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  1. #1
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    Merlin Hardtail Fork upgrade.

    Hi all. I'm looking to upgrade the forks on my 1996ish merlin. it currently has Judy SL with 63mm travel and 428 a-c.

    more travel and a lockout would be really nice. I'm thinking about the manitou r7 pros because they'll accommodate v brakes and standard qr axle. my options are 80 or 100mm travel which will increase my a-c by roughly 30-50mm respectively.

    my main question is how much this will really affect the geometry and ride of this frame. will it totally ruin the climbing entirely or will the difference beeasily negated by better downhill capability? what size would you choose? any other fork recommendations?

  2. #2
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    I have a 1996 Kona Explosif which was also built around a 63mm travel fork when it came out, I never rode it with a 63mm travel fork so I don't know how its original handling was like, but I have ridden it with 80 & 100mm forks.

    With an 80mm travel fork, it was like cheating on tight singletrack, the bike was very agile & punchy, it whipped into corners and shot out of them, and climbing was about as good as it got short of an Ibis Mojo Ti. Downhills on the other hand required work once it got above 30km/h or so, especially if it was steep or rough. With a 100mm travel fork it wasn't magic on tight singletrack anymore and climbing took a bit more attention, but the downhill & high speed performance was greatly improved. I could comfortably let it rip even at DH bike parks, to me it was a very worthwhile tradeoff.

    I'd say which fork you pick depends on how you want the bike to handle. If you want it to be closer to how it is now, go with 80mm, if you enjoy riding downhill at warp speed then 100mm of travel would be the better choice.

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