Is it worth adding 100mm fork on 2003 Epic?
I have been looking into getting another bike but sticker shock is making me think upgrading may be a better option. The trails that get ridden on don't have any drops but they do have some rocky/rooty descents. The fork on my 2003 Epic is a F80RL and while the bike climbs great if the trail is not smooth there isn't much control on the descent. How much difference would a 100mm fork make?
It would be great if a trail tune brain with 100mm could be paired up from a 2004 epic, but those are like hens teeth to find. Could a RP23 with the correct eye to eye and stroke be installed in place of the rear brain shock? I know it has been done on the later models.
Thanks, for any feedback. My local shop isn't being of much help unless I want to buy a new bike.
Its likely that your fork can be converted to 100 mm. My fox forks have been able to run 80mm or 100mm with just the addition or removal of a spacer. Fox forks easy to work on and good instructions can be found online. . I would swap your seals to a set of enduro fork seals, and change your forks oil. While you have it apart you can see if there is a travel spacer that you can take out. I use Maxima Fork fluid because it is way cheaper then the fox stuff. For 10 dollars you can get enough fluid to change you fork oil 10 times. I do mine a couple times a season because the fork is so much smoother when it is fresh. I run 7.5 wt fluid which is a little lighter then stock and speeds the fork up. If your not up to the task any decent shop should be able to rebuld the fork for you for about an hours labor.
When your 2003 Fox has fresh seals, oil and is set up properly (Sag, compression, rebound) It rides just as well as the modern forks. The forks were very similar from 2003-2010 I have not owned the newest model with a FIT dampener, and Kashima but i doubt the performance increase is enough to be worth the upgrade. I acutally really dislike the new CTD forks because they have no lockout. You could also look into sending your fork to pushindustries for a rebuild/upgrade. I have never used them but they get some rave reviews, and can upgrade older forks.
Thanks for the reply. I would rather service mine and see if the travel can be changed. Would 20mm make much of a difference at all? The fork at 80mm will bottom on some trails with the sag set properly.
It will make a difference.
It will change the geo of the bike some because you will be lifting the front end an inch. Personally I think that will improve the handling of the bike but its all preference. I like a higher handlebar then some.
If you are botomming the fork when its sag is set correctly then you need to increase the compression damping. If your fork is an RL is does not have an external adjuster for that, so you will need to run a little thicker fluid. stock fox fluid is 10 wt. Look for some maxia or torco synthetic fork fluid in a 12.5 wt. With my sag set at 20mm (25%) I never use full travel so I run a little lighter fluid. I like the feel of a bit faster fork.
If I were you I would service your fork, get it running as well as possible, and ride the sh** out of it while you save for a new bike. I had a 2004 epic and it was a pretty harsh ride. You might be onto something retrofitting a RP23 but I have my doubts that one will fit without major modifactions. Its crazy how expensive mtb's have gotten but a new/newer stumpy or camber will ride a whole lot better then your epic.