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  1. #1
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    Quadra 21R: time to upgrade?

    Hi all,

    I just got back into trail riding after about a 6-year absence. I've got a '96 Rocky Mountain Hammer that I've been riding 4-5 times/yr. and it has the Rock Shox Quadra 21R front suspension. On my ride last week the shock seemed a bit weak (as in minimal damping) and though I tightened the adjustment knobs I didn't see much improvement. I did some searches and it sounds like I might need a refurb kit to bring things back to factory, but even that is hard to find.

    The questions is, if I ditch the 21R, what would be a good "modern" front fork that would fit on my frame? I've been out of touch for so long all the new technology is still sinking in. Most of the front suspensions these days seem to have a very long travel... would one of these even work with my frame or would I be riding like some motorcycle "chopper"?

    The other question would be whether it would be worth trading up for a newer bike. It feels like sacrilege since I really like my bike, but if the newer bikes are that much better maybe I should just let go.

    I'm back to being a newbie, so any thoughts would be appreciated.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Provided you've got a 1 1/8th threadless headset (likely on a '96), a Sid modified to 63mm travel is probably the best bet for good performance and not screwing up your geometry. Otherwise pick your favourite 80mm fork, of which there are a number. 80mm will slacken your head angle a bit, improving descending stability at the expense of a bit of climbing prowess.

    Also, if you aren't running V brakes already, now's the time to go V or front disc/rear V. Modern forks don't support Canti's and many don't even support V's, but a front mechanical disc like the BB 7 will work with V levers (you'll also need a new front wheel to go disc) but not with canti levers.

    As to replacing your bike, I'm not really familiar with the spec on the Hammer, but if it's LX or XT 8 speed, I'd upgrade the fork/brakes unless you've worn everything out (and being a bit of a curmudgeon, I'd probably upgrade it anyways rather than buying new). Other than long-travel corrected frames and disc brakes, nothing much has changed in XC hardtails since 96. No reason to muck with what already works and 9 speed kit is in sme ways a downgrade from 8 speed (high-end 8 speed kit is generally a bit tougher than 9 speed kit).

  3. #3
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    the quad was a mediocre fork even back then.
    The hammer's are great frames and the only thing you'd get in 'trading up' would be the ability to run a more modern/longer travel fork and easier to find 9spd parts. You've got what you need for a quality steel frame in the Hammer... newer versions might be a bit lighter.
    To avoid the 'chopper' effect you need to find a fork with not much more than 20-30mm longer axle-crown length than the quadra. Aside from the sid, a marzocchi marathon or fox fork w/ 80mm travel would probably work out fine.

    For more period & travel correct fork, I'd look for a used marzocchi Z2 ('97-99) w/ 75-80mm travel or an atom/marathon. nothing more than 80mm travel recommended though. I recommend these as they're easy to rebuild/work on and marzocchi still stocks parts, as well as availability of good aftermarket seals (enduroforkseals.com).
    Post her up w/ pics on the VRC forum (vintage,retro,classic) and ask away for more recommendations.

    although I wouldn't rebuild it, you can try hippietech suspension for a rebuild kit (which would just be new elastomers/mcu's). they bought all of rockshox old stock.
    Quote Originally Posted by CinciJeff
    Hi all,

    I just got back into trail riding after about a 6-year absence. I've got a '96 Rocky Mountain Hammer that I've been riding 4-5 times/yr. and it has the Rock Shox Quadra 21R front suspension. On my ride last week the shock seemed a bit weak (as in minimal damping) and though I tightened the adjustment knobs I didn't see much improvement. I did some searches and it sounds like I might need a refurb kit to bring things back to factory, but even that is hard to find.

    The questions is, if I ditch the 21R, what would be a good "modern" front fork that would fit on my frame? I've been out of touch for so long all the new technology is still sinking in. Most of the front suspensions these days seem to have a very long travel... would one of these even work with my frame or would I be riding like some motorcycle "chopper"?

    The other question would be whether it would be worth trading up for a newer bike. It feels like sacrilege since I really like my bike, but if the newer bikes are that much better maybe I should just let go.

    I'm back to being a newbie, so any thoughts would be appreciated.

    Thanks!
    [SIZE=1][/SIZE]

  4. #4
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    Thanks guys,

    I found one Marzocchi on ebay that might fit the bill; check this out:
    http://cgi.ebay.com/Marzocchi-Bomber...QQcmdZViewItem

    I'll also check out the VRC forum. Thanks!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by CinciJeff
    Thanks guys,

    I found one Marzocchi on ebay that might fit the bill; check this out:
    http://cgi.ebay.com/Marzocchi-Bomber...QQcmdZViewItem

    I'll also check out the VRC forum. Thanks!
    That fork is 1,534 times better than a Q21.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by CinciJeff
    Thanks guys,

    I found one Marzocchi on ebay that might fit the bill; check this out:
    http://cgi.ebay.com/Marzocchi-Bomber...QQcmdZViewItem

    I'll also check out the VRC forum. Thanks!
    Good choice. Should make a nice upgrade on your Hammer.

  7. #7
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    Exactly what logbiter and thecrazyfinn said. Go get that fork!

    I think the 1998 (and maybe 1999) Rock Shox SIDs had both 63 & 80mm travel available by changing the spacer combinations but like the other posters said Marzocchi is far better in terms back up support. SIDs have been known to be a bit flexy too so if you're a heavier rider Marzocchi would be a better option.

    I've always wanted the Rocky Mountain Altitude Team Issue from that year or the 1997 one, gorgeous paintjob and a great frameset. Tange Ultimate Prestige, niiice!
    Alex

  8. #8
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    OK, I'm going for the fork. Any thoughts on how much I should be paying? it looks like it could use some parts (caliper bosses?)

  9. #9
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    Did you ever replace your Quadra 21R? I am looking to replace mine now but would like to hear from others who have done it too. Thanks.

  10. #10
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    A modern fork would be wonderful, but replacing a Quadra 21r in the year 2012 isn't going to be a walk in the park. The biggest issue with doing so is keeping the geometry close to what it was. The 21r had what, 60mm travel (axle to crown of 406mm)? It's gonna be hard to find anything less than 80mm travel, not to mention something with brake bosses unless you're going to go with a disc brake in front (probably need a new hub or wheel to do that too). Then, I hope you've got a 1-1/8" steerer or you're 99% out of luck finding something. . . . anything with a 1" steerer.

    If you are bound and determined to replace it with something more modern, and want the geometry to remain more or less intact, you could look for something like a 63mm SID with brake bosses.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jmolina34 View Post
    Did you ever replace your Quadra 21R? I am looking to replace mine now but would like to hear from others who have done it too. Thanks.
    What's the manf. specced head tube angle on your current bike? Alot of older bikes (Quadra 21 vintage) had fairly steep head angles in the 72-73 deg range. Putting a 100mm fork on those bikes may slacken that angle to around 70 deg.

    I replaced the quadra 21 on my 1996 ATX 980 with a 100mm Marzocchi Z1 around 1999, then replaced that with a 130mm Marzocchi ETA (which dropped to about 60mm for climbing) and finally ran a 2009 100mm SID. There really wasn't much difference in handling because of an increase in head tube angle. The benefits of good working front suspension far outweighed a minor change in HTA.

    Get a SID or reba with v-brake bosses. You can add as many "all travel spacers" to these as you want so you can reduce travel in 10mm increments down to whatever you want. You will need to get something second hand as ones with brake bosses are no longer made.

    For a new fork, you'll have to get a Manitou. Something like an R7 would be good (100mm). Not sure how you can reduce travel on those. Alternatively, Magura still make a Durin at 80mm with v-brake bosses. These come up on special at Chainlove every now and then for a good price.

  12. #12
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    80mm will work great as a replacement for 60mm fork. Modern forks run a lot more sag than forks did then.

    I have a 97 Team Marin which I run 100mm forks on. I don't ride it much, but it handles the way I wanted it to.
    Owner of www.shockcraft.co.nz and NZ Manitou Service Agent.
    www.dougal.co.nz Suspension setup & tuning.
    SPV Devolve

  13. #13
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    I just got a spring kit for my Quadra 21r. I'll post a review when I get some miles in.

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