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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.

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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?

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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.

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

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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.

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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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    If your goal is to race and you are able to make it 3 miles 6 mph pushing 2 watts/kg before needing to stop, getting a new fork may get you 3 miles at 6.2 mph pushing 2 watts/kg. What have you really accomplished? You went marginally faster? Fantastic - what did that get you?

    Now, get a good computer, heart rate monitor, cadence and watt meter. What do you think the results will be using that vs. a different fork?

    What does going around the trail faster really get you? It doesn't increase your fitness at all. Check out the thread I started in Passion asking how people's lives have changed as a result of participating in MTB. The benefits of a fork don't address any of the real value of participation.

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    All good points. What am I trying to achieve be the best rider I can and have fun. The fit factor is not so much an issue for me. I do enough other stuff to maintain that. I may not really be a beginner. Not really sure what constitutes a beginner. My last bike before this one had a much better rock shox fork on it Judy RS I think. Compared to the Jett I have now the difference was night and day. Only reason I ended up with the jet is it was all of $40 off e-bay and I used it to replaced a zoke Bomber POS fork that came with my bike when I picked it up from the Pawn shop I got it at. Now there are two reasons I personally would upgrade. Weight is a big factor for me. I can personally notice the difference in the weight and how it affects the handling of the bike. And the better fork general makes a big difference. If the fork is cheap and pogo's constantly you are going to have to keep a slower speed to maintain control of the bike. Am I a racer no, but doesn't mean I don't still want to take a trail as fast as i can and each time take it just a little faster.

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    Sgt: You can take the trail as fast as possible and get faster with any fork

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    I race around the trail to have fun, to get focused and flow, to not have to pull off to let guys go by, to see if my conditioning will let me do another loop or climb in a harder gear. Girls still pass me going uphill, but 50lbs. is 50lbs. I catch them on the downhills. I would lose 20 minutes on my tech loop with a Suntour and putting those heavy wheels and 950g slow rolling breakaway tires on.
    . A good fork also reduces my spills. So it keeps me healthy and riding. But even so if I lose focus I'm sliding the front in a turn and out maybe a couple days with a bruised rib or maybe just lucky. I don't need some pos fork to mess my line and put me on the ground.

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    eb: I'm happy for you. You must ride a long loop to be able to lose 20 minutes. I locked my fork last weekend and I lost maybe a couple minutes. You make an excellent point about the safety factor and falling. I think it's most important to stress to new riders to ride trails appropriate to their equipment and skill level. If the only trail within an hours' drive is rough with a lot of downhills, I would completely agree with you. For the most part, the people who come to this forum will be plenty happy riding the beginner and intermediate trails where the Suntour fork will perform just fine.

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    Its not so much long in miles as filled with an unending array of one technically challenging problem after another. It never lets up. It's me against the trail fighting for every line always looking for an opportunity to feel a little improvement. Still sometimes failing, but getting back on because there is no other way out. Way more emotional than a mere race. Just by luck the first trail I road deep into the woods and stumbled onto--no intermediates need apply. Pure addictive terror. The fork was a pos. and I know others travel my same path. And many quickly give up. The poor unfortunate inexperienced and deluded creatures. Not knowing they have failed because no one has told them the truth. You see their pedal reflectors sprinkled along the trail. It for them that I strive to remove the dreaded Suntour forever from mtb and banish it to the bike paths where it belongs.

    It's easy to create your own world on the internet. But even your internet world for beginners needs to be logical. The happy, excited , emotional buyers you applaud and encourage don't logically walk out the door and magically turn into reasonable rational mountain bikers willing to march step by step forward in their skill development. They stay just how you found them. They are the excited emotional skilless riders I meet in the real world on the trail every day. The three guys at the side of a two track I help with tips to adjust a front derailleur on one of two new Giants with Suntour forks. The other bike was used and worse. I ask if they liked the trail. They say they had trouble getting up the hills. But you can see their eyes out here in the real world. They're disappointed. Had enough. They won't be back. At least they aren't hurt.
    Last edited by eb1888; 09-01-2012 at 03:18 PM.

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    Hahaha pedal reflectors You're a good writer - I suspect you studied or work in the field.

    I guess we're in different worlds. I see where you're coming from though. I'm not familiar with the trails in MI and I agree that there are trails where the Suntour is inappropriate. In TN, those are clearly marked and and any major elements are avoidable. Stating that the XCT is only appropriate for paved trails is just not sound advice. There were three teenagers - maybe 13 or 14, all on Cannondales and Giants with Suntour forks. They were having SO MUCH FUN I was jealous. This trail is a nationally ranked trail with plenty of technical sections. It's called Chickasaw Trace. Fantastic trail. There's another trail in the area called Hamilton Creek. Very rocky, not much soil. If someone was lookin for a bike and said they were riding that exclusively, I'd try to steer them in the same direction as you. An XCT will make it through, it will just beat the heck out of you.

    I try not to make assumptions. My profession is sales. My background is diverse - including professional skydiver, coach and competitor. I've been in this sport since the late '80s. I have a heart for coaching and helping people achieve their potential. I've spent my professional career in marketing and sales and my educational background is sociology, among other areas. I have to tell you - it is VERY easy to manipulate people to buy things they do not need with money they don't have. When someone is looking for a budget bike, they are looking for a budget bike. The entry level bikes are spec'd and built to get more people on the trail.

    Breaking peoe's confidence in their equipment based on assumptions is just detrimental to the riders. Just as you are on a mission to rid the trails of the XCT, I am on a mission to encourage riders to spend money where they will get the most ve and enjoyment out of their investment

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    Thanks. I really had fun writing it-- my creative part coming out. Not the ba-jd training I've had. That's for logical analysis.
    And we shouldn't worry. They will still buy those 800 Rockhoppers with the Suntour fork. Even if I lead them by the hand right up to a RockShox XC equipped Guardian for 675. I consider the fork safety equipment like a helmet. And a RS XC 28TK is only 99 from Bluesky Like 25 gallons of gas. Or $30 to Specialized.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    Its not so much long in miles as filled with an unending array of one technically challenging problem after another. It never lets up. It's me against the trail fighting for every line always looking for an opportunity to feel a little improvement. Still sometimes failing, but getting back on because there is no other way out. Way more emotional than a mere race. Just by luck the first trail I road deep into the woods and stumbled onto--no intermediates need apply. Pure addictive terror. The fork was a pos. and I know others travel my same path. And many quickly give up. The poor unfortunate inexperienced and deluded creatures. Not knowing they have failed because no one has told them the truth. You see their pedal reflectors sprinkled along the trail. It for them that I strive to remove the dreaded Suntour forever from mtb and banish it to the bike paths where it belongs.

    It's easy to create your own world on the internet. But even your internet world for beginners needs to be logical. The happy, excited , emotional buyers you applaud and encourage don't logically walk out the door and magically turn into reasonable rational mountain bikers willing to march step by step forward in their skill development. They stay just how you found them. They are the excited emotional skilless riders I meet in the real world on the trail every day. The three guys at the side of a two track I help with tips to adjust a front derailleur on one of two new Giants with Suntour forks. The other bike was used and worse. I ask if they liked the trail. They say they had trouble getting up the hills. But you can see their eyes out here in the real world. They're disappointed. Had enough. They won't be back. At least they aren't hurt.
    I do have to agree that a lot of times that people are turned off mountain biking by bad experiences; my wife was one of those people who, after a pretty nasty crash, stopped trying to learn to ride with me until a few years later she asked if I would get her her own bike. For most of the people, they'll never come back.

    The main difference is that I don't blame equipment for failures; I will admit that they can contribute to failure but it isn't the primary cause. Instead I think that self guided learning is a tricky thing to master. Few places offer beginner "classes" for off road riding but no one thinks twice about taking a ski lesson the first time(s) out. So it is then up to the rider to feel things out for themselves, hoping that they pick up the right skills and that they're doing the right things and going the right places.

    A beginner skier doesn't need the same equipment as an expert and I don't think that a beginner biker needs the same equipment as an expert either. The base skills needed for bike control can be learned no matter what you ride. The problem is that most people don't know what those base skills are nor how or when to apply them. I learned on and rode a fully rigid bike for 14 years; those skills of line choice and body position and balance have made me a pretty decent rider now that I'm on a much more expensive bike, but it all started on the most basic of equipment.

    The world of a beginner cyclist in the real world is one of uncertainty, budget, and compromise. Uncertainty of exactly what they're buying and why, budget concerns which are usually expectations of the lowest price point bicycles come in, and compromise in that they will probably need to make some concessions in order to buy a suitable bike but stay in their budget. Yes, most people are really excited to get out on the trails, but the real world tells them nothing to be prepared for how suitable different available bikes are to off-road biking. All they've seen is bikes in magazines or on TV that have dual suspension and they assume that a ____mart bike is one of those and can't believe why the shop is asking $500 for something that you could get much cheaper.

    The best thing that you get from buying in person at a good LBS is the ability to talk to someone. A proper sales person will explain why the mid level bike is a better bike than the entry level and what that might mean out on the trail. A good shop will tell you what trails to go ride and help you find suitable next steps. Your LBS performs the task of mechanic, sales person, part spec knowledge database, trail directory, nutrition analist, and walking catalog all in one day after day.

    It is these sorts of tips that keep you from thinking that you "need" a new fork. You don't need a new fork, most of the trails out there were rode (and are being ridden) with rigid forks before you got to them. I have a hard time believing that any part truly can ruin an experience for someone with the exception of brakes. Poorly performing brakes are dangerous. Instead, the beginner cyclist needs information; information about where they should be riding, why they need to be using both brakes instead of just the rear, why they should stand up off the saddle when entering rock gardens, and so on. The people who have been driven away have been driven away by the inability to develop new skills not by equipment (unless it was brakes or maybe really slippery plastic pedals).

    I stand firm in my belief that we shouldn't badger people about the parts attached to their bikes. They presumably are pretty excited about their new (or "new") bikes and don't need to hear that they need to dump another $200 into it straight away. What we need to be telling new riders is where to go, how to ride, and how to keep their bike working well. If they ask about replacing something, then let loose with the honest answers (as it seems we've done to some extent on this thread) and everyone will have their own opinions. I rarely see value in replacing a fork on an entry level bike because entry level bikes are meant to perform the job of being comfortable while someone learns. Once someone has gotten through the beginner phase (who's to say when that is?) then I think the better money is spent on an upgraded mid-range bike with an overall better package.

    The path to becoming a better biker is not through more expensive or different gear, it is through saddle time and when possible, guidance from those better than you are.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  35. #35
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    Zebra, I am pretty much in agreement, If you are just riding fire roads or gravel paths the XCM's are fine. Likewise I agree that most of the trails we ride have been and continue to be ridden on fully rigid bikes. But once you start into the more techy single track it takes a lot more skill and experience especially in picking a line than with properly set up suspension.It is a lot more forgiving when you inevitably get it wrong, so you do learn faster and have more confidence to go for it. I do include forks in there with brakes, tires and cockpit but I also agree you don't need to go out and spend the best part of a grand on RLC FIT terralogics
    I paid $200 for my wifes hardrock, another $100 or so on decent tires set up tubeless, $180 on a set of air sprung adjustable forks and changed the junk stock v brakes with a set of XTR V brakes I had spare and another $150 or so on grips, pedals and decent saddle so for just shy of $700 she has a bike that she can confidently ride single track with me and the kids, probably forever, she won't ever be interested in racing so she will never need anything more than the recons, XTR V Brakes (which are better than most low end disc systems in my opinion) or a lighter frame than Hardrock
    You are completely right; of course you can ride techy single track on XCM's or rigid, but if you are not on a really tight budget and can afford $200 to $300 to make life easier and increase your enjoyment I think it's a good idea.

  36. #36
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    Zebra: Incredibly thoughtful and informative post. Agree on all counts.

    eb: I'm really starting to see where you are coming from, although I still disagree Suntour is a solid brand and makes some really great equipment. Most people refer to the XCR, XCM, XCT as "A Suntour" fork. The Suntour website classifies those forks as "RTR" which stands for recreational trail. They also make suspension forks for city and urban riding. They make a lot of different models of forks and the XCR, XCM and XCT were specifically designed for recreational trail use. I recognize the power of marketing and their ability to classify whatever however they want to. In this case, my experience with the equipment confirms, in my mind, that they have properly classed them.

    There is no question that a better fork will make things easier for beginner riders. This same argument, around different equipment, is being had on every other hobby forum on the Internet. From my perspective, the entry level $350 bikes, with sun tour forks, are superior in almost every way, to the most expensive bikes we were riding 25 years ago.

    Yes, the trails are being built differently, but there are off road trails suitable for these bikes, and forks, all over the world.

    Jon: agree - if you are not on a tight budget and can afford the upgrade, no harm. The issue I see is when people ARE on a budget and the barrier to entry with a bike equipped with anything but an RTR fork is $700-$1000. That's a lot of cash for most people in the world who just want a fun way to lose weight and clear their head.

    I started a thread in the passion section asking, "why are you into MTB?" check it out. ALL of the goals stated, by a diverse set of riders, can be achieved with an RTR bike.

  37. #37
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    If you don't see a problem with your fork then keep riding it, who cares what others think.

    Having said that, I rode a Dart3 for 4 years without ever knowing what I was missing so I didn't have any complaints but once that fork was toast I upgraded to a Reba & never looked back. I also had a bike with a cheap Suntour which used to love to buck me OTB, I switched to a Fox Talas & haven't had an issue since.

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