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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Thread: Upgrading Forks

  1. #1
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    Upgrading Forks

    I've been riding my '10 Hardrock Sport Disc for about a month now, and would really like to upgrade to 100mm from the 80mm Suntours that came stock. I mainly ride XC. I'd probably like to spend $200-250 (obviously not averse to spending less than that). Any suggestions?

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    Ok, I'm going to offer some unsolicited and potentially unqualified advice. I suspect that you think going from 80mm to 100mm is going to improve the performance of your fork and make your ride softer and more enjoyable. For riding basic XC at a beginner level the amount of travel in the fork is negligible, instead what's TRULY important is the quality of the fork. A decent entry level fork, whether it's 80mm, 100mm or 120mm, will perform worlds better than a bargain basement Suntour with ANY length of travel.

    So to rephrase, the problem you're having is not related to the length of travel, instead it's the quality of the fork.

    For an entry level hardtail the most important upgrade you will get for it will be the fork. On that note I would suggest you plan on spending a little bit more than that to get a fork that isn't a total brick and has decent damping. Don't forget to plan on the installation costs at the LBS.

    I am no expert on the features of forks or which one is best for the money. However I did recently help my ex GF purchase this fork. $320 for the air version with remote lockout. Although if you really have to pinch pennies the coil version without lockout is only $240. Although it is a full half pound heavier.

    You may also want to consider just riding with the fork you have for a while and improving your skills. When you do finally upgrade you will be better able to appreciate the improvement. Or you may realize you want a full suspension bike and you can put this money towards it.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for your reply, my thinking with going with a 100mm fork was that I wouldn't "grow out of it", wanting to upgrade again to a 100mm fork down the road, the reason I'm looking to upgrade is exactly the quality issue. I'm a student, so constant upgrades aren't an option, but I also don't want to have fork that's only marginally better, so I might consider stretching my budget (ie. I've been looking at the 2010 Manitou Match that Jenson is currently selling at 219). A FS bike is nowhere in my near future, so I want to make a few upgrades to maximize the bike I have. I was planning on riding the stock fork for at least a while as I gather advice/info and keep my eyes peeled for great deals.

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    In support of post #2.

    The problem with your fork is not that it's short-travel. Some of the best mountain bikers in the world in the XC discipline choose to ride with short travel forks.

    The problem with your fork is that it's a piece of garbage that Specialized put on the front of your bike because suspension forks sell mountain bikes. I think it's the best suspension fork they could fit in its pricepoint, and I don't think they're trying to do a disservice to their customers. They're selling what people want. I also don't think people are idiots for wanting a suspension fork, necessarily. I think it takes some time to arrive at the conclusion that many suspension forks aren't worth having, and someone without that experience would just buy a bike from a brand that does put a crappy suspension fork on their bike. Aside from Redline, nobody's managed to keep an entry-level rigid bike in their lineup for more than a couple model years.

    Putting a longer-travel fork on the front of your bike than what it was designed for will change the handling and void the warranty on your frame. Depending on what you want, it's not necessarily a bad idea. But I'd suggest that you stick with a same-sized fork until you've been riding a bit longer - the traditional XC geometry is as it is for a reason, the Hardrock is pretty traditional, and IMHO you're best off learning that way and most people who ride primarily XC stick with that geometry over time. It's not something people grow out of within XC, although certainly people who find they like a different aspect of the sport better usually make different equipment choices too.

    The Match gets some good buzz, and I like the R7 I have. The RockShox Recon is also relatively well-regarded, although the Silver has some steel in places that the Gold has aluminum, and is compatible with some pretty well-regarded internal stuff, so you can tinker with it if you want to indulge your inner gearhead.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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    Thanks for all the information... Bike geometry was not something that I had considered. I think I'll definitely shift my focus to an 80mm fork, that's more suited for my bike.
    '10 Hardrock Sport Disc

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    Decided to get an 80mm Match, CRC has the 80mm on sale for roughly $200CAD. Rather than pay $40 for shipping, bought $50 worth of goodies to get the free shipping.
    '10 Hardrock Sport Disc

  7. #7
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    Nice.

    You're going to think you have a whole different bike.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  8. #8
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    I think you made the right choice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by madaxc View Post
    Decided to get an 80mm Match, CRC has the 80mm on sale for roughly $200CAD. Rather than pay $40 for shipping, bought $50 worth of goodies to get the free shipping.
    Great choice! I finally got mine out for a test run yesterday (finished exams!) and its a great fork, you should be very happy with it! I'm still getting it dialed in but for the price you can't go wrong, enjoy it, and pictures would be great once you get it installed!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Upgrading Forks-photo048.jpg  

    STOLEN: '07 Banshee Viento - See Eastern Canada Forum for Pictures. If anyone sees it contact me ASAP!

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    Definitely will get some pics up once I've got everything installed! Was gonna wait a bit on purchasing the forks, but jumped at such a great price...
    '10 Hardrock Sport Disc

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    Quote Originally Posted by madaxc View Post
    Definitely will get some pics up once I've got everything installed! Was gonna wait a bit on purchasing the forks, but jumped at such a great price...
    I did the same thing with the '10 model year on CRC. I had it out on some technical (rocky and rooty) double track yesterday and it performed great. I also love have the integrated lockout (which none of my previous forks had). I got the MILO lockout lever assembly off eBay for a great price if you're interested. It has its benefits but you do lose the full range of ABS+ adjustability, it would probably be best to ride without it and determine later if you would use it or not.
    STOLEN: '07 Banshee Viento - See Eastern Canada Forum for Pictures. If anyone sees it contact me ASAP!

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    Thanks for the ebay link for the MILO, I'll definitely ride around a bit before I ultimately decide.
    '10 Hardrock Sport Disc

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    Not to highjack your thread madaxc, but I was wondering what AndrwSwitch and others thoughts were on upgrading the Dart 3 on a '09 Rockhopper Comp with either a Recon Gold RL or a modified Tora with MOCO compression damper.

    Thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by weverb View Post
    Not to highjack your thread madaxc, but I was wondering what AndrwSwitch and others thoughts were on upgrading the Dart 3 on a '09 Rockhopper Comp with either a Recon Gold RL or a modified Tora with MOCO compression damper.

    Thanks
    For that range of price/fork I would also seriously recommend looking at a Manitou Match or Minute. From what I read, the ABS+ damper is better than the Motion Control. Others know better than I do so I'll let the school you on that. I don't have any real experience with and RS product, just helping to expand your search. Good luck.
    STOLEN: '07 Banshee Viento - See Eastern Canada Forum for Pictures. If anyone sees it contact me ASAP!

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    Quote Originally Posted by tpm7 View Post
    For that range of price/fork I would also seriously recommend looking at a Manitou Match or Minute. From what I read, the ABS+ damper is better than the Motion Control. Others know better than I do so I'll let the school you on that. I don't have any real experience with and RS product, just helping to expand your search. Good luck.
    Search expanded. Thanks

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    So to update, my Match fork came in yesterday and rather than send me the disc-only version, like I ordered, they sent me a fork with V-brake bosses. It might be a little anal on my part, but I don't want bosses on my fork, considering I have no intention of ever putting V-brakes on my bike. Working through the process of seeing if CRC will be able to ship me a new fork or if they're outta stock (which it looks like, but maybe not permanently, fingers crossed). If not, another fork that has caught my eye is the Marzocchi Marathon, but there's not a lot of info out there on rider experience, and I've read a few unflattering things about Marzocchi on here...
    '10 Hardrock Sport Disc

  17. #17
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    Just to be "that guy" for a moment, you know that the big post thing is removable, right? You're stuck with a little nub that it mounts to, but it's pretty subtle.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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    Maybe its because of Manitou's reverse arch, but they still stick out quite a bit (at least I think so).
    '10 Hardrock Sport Disc

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    Wow, they really do. Looks to me like it's because of the width of the fork more than anything.

    I probably still wouldn't send it back. But my bike is decorated with peeling duct tape, paint chips, old inner tube and electrical tape chainstay protector, rubbed off paint, and most of the time a healthy helping of dirt. It didn't even have matching wheels from the Fall of 2008 until a few months ago.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    Wow, they really do. Looks to me like it's because of the width of the fork more than anything.

    I probably still wouldn't send it back. But my bike is decorated with peeling duct tape, paint chips, old inner tube and electrical tape chainstay protector, rubbed off paint, and most of the time a healthy helping of dirt. It didn't even have matching wheels from the Fall of 2008 until a few months ago.
    I would have to agree with Andrew and I wouldn't send it back, but I have another friend who's anal about his bike matching. If you are the type of guy who cleans his bike a lot, wants things to be perfect, etc. then send it back. I saw a guy at my last race who stored his co2 canisters in the v brake boss threads. It would be interesting if he or you crashed and had a mini canister of air flying through the air.
    There is not much choice between rotten apples.

  21. #21
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    Not to hijack your thread, but what are average weights on these shocks. Is 4 to 5 pounds about average or is that a little high?

  22. #22
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    The Match I got weighed 5 even on my bathroom scale.. The recon lists at 4.9 I think...
    '10 Hardrock Sport Disc

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    Quote Originally Posted by "Rod" View Post
    I would have to agree with Andrew and I wouldn't send it back, but I have another friend who's anal about his bike matching. If you are the type of guy who cleans his bike a lot, wants things to be perfect, etc. then send it back. I saw a guy at my last race who stored his co2 canisters in the v brake boss threads. It would be interesting if he or you crashed and had a mini canister of air flying through the air.
    I've thought about it, but I know it's going to bother the heck out of me (though I do realize it's only a small thing). But that's just me...
    '10 Hardrock Sport Disc

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    So to update... Dealing with CRC's customer service is a huge pain in the ass (takes them quite a bit to respond, plus the time difference), but they are helpful and trying to get this sorted out. Unfortunately they are out of the 80mm, which led me to deciding on switching to the Recon Silver. Until I noticed when looking at the Match on Manitou's site that the 100mm are listed as adjusted. I contacted Manitou to learn that the 100mm and 80mm fork are the same, just internally adjusted! So there's still hope...
    '10 Hardrock Sport Disc

  25. #25
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    Just to add to that, the 130mm is NOT adjustable.
    '10 Hardrock Sport Disc

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