Results 1 to 52 of 52
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    443

    Why upgrade my cheap fork? Benefits?

    I have had be 29er for about 2 years. It has Suntour XCR front fork. It does the job but I am curious how I could benefit from replacing it with a better fork.

    So what would a better fork actually do for me?
    What are the noticeable differences when riding?



    As a noob, I can think of a few things. Lighter, more adjustable, and stiffer (I don't know why stiffer is preferred though).

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Clicker1's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    195
    What type of trails do you ride?

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation: hey_poolboy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    507

    Re: Why upgrade my cheap fork? Benefits?

    A suspension fork should do two things.
    1. Cushion your ride
    2. Keep your tire in contact with the ground for better control.

    Cheaper forks don't necessarily do them both well. A good fork will allow you to adjust to optimize both to suit your conditions and terrain.

    Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    10,711
    The Suntour 'X' series forks are good for bike path types of terrain.
    You don't need an upgrade if that is how you ride. Maybe no more difficult/fun trails are near where you can ride.
    My Manitou Tower Pro has damping qualities I immediately notice bombing down to a curve with roots and rocks past trees and on to more of the same.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    443
    I ride "intermediate level" single track trails. They mostly flow through wooded areas. They typically don't have long inclines or descents but short ups and downs. I encounter rocks, roots, and a few small logs. There are no huge drop offs.

    I haven't the courage or stamina to hit the advance trails yet but maybe one day.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    10,711
    The fork would make the advanced trails doable.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    429
    If your bike has a cheap fork then it likely has other cheap components as well. Forks are expensive and once you upgrade it you'll likely begin to notice other weak points on the bike. Before you know it you'll sink a ton of money into a mediocre bike. My piece of advice (because I've been there before) is to get a bike that is already equipped with a better fork.

  8. #8
    Merendon Junkie
    Reputation: abelfonseca's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    935
    The XCR is not that bad of an entry level fork, if you compare to an XCT or XCM. A good rider could more than likely do those andvanced trails you mention with that fork. A better fork like a raidon or a recon would definitely make it easier and more enjoyable. You will be more confident and pick up more speed as you feel you have more control over your bike. Small irregularities in the terrain will be soaked up much better, assuming you have the fork set up right. A better fork would also be lighther and more rigid, thus making the bike feel more responsive. I switched my rockhoppers xcr for a raidon, it was like riding a different bike. The raidon is a cheap ($150 26") entry level air fork.

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Danielrg_usa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    348
    What bike do you have? If it is a good bike that you plan to keep for a while I say go ahead and upgrade the fork. You will notice the difference right away. I know I did on my last bike, Jamis Komodo, when I upgraded the cheap RST T8 to a Rockshox Sektor R. Also, like eb1888 said, you will be able to tackle those more difficult trails and build up your strength and stamina quicker. An upgrade doesn't mean that you have to buy the best, most expensive fork out there. Just get something that is a couple levels above what you have. Maybe like a Rockshox Recon or Reba. I just picked up an old, new Recon 351 on ebay for $192.00 with shipping. It should come in tomorrow and I can't wait to see it. What will your buget be if you do upgrade the fork?

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation: s0ckeyeus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    2,568
    Many budget forks don't have great rebound or compression damping. A better fork would act less like a pogo stick and allow more control over the bike and give you a smoother ride.

    If you don't feel like there's a problem with your fork, there's nothing wrong with keeping it. You might just put that money in the bank and put it towards your next bike.

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    443
    Quote Originally Posted by TonyB. View Post
    If your bike has a cheap fork then it likely has other cheap components as well. Forks are expensive and once you upgrade it you'll likely begin to notice other weak points on the bike. Before you know it you'll sink a ton of money into a mediocre bike. My piece of advice (because I've been there before) is to get a bike that is already equipped with a better fork.
    I hear ya. I really am just a every other weekend warrior. My bike is an entry level 29er Felt Nine Trail. It appears that I would have to spend about double what this bike cost me to get a "step up" bike. I don't think I ride enough to convince myself to spend that amount of money in the near future.

    Quote Originally Posted by s0ckeyeus View Post
    Many budget forks don't have great rebound or compression damping. A better fork would act less like a pogo stick and allow more control over the bike and give you a smoother ride.

    If you don't feel like there's a problem with your fork, there's nothing wrong with keeping it. You might just put that money in the bank and put it towards your next bike.
    I don't have anything against my fork and it performs well in my eyes. The only thing is that I haven't ridden any bikes with better forks on trails. So I don't know how they would compare.

  12. #12
    Cow Clicker
    Reputation: wmac's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    2,031
    You're fine. If you're riding for exercise and fun, it won't really do you any good unless you have a burning desire to go faster for racing or excitement.
    No, YOU don't understand. You're making an ass of yourself for all of eternity.

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation: s0ckeyeus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    2,568
    Quote Originally Posted by joepa150 View Post
    I don't have anything against my fork and it performs well in my eyes. The only thing is that I haven't ridden any bikes with better forks on trails. So I don't know how they would compare.
    Just keep it and enjoy it until you're not happy with it any more.

  14. #14
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    443
    Thanks again everyone for your help. After discussing suspensions with some local riders and a couple local bike stores, I have decided to go with the Rockshox Recon Silver. Locally it seems to be well liked as a decent upgrade to low end coil fork. Also for $199, it seems to be a really good deal. It has been difficult to find a fork for about $199 or less that is better than the Rockshox. I also looked at a few new bikes equiped with Raidons. While I don't know what version of Raidon it was, the Rockshox Recon Silver looked nicer, felt nicer, and every bike shop I spoke with said they are easier to work on. I don't know which one is actually better on the trail but I guess either one would have been better than what I had.

  15. #15
    Merendon Junkie
    Reputation: abelfonseca's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    935
    The recon is definitely easier to work on.

  16. #16
    Cow Clicker
    Reputation: wmac's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    2,031
    Raidon is air and outperforms the coil Recon. Through the upgrade program, it is $189. If you want to upgrade your Suntour fork

    I would be willing to bet that if we did an experiment similar to the one in the link below, we'd find similar results with suspension.

    Freakonomics » Further Evidence That Wine Tasting Is Wildly Subjective
    No, YOU don't understand. You're making an ass of yourself for all of eternity.

  17. #17
    Fat-tired Roadie Moderator
    Reputation: AndrwSwitch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    18,440
    Suspension is tricky. IME, too flexy a fork makes the front wheel track like ass. But I didn't put my finger on the problem, or really even recognize it, until I got a nicer fork for a different reason. Suddenly, my front wheel could hold a line over rocks and roots! Since I do okay on rigid bikes, I blame the fork. But until replacing it, I thought it was just that my skills had eroded in between college and when I decided to pick up mountain biking again.

    My takeaway was that if I couldn't have at least a Recon (or aging Marzocchi, as the decision went when it came up again,) I'd rather just stick a 1x1 on the front and call it a day. Nobody needs a suspension fork to go mountain biking, but in a world of choices, I think the cheap ones are the worst of all.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  18. #18
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    443
    Quote Originally Posted by TonyB. View Post
    If your bike has a cheap fork then it likely has other cheap components as well. Forks are expensive and once you upgrade it you'll likely begin to notice other weak points on the bike. Before you know it you'll sink a ton of money into a mediocre bike. My piece of advice (because I've been there before) is to get a bike that is already equipped with a better fork.
    Quote Originally Posted by s0ckeyeus View Post
    Many budget forks don't have great rebound or compression damping. A better fork would act less like a pogo stick and allow more control over the bike and give you a smoother ride.

    If you don't feel like there's a problem with your fork, there's nothing wrong with keeping it. You might just put that money in the bank and put it towards your next bike.
    Quote Originally Posted by wmac View Post
    Raidon is air and outperforms the coil Recon. Through the upgrade program, it is $189. If you want to upgrade your Suntour fork

    I would be willing to bet that if we did an experiment similar to the one in the link below, we'd find similar results with suspension.

    Freakonomics » Further Evidence That Wine Tasting Is Wildly Subjective
    The Recon Silver TK is solo air so it is not coil. The Raidon I was going to purchase was air also. On paper I don't know what is better but I liked the Recon Silver better when seeing and feeling it at the LBS

  19. #19
    Cow Clicker
    Reputation: wmac's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    2,031
    That is a REALLY good deal for the solo air version. It's almost a half pound lighter than the Raidon. Good choice.
    No, YOU don't understand. You're making an ass of yourself for all of eternity.

  20. #20
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    443
    Quote Originally Posted by wmac View Post
    That is a REALLY good deal for the solo air version. It's almost a half pound lighter than the Raidon. Good choice.
    Do you happen to know what a 29" Raidon weighs?

    I just hope the Recon Silver Solo Air weighs less than my Suntour XCR.

  21. #21
    Rogue Exterminator
    Reputation: kjlued's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    4,956
    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    The Suntour 'X' series forks are good for bike path types of terrain.
    You don't need an upgrade if that is how you ride. Maybe no more difficult/fun trails are near where you can ride.
    My Manitou Tower Pro has damping qualities I immediately notice bombing down to a curve with roots and rocks past trees and on to more of the same.

    I ride an XCR all over Pisgah and it does fine.
    Is it the best tool for the job? No, but it is more than just a "bike path" fork.
    It is actually a pretty decent fork leaps and bounds above the XCT and XCM.
    Do I plan on upgrading? Sure, but for now it makes me happy.


    Quote Originally Posted by joepa150 View Post
    I ride "intermediate level" single track trails. They mostly flow through wooded areas. They typically don't have long inclines or descents but short ups and downs. I encounter rocks, roots, and a few small logs. There are no huge drop offs.

    I haven't the courage or stamina to hit the advance trails yet but maybe one day.
    Although I ride advanced trails on the XCR, I have another bike with a better fork and full suspension that makes them easier.
    Just stick it in granny and start grinding.

  22. #22
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    976
    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    The fork would make the advanced trails doable.
    thats a bold statement considering you have no idea how advanced the trails are or the riders skill level.... Is a change in fork really going to instantly give him abilities he might not have with his current fork?

  23. #23
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    576
    Quote Originally Posted by joepa150 View Post
    Do you happen to know what a 29" Raidon weighs?

    I just hope the Recon Silver Solo Air weighs less than my Suntour XCR.
    The Recon Silver is definitely lighter than the XCR. I was in a similar situation to you and I ride similar trails to the type you described. I replaced a Suntour XCR with a Reba and immediately noticed a huge improvement in my bikes handling. It was like riding a different bike. I'm sure you will too. Congratulations.

  24. #24
    Just Ride
    Reputation: Cormac's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    1,739
    My HT has a low end fork on it. Some kind of spring fork. No air. So no adjustment for anything.

    My SS is a fully rigid steel beast. I'd have to say, my SS is far more comfortable to ride.

    I've not had much experience with a good quality fork, but I'd imagine it would make a world of difference. At least over entry level forks.
    SS ==> Nut up or Shut up!

  25. #25
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    10,711
    Quote Originally Posted by SandSpur View Post
    thats a bold statement considering you have no idea how advanced the trails are or the riders skill level.... Is a change in fork really going to instantly give him abilities he might not have with his current fork?
    He doesn't try the advanced trails now after two years. They are the most fun and are what make all of us ride like we do. I ride almost every day because of advanced trails. He's no different than you or me.
    But you have to try them to get hooked.
    The Raidon is 5lbs. The shop guys don't know anything about it. No working on it. The damping is a sealed unit like a car shock which will still need no service 5 years from now. But there is nothing wrong with the Recon air.
    Yes he will take it slow to be careful.

    Here's two videos before you do try.
    Straight Lines with Fabien Barel - YouTube
    Cornering with Fabien Barel - YouTube
    Use a grassy hill to work on these cornering tecniques.
    Last edited by eb1888; 07-26-2013 at 09:14 PM.

  26. #26
    Cow Clicker
    Reputation: wmac's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    2,031
    Recon Silver = 4.8 pounds.
    No, YOU don't understand. You're making an ass of yourself for all of eternity.

  27. #27
    Rogue Exterminator
    Reputation: kjlued's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    4,956
    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    He doesn't try the advanced trails now after two years. They are the most fun and are what make all of us ride like we do. I ride almost every day because of advanced trails. He's no different than you or me.
    But you have to try them to get hooked.
    If after 2 years he isn't riding the advance trails, than the fork is not what the problem is.
    Just stick it in granny and start grinding.

  28. #28
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    443
    Quote Originally Posted by kjlued View Post
    I ride an XCR all over Pisgah and it does fine.
    Is it the best tool for the job? No, but it is more than just a "bike path" fork.
    It is actually a pretty decent fork leaps and bounds above the XCT and XCM.
    Do I plan on upgrading? Sure, but for now it makes me happy.




    Although I ride advanced trails on the XCR, I have another bike with a better fork and full suspension that makes them easier.
    I have heard several times how the XCR is noticebly better than the XCM and XCT. I also have heard that they are really similar with the XCT being the worst but the XCM and XCR really close.
    Just out of curiosity, why is the XCR that much better?

    Quote Originally Posted by kjlued View Post
    If after 2 years he isn't riding the advance trails, than the fork is not what the problem is.
    Well I guess I should have went into more detail about my riding experience. I stated that I had my bike for 2 years but nothing about how often or how many times I have hit the trail in those 2 years. I bought my bike around 10-2010. When I first purchased my bike, I hit the trails probably about 6 times in about 6 weeks. It then started getting cold and I wimped out of biking until the spring. Come spring I hit the trails only about 2 more times. Work, school, and family were taking up a lot of my time plus I didn't/couldn't find anyone that would go riding with me. I also have other hobbies (guns, archery, weightlifting) that take some of my time up. Up until a month ago, I have only hit the trail a few more times in 20 months.

    So in all honesty I have only hit the trail about a dozen times. My main problem I feel from advancing is my lack of cardio. If I am not hitting the trail frequently, I continue to stay out of shape. Then when I do hit the trail, I am not focusing on advancing my skill level. I am focused on making to the end of the trail. My legs usually burn within the first 1/4 mile and my lungs hurt.

    So I have noticed that in the last couple of weeks, each time I hit the trails, I feel more confident and it is a bit easier. If I continue to hit the trails consistently, I don't see why I wouldn't be hitting the advanced trails in the near future.

  29. #29
    Level 5 Rider!
    Reputation: Desidus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    210
    I'm attempting to break my Suntour fork... I got even worse than X... I got M2025. Since I am a noob I don't know the difference so I just am running it into the ground. Depending on how long it takes (judging from the fact that there is already oil leaking I would say not long) I think I may either just buy a used fork or just run it until I can afford a better used bike.

    Hope your new fork is treating you well, have you noticed a difference?
    You earn 1000 exp!
    You are now lvl 5! (5/100)
    Str +3, Sta +4, MTB Skills +1, Grip +1, Iron Butt +1
    New Item - Broken pedals

  30. #30
    Rogue Exterminator
    Reputation: kjlued's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    4,956
    Quote Originally Posted by joepa150 View Post
    I have heard several times how the XCR is noticebly better than the XCM and XCT. I also have heard that they are really similar with the XCT being the worst but the XCM and XCR really close.
    Just out of curiosity, why is the XCR that much better?
    I am sure there are several reasons but visually the first thing you notice is the larger fork tubes. May sound silly, but this means less flex which is something you don't want in suspension.

    I would also imagine better spring rates since it is a lot less bouncy than the XCT I had on my first bike. Any more after that, I couldn't get in to since I just don't know other than personal riding experience.


    Quote Originally Posted by joepa150 View Post
    Well I guess I should have went into more detail about my riding experience. I stated that I had my bike for 2 years but nothing about how often or how many times I have hit the trail in those 2 years. I bought my bike around 10-2010. When I first purchased my bike, I hit the trails probably about 6 times in about 6 weeks. It then started getting cold and I wimped out of biking until the spring. Come spring I hit the trails only about 2 more times. Work, school, and family were taking up a lot of my time plus I didn't/couldn't find anyone that would go riding with me. I also have other hobbies (guns, archery, weightlifting) that take some of my time up. Up until a month ago, I have only hit the trail a few more times in 20 months.

    So in all honesty I have only hit the trail about a dozen times. My main problem I feel from advancing is my lack of cardio. If I am not hitting the trail frequently, I continue to stay out of shape. Then when I do hit the trail, I am not focusing on advancing my skill level. I am focused on making to the end of the trail. My legs usually burn within the first 1/4 mile and my lungs hurt.

    So I have noticed that in the last couple of weeks, each time I hit the trails, I feel more confident and it is a bit easier. If I continue to hit the trails consistently, I don't see why I wouldn't be hitting the advanced trails in the near future.
    I hope you didn't think I was knocking your riding ability after 2 years.
    I figured it was something to the affect that you just did not ride much and not the fork.

    Simple fact is this, you will enjoy the ride more with a nicer fork.
    Of course that being said, you will also enjoy the ride more with an expensive bike with expensive components and all the best gear.

    Does this mean you need it? No
    Does it mean you want it? Sure

    For as much as you ride and the trails you ride, I think the XCR is just fine.
    In fact, it may even be a better choice to keep as it is simple. Just hop on it and ride.
    No worries of buying a shock pump and setting up air pressure, etc. Not that doing that stuff is that hard, but it is just one more thing to worry about for somebody that only rides occasionally.
    However if you want to upgrade, I would go for budget and take advantage of the Suntour upgrade program. The Raidon is a good fork and can be bought for under $200 shipped.
    Just stick it in granny and start grinding.

  31. #31
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Jamesl99's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Posts
    34
    My example may not be typical - I'm a noob I've bee riding for literally about 6-8 hours, I started off with a Giant XTC2 hardtail it came with a RockShox Dart 3 100mm travel fork. After about 4hours I rode my first advanced trail and didn't like the way the forks performed it was difficult to maintain traction and a good line on rocky sections. ( I say that with my 4hours worth of experience ... but anyway take it FWIW)

    So that following Monday I went to the LBS to checkout fork upgrades since my bike was a 2011 26'er with a straight headtube (in stock options were limited) the shop had a SID Race (2012) fork available it was a take off from a customer who just wanted to buy a frame. The cost was $699.00 (CDN) anyway I bought the forks and was going to bring my bike back the next day for them to install. Over the next few hours I started doing the math what it would cost to just upgrade the bike and get the bike I really wanted.

    Long story short I bought a 2012 Spark 20, (after several test rides) - this is not your normal noob upgrade, but whatever it's a hobby not an investment...LOL

    Anyway I took the bike to the trails and loved how much better it performed, I felt so much more confident and felt more in control. I can only attribute it to the better design and engineering of the bike and taking the time to find a bike that was right for me. Since then I've been able to take on expert/advanced trails with confidence and focus on getting better.

    I think buy the best you can afford and if you want to get better and you think your equipment is limiting your growth then change the whole bike (you will end up spending more on just components), move on and get the most out of riding.

    edit... I did not buy the upgraded forks instead put them towards the new bike

    Good Luck....

    Cheers,
    James
    Last edited by Jamesl99; 07-27-2013 at 10:50 AM.

  32. #32
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Posts
    148
    To the OP: the bottom line is....if you are happy with your current fork then keep it for a while longer. If you begin riding more aggressive and more difficult trails and you feel it is holding you back then start looking at upgrades. If it's a case of "I just want a new fork because...." then by all means buy one if it makes you happy. I've got an entry level bike and when I upgraded my fork I spent about 60% as much money on it as I did the bike brand new. I ride once or twice a week and do some fairly difficult trails. I don't really care what others think as I love riding and it's my money. Ride, have fun, and don't sweat the small stuff!

  33. #33
    Rogue Exterminator
    Reputation: kjlued's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    4,956
    Quote Originally Posted by Jamesl99 View Post
    My example may not be typical - I'm a noob I've bee riding for literally about 6-8 hours, I started off with a Giant XTC2 hardtail it came with a RockShox Dart 3 100mm travel fork. After about 4hours I rode my first advanced trail and didn't like the way the forks performed it was difficult to maintain traction and a good line on rocky sections. ( I say that with my 4hours worth of experience ... but anyway take it FWIW)
    It is worth a lot actually.

    There is no reason even the newest of newbs shouldn't be able to tell that a really crappy fork is a serious weak link.

    My first bike had a Suntour XCT and it was obvious from the start that fork was not going to do the job.
    Just stick it in granny and start grinding.

  34. #34
    mtbr member
    Reputation: johnj2803's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    172
    A newbie like myself wouldn't actually know if I have a crappy fork or not.

    How would I know that with a better fork I can do something that I couldn't do before. I would always attribute it to my skill level and not blame the hardware for it.

    How can you really tell? Is it the frequent buttoming out of the fork?

    Skidding front tires? I would certainly look at tire pressure first and the type of tires I'm using tho, never would I attribute it to a fork.

    Its like having crappy coffee and liking it because you never really had great coffee or don't have an idea how it is.

    I think that is how I want the OP's question to be answered.

    Thanks a bunch!

  35. #35
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    443
    Quote Originally Posted by TonyB. View Post
    If your bike has a cheap fork then it likely has other cheap components as well. Forks are expensive and once you upgrade it you'll likely begin to notice other weak points on the bike. Before you know it you'll sink a ton of money into a mediocre bike. My piece of advice (because I've been there before) is to get a bike that is already equipped with a better fork.
    Quote Originally Posted by s0ckeyeus View Post
    Many budget forks don't have great rebound or compression damping. A better fork would act less like a pogo stick and allow more control over the bike and give you a smoother ride.

    If you don't feel like there's a problem with your fork, there's nothing wrong with keeping it. You might just put that money in the bank and put it towards your next bike.
    Quote Originally Posted by wmac View Post
    Raidon is air and outperforms the coil Recon. Through the upgrade program, it is $189. If you want to upgrade your Suntour fork

    I would be willing to bet that if we did an experiment similar to the one in the link below, we'd find similar results with suspension.

    Freakonomics » Further Evidence That Wine Tasting Is Wildly Subjective
    Quote Originally Posted by kjlued View Post
    I ride an XCR all over Pisgah and it does fine.
    Is it the best tool for the job? No, but it is more than just a "bike path" fork.
    It is actually a pretty decent fork leaps and bounds above the XCT and XCM.
    Do I plan on upgrading? Sure, but for now it makes me happy.




    Although I ride advanced trails on the XCR, I have another bike with a better fork and full suspension that makes them easier.
    Quote Originally Posted by kjlued View Post
    If after 2 years he isn't riding the advance trails, than the fork is not what the problem is.
    Quote Originally Posted by kjlued View Post
    I am sure there are several reasons but visually the first thing you notice is the larger fork tubes. May sound silly, but this means less flex which is something you don't want in suspension.

    I would also imagine better spring rates since it is a lot less bouncy than the XCT I had on my first bike. Any more after that, I couldn't get in to since I just don't know other than personal riding experience.




    I hope you didn't think I was knocking your riding ability after 2 years.
    I figured it was something to the affect that you just did not ride much and not the fork.

    Simple fact is this, you will enjoy the ride more with a nicer fork.
    Of course that being said, you will also enjoy the ride more with an expensive bike with expensive components and all the best gear.

    Does this mean you need it? No
    Does it mean you want it? Sure

    For as much as you ride and the trails you ride, I think the XCR is just fine.
    In fact, it may even be a better choice to keep as it is simple. Just hop on it and ride.
    No worries of buying a shock pump and setting up air pressure, etc. Not that doing that stuff is that hard, but it is just one more thing to worry about for somebody that only rides occasionally.
    However if you want to upgrade, I would go for budget and take advantage of the Suntour upgrade program. The Raidon is a good fork and can be bought for under $200 shipped.
    No worries. I would think if someone was riding consistently for 2 years and can't even attempt an advance trail, then that person may need to learn some additional techniques or reevaluate why they are progressing at such a slow rate.

    I ordered the Recon Silver a few days ago. I haven't recieved it yet but it was $215 shipped and I believe/hope a shock pump comes with it (I have noticed that this shock usually comes with one but it wasn't listed on the website I ordered from). The Raidon would have been 189 + 12 shipping + a shock pump (these are updated prices from Suntour). So about the same price for either. I see pricepoint had 8 shocks when I ordered one. They appear to be sold out today so I am glad I got one.

    I do think the XCR is a good beginner fork that can tackle most if not all the terrain I would ever ride. I just am the type of guy that enjoys to mod things and play around with adjustments. Thanks for your help and advise.

  36. #36
    Rogue Exterminator
    Reputation: kjlued's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    4,956
    You made a good choice and at a good price.

    There are people I see riding often that will never really advance past the easy stuff.
    They may head up to the top and take the advance trail down but it will be really slow and walking some of it.

    Nothing wrong with that either. It just isn't in some peoples nature to take physical risks. As long as they are out there though and having fun, that is the only thing that is important.

    When I made the initial comment though, it was in response to those thinking a new fork would magically make you ride the tougher stuff.

    Hang on to the old fork, you may want to swap it back on if you ever sell the bike.
    Just stick it in granny and start grinding.

  37. #37
    Level 5 Rider!
    Reputation: Desidus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    210
    Getting a better fork is so important.. I have a bad fork and I went over the bars the other day and I am convinced it was because of my fork. Absolutely nothing to do with my lack of skill... nope... all because of the fork.

    *whistles as he walks away*
    You earn 1000 exp!
    You are now lvl 5! (5/100)
    Str +3, Sta +4, MTB Skills +1, Grip +1, Iron Butt +1
    New Item - Broken pedals

  38. #38
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    1,504

    Re: Why upgrade my cheap fork? Benefits?

    Um, isn't the xcr about the same level as a recon? I'd do some searching in here to make sure you're not spending on a downgrade.

    Also, weight is a huge factor in xc forks

  39. #39
    Rogue Exterminator
    Reputation: kjlued's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    4,956
    Quote Originally Posted by bob13bob View Post
    Um, isn't the xcr about the same level as a recon? I'd do some searching in here to make sure you're not spending on a downgrade.

    Also, weight is a huge factor in xc forks

    Nope, the recon is a much better fork and more comparable to the Raidon in in the Suntour line.

    SR SUNTOUR Cycling

    Recon Silver TK | SRAM

    SR SUNTOUR Cycling
    Just stick it in granny and start grinding.

  40. #40
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    443
    Quote Originally Posted by kjlued View Post
    Nope, the recon is a much better fork and more comparable to the Raidon in in the Suntour line.

    SR SUNTOUR Cycling

    Recon Silver TK | SRAM

    SR SUNTOUR Cycling
    From what info I have gathered, you are correct. Most reviewers that went from a low end xcr/xcm suntour to a Raidon or Recon have stated that it was a huge difference or that it felt like a new/better bike.

    I know not to set my expectations too high. At worse I hope it is as good as my xcr but now I can adjust a few things.

  41. #41
    Rogue Exterminator
    Reputation: kjlued's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    4,956
    My buddy has a recon on his Tallboy.
    So even though I don't have extensive experience on it, I have ridden the bike and the fork is nice. You will be very happy with your choice which will result in more riding which will give you more stamina, confidence, and ability.

    Look out expert trails, there is a new kid in town.
    Just stick it in granny and start grinding.

  42. #42
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Jamesl99's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Posts
    34
    Quote Originally Posted by johnj2803 View Post
    A newbie like myself wouldn't actually know if I have a crappy fork or not.

    How would I know that with a better fork I can do something that I couldn't do before. I would always attribute it to my skill level and not blame the hardware for it.

    How can you really tell? Is it the frequent buttoming out of the fork?

    Skidding front tires? I would certainly look at tire pressure first and the type of tires I'm using tho, never would I attribute it to a fork.

    Its like having crappy coffee and liking it because you never really had great coffee or don't have an idea how it is.

    I think that is how I want the OP's question to be answered.

    Thanks a bunch!
    I can only compare it to the bike that I ride now... on rocky sections the spring forks would rebound too quickly and found it difficult to maintain traction due to the rebounding (too bouncy) and take the line that I wanted, this was despite making adjustments to find the balance I wanted. I pretty much had most of the same experiences you mentioned other than bottoming.

    After sharing my experience with some more experienced riders and the folks at the LBS it was pretty clear the forks were not a good match for the terrain I wanted to ride.

    With my new bike I simply don't have those issues the bike does what I want it to do... now I don't always do the correct thing with it or at times don't know what the correct thing to do is but it does what I expect from it.

    I'm pretty sure you or anyone can tell a crappy cup of coffee from a good one without ever having a good one... you don't have to taste Sh....t to know that it's going to taste like Sh....t

    The OP asked the following questions:

    So what would a better fork actually do for me?
    What are the noticeable differences when riding?

    So I'm pretty sure that's how HE wanted the question answered.

  43. #43
    mtbr member
    Reputation: johnj2803's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    172
    Quote Originally Posted by Jamesl99 View Post
    I can only compare it to the bike that I ride now... on rocky sections the spring forks would rebound too quickly and found it difficult to maintain traction due to the rebounding (too bouncy) and take the line that I wanted, this was despite making adjustments to find the balance I wanted. I pretty much had most of the same experiences you mentioned other than bottoming.

    After sharing my experience with some more experienced riders and the folks at the LBS it was pretty clear the forks were not a good match for the terrain I wanted to ride.

    With my new bike I simply don't have those issues the bike does what I want it to do... now I don't always do the correct thing with it or at times don't know what the correct thing to do is but it does what I expect from it.

    I'm pretty sure you or anyone can tell a crappy cup of coffee from a good one without ever having a good one... you don't have to taste Sh....t to know that it's going to taste like Sh....t

    The OP asked the following questions:

    So what would a better fork actually do for me?
    What are the noticeable differences when riding?

    So I'm pretty sure that's how HE wanted the question answered.
    thank you for this, it does make sense.

    On the flip side if you are happy with crappy coffee why even bother with the better one...

    I guess my take on this too is that if it works for you then it works for you.

  44. #44
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    147
    Quote Originally Posted by Jamesl99 View Post

    The OP asked the following questions:

    So what would a better fork actually do for me?
    What are the noticeable differences when riding?

    So I'm pretty sure that's how HE wanted the question answered.
    K straight to the point for OP
    A good fork will feel butter smooth, plush, yet stiff as in the no play between the lowers legs and the stanchion. You also get more adjustments that can fine tune your set up, such as rebound, air adjustable spring rate, lockout, compression and even floodgate adjustment.
    What those adjustments do is that it gives you more CONTROL so you can ride FASTER.
    Even when you're just riding for fun, you will enjoy a good fork cuz you will have all the traction you need when braking in rough section, less likely to OTB, less likely to pinch flat, more noticeably take the stress away from your hands and the front wheel

  45. #45
    Picture Unrelated
    Reputation: zebrahum's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    5,123
    If you don't have a problem with it, leave it alone.

    It blows my mind that every single time a beginner rider posts that they bought a new bike or will buy a new bike that people jump on them and tell them they need to get rid of the fork immediately. It's a load of crap. Talk to anyone who rode a quadra 21 and ask them how good your Suntour feels in comparison; and guess what, those people did just fine.

    The time to replace something is when it starts to affect your ride or if you have a specific reason for replacing it. Buying a bike one part at a time is not as cost effective as buying a complete. The flip side is that you can spread the cost out over time; I guess it's like the difference between saving up to buy and buying on credit. One gets you a better deal and one spreads out a larger cost over time.

    I'm ranting... putting a new fork on an old bike isn't usually the best use of your money. Saving up and buying a bike that better meets your overall needs is a better value. Assess what your needs and goals are and if your current bike meets them. If your goal is tackling the Top of the World trail at Whistler then your entry level hardtail is probably not ideal. If your bike does everything you want it to do and you've blown up the damping circuit or something, then maybe it's time to consider an upgrade.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  46. #46
    Rogue Exterminator
    Reputation: kjlued's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    4,956
    Quote Originally Posted by johnj2803 View Post
    thank you for this, it does make sense.

    On the flip side if you are happy with crappy coffee why even bother with the better one...

    I guess my take on this too is that if it works for you then it works for you.
    I suppose if you are happy with crappy coffee, than you are happy with crappy.
    You can stick with and continue to be happy or try better coffee and maybe be even happier.
    Just stick it in granny and start grinding.

  47. #47
    Fat-tired Roadie Moderator
    Reputation: AndrwSwitch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    18,440
    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum View Post
    If you don't have a problem with it, leave it alone.

    It blows my mind that every single time a beginner rider posts that they bought a new bike or will buy a new bike that people jump on them and tell them they need to get rid of the fork immediately. It's a load of crap. Talk to anyone who rode a quadra 21 and ask them how good your Suntour feels in comparison; and guess what, those people did just fine.
    I sometimes find it amazing that front suspension took over the market when it started like that. But I remember riding a RockShox Jett in college and thinking it was the coolest thing ever. The RST that came on the front of my Hardrock in 2007 was actually a better fork for the first couple rides. Then it seized. The Manitou R7 I replaced it with was a bit of a revelation, and the Marzocchi I got after that was a revelation again.

    I guess if I was just a little bit older, I'd have been one of the last holdouts on rigid bikes. As it is, I seem to have been one of the last holdouts choosing hardtail.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  48. #48
    Level 5 Rider!
    Reputation: Desidus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    210
    This argument about crappy coffee is exactly why I refuse to try someone's bike. My bike is crappy but it seems great cause I haven't tried the good stuff yet. When I have the money saved up to get a better bike, then I will start trying other bikes at that price range out. lol.
    You earn 1000 exp!
    You are now lvl 5! (5/100)
    Str +3, Sta +4, MTB Skills +1, Grip +1, Iron Butt +1
    New Item - Broken pedals

  49. #49
    Fat-tired Roadie Moderator
    Reputation: AndrwSwitch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    18,440
    I avoided demoing nicer bikes for a while for the same reason. My life had had a bit of a shakeup and something more expensive was just not happening.

    Then I started thinking I'd be finishing up my degree soon, and maybe I'd get myself a nicer bike as a first-paycheck present after landing my first job as an engineer. So I started taking the opportunity to demo nicer bikes.

    My big revelations? From Alivio on up, all well-tuned drivetrains shift well. Good fit is more important than anything else. Long-travel bikes are not for me. 29" wheels are pretty cool, but not as cool as choosing a tire I like and running it at the lowest pressure I can get away with. In other words, demoing other bikes frequently made me miss mine.

    I finally do have a new bike, and it's another race bike. (Go figure.) FS 29er this time, so not exactly inconsistent with the above observations. So I'm glad I started doing the demo thing a couple years ago, because it's taken me some time to zero in on what I want in my aspirational bike.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  50. #50
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Posts
    165

    This is a great thread

    Ive been riding since March/April of this year. I have 3 bikes, all listed in my sig below. I bought the GF 12-18 months ago with the intentions of riding it on the street to lose some weight after quitting smoking for 20 + years.The bike never just never felt right to me, so I ended up buying the GT in March. The GT was a magnitude better than the GF, so much so I decided to try it on my local trails.I found myself getting really sore and numb in my shoulders after riding the GT for a couple of months. I ended up with the Scott a month or so ago, and my confidence has grown to ride 90% of the advanced trails at my local park, whereas before I stayed on the intermediate level.

    The Fox fork on the Scott is noticeably better than the XC28 on the GT.I dont always clear the obstacles on the advanced sections but I think that has more to do with stamina at this point. I'm a big boy at 220 lbs so the Fox fork given me a level of control that I didnt have with the XC28 . The Maintou Magnum on the GF is like riding mechanical bubble wrap for lack of a better description. Being a curious guy , last weekend I took my GT over the same sections that I ride with my Scott and was able to clear them the one time I went through. I'm guessing that confidence breeds experience to new challenges regardless of equipment level.

    I started reading this thread to see what I could replace the XC28 on my GT with but after reading this thread , I think I'll just ride it into the ground first.Looking back I wish I had demoed different bikes before buying one, I thought a entry level bike would be sufficient for me.My suggestion to anyone looking to get into the sport is to buy as much bike as possible the first time around.
    2012 GT Karakoram
    2013 Scott Genius 940

  51. #51
    Fat-tired Roadie Moderator
    Reputation: AndrwSwitch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    18,440
    Alternatively, you could get rid of one or two of the bikes you don't like as much. It doesn't hurt to have a backup bike, and maybe you want to put one of them in road trim, but...
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  52. #52
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Posts
    165
    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    Alternatively, you could get rid of one or two of the bikes you don't like as much. It doesn't hurt to have a backup bike, and maybe you want to put one of them in road trim, but...
    I still ride the GT on the street and once every couple weeks on the trails, the GF went into storage today, as much as I try to like riding the bike I havent had any luck getting the cockpit dialed in to ride comfortably and it's being sold back to the guy I bought it from.
    2012 GT Karakoram
    2013 Scott Genius 940

Similar Threads

  1. Spend Upfront or Buy Cheap and Upgrade Components?
    By squeak12 in forum Beginner's Corner
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: 02-26-2013, 01:06 PM
  2. Niner Carbon Fork 9mm - QR15 benefits
    By metrotuned in forum Niner Bikes
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 11-08-2012, 10:35 PM
  3. Cheap upgrade for an old 600L for a visiting european?
    By dmalovic in forum Lights and Night Riding
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 08-03-2012, 02:59 PM
  4. Fork/Bike Benefits
    By Dkash in forum Downhill - Freeride
    Replies: 18
    Last Post: 01-02-2012, 01:03 PM
  5. Cheap Upgrade Path for FR/DH 29er
    By PaintPeelinPbody in forum 29er Bikes
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 10-02-2011, 02:52 AM

Members who have read this thread: 3

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •