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  1. #1
    mtbr member
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    2012 Rockhopper - New fork question!

    I'm planning on purchasing a new fork here in a few days:

    32 FLOAT 29 100 FIT CTD w/Trail Adjust Bike Fork | FOX

    I know I want to go with the 15mm axle, but what I don't know is whether or not my current front hub can be converted to accept it, or if I need to get a new hub. The description of the front hub is as follows:

    Front Hub Formula disc hub, high-low flange, double-sealed loose ball, machined disc mount, QR, 32h

    Does anyone know if they can be converted to the 15mm axles, or am I looking at buying a new hub?

  2. #2
    J-Flo
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    I had the same bike. The stock front hub is a traditional Shimano-style loose ball bearing design with cups, cones, and races. It cannot be converted to 15mm. (You would need to change out not just the outers but also everything inside the hub).

    The stock Alex wheels on the Rockhopper are decent but in my opinion not worth disassembling and then relacing just in order to upgrade the hub to a 15mm axle. Those wheels are very serviceable but not the stiffest. And they are fairly heavy. If you are looking for the improved stiffness of a 15mm axle then I think you also have to go with a new, stiffer wheel in order to get there, at least on the front.

    You will be happy with the fork upgrade; it makes a dramatic difference (I upgraded to Reba XX). A new wheelset is the other major thing you can do to dramatically improve your bike. Many would say it makes a bigger difference than a good fork. Note that you can also stiffen up the rear while you are at it with a 10mm through-axle hub, which will work fine with your bike's 135x10mm dropouts.

  3. #3
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    thanks for the info! I've been looking at replacing my wheel set with a pair of ZTR Flow EXs, but I was hoping I could do it in the spring. looks like I might be getting a new front wheel a lot sooner than I thought...

  4. #4
    J-Flo
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    Nice choice. If you are on the heavy side and/or otherwise put a lot of stress on your bike with your riding (which I assume is the case based on your desire for 15mm front axle), the Flows are a great rim. I went with the Flow rims (in the process of being discontinued but still available from Stan's and from most wheelbuilders) rather than the new Flow EX, because they are a bit lighter and have a super-strong track record with wheelbuilders for running tubeless. The Flow EX is even wider and a bit less deep, and although I am sure it is a fine rim I decided to trust my wheelbuilder's recommendation. If I was starting all over again I would have a 15mm axle also, but I already had a great new fork with 9mm QR dropouts, so I stuck with that for the new wheels. I also decided to buy a custom build from a wheelbuilder because I knew he would give me exactly what I wanted and do an excellent job creating perfectly true, evenly tensioned wheels. And he did. I now have two rides on the new wheels and they are terrific; the added stiffness really shows in cornering and improves my ability to negotiate chunky trails. If you prefer to save some shekels, there are good deals out there on prebuilt wheels with Flows and Flow EX rims (just make sure they are actually hand-built), or you can start with the front which is always less expensive. You won't regret it.

    One more comment -- switching from the stock 80mm to 100mm travel on your fork will have a noticeable effect on the bike's geometry, raising the front end and making the steering angle slacker. It is definitely an improvement on the descents, but doesn't help climbing at all. I started with my fork at 80mm and adjusted it to 100mm by taking out an internal spacer (not sure if you can adjust the travel on the Fox 32 Float), and although I love the feel of the bike going downhill I am thinking about switching it back to return to the geometry that the frame was designed for and improve climbing.

  5. #5
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    Thanks again for the info. The work has since been completed, and had my first opportunity to try out the new fork for the first time today.

    It took all of 5 minutes to recognize the difference. The bike tracks far truer and more smoothly than the old Suntour did, and everything about the bike felt faster because of it!

    I kept it set into Trail mode + medium damping for 90% of the ride, and switched it to Descend for the last downhill. honestly I didn't notice any real difference with climbing, but it was far better across the board everywhere else.

  6. #6
    J-Flo
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    Congrats. The greatest difference you will see is on the descents and technical places where the fork needs to work. My confidence over rocky descents increased dramatically once I put on a high-quality fork. And I experienced a similar improvement with a better wheelset.

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