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  1. #1
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    Fork Recomendation for older 2001 Superlight

    Have a 2001 Santa Cruz Superlight w/ the original 80mm Travel Marzocchi fork that came w/ the bike. The fork shows its age. Want to upgrade to a more modern fork. What would you recommend?

    I'm an XC single track rider, not a freerider or downhiller.

    I bought the bike in the era of 80mm travel & V-brakes, in about 2001. 80mm travel was more or less the std back about then for XC bikes.

    I used to ride a lot, go to races, etc. But for about the last 6 or 7 yrs its been ridden very little. I have lost touch w/ all the latest trends in gear etc, now looking to get back into MTB'ing So I'm looking to put a modern fork, disc rims, and disc brakes.

    So I'm looking at the U-Turn Reba's, perhaps 20mm axle. Or should I stick w/ traditional QR skewers (9mm frt dropout)?

    I like the U-turn as I could easily change the travel trail-side. But I know the travel of the other Reba's can be set w/ spacers to 80-100-120, etc, depending on the fork of course. I figure I'll try 100mm travel and if I don't like the ride characteristics I'll reduce it back to 80mm.

    So was wondering, what are the older Superlight frames running in the way of modern forks these days on singletrack? Any feedback and your experiences appreciated. Thanks.
    Last edited by morsetaper2; 11-08-2009 at 07:01 PM.

  2. #2
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    My 2000 SL had an 80mm fork when I first built it, but I did not like it. I put on a 100mm fork and it rides much better. The frame will not handle the extra stress of a 120mm fork, so stick with the 100.

  3. #3
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    I figured no more than 100mm. What about axles? Stick w/ the tried & true 9mm QR skewers or the 20mm axle?

    Did some poking around and I see the rule of thumb is 100mm max for the older SL's.

    What do folks like better, an 80mm setup or 100mm travel on their older SL's?

  4. #4
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    For my 02 superlight, I switched from my marzocchi 80 mm to a Rockshox Psylo 80 to 120 adjustable. Used it for many years of XC and loved it. Just this year, I replaced the psylo with a Talas 90-110-130 travel, and its working great. I weigh 195 and I'm an XC rider. Hit plenty of rocks, but keep my tires on the ground, no airborne stuff.
    Therefore, I think the frame can handle more than 100 mm for sure.
    Remember that head angles have become slacker over the years. I think your bike is probably 71 degrees with the 80mm, and would probably be around 69 with a 120 mm, which is pretty reasonable.
    With adjustable travel, I definitely notice the difference in handling with different lengths, but even at 130 mm, it’s a bit more difficult to handle going on uphill technical stuff, but not too bad. As for the skewer, I think a standard quick release is still fine for XC, and you will notice your new fork will be stiffer than your old zoke (if you get something with 32 mm legs).

  5. #5
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    I just replaced my 80mm Rock Shock Duke XC

    I pretty much ride the same stuff as you and, with a pack, weigh the same. No air stuff. I recently replaced the old shock with a Fox F100 RLC on my 2002 Superlight. Before doing so, I emailed SC's tech dept and they did not recommend going more than 100mm on pre 2007 SLs. They recommended the the Fox or the Reba for a replacement. Tomorrow will be my first opportunity to ride it, can't wait!

    Also I heard and read that anything more than a standard QR might be too stiff for our older SLs.
    Last edited by GOOOO; 11-14-2009 at 07:40 PM.

  6. #6
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    This is what I got from Santa Cruz via email:

    For the The 1999-2006 Superlight, you'll want to stick with forks from 80-100mm total travel.
    *80mm travel is optimal for riders looking for more of an XC race ride with quicker steering.
    *100mm travel is optimal for those that want more of a trail bike feel.
    (Forks over 4-inch travel (100mm) are not compatible with your generation of frame) From your description here, I would point you toward a 100mm travel fork. For current gen/modern forks in this range, I personally run a Fox F100R, but the Rock Shox Reba also has a bunch of fans here at the SC factory.


    So at this point I'm looking at the Reba because it seems easier to change from 100 to 80 mm travel if I want. At this point I have not found that the Fox F100 RL/RLC forks can be changed to 80mm travel. Anyone know if that is possible?

    Anyone in the industry got a feel for what fork standard, 15 or 20, will end up as the industry std? I'm still on the fence about which one to go with. Being away from MTB's for 6+ yrs, figuring out all this new gear (forks, axles, disc brakes) takes a lot of digging. I'm leaning toward the Hope Pro 2 hubs beacause you can adapt any axle (9x1QR, 15, or 20mm) w/ a spcer kit.

  7. #7
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    an f100 can be changed down to an F80. not sure how you do it exactly, but it involves taking apart the fork and changing some spacers around I believe.

    I have an F100 on the Superlight and I love it. that gets my vote

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by sooner518
    I have an F100 on the Superlight and I love it. that gets my vote
    Agreed. Fox 100mm air sprung fork is the ticket. You should have 100m travel on the rear of the SL to match
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    I wonder what the reasoning is when saying that anything over 100mm is not compatible with the frame? Is it stress on the head tube?

  10. #10
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    Update re: Fox F100 on my 2002 SL

    Rode my bike with the Fox F100 today. World of difference compared to the old RockShox Duke (80 mm travel). You don't feel all the crud on the trail and you just focus on your line. There's a 1/4 mile singletrack that I usually time myself going down. Times were a lot better and bike definitely more controllable and faster. I highly recommend a newer fork with new technology. BTW, I bought a 2009 F100 (not 2010) to save a little money. Pricepoint has a deal that's on 'til Nov 17. If you can wait, maybe there will be some post t-giving sales. Good luck!
    Last edited by GOOOO; 11-15-2009 at 03:09 PM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by GOOOO

    Also I heard and read that anything more than a standard QR might be too stiff for our older SLs.
    Thanks for the feedback. I'm pretty much committed to the FoxF100 at this point. I was going to get wheels, then pull the trigger on a fork....w/ a QR15 axle...

    I'm not sure I understand why they would discourage a heavier axle? Where did you get that information from?

  12. #12
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    My LBS tech told me. Also, I was reading a review of a 2010 Fox 32 TALAS shock with a 15mm thru axel. The review said the fork's performance was so solid that it could overpower older frames. I read that as being too stiff and putting too much stress on the head tube.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by GOOOO
    The review said the fork's performance was so solid that it could overpower older frames. I read that as being too stiff and putting too much stress on the head tube.
    Perhaps that's why they say no more than 100mm. You throw a longer fork than that on there and the lever arm on the head tube gets too large. I emailed SC w/ a question relating axles. I'll post back what they respond.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by smilinsteve
    I wonder what the reasoning is when saying that anything over 100mm is not compatible with the frame? Is it stress on the head tube?
    Probably mainly a geometry issue for most people and perhaps a bit of warranty concern too. However, I ran my '01 Superlight with a 130mm RS Pyslo and sold it to a fellow shop employee who ran it that way for years. If you're a slack geo rider, it's fine, but most Superlight riders aren't looking for that sort of thing. We haven't sold a Superlight in a long time, but I'm guessing they're still fairly tough. Those older models like mine were quite tough.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by TNC
    Probably mainly a geometry issue for most people and perhaps a bit of warranty concern too. However, I ran my '01 Superlight with a 130mm RS Pyslo and sold it to a fellow shop employee who ran it that way for years. If you're a slack geo rider, it's fine, but most Superlight riders aren't looking for that sort of thing. We haven't sold a Superlight in a long time, but I'm guessing they're still fairly tough. Those older models like mine were quite tough.
    Yeah, I've used my 02 with with a 120 psylo and 130 talas. I weigh 195 so I put some stress on it, but don't ride as fast or fly as far as many, so there are a lot of factors to consider when deciding how much a frame "can take".
    I was thinking that the fork length compatibility would not be a geometry issue, since bikes have become slacker over the years, "all mountain" set ups are slacker than XC, and a longer fork pushes the SL closer to the all mountain category. That's why I was thinking its more of a frame stress issue.

  16. #16
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    Regarding axle stiffness, (ie 9mm vs 15 & 20), I got this response from SC Tech Support today:

    We like the QR15mm axle set-up and spec it on an increasingly amount of bikes as standard these days. I'd go as far as to say that I think the QR style forks/hubs days are numbered on high-end MTB models in favor of the QR15 and 20mm Maxle options.
    A QR15 100mm travel fork would be a fine option for you.

  17. #17
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    NICE -- straight from the "horse's mouth"! I'd go for it! Or are you considering buying another bike (I saw your Blur vs. SL post). Good luck!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by GOOOO
    NICE -- straight from the "horse's mouth"! I'd go for it! Or are you considering buying another bike (I saw your Blur vs. SL post). Good luck!
    There is a blur for sale locally I just found out about. So was wondering if rather than dumping $$ into my Superlight should I pickup the Blur? Its about the same age as mine, lots less wear, and a much better componet spec.

    I dunno, we'll see how it all falls out.
    Last edited by morsetaper2; 11-16-2009 at 07:16 PM.

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