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  1. #1
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    rigid or suspension fork for commuter?

    I'm restoring my old hardtail as a lightweight commuter/road bike. The old 80mm suspension fork is shot. I was considering going with a rigid fork, but I'm concerned about it being too rigid. I have a pair of 1.25 slicks that I had run on it for a while, before I started the restore. If I go rigid, do I need fatter tires? What rigid fork would still provide a decent ride - Cro-moly, aluminum, carbon?

    Thanks....

  2. #2
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    I say run with what ya brung.

    I'd have no qualms running narrow slicks on a mountian bike assigned to commuting duty, The only catch would be that when rainy season comes, some tread is nice to have.

    Another consideration is that inexpensive suspension forks are crappy and heavy. For exclusive commuting duty, I'd would prefer a ridgid fork hands down.

  3. #3
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    I had the same dilemma - old frame, blown seals on ancient fork. So I slapped a Kona P2 on there (steel, rigid, ~$50). Just the thing for commuting. Don't worry about the slicks - people do 1000s of km on road bikes with narrow slicks. The fat slicks on an MTB will soak up the road bumps just fine.


    .... Of course, a year later I bought a road bike, removed the gears on the old commuter and now have a rigid singlespeed for the trails!

  4. #4
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    I had an Indy XC who's elastomer was gone within weeks after I bought it, its aluminum construction was flexy, and it never supported my clyde body.

    I swapped it for a Surly Instigator fork and honestly, can't tell the difference in ride dampening but the bike handles, climbs, and rides better. Feels safer too because I was always feeling like I was going to snap that fork.

    Oh yeah, I run 1.5" wide semi-slicks and weigh 272lbs as of this morning. I am running DH tubes because a lot of my riding is on some nasty dirt roads and through some root strewn paths so I wanted the extra protection for my weight. I run them at 60psi and am very happy.

  5. #5
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    If you are just commuting I would definitely say rigid chromoly. I have been riding rigid on trails for a couple years now and just love it. Light, handles great, no seal or air problems.

    I had slicks on an old bike and I used to get lots of flats. For some reason that bigger flat surface area was a magnet for debris.

  6. #6
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    Anyone have experience with different forks made from different materials? Many road bikes come with carbon forks to provide a more comfortable ride (or so I am told). When I used to ride road bikes years ago, my last bike had an aluminum fork which seemed to provide a more comfortable ride. Only problem here is just about all 26" forks look to be cro-mo (or cost an arm and a leg).

  7. #7
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    For a dedicated commuter bike I like the ridged

  8. #8
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    Go rigid. Steel or carbon will give you enough flex. Aluminum is harsh. For the price of carbon, you can get a much nicer steel fork that rides better.

  9. #9
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    The carbon road forks help a bit but your tire pressure is also > 100psi. Your 1.2 tires will probably only have around 80psi max which would provide quite a bit of cushion. I would bet that carbon and steel are very similar in feel, carbon is just lighter, more expensive, and breaks easier.

  10. #10
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    Rigid by far. If you do go suspension, make sure it has a lockout. I love suspension on the trail, but don't miss it on the street.

  11. #11
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    Rigid has never been a problem for me on the street. I run 1.5 IRC Metro tires and they have no problems absorbing the little road bumps. I would rather not push a crappy suspension fork up a hill and never see any real comfort benefit.

  12. #12
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    All on pavement, I assume? If so I'll echo the cry of rigid. Frankly, unless you've really got bad potholes or something I'd just go with whatever is cheap (well, not Wal-Mart cheap, but you get the idea). 1.25's should be fine. I'd slap some slicks on there, though.

  13. #13
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    Only reason I was questioning rigid is the fact that I have a bad wrist, and was concerned about the beating I would take on some of the less than perfect roads around here. That is the primary reason I don't ride a road bike anymore - way too harsh.

    Any suggestion for the best riding cro-mo fork?

  14. #14
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    I've got bad Elbows and Shoulders - any Steel fork should work for you, just try to match the geometry of the bike with the length of the steel fork. If it had an 80mm fork (which my old bike did) then a Surly Instigator and Surly Karate Monkey fork should work for you without really changing your geometry from when the suspension fork was on.

    BTW, I don't work for Surly, just very happy with their product, I am sure there are other good, suspension corrected, steel forks on the market.

  15. #15
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    If you have a bad wrist and go with a rigid fork, make sure you get more of an upright riding position.

    I had tendinitis in my wrist that I found out was being aggravated by biking. I have a c-dale f400 that I rode 90% locked out, which rode awesome on the street compared to w/suspension. Now I ride with the suspension on more but not exclusively.

    I just put a shorter/steeper stem on it with 2" riser bars taking the weight of my wrists and after 2 or 3 months I haven't had any problems.

    Also look at the Ergon grips.

  16. #16
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    I ride about 20% on pavement (with family mainly), and I used my forks built in Lockout for road which was a nice feature, however I noticed that when I preload my fork to the max to make it really hard (without lockout) I enjoy my ride better. It still compresses but only minimal and then when I really push it. This way I still have a suspension but I don't think I ever had it compress more than 50mm (on a total of 100mm travel which I use on the trail) and makes for a better ride for me.

    I also have to mention that I ride with 100psi pressure in the tire so the tire doesn't absorb nothing. If you are concerned about weight, go with the rigid...

  17. #17
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    Rigid = ligher and faster
    Go BIG (in your own way), or Stay Home

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