Heavy Rider needs fork decision help.
I weigh 400Lbs, and have a two decade history of road cycling. I spin well (solid roller champ) keep my weight on the saddle not the bars, and owing to riding trails on road bikes back before suspensions became available, most likely just treat the front end carefully. I stand on any downhill section that is not paved, and I push my big ol' belly past the seat on steep sections.
THAT said, the stock RST Deuce 100mm fork that came with my Cannondale F5 has given me zero trouble for three years. I've not broken it open once, it makes no noises, and outside the fact that I believe the lowers may have been bent or the dropouts not aligned (frame and wheel are straight, but bike always always steers left), it doesn't even bottom out with whatever middle of the road spring they put in it unless I really hit a transition super-hard, like trying to blast a bmx track.
In asking questions, I keep getting pushed towards clydes threads (and the Manitou Tower), but I'm not sure I need to do what other clydes have done. If I've been fine on a cheapie RST fork, shouldn't a much better quality air fork like the Manitou Marvel be fine?
Here's the meaty specs:
Steerer: 1.50" (tapered ok)
Axle to Crown: 500 max
Price limit: About $300
You can see why I am considering the Marvel. I assume the Tower would mount up fine, but as it's a 29er fork, I'm limited to 80mm travel, when I'd like to increase to 120mm and run softer to take some load off my upper body joints (wrists and shoulders tire first on the trail).
What say ye? Are modern air forks incapable of handling weight like mechanical spring forks? I'm sure the RST Deuce wasn't designed for 250+ riders, but it's worked fine. The marvel seems to fit my needs. The only thing more I desire is larger diameter stanchions, but those are largely reserved for 20mm hubs, and out of my price range.
Thanks for the opinions, let them fly!
I probably run about 290# all kitted up for a ride with hydration pack etc. and have had no trouble at all with air forks or shocks surprisingly. I ride hard too as a former BMXer who likes to get his tires well off the ground. I stopped worrying when my FOX TALAS with 32mm stanchions and the stock GIANT air shock on my Yukon FX held up to a few 5' drops to flat on a downhill trail and some bigger hits to a slope.
Previous to that air suspension, I had always had coil units and had to spend extra for the heaviest spring I could get for the fork. The air forks were much more tuneable and responsive for my weight than the coil sprung forks that I've had experience with. I think you'll be fine with the marvel...good luck.
I think a good performing 100mm travel fork might surprise you, and I would be a little leary about going outside the design parameters of your XC type frame. I have tried 120mm forks on bikes designed for 100mm travel with mixed results at best.
Also, to be honest, I think you'll find that air spring forks will generally work better for heavy riders because although fork companies offer springs made for riders of various weights, they generally don't make them for riders over 250lbs (if that much). Air spring have performed better for me (and I have always been over 250lbs as a rider). JMHO.
Just wondering why you would get a 29" Marvel with around a 500mm A-C? Seems like you'd be better with a 100mm travel 26" fork with A-C around 470-480. Less flex, doesn't throw the geometry off.
Everything that kills me, makes me feel alive
I would be getting a 26" Marvel. I was being directed towards the Tower, which is 29" only.
Cannondale told me the frame retains warranty up to 500 ATC. My oem Deuce 100 sits at 483. Manitou lists 472 and 479 for the Marvel Pro. I've sent them an email for the specific ATC of the model I am considering. Looks to be close, rather than a lot higher.
I'm hoping that just the superior materials and workmanship in the Marvel will offer less flex out of the box compared to the cheap Deuce, regardless of the ATC.
Thanks for giving me confidence again (was fine before I started asking questions). The contradictory statements had me worried and on a fence between air and spring, but now I know I am aok to go air.
I got a Reba RLT a few years ago. I'm 290 and 6' tall on a hardtail SS. I've had zero issues with it and run it with very high air pressures in both chambers for my weight. I got mine on Ebay for 350 a few years ago. I think you'd be fine with a Reba or a Recon. There is another thread in here somewhere where all the big guys post up their settings for the air chambers and such. Very helpful to fine tune.
I agree with Jeffj 100%, my experience is that spring forks (even with the heaviest spring) are often under sprung for clydes. I think the heavier you are, the more likely air will be a better fit. You may want to check with the manufactures based on your specific weight to make sure there aren't any concerns (forks aren't cheap these days).
Wish you the best, hope you find something that works for you.
the minute pro is the same internals as the tower pro just in the 26" wheel format. this is a no brainer for a guy your size as long as you can source the XX clydesdale spring.
oh and I thoroughly disagree with those that say you will be fine on an air only fork. I rode a demo bike with a decent quality air fork but its just a case of them putting so much damn air in it there is no plushness whatsoever. yeah it handles the big hits okay but really provides no comfort at all. the towers spring and air design when you have the proper spring in there give a nice mixture of plushness over the small stuff with enough beef behind it to handle the big hits. Now with all that said, I'm 260lbs, you are 400, there is still a huge difference between you and I but hands down out of anything I've demo'ed the tower pro(with the xx clyde spring) blows them all away. with the wrong spring in it however, the tower is garbage.
Interesting you say that as I've been told the Marvel is the same as the Minute except for getting a better air system (only the comp version has QR15 available).
Originally Posted by cpfitness
That said, searches turn up exaclty zero Minute QR15's, not google, not ebay, not amazon, not even craigslist. AM seems to have largely jumped past QR15 on it's way from 9mm to 20mm. Funny that you can get the "weak" 9mm dropout and the "superior" 20mm but not the middle option of 15. Maybe when low end bikes migrate en masse to QR15 we will see better options.
As far as my situation is concerned, don't forget that I've managed on a Deuce 100 for three years and 8000 miles with no problems. That fork is decidely XC or lower, so even if the Marvel is an "OK" XC fork, it should be stronger and more durable than the $100 Deuce that continues to be a decent fork for my riding style. Yes, I hope to be able to do more with the Marvel, but I'm not a major hucker. Roots, rocks, ruts, and the occasional small log or drop off. My whole reasoning for the fork change was to get myself into a stronger axle, and improve handling under the conditions in which I currently ride. If I decide to ride much harder, I think a better bike than an F5 will be required.
Thanks again everyone!
I took a look at manitou's site and it appears you are correct, 9mm qr or 20mm thru axle. If you have the chance to get a 20mm front wheel or some type of wheel with convertible hubs you should do it
It appears that price point has this fork in 100mm travel for $280. I would buy it and get a wheel built. That would still be cheaper than almost any other fork out there.
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I'd also recommend the hope hub. I got one that is convertible and i use a solid 9mm thru axle on the front with my qr Reba and the difference in stiffness and support is very noticeable.
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If you're getting an air fork, I'd check the manual to see what the weight chart says. Air forks do have a max air pressure and generally the weight-air pressure chart only goes up to a certain weight.
No new wheels. The fork is for a brand new wheel set.
I could make a special 20mm axle for the 15mm hubs, but I'm all spent out on the bike, and tired of all the projects I've put into it:
(1) Shimano Saint FH-M810 36H
(1) Shimano XTR HB-M988 32H
(100) Wheelsmith 2.0 straight gauge
(2) Mavic EX729 x 2
(1) DT Swiss RWS 9mm QR
(1) DT SWiss RWS 10mm QR
(1) 1ft Carbon Tube, 10mm i.d., 12mm o.d. (rear hub adapter)
(1) 9mm-15mm hub adapter
(1) Shimano M785 185mm Crankset and new Bearing
(1) Avid Elixir 1 Brakset
(1) Shimano 203mm SM RT81 2-piece ISO rotor
(1) Shimano 203mm SM RT99 2-piece ISO rotor
and more rotors:
(2) Formula 180mm 2-piece Centerlock rotors
Gloworm XS Headlamp
Bell Sweep Helmet
(too much to list)
and custom rear pannier lighting system for commutes...
Customs LED strip goodness
and tools for customs bike projects...
Dewalt 621 router
Rockler blank router plate (soon)
24" x 36" 0.50 aluminum 6061 plate (soon)
Even though almost everything was either a great deal or slightly used, I still laid down a lot of cha-ching in the name of cycling starting February of last year, still have several projects lined up for her, and frankly, am ready to go into full ride, no projects mode for awhile.
The SO doesn't understand why the new wheels were necessary since the old ones work just fine. Can someone tell her I'm about to drop a few benjamins on a new fork, and few more on another for my oldest boy, and about $0.7-1.0k on the car? Thanks!
Year of the snake? Year of the spendy!
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