading is by the guy who knows something firsthand-- bhc3223.
    If you can find a good deal a Manitou Tower Pro would be my first choice followed by a 2010-2012 and not 2013 Reba. They skip interim steps. There is no rider with experience who will not agree that one of those will be the single most significant improvement you could make. Even the guy at the LBS who sold you that Suntour pos. This 100 fork is the minimum and would be good for a couple years at least. BlueSkyCycling.com - Rock Shox XC 28 TK Mg 29er Coil Fork
    The other worthwhile upgrade is a good set of fast rolling lightweight tires like Racing Ralph Performance 2.25s. Much cheaper to do. 34 at cycleclub.

    They will also tell you abstinence is your best choice. But maybe you don't need their advice on that.
    Last edited by eb1888; 08-31-2012 at 04:21 PM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    Nick. Mike don't let these guys play you. The only post worth reading is by the guy who knows something firsthand-- bhc3223.
    If you can find a good deal a Manitou Tower Pro would be my first choice followed by a 2010-2012 and not 2013 Reba. They skip interim steps. There is no rider with experience who will not agree that one of those will be the single most significant improvement you could make. Even the guy at the LBS who sold you that Suntour pos.

    The other worthwhile upgrade is a good set of fast rolling lightweight tires like Racing Ralph Performance 2.25s. Much cheaper to do. 34 at cycleclub.
    You're saying that he should spend half the cost of his bike buying something that he will not see too much of a difference in? That's absurd. If he is content with his current ride, there is no reason to change it. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. I am not going to deny the fact that upgrading a fork will be the biggest change as I have done that myself and I have felt the difference but that was only after months of scrutinizing the performance of my suntour fork. However, money is no replacement for skill and time in the saddle. If you put a pro racer on a giant revel and him on a >9k bike with top of the line technology, that pro racer is still going to be faster.

    I'm not trying to play him, just trying to steer in a better long term direction. If you always blame bad performance on bad technology, you are going to spend a lot of money trying to get faster. Granted it may shave off a second here or there. Your bike is a tool, If you don't know how to use it well, no amount of money is going to change that.

  14. #14
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    Hey Zebrahum, are you an experienced rider? Reed, I see you like the trails in Ocala - I remember being part of the crew who blazed them back in '89 on a Trek 850. Nick: I've put at least 50 miles on that same fork on trails in mid TN - beginner to expert. In fact, just the other day, I did a lap around one of our more advanced trails with my Fox fork locked out to see how bad it would be. I had to be a little more cautious and my front wheel washed a little in the switchbacks. The ride was a little rough, but I didn't die.

    Your bike and fork are fine for what you're doing. If you want to race, condition your body and don't worry about making any changes to your bike. Save your cash until you can buy a proper race bike. Any upgrades you make to that bike will be a compromise.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by wmac View Post
    Hey Zebrahum, are you an experienced rider?
    Not sure why it matters or why you are asking, but yes.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    Nick. Mike don't let these guys play you. There is no rider with experience who will not agree that one of those [fork upgrades] will be the single most significant improvement you could make.
    eb insinuated that anyone who argues with him must not be an experienced rider.

  17. #17
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    I love my Recon Gold TK Solo Air forks. HUGE upgrade over my POS Suntour M2025 coil spring shocks with 60mm travel. Found em on eBay brand new for $270 shipped and couldn't be happier.
    2012 Trek Superfly 100

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by wmac View Post
    eb insinuated that anyone who argues with him must not be an experienced rider.
    Ah, the previous question/comment makes more sense now; my humor detector must be malfunctioning, I'll take it into the shop. I feel like the homebrew that has begun to enter my body for the long weekend is helping though...

    You could spend thousands of dollars on upgrading your first bike, or you could just run your first bike until you figure out what kind of riding you like best and get a bike like that. I guess my 16 years of riding and 10 years of wrenching mustn't qualify mine as an "experienced" opinion. Compared to many on this board, that's probably an accurate assessment.

    There's a clear difference between knowing that you want to change something and having people tell you to change something. The former gets you something that you know you'll want and the latter gets your wallet lighter.

    Is the Suntour fork crap? Yes, it absolutely is. Will a beginner rider be held back by it? I personally do not think so. Beginners have so much more to think about than how the rebound circuit is working in their fork; they need to work on changing gears, picking lines, looking ahead on the trail, learning to corner, and making sure their lungs don't jump out of their chests. I can't see how a Suntour fork will be more of a detriment to learning than my learning on a fully rigid bike and I turned out ok. I will always recommend saving up for that next bike; one can never have too many bikes, after all.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  19. #19
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    Heh guy I apologize for wording that in a way that allowed you to misunderstand my intent.
    The "experienced rider" applies to a straight evaluation as an experienced rider of the quality of the Suntour fork when compared to a Reba or Tower or even a RS XC.
    Once we tell him what we think of the fork, I'm done.
    Whether a beginner needs a decent fork or should spend more money than he already has and when he should do that is not something I want to tell him. I want to give him a straight evaluation of the fork and let him do what he wants. I'm not withholding my info to influence his choice.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum View Post
    Is the Suntour fork crap? Yes, it absolutely is.
    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    Once we tell him what we think of the fork, I'm done. .
    Well I don't think we disagree on the quality of the fork.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  21. #21
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    ok, so here is a question, I'm a beginner for the most part as i was getting to be a medium grade rider before i stopped riding for a while about 10 years ago. so i will put myself as a beginner. If one is a beginner and is riding a crap fork like a suntour or a jett xc (what i have at the moment) and said rider is working on his skills and building his confidence wouldn't a crap fork hold that back? My thought is if you don't feel confident and comfortable you’re not going to push yourself and to me a better fork is going to aid in that.

  22. #22
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    No worries. Attacking credibility without evidence and making assumptive statements has always been a peeve of mine.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by sgt_g View Post
    ok, so here is a question, I'm a beginner for the most part as i was getting to be a medium grade rider before i stopped riding for a while about 10 years ago. so i will put myself as a beginner. If one is a beginner and is riding a crap fork like a suntour or a jett xc (what i have at the moment) and said rider is working on his skills and building his confidence wouldn't a crap fork hold that back? My thought is if you don't feel confident and comfortable you’re not going to push yourself and to me a better fork is going to aid in that.
    If you have no confidence because you think the fork is going to collapse and you're going to break your teeth on your handlebars, then yes, upgrade your fork. On the other hand, if you have no confidence because other people told you you shouldn't because something else is better, then no, there's no reason to change the fork. How is the fork holding you back - in what way?

    Use an extreme example. Imagine you replace your fork with a Fox FIT Terralogic. What and how will your riding experience be different?

    What are you trying to accomplish?

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by sgt_g View Post
    If one is a beginner and is riding a crap fork like a suntour or a jett xc (what i have at the moment) and said rider is working on his skills and building his confidence wouldn't a crap fork hold that back? My thought is if you don't feel confident and comfortable you’re not going to push yourself and to me a better fork is going to aid in that.
    The same thing is also true with tires. If your tires don't hold traction or lose it unpredictably in curves at speed, you slow down to the speed they hold. And you set performance levels based on what they can do. If you do this whule you are developing your basic skills I think it will take a long time to unlearn these low limits even when you are on good tires at the right psi.

    So for a new rider the fork and tires(and pressure) are the most important components in skill development. Given proper fit.

    And you're actually cheating a little. Because as the guys have pointed out, a beginner wouldn't know enough to ask that question. Ignorance is bliss.

  25. #25
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    I am 50/50 on this one, I completely agree that change for changes sake just lightens the wallet, but I also think it doesn't take most noobs long to realise that low end forks are junk and to consider a better one.
    I got the wife a second hand Hardrock that came with RS Dart III's. She is really light and the non adjutable rebound made them like a pogostick whenever they activated within about 6 weeks of her starting riding it was obvious that they were holding both her enjoyment and progress back. I got some new Recon Tk solo air's for $180 reduced due to cosmetic damage on the lowers. (I only paid $200 for the bike). It was money well spent, she hasn't lost control and crashed since and is a lot more confident to take corners / obstacles at speed.
    Tire selection and knowing how to set the pressures for the trail condition is even more important for noobs to get their head round.
    A noob riding with a reasonably experienced rider can learn the basic skills within a couple of weeks / months from then on its just about refining it and some upgrades help big time.
    Cockpit setup, then tires, then Forks or brakes (dependent on which is crapper) are reasonable things to consider tweaking / upgrading rather than buying a new bike for the none total noob. Of course if they are only upgrading because somone has told them their forks are crap they are just being mugs
    Last edited by SimpleJon; 08-31-2012 at 11:38 PM.

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