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  1. #1
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    '01 Noleen Mega Air, '01 Judy XC or '99 Manitou SX-R

    I have '98 Trek 930 with a RockShox Indy fork, and its time to replace it (actually, it was probably time to replace when it was brand new, but that's another story ;-)

    I am considering the following forks:
    '99 Manitou SX-R
    '01 Noleen Mega Air,
    '01 Judy XC

    All 3 are new and going for under $100. It looks like the SX-R was quite the fork in its day as it has the several adjustments (Preload, Compression Damping and Rebound Controls), only weights 3.3 lbs but has the least travel (80 mm).

    I have seen a couple postings regarding the Noleen Mega Air--Sounds like its not as bad as some of the reviews have made out. It appears to have similar adjustments as the SX-R & upto 100mm of travel.

    The Judy XC goes for $20-$30 less, has 100mm travel, weights in at 4.5lbs & only has the pre-load adjustment.

    Anyway, any comments would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    TR
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    Got a Noleen and have no problems with it at all.
    Solid, stiff awesome fork.
    Big 32mm stanchions, no problems with stiction.
    Replaced a RS Duke with it.

  3. #3
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    '99, i say.

    Definately, I would recommend avoiding the judy. My brother had a '00 that was just a terrible fork. I had an sx-r for a couple of years b4 the bike got stolen. The reviews are right on. It's a really great fork. I've ridden on a noleen rear shock, but haven't tried a fork. Had a good experience w/it though. Anyway, the Manitou is my suggestion.

  4. #4
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    How much do you weigh???

    Quote Originally Posted by journey
    I have '98 Trek 930 with a RockShox Indy fork, and its time to replace it (actually, it was probably time to replace when it was brand new, but that's another story ;-)

    I am considering the following forks:
    '99 Manitou SX-R
    '01 Noleen Mega Air,
    '01 Judy XC

    All 3 are new and going for under $100. It looks like the SX-R was quite the fork in its day as it has the several adjustments (Preload, Compression Damping and Rebound Controls), only weights 3.3 lbs but has the least travel (80 mm).

    I have seen a couple postings regarding the Noleen Mega Air--Sounds like its not as bad as some of the reviews have made out. It appears to have similar adjustments as the SX-R & upto 100mm of travel.

    The Judy XC goes for $20-$30 less, has 100mm travel, weights in at 4.5lbs & only has the pre-load adjustment.

    Anyway, any comments would be appreciated.
    The SX-R is a great fork...got one on my i-drive, but it is too lightly sprung for my 200lbs.

    Danny

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Disaster
    The SX-R is a great fork...got one on my i-drive, but it is too lightly sprung for my 200lbs.
    I am 180 so I am wondering if it would be too light for me, too. I have heard that many shocks are set for an average 165lbs.

  6. #6
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    It seems to vary.

    Quote Originally Posted by journey
    I am 180 so I am wondering if it would be too light for me, too. I have heard that many shocks are set for an average 165lbs.
    The Black Elite I just picked up is very stiff...perfect for my weight. Of course you can always buy heavier springs but they aren't cheap...especially compared to the price of a used fork. An air spring shock, like the Noleen, can be set up to your individual weight, but I can't recommend it (see my comments in the other posts.)

  7. #7
    TR
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    While looking for Disasters ALWAYS negative comments on this awesome fork (because he bought a dud and instead of returning it prefers to b!tch about it), also look for the rave reviews about it from Duckman, D-eight and quite a few others including myself.

  8. #8
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    Sure...and ignore the negative reviews too.

    Quote Originally Posted by toowoombarider
    While looking for Disasters ALWAYS negative comments on this awesome fork (because he bought a dud and instead of returning it prefers to b!tch about it), also look for the rave reviews about it from Duckman, D-eight and quite a few others including myself.
    Of course my reviews are negative. The fork s_ucked. I'm not the only one that reported that here. Do a search. Also, look at the reviews...negative too. As for returning the fork, that isn't an option. Unless there was something definitely broken or missing, there isn't the ability to return it.

    Danny

  9. #9
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    Thanks for recommendations -- I noticed that the Mega Airs on ebay have a length of 8 1/4 inches (210mm). I just measured my bike and from the bottom of the fork race crown to the top of the steering tube (i.e., just below top cap) it is 8.5 inches. In Zinn & The Art of MTB Maint., it says that there should be a 3-6mm gap between the top of the steering tube & the top of the stem. Will that be cutting it too close or is it going to be a perfect fit?

  10. #10
    Doesntplaywellwithmorons!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Disaster
    Of course my reviews are negative. The fork s_ucked. I'm not the only one that reported that here. Do a search. Also, look at the reviews...negative too. As for returning the fork, that isn't an option. Unless there was something definitely broken or missing, there isn't the ability to return it.

    Danny
    More a case that you're a moron unable to realize that all forks have stiction when new and require 10 to 20 hours of riding for the seals/bushings to break in properly. And the number of people reporting problems are WAY exceeded (by a large margin) by the number not reporting problems. In fact, in actual threads, you're the only dufus running around jumping into every thread whining about them, and you certainly don't have enough experience or time on the fork to open yer yap, and give expert testimony on them.

  11. #11
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    Have no experience with Noleens, so, no comment..... My brother had a Judy (forget which year) was a "fair" fork in it's day, but I much prefer (bias, of course) my '01 SX-R I'm a-still runnin' with no problems. I'm pretty much a lightweight rider, so stock springs/MCU's were plenty firm, and it's got a pretty good wide range of adjustments that actually discernably adjust something (I dunno how similar the '99 would be compared to my '01) Given a regular diet of Prep M and the occasional teardown/cleaning, the SX-R has been a great performing "budget" kinda fork....Looking to upgrade eventually, but....I have the (bad???) habit of not replacing something unless it's worn out/broken or truly sux...none of which apply to my Manitou - am probably gonna upgrade the seals to Enduros sometime (was supposed to be a winter project, but, ummm, ...well, ...shtuff happens...or doesn't..heh) Good luck with whatever you decide (I'd go with the SX-R or Noleen over the RS, most likely)

  12. #12
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    Nice...calling people morons....insulting is always a good way to make friends..

    Quote Originally Posted by DeeEight
    More a case that you're a moron unable to realize that all forks have stiction when new and require 10 to 20 hours of riding for the seals/bushings to break in properly. And the number of people reporting problems are WAY exceeded (by a large margin) by the number not reporting problems. In fact, in actual threads, you're the only dufus running around jumping into every thread whining about them, and you certainly don't have enough experience or time on the fork to open yer yap, and give expert testimony on them.
    ...and influence people. Your ratio is way off. Check the reviews. Also, I'm not the only one that has said this shock has problems. Do a search. Someone advised me not to buy it and I'm sorry I didn't listen.

    I'm always amazed how people get worked up and think they have to defend their purchase decisions by insulting others. He asked for opinions. You gave yours. I gave mine. I also suggest he do a search, particularly on the "save some weight" forum.

    By the way, I've never had any other shock with anything close to this amount of stiction...it borders on lockup. It is much worse at shock topout than lower down. I have considered riding it but my time is scarce and valuable and so far I haven't been able to spare it.

    The good thing is someone like you can get a real good deal on it when I put it on Ebay.

  13. #13
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    First, I would say you will probably want an 80mm fork on you Trek. Over 80mm might be a bit too tall and change the handling of the bike. You might consider looking at a 2001 SX-R over the 1999. The 99 came with a shorter spring and a taller elastomer stack. I think in 2001 they started using a much longer spring with a short elastomer stack. The longer spring made the fork much more plush with more useable travel.

    The MegaAir is an okay fork too but the damping definitely isn't as nice as the TPC on the Manitou. Other than the mediocre damping, the MegaAirs had issues with air leaks and I actually backed one of the stachions out of the crown a couple mm's. K2/Noleen was pretty cool and warrantied it (even though it was bought second hand) but it didn't inspire confidence so I sold it. It is crazy light though.

    I wouldn't recommend any year Judy anything to anyone.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homebrew
    First, I would say you will probably want an 80mm fork on you Trek. Over 80mm might be a bit too tall and change the handling of the bike. You might consider looking at a 2001 SX-R over the 1999. The 99 came with a shorter spring and a taller elastomer stack. I think in 2001 they started using a much longer spring with a short elastomer stack. The longer spring made the fork much more plush with more useable travel.

    The MegaAir is an okay fork too but the damping definitely isn't as nice as the TPC on the Manitou. Other than the mediocre damping, the MegaAirs had issues with air leaks and I actually backed one of the stachions out of the crown a couple mm's. K2/Noleen was pretty cool and warrantied it (even though it was bought second hand) but it didn't inspire confidence so I sold it. It is crazy light though.

    I wouldn't recommend any year Judy anything to anyone.
    There you go--recommending a fork that I did not mention . I have lived with the Indy S for 9 months now, so what's another couple months waiting for the right fork to come along. Still, the Noleen is tempting but it does sound like I would be rolling the dice on it.

    Thanks for the advice regarding the max 80mm of travel--I had not thought about that. I just checked the reviews on the Indi S, and it has 48mm of travel. I guess any travel will be better than that -- luckily, I have have only been hoping of street curbs & small branches...

    Anyway, I am assuming that the real key is the length of the fork and not the actual amount of travel? Anyone of the Mega Air owners have time to measure the fork length for a potential new owner?

    Between the several "I wouldn't do that" and the lack of any good recommendations, I did let the Judy pass.

    Thx.

  15. #15
    Fragile - must be Italian
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    Manitou or Noleen

    I own a '98 Manitou SX-Ti, which is the same thing as the SX-R, but with the lighter titanium springs. My Ti has TPC damping and I think the SX-R in '99 did as well. The SX-R weighs considerably more than my SX-Ti...maybe 3.6 vs. 3.2 pounds.

    Overall, the SX is a good fork. TPC dampening is very good (still used today). I've ridden mine for 5 years straight with only the typical oil-seepage issue that all SX forks are known for.

    There are 2 things I do not like about the fork:

    1) The plastic caps on the top of each leg are really flimsy. And they leak.

    2) The SX line is not known for being low maintenance. It seems like my shock can only take 6 months of riding before it needs servicing. The shop I take it to really likes that old shock, but they also say the frequency of rebuilds is not unique to me -- lots of SX's still come through the shop on a regular basis.

    That being said, I can also tell you the SX is going to feel "flexy" if you are used to a stiff fork. The SX has 28mm stanchions and is a bit noodley compared to a shock with 32mm stanchions.

    Oh, that's right -- you currently have a POS Indy on your bike. I had one of those too and bent it. Those forks were total crap, so the SX will probably feel like a piece of granite compared to that Indy you currently have.

    The difference between my Manitou and my Fox F80 is night and day, not just in terms of plushness but also in terms of stability.

    Given that disparity, I am rolling the dice on a Noleen Mega-Air from eDiscountbike (eBay). I am going to put the SX-Ti on my wife's bike, which has a REALLY old Manitou SX-Pro (elastomer shock) from 1996 or so. I really want something stiffer on my hardtail so it doesn't feel so damn different than my NRS in terms of stability, and I am hoping the Noleen gives me some of that. At least it has 32mm stanchions so it will be stronger than my SX.

    Give me another week and I'll have the Noleen on the hardtail and can give you my impressions of the fork.

    Regardless, I don't think you can go wrong with either the SX-R or the Noleen.

    Thx...Doug

  16. #16
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    Lol

    Quote Originally Posted by dgangi
    Oh, that's right -- you currently have a POS Indy on your bike. I had one of those too and bent it. Those forks were total crap, so the SX will probably feel like a piece of granite compared to that Indy you currently have.

    The difference between my Manitou and my Fox F80 is night and day, not just in terms of plushness but also in terms of stability.
    ...
    Give me another week and I'll have the Noleen on the hardtail and can give you my impressions of the fork.
    I had to laugh regarding your comments on my current shock especially when I consider my reaction yesterday when I read how limited the travel was. The Fox would be a nice fork to have. If I were not upgrading several other items on my Trek, I would like to have considered a Fox fork. BTW, what bike did you have the Indi S on? Did you upgrade to a longer shock (i.e., 100mm travel) & if so, how did it affect the handling?

    Actually, I bought a Noleen tonight. The primary item for me was the $$ -- I have an "ebay coupon" (i.e., a refund -- long story) that I have to use with a SquareTrade retailer. I have tapped my funds for upgrades this season (at least for a couple of months if I want to maintain peace in my house ;-) If it weren't for the coupon, I would be delaying the purchase of the fork. If the fork works as well as some say, it sounds like a deal that's too good to pass up.

  17. #17
    Fragile - must be Italian
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    Indy on my Trek

    Quote Originally Posted by journey
    I had to laugh regarding your comments on my current shock especially when I consider my reaction yesterday when I read how limited the travel was. The Fox would be a nice fork to have. If I were not upgrading several other items on my Trek, I would like to have considered a Fox fork. BTW, what bike did you have the Indi S on? Did you upgrade to a longer shock (i.e., 100mm travel) & if so, how did it affect the handling?

    Actually, I bought a Noleen tonight. The primary item for me was the $$ -- I have an "ebay coupon" (i.e., a refund -- long story) that I have to use with a SquareTrade retailer. I have tapped my funds for upgrades this season (at least for a couple of months if I want to maintain peace in my house ;-) If it weren't for the coupon, I would be delaying the purchase of the fork. If the fork works as well as some say, it sounds like a deal that's too good to pass up.
    I had a 1997 Indy SL on my 1997 Trek 8000 hardtail. That fork was super light but SUPER flexy. The guy who built up my bike only went with the Indy because it was sooooo light - something like 2.6 pounds. But who cares about weight when you have a scary-ass noodle of a fork holding your front wheel on? After a trip down the Mormon Trail at South Mountain and fearing for my life, I immediately yanked that flexy hunk-o-crap and bought the SX (which at the time was the stiffest "race" fork available).

    Good luck with the Noleen. And count your blessings that you are still alive. Those Indy forks have been known to kill people

    Thx...Doug

  18. #18
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    Indy was on my Trek 8000

    Quote Originally Posted by journey
    I had to laugh regarding your comments on my current shock especially when I consider my reaction yesterday when I read how limited the travel was. The Fox would be a nice fork to have. If I were not upgrading several other items on my Trek, I would like to have considered a Fox fork. BTW, what bike did you have the Indi S on? Did you upgrade to a longer shock (i.e., 100mm travel) & if so, how did it affect the handling?

    Actually, I bought a Noleen tonight. The primary item for me was the $$ -- I have an "ebay coupon" (i.e., a refund -- long story) that I have to use with a SquareTrade retailer. I have tapped my funds for upgrades this season (at least for a couple of months if I want to maintain peace in my house ;-) If it weren't for the coupon, I would be delaying the purchase of the fork. If the fork works as well as some say, it sounds like a deal that's too good to pass up.
    I had a 1997 Indy SL on my 1997 Trek 8000 hardtail. That fork was super light but SUPER flexy. The guy who built up my bike only went with the Indy because it was sooooo light - something like 2.6 pounds. But who cares about weight when you have a scary-ass noodle of a fork holding your front wheel on? After a trip down the Mormon Trail at South Mountain and fearing for my life, I immediately yanked that flexy hunk-o-crap and bought the SX (which at the time was the stiffest "race" fork available).

    After swapping to the SX, I noticed no difference at all in handling. The '97 Trek 8000 was built around an 80mm fork anyway, and that's the amount of travel the '98 SX-Ti has.

    Good luck with the Noleen. When you get it make sure it is set in the 80mm (75mm) mode. It can also be run as a 100mm fork and that would negatively affect the handlign on your bike.

    And count your blessings that you are still alive. Those crap-hole Indy forks have been known to kill people

    Thx...Doug

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgangi
    That fork was super light but SUPER flexy...

    After swapping to the SX, I noticed no difference at all in handling. The '97 Trek 8000 was built around an 80mm fork anyway, and that's the amount of travel the '98 SX-Ti has.

    Good luck with the Noleen. When you get it make sure it is set in the 80mm (75mm) mode. It can also be run as a 100mm fork and that would negatively affect the handlign on your bike.
    In addition to the shock, I have picked up a new set of wheels too--the front has a Specialized Stout hub, which is supposed to be pretty rigid too. It will be interesting to see how the bike handles after the upgrades. Mind you, I really have not taken it through much yet--just local trails. I am hoping to make it to Pisgah in Western NC this summer, where there are some really great trails.

    Regarding the 75mm vs 100mm travel, is it the length of the fork or the length of travel that most affects the handling? When the fork is setup for 75mm, is it actually an inch shorter or is only the fork travel affected? Thx.

  20. #20
    GMF
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    Good job!

    Quote Originally Posted by journey
    Regarding the 75mm vs 100mm travel, is it the length of the fork or the length of travel that most affects the handling? When the fork is setup for 75mm, is it actually an inch shorter or is only the fork travel affected? Thx.
    The length of the fork is shorter in the 75mm configuration than the 100mm configuration. Once you take fork sag into account, it is a little less than the 25mm difference, but close enough. I also have a MegaAir, and quite like it (primarily for it's weight and simplicity). I'm not a big fork-o-phile like some people are, but this one goes down the trail without me worrying about it. Pretty much all i can ask for.

    I also busted my frame this weekend that the noleen was on (multiple bouncy endo type crash), so the fork is plenty strong . You'll enjoy the ride.

    Some tips for your new fork:
    - Add a few drops of oil in the air chamber to keep the seals lightly lubed up. Helps prevent leaks.
    - You can add up to about 10mm of spacers in the air chamber to adjust spring rate (how quickly the fork gets stiffer as it goes through the travel). Not a huge amount of difference, and not one you have to worry about now, but something to think about in the future when you are the pro fork tuner.
    - Its a simple fork, so tear it down first thing and figure out how it works, then generously lube it up, and put it back together. You should have a reasonably plush ride right from the get-go.

    Good luck, and have fun!

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by GMF
    I also busted my frame this weekend that the noleen was on (multiple bouncy endo type crash), so the fork is plenty strong
    Ouch!!!
    Quote Originally Posted by GMF
    Some tips for your new fork:
    - Add a few drops of oil in the air chamber to keep the seals lightly lubed up. Helps prevent leaks.
    - You can add up to about 10mm of spacers in the air chamber to adjust spring rate (how quickly the fork gets stiffer as it goes through the travel). Not a huge amount of difference, and not one you have to worry about now, but something to think about in the future when you are the pro fork tuner.
    - Its a simple fork, so tear it down first thing and figure out how it works, then generously lube it up, and put it back together. You should have a reasonably plush ride right from the get-go.
    What type of oil should I use in the air chamber? Also, how do I get the oil in there? Will I need to take the fork apart or can it be injected in there some how? Sorry if these are newbie questions--I have never taken a fork apart. I would hate to take it apart only to find that I have pieces missing when I tried to re-assemble it. It wouldn't be the first time I did something like that

  22. #22
    GMF
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    Quote Originally Posted by journey
    What type of oil should I use in the air chamber? Also, how do I get the oil in there? Will I need to take the fork apart or can it be injected in there some how? Sorry if these are newbie questions--I have never taken a fork apart. I would hate to take it apart only to find that I have pieces missing when I tried to re-assemble it. It wouldn't be the first time I did something like that
    Taking it apart is definitely optional. I'm just a firm believer in knowing how your equipment works before you trust it... If you aren't comfortable with it, don't do it. You should eventually get comfortable with it, though.

    There are a couple things that thread on the top of the legs of the fork - the cap that protects the valve, and the bigger bit that actually seals the air chamber. Let all the air out, unscrew the top caps and drop in some oil - i use phil wood tenacious oil (just what i had). The only thing is to make sure the oil is OK with rubber o-rings. Tri-flow should be fine, too. Screw the tops back on (keep the sealing surfaces clean), and simply pump back up to your preferred pressure.

    One of the fortunate things with this fork is that there are so few bits to loose .

    And to answer the other bit of your previous question - it is fork length (axle to crown), not travel that primarily affects handling.

    -Damon

  23. #23
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    Re: Travel/Axel to crown measurement...

    Quote Originally Posted by GMF
    And to answer the other bit of your previous question - it is fork length (axle to crown), not travel that primarily affects handling.

    -Damon
    The above is true, but GENERALLY there is a close relationship to a fork's travel and its axle to crown measurement. In other words, put several 80mm forks together and several 100mm forks together. There will be differences in axle to crown height within each group, but they will all be close. Most 100mm forks are going to have a longer axle to crown measurement than an 80mm fork. Bike geometry is usually based on a given travel (i.e.: most XC hardtails made in the last few years are designed for 80mm forks). Putting a 100mm fork on a bike designed for an 80mm fork will affect the handling. Individual preferences vary, and many are happy with a longer travel fork than their bike was designed for. If you go considerably longer, you may be putting more stress on the head tube. Some frame manufacturers will not warranty a frame that has been run with a longer travel fork than it was designed for.

    Anyway, enough rambling. Short answer: Focus on the travel your bike frame was designed for and the axel to crown height will not vary dramatically.

    -Chris
    http://www.enduroforkseals.com/

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris2fur
    The above is true, but GENERALLY there is a close relationship to a fork's travel and its axle to crown measurement... Bike geometry is usually based on a given travel (i.e.: most XC hardtails made in the last few years are designed for 80mm forks). Putting a 100mm fork on a bike designed for an 80mm fork will affect the handling. Individual preferences vary, and many are happy with a longer travel fork than their bike was designed for. If you go considerably longer, you may be putting more stress on the head tube. Some frame manufacturers will not warranty a frame that has been run with a longer travel fork than it was designed for.

    Anyway, enough rambling. Short answer: Focus on the travel your bike frame was designed for and the axel to crown height will not vary dramatically.
    Thanks for the info. My bike is a 1998 Trek 930 (the frame is made of Tru Temper OX Comp II Double Button Cromoly), thus I doubt I have to worry about the manufacturers warrantee What would you consider 'considerably longer'? The fork that came on my bike, a RS Indy S, had under 50mm of travel. Sounds like as time goes on, I will need to keep an eye on my head tube--it would not be fun if that cracked. I wonder if having a steel frame is going to help in this case?

    I was planning to setup the fork for 75mm of travel and will see how it affects the ride. Any idea how it is going to affect my ride?

  25. #25
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    Your 75mm target sounds reasonable.

    Quote Originally Posted by journey
    Thanks for the info. My bike is a 1998 Trek 930 (the frame is made of Tru Temper OX Comp II Double Button Cromoly), thus I doubt I have to worry about the manufacturers warrantee What would you consider 'considerably longer'? The fork that came on my bike, a RS Indy S, had under 50mm of travel. Sounds like as time goes on, I will need to keep an eye on my head tube--it would not be fun if that cracked. I wonder if having a steel frame is going to help in this case?

    I was planning to setup the fork for 75mm of travel and will see how it affects the ride. Any idea how it is going to affect my ride?
    I wouldn't worry about the head tube unless you are planning on putting a 125mm freeride fork on and doing jumps and big drops...

    I think your 75mm target is reasonable. Of course, that's still a 50% increase. I think only someone who has done a before and after comparison on a similar frame could tell you how dramatic the change in handling will be. A 2001 SID XC might be a good choice, as it has two travel options (switched by dis-assembling and flipping a rod and moving a spacer). you could try it in 80mm and if you experienced negative handling characteristics, you could switch it over to 63mm travel mode. It's a fairly simple fork with dual air chambers and adjustable rebound damping. Anyway, it's not a fork on your list, but you might want to consider it in your application. This fork is considered a bit "flexy" by some, but, as pointed out by another poster, it will be a step up from your Indy in that regard. Also, as you mentioned, I think your "Stout" front hub with the 9mm "Skraxel" will help.

    -Chris
    http://www.enduroforkseals.com/

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