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  1. #1
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    Soma Groove Fork/Front Options?

    Ok, so I have not ridden off-road seriously since about 1991. I'm an avid touring and road cyclist, and have done some non-competitive cyclo-cross (cross-country on a touring bike with knobby tires, in other words) type rides.

    Wanting to do a little more off-road riding, I recently purchased a Soma Groove frame, which I intend to build-up very "old school," with rim brakes, probably, and most likely a rigid fork. The frame is intended to take a suspension fork with 80mm of travel, which I guess means that a rigid fork should be about that much longer than it would be otherwise(?).

    The one thing that I'm interested in is the possibility of taking care of the issue by converting the front-end to this much-heralded "29er" thing--which sounds very interesting and logical to me, and from what I understand it seems that it's much more important for the front wheel to be larger. And that's basically my question here: if I used a 700c fork and wheel (I'm thinking a Surly Cross-check fork), would the larger size "correct" for the absence of a taller suspension fork?

    Of, if not, can someone recommend a very entry-level, basic no-frills suspension fork for, say, <$350?

    I know that there are "suspension corrected" 26" forks available out there, but I don't really care for any of them, and like all my bike projects, I've just got to be "different..."

    Keep in mind that my riding will be strictly limited to basic cross-country and perhaps some very mellow single-track type stuff. Off-road touring, basically. I'm not taking this thing "downhill" or onto seriously technical ground.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    You probably need to spend some time browsing the 69er forum.
    Possible problems could be tire clearance in the fork depending on which 29er tires you plan on using, and toe clearance with the front tire when turning. Maybe even some frame clearance issues, though I think that's less likely.
    Warning: may contain sarcasm and/or crap made up in an attempt to feel important.

  3. #3
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    ? You clearly need a suspension-corrected fork. Several companies make them and I'm at a loss as to why you don't like them. I don't think you want to 'tour' on a bike with a super steep HA, that sounds like it'll have an impact on the fun to me.

    If you go 69er, no, it will not be 'correct'. In that I don't think the designers intended or designed for it. However, lots of people like it and maybe you will too.

  4. #4
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    Sorry i don't have any advice, but could you let us know how your set up turns out. I think a 29" rigid fork will do the job though.

  5. #5
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    Thanks

    Ok, this is just the information I am looking for. I guess what I meant by not "liking" the available suspension-corrected forks is that they all seem to be outfitted specifically (in some cases only) for disc brakes, and I am almost certainly going to run rim brakes.

    I suspected as much with the problems regarding head angle and various clearance issues--better to just stick with intent the frame designers had in-mind. So 26" it is.

    My thoughts turn, then, to the possibility of an entry-level $300-ish suspension fork, and that's a topic on which I am basically clueless. Again--strictly x-country and easy single-track riding, sometimes with a small- to medium-sized load for camping. Any recommendations?

    Or, alternatively, does anyone know of a builder that could produce for me a fork to spec for around the same $300 mark?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by dolemanm
    alternatively, does anyone know of a builder that could produce for me a fork to spec for around the same $300 mark?
    Waltworks is always a good option for custom rigid forks

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by dolemanm
    Ok, this is just the information I am looking for. I guess what I meant by not "liking" the available suspension-corrected forks is that they all seem to be outfitted specifically (in some cases only) for disc brakes, and I am almost certainly going to run rim brakes.

    I suspected as much with the problems regarding head angle and various clearance issues--better to just stick with intent the frame designers had in-mind. So 26" it is.

    My thoughts turn, then, to the possibility of an entry-level $300-ish suspension fork, and that's a topic on which I am basically clueless. Again--strictly x-country and easy single-track riding, sometimes with a small- to medium-sized load for camping. Any recommendations?

    Or, alternatively, does anyone know of a builder that could produce for me a fork to spec for around the same $300 mark?
    Don't give up yet.
    I mentioned some possible issues earlier, but that doesn't mean it won't work. A non-suspension corrected 700c fork with 29er tires, will probably get you very close to the correct head angle for your frame. The Surly Cross Check fork claims to have room for a 700x45 tire with fenders. That's probably enough to fit a 29er tire without fenders, and I'm sure if you do some searches you will find some more info on that fork and 29er tires. I think the toe clearance is the trickier issue.
    As to suspension-corrected 26er forks, there a plenty out there with brake bosses for rim brakes. The prime market for these forks has been as replacements on older frames where the suspension fork has worn out, so brake bosses are very common.
    Warning: may contain sarcasm and/or crap made up in an attempt to feel important.

  8. #8
    John Galt
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    You can, to this day, get a brand-new Tange Prestige fork with canti bosses and no disc tab. Do a quick Google Shopping search and you'll find 'em in the $50-100 range. That is, in my humble opinion, exactly what you need to build a proper rigid bike starting with your frame. I believe they come black stock, so you may or may not want to have it painted.

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