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  1. #1
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    Opinion, Suspension Fork or Sport Brand Carbon Fork

    I never do this because I believe that I can make my own decisions but i figured I would ask about this particular situation, because I am truly torn. I have a Breezer Thunder One SS that is my "C" bike. I have a FS bike and a fat bike that are my "A" and "B" bikes. I have a Recon Gold on it now that needs normal maintenance but also needs the rebound internals replaced I believe because the rebound knob just turns and does nothing. So the interface seems to be stripped.

    The damper internals are about $50 from what I can tell on top of a the normal maintenance prices. So about $160. Then having to pay to maintain it every 2 years based on service hours. Or do I get the Spot Brand carbon fork from Jenson that they have for $250, and just be done with it. Honestly trying to keep year to year cost of maintaining my bikes down and I already have to get my shock and fork rebuilt on my FS every year. I do just about all my own work but fork rebuilds are not something that I want to take on. Full rigid was my original plan for the bike but I could not find a rigid fork I liked at the time for the price I wanted to pay.
    If this was you what would you do? I live in the midwest but the trails that I ride have a fair amount of roots but nothing too technical, and again this is my "C" bike.
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  2. #2
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    Rigid fork.

    The more technology you bolt on your singlespeed, the less you'll appreciate it. Keep it light, keep it simple, keep it forever.

    (You'll know what I mean once you've ridden it for a while )
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
    Latitude: 5736' Highlands, Scotland

  3. #3
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    I really like a rigid fork on a SS. to me it's fun and different, not to mention more efficient. even on rough terrain with lots of rock and roots i have the most fun on my SS.

    the only exceptions are 1. really choppy terrain, if your goal is to descend as fast as possible then a sus fork will be faster through the rough stuff, at the expense of extra weight and a bit less efficient climbing. 2. is if your doing long rides, and it seems everyone's threshold is different. if it's not real rough where you ride then this will matter less. I ride my SS on some pretty chunky stuff, most of my friends ride full sus., but after 3-4 hours my whole body is generally beat/spent.

    if i know i'm going to be riding longer than that i usually cave and grab the geared HT.

    Edit: I should add I have a perfectly good, near new, Rockshox Reba sitting unused in the corner. it's never been on the bike.
    Rigid SS 29er
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    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  4. #4
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    Rigid. If you have a full suspension bike or something else with a fork you can take the appropriate bike for the ride.

    I went rigid last fall on one of my bikes and really like it. There's definitely a learning curve and adjustment phase but it will make you faster on all your bikes and there's something oddly enjoyable about riding a rigid SS. However, I find that I only want to do the rigid thing a couple days a week. It really beats you up some days and no fun on technical trails.

  5. #5
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    rigid forks are cooler, you get more attention with it. but can your body take riding rigid?

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the feedback. Seems that the advice aligns with exactly what I had in the back of my mind. I think that is the way that I am going. I think my body can still take it, plus it is not my everyday ride so it will just be a bike in my rotation. I have limited trails near me that are not 2+ hours away so I have to get my variety by changing rigs.
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  7. #7
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    Also, check out the Carver XC470 fork. It's a pretty solid offering and crazy light weight. I ride with a guy whose put one through the wringer! I just picked one up for a new build.
    Pedal through it!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by fishywishy View Post
    rigid forks are cooler, you get more attention with it. but can your body take riding rigid?
    Cooler? I don't understand. It's a just fork. If you're worried about what your bike looks like there's custom bike groups, and there's some really neat looking bikes there, but I'm not sure they ride them anywhere.

    I've been riding rigid all my life and have no issues and I'm probably one of the oldest here.

    I'm not convinced that the benefit of a suspension fork is more than marginal for natural trails or general riding.

    XC racing is a different ball game where very small percentages make a difference, but racing is generally done on maintained courses with "features" rather than natural singletrack. And if your riding involves uplifts rather than riding up the hill, then obviously the fork is a benefit. Anyhow real racers and downhillers know their equipment well and where the tiny fractions are to be found, so this is not aimed at them.

    I did a series of tests a few years ago to see whether I'd benefit from a suspension fork. I picked a loop with about 1,000 feet of climbing, all natural singletrack and did a few laps with each fork. About half of the descent was smooth and flowed, the rest was pretty rough and technical, the climbs were much the same. What I found was that the suspension fork was faster than the rigid on the downhills, but not by that much. However the rigid fork made up the difference in the climbs, it was faster there. The average of the times were so close that I couldn't say one way or the other which was better, other than one was heavier (much) and needed expensive maintenance.

    BTW this was to help me make a decision for which to use in endurance races. My next race was a 12 hour, so I thought I'd give the suspension fork a go. It was fine right up until it collapsed after 9 hours. I then grabbed my spare bike with a rigid and proceeded to do faster laps. (I won my class against fully suspended riders).

    That is all anecdotal and totally inconclusive I know, but after paying the price of a good rigid fork for the repair of the suspension fork, I hung it up in my shed where it sits to this day. Maybe I'll use it again one day.

    I acknowledge that the latest forks may be much better. I haven't tried them, but why pay all that money for something that will make marginal gains in your riding when it would be better spent on really good wheels and tyres? Oh, and learn the benefits of fatter tyres at lower pressures - which is what makes the biggest difference IMO.

    Finally if you are suffering from discomfort using a rigid fork, then there is something wrong with your riding position. Your weight should be on your feet, not your wrists or your posterior. Impacts should go through the part of your body that nature designed to take them - your feet. It's different to riding a suspension bike.

    There's a simple way to modify your riding style without consciously thinking about it - stick the hardest saddle you can find on your bike. You'll soon modify your riding style, and the 10" of suspension in your legs and arms will do the rest.

    I also recommend rigid riders read Shiggy's article on drop bars. shiggy's Mt Bike Tire Site - Why I Use Dropbars - THE bike tire information resource

    Bars are a personal preference, but I find that having the grips more parallel to the bike helps with comfort - ie drops, sweeps, or bar ends.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
    Latitude: 5736' Highlands, Scotland

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    Finally if you are suffering from discomfort using a rigid fork, then there is something wrong with your riding position. Your weight should be on your feet, not your wrists or your posterior. Impacts should go through the part of your body that nature designed to take them - your feet. It's different to riding a suspension bike.
    I think it's awesome that you charge so hard and love riding rigid. Still, I think it may have rattled your brain. Because there is no way that you can take all the impact with your feet when descending at speed through a rock garden. That's physically impossible unless you are riding in a constant wheelie or have your hands off the bars. If you can do that, please show us the video. I think your mistake is that you apparently live to climb while some of us like the descent whole lot more. Rigid is great and perfectly comfortable while going uphill. Big deal. I ride a 30 lb single speed because I love the descents more than the climbs (Kona Honzo with dropper post, 140mm Reba, Maxxis Minion tires, etc). I've tried rigid, but for me it takes too much of the fun out of flying downhill. If you like it, great. But please quit spreading the lie that it's all about riding position or tire pressure or whatever. That's like saying you can play an acoustic guitar as loud as electric if only you know the correct technique.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thor29 View Post
    I think your mistake is that you apparently live to climb while some of us like the descent whole lot more. Rigid is great and perfectly comfortable while going uphill.
    agreed. I'm a climber too. i love going up. if that means i have to go down slower than so be it. I don't like getting my thrills from raging downhills on the ragged edge anyway, at least not on my rigid SS.

    however, there's no such thing as a one way ticket. what goes up must go down, and vice versa (with the exception of shuttle service). there's going to be a compromise either way, kinda like having to choose one gear... compromise.

    I ride a 30 lb single speed because I love the descents more than the climbs (Kona Honzo with dropper post, 140mm Reba, Maxxis Minion tires, etc). I've tried rigid, but for me it takes too much of the fun out of flying downhill. If you like it, great.
    this setup intrigues me. I'm curious to hear your thoughts and impressions. it's seems a bit counter intuitive in a way, yet I'm thinking of doing something very similar with my newly acquired Surly Krampus. mine will be 90-100mm lefty and a dropper, i already have both. I'm just not sure about SS. it doesn't seem practical somehow.

    with the extra grip from the big tires i want it to be my "trail" bike. it's 32 lbs as is, and will never climb like a 23 lb 29er, so I'm thinking about doing it a little different. I don't have huge mountains to climb, but most climbs are steep/punchy with loose over hard.

    anyway, you must like your setup or you wouldn't keep it as is. i guess my question is why did you decide to go SS on that setup?
    Rigid SS 29er
    SS 29+
    Fat Lefty
    SS cyclocross
    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  11. #11
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    I almost bought that spot fork for my 29+ frame, SS Build. I called spot to see if 3 inch tires would fit and they said yea so i was sold.........unitl i forund a whisky for on ebay for $300 lol. I really like the look of that spot for though. for 250 its a steal. Id go rigid with some nice cushy tires.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmullen68 View Post
    I almost bought that spot fork for my 29+ frame, SS Build. I called spot to see if 3 inch tires would fit and they said yea so i was sold.........unitl i forund a whisky for on ebay for $300 lol. I really like the look of that spot for though. for 250 its a steal. Id go rigid with some nice cushy tires.
    Thanks. The fork is actually enroute. Ordered it Monday. Could not resist for the price. Need to build up a new wheelset before I can go with some larger volume tires. Got some 18mm internal width rims right now that will have to do. Plus I am still deciding on rims. Have to decide between the new Stan's Arch and Easton Arc.

    I kind of line not being tied to tubeless ready tires which I why I am leaning toward the Stans.
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  13. #13
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    In my time racing and riding rigid SS the only thing I have ever thought would improve my race times was not a suspension fork but a set of gears.
    Mr. Krabs: Is it true, Squidward? Is it hilarious?

  14. #14
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    I agree with your analogy I just point out that a rigid fork does seem to great for picking a narrow line. Personally I haven't been on my geared or suspended bikes for over a year.
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  15. #15
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    I guess I am a bit of an odd duck on this topic. I love riding my SS with my White Brothers Rock Solid, being able to feel the trail is awesome and I can climb like a Sherpa. I don't really get too beat up by it, and it is pretty rocky and rooty here in Maine. But what I consistently find is that I am definitely faster with 100mm of squish on the front. Maybe it is the terrain here or maybe it is me being more willing to open it up with the suspension on. I am way faster around rough tight corners with the suspension and obviously on the down hills. I usually lock out the suspension fork on climbs so the only real penalty is the extra 1.7 pounds on the front of my bike. I do miss the rigid fork sometimes.

  16. #16
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    There is one thing that the rigid fork truly excels at: finesse.

    No, I am not as fast through chunky sections when riding rigid, but it doesn't limit me from riding the same trails. It forces me to ride differently, and I apply the skills learned from riding rigid to my riding in general. For me that is what single speed riding is all about.

    Did anyone mention maintenance?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by blkqi View Post
    There is one thing that the rigid fork truly excels at: finesse.

    No, I am not as fast through chunky sections when riding rigid, but it doesn't limit me from riding the same trails. It forces me to ride differently, and I apply the skills learned from riding rigid to my riding in general. For me that is what single speed riding is all about.

    Did anyone mention maintenance?
    I also took maintenance into account when deciding on a rigid fork. I liked the fact you just install it and go, no tuning or anything to maintain. And i like how light my front end is with the carbon fork i got.

  18. #18
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    skillz and technique..........

    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    Cooler? I don't understand. It's a just fork. If you're worried about what your bike looks like there's custom bike groups, and there's some really neat looking bikes there, but I'm not sure they ride them anywhere.

    I've been riding rigid all my life and have no issues and I'm probably one of the oldest here.

    I'm not convinced that the benefit of a suspension fork is more than marginal for natural trails or general riding.

    XC racing is a different ball game where very small percentages make a difference, but racing is generally done on maintained courses with "features" rather than natural singletrack. And if your riding involves uplifts rather than riding up the hill, then obviously the fork is a benefit. Anyhow real racers and downhillers know their equipment well and where the tiny fractions are to be found, so this is not aimed at them.

    I did a series of tests a few years ago to see whether I'd benefit from a suspension fork. I picked a loop with about 1,000 feet of climbing, all natural singletrack and did a few laps with each fork. About half of the descent was smooth and flowed, the rest was pretty rough and technical, the climbs were much the same. What I found was that the suspension fork was faster than the rigid on the downhills, but not by that much. However the rigid fork made up the difference in the climbs, it was faster there. The average of the times were so close that I couldn't say one way or the other which was better, other than one was heavier (much) and needed expensive maintenance.

    BTW this was to help me make a decision for which to use in endurance races. My next race was a 12 hour, so I thought I'd give the suspension fork a go. It was fine right up until it collapsed after 9 hours. I then grabbed my spare bike with a rigid and proceeded to do faster laps. (I won my class against fully suspended riders).

    That is all anecdotal and totally inconclusive I know, but after paying the price of a good rigid fork for the repair of the suspension fork, I hung it up in my shed where it sits to this day. Maybe I'll use it again one day.

    I acknowledge that the latest forks may be much better. I haven't tried them, but why pay all that money for something that will make marginal gains in your riding when it would be better spent on really good wheels and tyres? Oh, and learn the benefits of fatter tyres at lower pressures - which is what makes the biggest difference IMO.

    Finally if you are suffering from discomfort using a rigid fork, then there is something wrong with your riding position. Your weight should be on your feet, not your wrists or your posterior. Impacts should go through the part of your body that nature designed to take them - your feet. It's different to riding a suspension bike.

    There's a simple way to modify your riding style without consciously thinking about it - stick the hardest saddle you can find on your bike. You'll soon modify your riding style, and the 10" of suspension in your legs and arms will do the rest.

    I also recommend rigid riders read Shiggy's article on drop bars. shiggy's Mt Bike Tire Site - Why I Use Dropbars - THE bike tire information resource

    Bars are a personal preference, but I find that having the grips more parallel to the bike helps with comfort - ie drops, sweeps, or bar ends.
    Agree....... Technique has a lot to do with riding rigid . You will get lots of folks with no skills spewing hate on DH rigid. These are probably the folks who sanitize the trails of roots and rocks.

  19. #19
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    With the trails I ride, rigid single speed is my choice. When I first got the bike I strongly considered getting a fork for it but that was because I was fairly new to single speed and rigid riding, now I wouldn't throw a suspension fork on the bike if someone gave one to me. I also own, use, and enjoy a nice full squish trail bike and ride it on the same trails, so I'm not opposed to suspension.

    Roots are taken care of using a nimble touch on the grips (and changing the grips from stock to thicker ones, which really helped). Higher drops and jumps I find I use just a different technique and make sure to use my body as suspension for when I hit the ground. Once you get use to it, it is fun.

    My rigid single speed is a Niner Sir9 with an RDO fork and I've heard that that is a nice fork. It certainly rides nice. Funny thing though, I'm not all that slower on the rigid single speed going down than on the full suspension but I'm more beat up after two hours of trail time with the rigid. That's really the difference for me. If I'm riding for over two hours, I usually pick the full squish bike.

  20. #20
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    To provide an update I went with the rigid fork. Just got the bike back from the shop today. I can do everything related to installing the fork but I don't have a bleed kit or barbs or anything for the brakes so I had them run the brake hose through the fork seeing it has internal routing. Now to get it out on the trail. Going to be building up a new pair of rims for it. Got some Kore Realm 2.4's from Universal for $45 each. A little heavier than I wanted but for the price I could not complain. I have a pair of OEM syncros wheels I got off of ebay super cheap on it now but they are only 18mm internal. I need something wider than that.

    So those wheels may be repurposed into monstercross rims for my cross bike.
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  21. #21
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    Congrats on the new fork. Since you've got that sorted, have you thought of pulling apart the old Recon to learn how to service it since you've got nothing to lose now? Recons are pretty easy to service, and I'm glad I learned to work on mine. You can download the tech manual off of Rockshox's website. You can get a seal kit for like 20 bucks and fork oil cheap from a motorcycle shop. It doesn't take any special tools beyond a rubber mallet, a good set of allen keys, an adjustable wrench, and a flathead screwdriver. First time through took me a couple hours, going really slow and careful; now I can do it in about a half hour.
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  22. #22
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    Actually sold the Recon Gold to help finance the new carbon fork. I generally flip all my old parts to buffer the cost of new parts. I would love to learn how to service my own fork. I just had the Reba on my FS serviced. Maybe one day, that is the last piece to the puzzle as I just learned how to build my own wheels.
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  23. #23
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    Yeah, okay. Makes sense. If you can build a wheel, I'm sure you'll be fine servicing your fork. Really not that hard. First time I pulled it apart, it was sort of like the first time I serviced a hub or a headset. You know, a little apprehensive at first, but once you figure it out, it totally demystifies everything. Its nice to not have any "black boxes" on the bike.
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  24. #24
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    I ran full rigid for the first two years owning my SS. While I appreciated the steering precision, simplicity and light weight, I got tired of getting beat up on the more rocky terrain. Given that I am now well into my 50s and my terrain isn't changing anytime soon, I appreciate my suspension fork.
    "The maturity of an 8 year-old boy coupled with the insecurity of a teen aged girl."

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