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  1. #1
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    Advice on choosing suspension fork for older hardtail bike?

    Hi guys -
    I'm brand new to this forum, looking for some advice on updating an older mountain bike........

    My brother has a 1993 Trek 8000 Aluminum-framed mountain bike which he still loves and rides MANY miles on in Salt Lake City, where he's lived for about 7 years. I've gone on some of the rides he goes on, and know that the terrain in some areas is pretty rough, and the downhills pretty damn fast......and I'm thinking that 13 years on the same rigid fork is pushing it for his 185 pounds.

    I must stress the fact that he is EXTREMELY resistant to getting a whole new bike. He would prefer to spend any excess money on mandolins and guitars, he's a bluegrass junkie......so I gotta respect that!

    But - concerned brother that I am - I'm looking into a suspension fork (of limited travel) to add to his bike. He does have a more modern 1 1/8" aheadset-type headset and stem arrangement, so new forks can be attached OK.

    MY QUESTIONS -
    Knowing that his frame geometry was laid out for a rigid fork, can a short-travel fork be added to his bike without hurting his steering and ride quality? I know you probably don't want to have the front end of the bike getting jacked too far up in the air.....so I'd been thinking that an 80mm or so suspension fork would do the trick.

    After reading the posts on various forks on the mtbr.com website, I have begun to home in on the Marzocchi MX Comp as a reasonable fork which looks to be pretty highly rated, especially for its price. 2006 model is 85mm, I think. I would like to limit the fork cost to about $300.00 or less, if possible. This fork specs out at about $285.00 or so, if I recall correctly.

    What do you guys think? Can my brother's bike be safely brought into the suspension era, or is it too much of a geometry-changer to try to sneak a suspension fork into his frame?

    Also, any thoughts you might have on this fork choice, or to perhaps suggest another one would be great.

    Most appreciative of any advice you guys can offer!!!!!

    Thanks so much - I want to help keep my brother happily free-wheeling (and also making his happy bluegrass music) for a while to come.....!

    Sincerely,
    Mike T.
    motorcity_69@yahoo.com

  2. #2
    No good in rock gardens..
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    80mm or so should be OK. 10mm will probably end up as sag with him sitting on it anyway. a 1993 bike was probably designed for a 50mm fork - so we are talking 30 to 35mm at the most.
    My Cannondale Lefty keeps failing....

  3. #3
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    He's right an 80mm should be fine. I got a 2005 MX comp for about $175 on ebay. It was brand spankin' new with box and directions.

  4. #4
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    Hey, thanks for the replies.........

    What do you guys think about that MX Comp fork for the type of fairly "all-mountain" kind of riding that my brother will likely by doing? Definitely leans more towards the XC side of things. He won't be jumping his bike off of drops or anything - I just want to be sure he's got a solid and reliable (and good working!) shock up front......

    Probably most curious about the difference between the "MX Comp Air" and "MX Comp Spring" shocks, which would have better long-term reliability, or at least require the least maintenance...

    Thanks again guys!!!!

    thanks for the ebay pricing tip, by the way.

  5. #5
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    Just did this to my 99 Trek. The MX Comp is a good bet.....I ended up finding a great deal on Psylo...so I went with that. As stated above that year they were probobly spec'd for a shorter fork, so dont go higher than 80-85mm. Id go with the spring rather than Air...low maintenance and Im sure your bro doesnt want to worry about that too much...plug and play.

    PS: Ive got a 99 Rock Shox Jett T2 fork 63mm (coil) I just replaced, and Id sell that to you for like $35 + shipping... Your probobly set on new...but it would fit the geo of that bike perfect.
    8 is great

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by T_Doggie
    Hey, thanks for the replies.........

    What do you guys think about that MX Comp fork for the type of fairly "all-mountain" kind of riding that my brother will likely by doing? Definitely leans more towards the XC side of things. He won't be jumping his bike off of drops or anything - I just want to be sure he's got a solid and reliable (and good working!) shock up front......

    Probably most curious about the difference between the "MX Comp Air" and "MX Comp Spring" shocks, which would have better long-term reliability, or at least require the least maintenance...

    Thanks again guys!!!!

    thanks for the ebay pricing tip, by the way.
    springs will be a bit more plush but not as tunable for his weight & riding style. long term- might need to replace seals more often, but these forks are 'bomber', so I'd give seals a couple yrs, depending on use & if he (or you, as the case may be) does regular maintenance.
    [SIZE=1][/SIZE]

  7. #7
    No good in rock gardens..
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    Marzocchis tend to be very reliable. The MX coil uses a coil spring, the other uses an air spring. The air spring fork will be lighter and more tuneable.

    I've been running an EXR dual air for nearly two years and have had zero problems. I like the ability to change air pressure - it's easier than getting a new spring if the existing one doesn't fit. Good air forks now feel just as linear and plush as a coil fork when set up correctly.
    My Cannondale Lefty keeps failing....

  8. #8
    JmZ
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    Only thing with the Marz is they do tend to be a taller fork for a given travel than some of the other ones out there.

    If you are trying to preserve the geometry this might be an issue. I've got a Marz Marathon and it's a 460 Axle to crown measurement, several other 80mm forks out there are high 440's and 450mm. Every 20mm (close to 3/4") of height difference is about a degree in difference at the head tube.

    Depending on the orig feeling of the bike 1 or even 2 deg change may not be a big deal, but going from a 72 to a 68 or 69 deg head tube angle will be noticible.

    JmZ
    JmZ

    From one flat land to another.

    Advocate as if your ride depends on it...

  9. #9
    Save Jesus
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    Quote Originally Posted by T_Doggie

    MY QUESTIONS -
    Knowing that his frame geometry was laid out for a rigid fork, can a short-travel fork be added to his bike without hurting his steering and ride quality?
    I doubt it. I put a 2 inch travel fork on a 89 rockhopper, and it felt like a boat.

    I know you probably don't want to have the front end of the bike getting jacked too far up in the air.....so I'd been thinking that an 80mm or so suspension fork would do the trick.
    boat


    What do you guys think? Can my brother's bike be safely brought into the suspension era, or is it too much of a geometry-changer to try to sneak a suspension fork into his frame?
    boat

    Also, any thoughts you might have on this fork choice, or to perhaps suggest another one would be great.
    Most appreciative of any advice you guys can offer!!!!!
    You might also want to consider if the head tube is not so short that the fork crown will whack the down tube when you turn the fork 90 degrees. You should also get a fork that can sag a lot, or can have its travel reduced.

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