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  1. #1
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    Put a 120mm Manitou Tower Pro on my Karakoram 2.0 (Install story and photos)

    So I went ahead and picked up the 120mm Manitou Tower Pro, and it showed up today. Let me preface the story of my unintentionally goofy install with an intentionally goofy photo:

    Put a 120mm Manitou Tower Pro on my Karakoram 2.0 (Install story and photos)-img_2391r.jpg

    Now, I'd swapped a Karakoram 2.0 XC 28 fork with an identical Karakoram 2.0 XC 28 fork, but I'd never installed one, so this was my first time trying this. To install it, I thought this looked like the most reasonable guide of all the videos and webpages I'd looked at:

    How to Install a Front Fork | Singletracks Mountain Bike Blog

    Unfortunately, I lack basic reading comprehension, and barged straight ahead in taking off my fork:
    Put a 120mm Manitou Tower Pro on my Karakoram 2.0 (Install story and photos)-img_2392r.jpg

    At this point I realize that I cannot get lower bearing race installed properly. I'm also questioning the pipe cutter method, and decide I'll go to the local big box hardware store and pick up a hacksaw blade and PVC pipe. I find the right size (diameter) PVC pipe at the store, and in the process of seeing how it will work to put the lower bearing race in place, I successfully put the lower bearing race in place without damaging the fork or the PVC pipe. I put the PVC pipe back, buy my hacksaw blade and head back home.

    Put a 120mm Manitou Tower Pro on my Karakoram 2.0 (Install story and photos)-img_2394r.jpg

    I put everything on the bike, spacer I might really use, stem, and spacer on top of stem I have no interest in keeping on there, I just don't want to cut the stem too short. (Once I have an idea of whether or not I'll keep the bottom spacer or go shorter, I'll cut again) I know you're supposed to measure twice and cut once, but how hard can be it be to measure correctly? Also, I can't possibly cut it too short, so I measure, take it apart and cut a faint ring with the pipe cutter, before taking out the hacksaw.

    Holy crap, I am horrible at using a hacksaw:

    Put a 120mm Manitou Tower Pro on my Karakoram 2.0 (Install story and photos)-img_2395r.jpg

    That is after trying to make it look as nice as possible with a metal file.

    Whatever, apparently it doesn't have to be perfectly level. Let's just get the star nut in there, at least I have the right tool for that job:

    Put a 120mm Manitou Tower Pro on my Karakoram 2.0 (Install story and photos)-img_2396r.jpg

    Smooth sailing at this point, right? I've swapped forks before, so I put the tire on the fork:

    Put a 120mm Manitou Tower Pro on my Karakoram 2.0 (Install story and photos)-img_2397r.jpg

    Now to put it on the bike:

    Put a 120mm Manitou Tower Pro on my Karakoram 2.0 (Install story and photos)-img_2398r.jpg

    GAH! Measure twice! Cut once. Hopefully I learn my lesson from this experience.

    I pound the star nut deeper so I can cut it to the right length, and this time I use the pipe cutter for the stem, which I find much easier to do.

    Put a 120mm Manitou Tower Pro on my Karakoram 2.0 (Install story and photos)-img_2399r.jpg

    Now to put it on the bike a second time:

    Put a 120mm Manitou Tower Pro on my Karakoram 2.0 (Install story and photos)-img_2400r.jpg

    Everything fits! Alright, time to get the brakes back on. I've always had a lot of success putting the calipers back on the bike with a business card on each side of the rotor, it makes it much easier for me to line everything up:

    Put a 120mm Manitou Tower Pro on my Karakoram 2.0 (Install story and photos)-img_2403r.jpg

    I take it for a quick ride up and down the driveway, but it's pitch black and I'm tired, so any sort of road ride will have to wait until tomorrow, with a trail ride on Saturday:

    Put a 120mm Manitou Tower Pro on my Karakoram 2.0 (Install story and photos)-img_2405r.jpg

    I hope that helps with anyone considering doing this themselves. It was not difficult, but I am impressed with my ability to find ways to make it challenging when it did not need to be.

    Looking forward to sharing my thoughts after I get some rides in, but I'm not sure how valuable my opinion will be, as I can already tell this is much nicer than any fork I've had on any of my bikes. (It's replacing an XC 28 that I hated and my 26" has a 2011 XCR that is at least better than the XC 28.)

  2. #2
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    Put a 120mm Manitou Tower Pro on my Karakoram 2.0 (Install story and photos)

    Hahha awesome job buddy!! You had me scared for you a minute there, but you pulled
    It off hahhaha congrats on the upgrade!

  3. #3
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    I road today and I was absolutely thrilled. Night and day difference, and possibly the best bike purchase I have made yet. I absolutely couldn't believe the way it handled some of the roots and stumps I was hitting, and it was a bit jarring half way through the ride, as I was adjusting to the fork, to feel them hit the rear tire, since the front tire was so smooth.

    I was joking with the guys that I was riding with that I don't need to bother with good form and bent knees anymore, but the truth is that it really did make a huge difference over the XC 28, and I'm thrilled with how well it rides.

    I don't know if there's any addition questions I can help with, but I'll answer questions if anyone thinking about a Manitou has any.

    As for the height, I'm using less spacers under the handle bar than it originally came with (20mm currently), and the handlebars are less than an inch higher than they would have originally been. I really like the feel of where the handlebars are, and don't know that I'd want to move them any lower. My neighbor has a stock Karakoram 2.0 XL frame, and I may ask to ride that to compare the feel once I'm a bit more used to the new height, and thinking about making that final cut to bring the fork steering tube down to the proper height for the stem.

    There is no O ring on the stanchion to track travel use, but that is the only thing about the fork that surprised me in a way that wasn't good. (And I don't care that there isn't one, but some people might want to know that in advance, in case they want to pick one up with the fork if they choose to order it.)

  4. #4
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    I've insytalled heaps of forks over the years, thios year was my 1st time cutting a steerer, put a mazochhi corsa sl on my zaskar. Just held it in my hand and cut it with a hacksaw, came out pretty good.

    I would say though, just to make it easier, do all the fork stuff (cuts and races) THEN install he fork, then put on the calliper then put in the wheel, then adjust everything to work properly. Just my thoughts, makes everything lighter to install and easier to work with.
    2003 Yeti ARC
    2008 GT Zaskar Reissue
    1996 GT Xizang
    2012 Cervelo R3

  5. #5
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    Put a 120mm Manitou Tower Pro on my Karakoram 2.0 (Install story and photos)

    The o ring does not come on a new fork,( that I have ever seen) it is installed by your mech. When your fork is serviced, or atleast mine was, it was only used to set sag though, before I had the o ring I had a small zip tie set my sag and then just left it at the top of the statcion so it was out of the way

  6. #6
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    Follow up thoughts on the fork:

    Still awesome.

    Road again this weekend, but brought my 26er as well. The years of riding I've done on the 26ers I've owned are probably why I don't feel the 29er corners as well as I'd like, although I still really, really like the feel of it on the trails, preferring it to my 26er.

    My 26er has an XCR fork, and while that fork was, and still is, good enough for the level of riding I do, it cannot compare to the Manitou, which has both extra travel and the 29" wheels helping it, on top of being a higher-end fork. That said, the XCR was significantly better than the XC 28s that I broke (twice), which underscores how much of a dramatic improvement the new fork is.

    I don't think the head angle and new fork is going to be a problem. My friend, who has a Niner with essentially all customized parts, has essentially identical geometry and as 120mm fork with his bars at the same height. I think any cornering issues have more to do with technique, conditioning and confidence, and the extra height from the fork does not appear to be an issue at all.

    Definitely glad I upgraded the fork, and it does make the 29er a delight to ride. Hope that helps anyone who's considering one.

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