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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    What happens to the rider when the fork breaks?

    Hey folks, I bought a Trek 4300 back in January and I've been doing all sorts of stuff that a "leisure cross country" bike just isn't cut out for. I've read a few places that my fork is the weakest link on this bike and I've also heard suggested a few times on this forum to "ride it unitl it breaks" before you upgrade it. It seems like good advice, but it got me thinking...

    If my fork breaks while I'm riding the bike, what happens to me? Is it gonna send me through the air?

  2. #2
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    i don't think the fork is going to have a catastrophic failure and blow up on the trail. it's more likely that the spring would blow out or the stanchions would get bent.

  3. #3
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    Re: What happens to the rider when the fork breaks?

    You'd have to be very heavy or be doing some pretty big drops/jumps to have a failure like that. And even then, those cheap rims are more likely to taco before you have a catastrophic fork failure

    I had a trek 4500 that I beat the crap out of without any major malfunctions. Most XC bikes, even entry level ones, are capable of handling more terrain than people give them credit for

  4. #4
    Hooligan
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    When we say "ride it till it breaks" we dont mean snap it, just use it up. ride it until it no longer works the way it is supposed to. after a few seasons seals will blow and it may develop some play, but unless you are doing some huge hucks or something i dont think you need to worry about catastrophic failures or snapping
    Quote Originally Posted by michaelscott View Post
    Buy used, be happy with what you got, ride more.

  5. #5
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    Hey thanks for the replies guys, you helped put one of my big fears to rest, haha. I'll keep tearing it up.

  6. #6
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    Re: What happens to the rider when the fork breaks?

    Don't worry about ur forks, they'll wear out long before they break based on the riding you do. If its leasure xc riding as you state then the bike is perfect for just that. Not sure who said ur bike isn't made for easy singletrack but their wrong. I would go doing jumps and big drops but I an guarantee your riding technique and skill will matter a lot more and proper riding the bike will last a lot longer without issues.

    Advise, anyone that tells you that you can't ride an entry lvl xc bike for xc trails needs to be ignored. The forks aren't a weak link they are just low cost entry level forks and if trails u ride are a problem then ill bet its more that ur skills are yet to develop than anything on the bike.

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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by tigris99 View Post
    If its leasure xc riding as you state then the bike is perfect for just that. Not sure who said ur bike isn't made for easy singletrack but their wrong. I would go doing jumps and big drops but I an guarantee your riding technique and skill will matter a lot more and proper riding the bike will last a lot longer without issues.
    Well that was part of my question: I'm not just riding easy singletrack anymore, I've been getting into some downhill stuff and a little freeride.

    The trails around here are sometimes classified like at a ski resort: green circle, blue square, single diamond, double diamond. I've been finding myself getting into the single diamonds lately, which is why I had a concern in the first place.

    For anyone familiar with the area, I'm in Western Washington. I usually ride at Duthie (Voodoo, Ryans, Braveheart) or Paradise Valley, but I also occasionally do Tiger Mountain (Preston RR) and went up to Stevens a few weeks ago (Highly recommended).

    As my riding has progressed, I have considered going full suspension, but I just love riding hardtail and I think I'm just gonna stick with that for a while. I love the challenge of it, especially at Tiger Mtn.

    Anyway, enough rambling. Thanks for the replies everyone!

  8. #8
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    I recommend getting a "better" bike. I had a 3900, everyone told me to ride it to the ground. I rode it until I "grew out of it", which I mean my type of riding grew out of the "beginners" title of the bike.

    I ended up getting a 29er, and love it.

  9. #9
    local trails rider
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    Forks don't break often. I know of a case where a fork came apart as a consequence of a mistake made when assembling a fork after maintenance - and bad decisions when the symptoms started showing up.

    He didn't break bones but his face was otherwise a mess.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  10. #10
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    forks break - YouTube explains it all.

  11. #11
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    The rider would kiss the tire, or the ground which ever closest It's rare but happens.

  12. #12
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    Look up the testing that they do on forks, I would not worry about the fork breaking, especially on XC terrain. They are built to withstand a lot more than mere humans can dish out.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheMaz14 View Post
    I recommend getting a "better" bike. I had a 3900, everyone told me to ride it to the ground. I rode it until I "grew out of it", which I mean my type of riding grew out of the "beginners" title of the bike.

    I ended up getting a 29er, and love it.
    Lolz what part of your response talks about a fork? Or breaking the fork.... I don't think he op posted with the title "what happens when the fork breaks" to get responses like. Get a better bike or I love my 29er

  14. #14
    o<o NYC pebble jumper!
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    Quote Originally Posted by terrasmak View Post
    forks break - YouTube explains it all.
    omg... I LOL'd hard after watching the fall 50x

  15. #15
    rebmem rbtm
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by cobba View Post
    Ouch!!! That's a wet sloppy one.

  17. #17
    Trail Ninja
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    Now I know what it looks like to lose the entire front of the bike.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by terrasmak View Post
    forks break - YouTube explains it all.
    OUCH! I think I will stay away from dirt jumps.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Treefort View Post
    Well that was part of my question: I'm not just riding easy singletrack anymore, I've been getting into some downhill stuff and a little freeride.

    The trails around here are sometimes classified like at a ski resort: green circle, blue square, single diamond, double diamond. I've been finding myself getting into the single diamonds lately, which is why I had a concern in the first place.

    For anyone familiar with the area, I'm in Western Washington. I usually ride at Duthie (Voodoo, Ryans, Braveheart) or Paradise Valley, but I also occasionally do Tiger Mountain (Preston RR) and went up to Stevens a few weeks ago (Highly recommended).

    As my riding has progressed, I have considered going full suspension, but I just love riding hardtail and I think I'm just gonna stick with that for a while. I love the challenge of it, especially at Tiger Mtn.

    Anyway, enough rambling. Thanks for the replies everyone!
    I ride most of the same trails as you do and agree that you are starting to get out of the intent of a 4300 especially if you took it to Stevens. I don't think you will break the bike on any of trails you are riding (there is a 10 year old 4500 in my collection) but depending on which options you are hitting your bike will either put you in a jam or not pull you through a screw up. Let's use examples from trails above: Voodoo, Ryan's and the big ceder run option drop all have G-outs that compress suspension to the max, with the dampers on recreational bikes the fork will spring back coming out of that and potentially put you off line. Preston and similar rooty trails want to twist the front end, the lack of lateral stiffness on rec forks makes the front end wonder and you have to work harder to hold a line. If your skilled enough or slow enough you will be able to ride the trails you listed but with a upgrade you will be faster and have more fun. Next time you go out to Stevens rent a true DH sled and see how those trails should be ridden (and you wont piss off the rippers who are going 3 times faster than you).

  20. #20
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    I could only assume that very bad things would happen to you if your fork breaks while riding.... Just a guess though
    "Don't take life so serious. No one gets out alive anyway!"

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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by OllieQ View Post
    I could only assume that very bad things would happen to you if your fork breaks while riding.... Just a guess though
    No need to guess. A roadie in the town I used to live in in TX had his carbon fork disintegrate on him on a downhill. Thankfully (maybe not, depending on your perspective) the road was empty at the time, but he's spent a LOT of time in a coma. The crash happened in 2010. In fact, as far as I know, he's still IN that coma.

    Bicycle manufacturer sued after cyclist suffers brain injury | Southeast Texas Record

  22. #22
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    Damn. That is a terrible story...
    "Don't take life so serious. No one gets out alive anyway!"

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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by terrasmak View Post
    forks break - YouTube explains it all.
    You beat me to it. That's what I was gonna post. Lol
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    No need to guess. A roadie in the town I used to live in in TX had his carbon fork disintegrate on him on a downhill. Thankfully (maybe not, depending on your perspective) the road was empty at the time, but he's spent a LOT of time in a coma. The crash happened in 2010. In fact, as far as I know, he's still IN that coma.

    Bicycle manufacturer sued after cyclist suffers brain injury | Southeast Texas Record
    Guy is suing Trek because an 8 year old road bike broke? Sounds sketchy.

  25. #25
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    What happens to the rider when the fork breaks?

    Quote Originally Posted by Berkley View Post
    Guy is suing Trek because an 8 year old road bike broke? Sounds sketchy.
    He isn't suing anybody. He's a vegetable. I was in the local shop a couple days after a lawyer was trying to buy up every 90's era carbon fork he could find looking for evidence of manufacturing defects. I think his survivng family might have something to do with it but not sure.

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