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  1. #1
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    New 5-Spot Fork Recomendation Vanilla, Firefly Minute 1.0?

    Hey there.

    Sorry for asking what has been prob asked a thousand times.

    Choosing a fork for my new 5-Spot and have it down to either a Vanilla, Firefly or Minute 1.

    Only fork above I have any ride time on is the Vanilla. I am 180lbs and ride very rocky, technical east coast trails (with rides typically in excess of 2-3 hours) here in MA (Lynn Wooods, Vietnam, Fells.) Not overly concerned about weight, SPV or axle to crown length differences. Just want something smooth and stiff. Small bump compliance is a must as well as being able to track in the large rock stuff. I like the Vanilla and know that it is the fork Turner recomends but have heard great things about the Firefly and Minute so I don't want to rule those out. Strangley I am not a big fan of Z1s. ( I realize I am in the minority here)

    Thanks a bunch. Great forum. I find myself browsing here almost exclusivley since the format change. I used to look at the other forums but seem to get the best info here now.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by MARider
    Vanilla, Firefly or Minute 1...very rocky, technical east coast trails (with rides typically in excess of 2-3 hours)...Not overly concerned about weight, SPV or axle to crown length differences...Just want something smooth and stiff...Small bump compliance is a must as well as being able to track in the large rock stuff.
    Of the three I'd pick the Firefly. There are several local riders that made the switch from the Marz's Z1 series to Manitou's Shermans and swear they'll never look back. One of them has a Firefly on a Yeti 575 and I had a chance to ride it for a few miles the other day and I was very impressed with the quality of the dampening. I didn't hit anything too big, but reports have been that they are very resistant to bottoming out, and what I did ride would also give the nod to "small bump compliance." It was also as stiff as my Z1SL if not more so with the 20mm axel. If this fork continues to improve with '05 I'll give it consideration next season. The only reason I'd put a Minute on is if weight were the main consideration. Good luck and let us know what you end up with.

  3. #3
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    Curious, do I need a new hub to get a thru axle fork like the Sheman? I have a King ISO, and would rather not change it.

    How does the thu-axle differ from a standard QR?

    Thanks

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lambone
    Curious, do I need a new hub to get a thru axle fork like the Sheman?
    The Firefly is offered with either a standard quick release, allowing you to use your existing hub, or a 20mm thru axel which would require you to buy a 20 mm specific hub.

  5. #5
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    big differences in steering

    Quote Originally Posted by Lambone
    Curious, do I need a new hub to get a thru axle fork like the Sheman? I have a King ISO, and would rather not change it.

    How does the thu-axle differ from a standard QR?

    Thanks
    I'm 190 lbs, and rode a Talas for a year, and just switched to a Firefly w/ thru axle. I loved the Talas, but wasn't overly confident when hitting roots or rocks at angles other than perpendicular. The difference in stiffness is my biggest reason for sticking w/ the Firefly. The thru axle is a big honking piece of aluminum that you affix to the fork w/ 4 small allenbolts and makes it a pain to remove the front wheel. I haven't ridden the qr version of the Firefly, but if there's a noticeable decrease in steering precision, I don't want one.

  6. #6
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    You definitely need a new hub - I went with a Marzocchi 20mm ($69.00), it's bullit proof and smooth as silk.

    I went from a Psylo to a Firefly (2003) - the 2004 is even more resistant to bottoming with the SPV mechanism. I'm at 185lbs and ride a firm spring...I've bottomed it only once on a 4+ footer to flat rock (on Porcupine Rim). The stock medium spring would probably be borderline too lightweight for you - but the "ride kits", or springs are only about $20 and they're Ti!!

    The extra firm spring is STEEL and weighs a good 1lb more than the Ti springs (I've got three springs for mine).

    I weighed it all out for about 4 months before my purchase and went with the Firefly. I tried to ride all the different shocks - the only one I didn't try was the Fox. The Firefly is so buttery smooth - pretty darned incredible if you ask me. It's also friggin stiff as a bridge pier latteraly. Going from the noodly Psylo to the Firefly was so much of a difference in stiffness (with the reverse arch, bigger stanchions and the 20mm QR) that it's not even describable. The difference is HUGE.

    Sounds like my favorite terrain matches yours to a T. VERY rough, extremely technical, rocky and ledgy XC. Throw in a few drops and jumps. In my opinion...the Firefly wins hands down. Solid, plush, beefy - yet fairly light.
    "I may be old and fat, but at least I'm slow." - Me


  7. #7
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    You may have something there...

    Quote Originally Posted by dbabuser
    I'm 190 lbs, and rode a Talas for a year, and just switched to a Firefly w/ thru axle. I loved the Talas, but wasn't overly confident when hitting roots or rocks at angles other than perpendicular. The difference in stiffness is my biggest reason for sticking w/ the Firefly. The thru axle is a big honking piece of aluminum that you affix to the fork w/ 4 small allenbolts and makes it a pain to remove the front wheel. I haven't ridden the qr version of the Firefly, but if there's a noticeable decrease in steering precision, I don't want one.
    Yesterday I doinked around with a 6" Sherman 20mm non-QR in the parking lot before a ride, the first thing I noticed was that it felt significantly stiffer than my Zoke QR20...which I thought to be extremely stiff. It wasn't an objective comparison. Not even a test ride...just playing around with it. Part of it could be due to the fork itself. Either way, the Sherman will be on my .vs list the next time around.
    Faster is better, even when it's not.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbabuser
    The thru axle is a big honking piece of aluminum that you affix to the fork w/ 4 small allenbolts and makes it a pain to remove the front wheel.
    If you carry a multi-tool on the trail - it doesn't take more than 2 minutes to remove and reinstall the wheel. Just look at the overall improvement in stiffness - I find that a very small price to pay.
    "I may be old and fat, but at least I'm slow." - Me


  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeCOLORADO
    If you carry a multi-tool on the trail - it doesn't take more than 2 minutes to remove and reinstall the wheel. Just look at the overall improvement in stiffness - I find that a very small price to pay.
    And owning a "QR"20+ I can tell you it can take about that long too. Nice idea, poor execution. Might as well go for the standard 20mm setup.
    Faster is better, even when it's not.

  10. #10
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    OK

    So if you're racing DH and you flat - there's no time to change it without falling to the bottom of the race either way (Standard QR or 20MM).

    If you're freeriding or bashing out some heavy XC - does 2 minutes make that much difference?

    The last four months riding my Firefly I've flatted once...the extra 2 minutes on the trail was way more than balanced out by the extra confidence in the sheer ridigity up front on the bike. It's not like I was racing an XC race and the extra 2 minutes mattered anyways - I can always use an extra 2 minutes on the trail to BREATH!
    "I may be old and fat, but at least I'm slow." - Me


  11. #11
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    I'm not complaining, really

    Quote Originally Posted by bikeCOLORADO
    OK

    So if you're racing DH and you flat - there's no time to change it without falling to the bottom of the race either way (Standard QR or 20MM).

    If you're freeriding or bashing out some heavy XC - does 2 minutes make that much difference?

    The last four months riding my Firefly I've flatted once...the extra 2 minutes on the trail was way more than balanced out by the extra confidence in the sheer ridigity up front on the bike. It's not like I was racing an XC race and the extra 2 minutes mattered anyways - I can always use an extra 2 minutes on the trail to BREATH!
    just making a comment. I am extremely pleased with the TA Firefly's performance so far. It's made places I used to be nervous about picking my line into cakewalks. The worst of it is trying to fit it under the tonneau cover in the back of my pickup w/o removing the ft wheel, but it can be done. And I'm picking up a Yakima anklebiter for my wife's Suby, so that won't be an issue either.
    But at least Bikezilla's making me feel a bit better for not having gone Z1 just for the qr20. Thanks, man!
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  12. #12
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    Is it wrong that I want a new fork to match my 8" rotor.... ;-)

    I think I have a bike stuff shopping problem....

    I should be able to sell my Talas for the cost of replacing it though....just need to practice the pitch for my wife! Thanks guys.

  13. #13
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    Thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by CrashTheDOG
    Of the three I'd pick the Firefly. There are several local riders that made the switch from the Marz's Z1 series to Manitou's Shermans and swear they'll never look back. One of them has a Firefly on a Yeti 575 and I had a chance to ride it for a few miles the other day and I was very impressed with the quality of the dampening. I didn't hit anything too big, but reports have been that they are very resistant to bottoming out, and what I did ride would also give the nod to "small bump compliance." It was also as stiff as my Z1SL if not more so with the 20mm axel. If this fork continues to improve with '05 I'll give it consideration next season. The only reason I'd put a Minute on is if weight were the main consideration. Good luck and let us know what you end up with.

    Thanks for the reply. Good stuff.

    I was wondering if his was an 03 or and 04. I am curious as to what differences the SPV on the 04 makes compared to the non SPV pre-04 as most reviews so far are still pre SPV. I am leaning towards the Firefly but missed most of the 03 blowout sales The 04s are super pricey.

    This really does look like the fork for me. My only concern would be why Dave Turner is so locked onto the Fox as the recomended fork for this bike. Is there a good reason why the Vanilla is so prefered by Turner? I have a hard time thinking I would know better than he...

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by MARider
    ... My only concern would be why Dave Turner is so locked onto the Fox as the recomended fork for this bike. Is there a good reason why the Vanilla is so prefered by Turner? I have a hard time thinking I would know better than he...
    I don't think he's locked on the Fox...it is just the fork he used when designing and initial testing of the bike. I think it's more of a geometry flavor than a performance or warranty thing. That is to say he fine tuned the ride to his tastes based on the Fox. Other forks will work fine but might add a little seasoning to the flavor. It's sort of like THX and home theaters... Lucas says if you want to hear it exactly as he intended you have to use all THX certified equipment.
    Faster is better, even when it's not.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by MARider
    Just want something smooth and stiff. Small bump compliance is a must as well as being able to track in the large rock stuff.
    I've tried a lot of SC forks, and I can honestly say that the non-SPV Firefly has the best small bump compliance of any fork I have ever ridden. The first inch of travel is extremely active and plush. Increases in the adjustable compression damping don't seem to kick in until the fork goes through about half it's travel, and then you can notice your adjustment, especially if you set the damping towards max. It makes for a very smooth ride that still doesn't bottom out on hard hits. That's a function of the TPC+ design I suppose.

    I have about 100 miles on mine now. I'll just say that you don't have to worry about tracking at all, because this fork is precise. Point it right through rocky sections and it won't deflect. Can you tell I like mine?

    I do find the four pinch bolts annoying. The Tullio system is the only thing I really miss on my Psylo, which is a great QR system for 20mm, and about as fast as a regular QR.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by fonseca
    I've tried a lot of SC forks, and I can honestly say that the non-SPV Firefly has the best small bump compliance of any fork I have ever ridden. The first inch of travel is extremely active and plush. Increases in the adjustable compression damping don't seem to kick in until the fork goes through about half it's travel, and then you can notice your adjustment, especially if you set the damping towards max. It makes for a very smooth ride that still doesn't bottom out on hard hits. That's a function of the TPC+ design I suppose.

    I have about 100 miles on mine now. I'll just say that you don't have to worry about tracking at all, because this fork is precise. Point it right through rocky sections and it won't deflect. Can you tell I like mine?

    I do find the four pinch bolts annoying. The Tullio system is the only thing I really miss on my Psylo, which is a great QR system for 20mm, and about as fast as a regular QR.
    I would like to hear some more feed backon the minute 1, I hear that they are gonna make some changes next year to the SPV or something, to make it more small bump complient

  17. #17
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    but

    No ones really said much about the vanilla... I feel kinda bummed because thats what I ordered with my spot, wich is on its way from frisco to japan. I got it because it was light cheap and people say that for a trail fork its very stiff...and also because I called turner and they said they preffer the fox vanilla. I always thought that the firefly and Z1 where "freeride" forks and a bit too stiff and heavy for trail riding. I guess people are willing to put up with added weight for a less noodley ride? idunno. I hope my vanilla wont dissapoint

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by tony0643
    No ones really said much about the vanilla... I feel kinda bummed because thats what I ordered with my spot, wich is on its way from frisco to japan. I got it because it was light cheap and people say that for a trail fork its very stiff...and also because I called turner and they said they preffer the fox vanilla. I always thought that the firefly and Z1 where "freeride" forks and a bit too stiff and heavy for trail riding. I guess people are willing to put up with added weight for a less noodley ride? idunno. I hope my vanilla wont dissapoint
    The Vanilla's a great fork. Comparing the Vanilla/Minute/Firefly/Z1 forks is like comparing the 5 Spot/Moment/Switchblade--They're all great forks/bikes, it boils down to what you're going to use it for and each rider's individual foibles. I went with the Vanilla based on price, weight, and Axle/Crown height. I needed something that was fairly light, and was short enough to provide enough top tube clearance for my short legs. The performance has been perfect. The only thing I'd like to see would be a 2 position travel adjust (80/125mm) for climbing the really steep stuff. That being said, I'm climbing everything I did before on my Racer X with no real adjustments. I'm perfectly happy with my Fox. If I were over 220lbs or was a hucker, I would have thought about the Firefly, but I ride like a little ol' lady with a broken hip, and I weigh about 180lbs, so I don't need all that beef. In other words, don't sweat it--you have a great fork.
    Last edited by coolhandluchs; 05-05-2004 at 10:46 AM.

  19. #19
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    same here...

    Quote Originally Posted by tony0643
    No ones really said much about the vanilla... I hope my vanilla wont dissapoint
    I too have a 5 Spot on order with a Vanilla. However, I am very confident I will love it because I have had a Vanilla R on a steel hardtail for the past two years. I know the two bike are worlds apart but I like the weight, stiffness, and the ability to set it and forget with the Vanilla. It has been smooth and quiet since day one.

  20. #20
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    vanilla wont dissapoint?

    I have more than one year of riding the vanilla rlc in 100 mm mode on my XCE. I cant compare to the above mentioned forks, so the vanilla is the best fork known to me. I once made an oil & seal change. No technical nor noise problems so far with bike and fork. Good news?

  21. #21
    No, that's not phonetic
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    Fox really needs to update the valving in their fork line. I am still on a first generation Vanilla (early '02) on my XCE and the compression valving is sort of sorry compared to other, newer forks out there. Fox really has not done much to the guts since their introduction. I have worn the gold slippery coating off the front of one leg so I may shop for another fork soon. The dampening (mainly compression) on my Z1 is really noticeably better, and the Minute 3 I demoed also had a leg up on the Vanilla in that category. I have the RLC and the compression dampening adjustment does absolutely nothing. I bought an '03 Vanilla RLC thinking the valving had been improved and rode it for a while. There may be a bit less compression spike in that fork, but otherwise it was like my old one. I put the '03 on the Barny Mobile (aren't I nice?).
    My video techniques can be found in this thread.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by tscheezy
    ...so I may shop for another fork soon...
    What fork are you leaning towards? I'm building the wife's Burner up and thought I'd use the Fox Float off of my HT that's been collecting dust ever since I bought the Spot. I'd have to make the conversion from 80 to 100mm and thought that I'd send it off to have DGC retrofit the Boxxer Enduro seals so it'd stop leaking like a sieve but at that point maybe she'd be better off with something new.

  23. #23
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    agree on compression dampening adjustment

    I agree with you .. compression dampening is a weak aspect of this fork....

    BTW: I expect to receive a sasquatch (soon ?) & and evaluate moving the vanilla from the old to the new frame. But if the vanillas stearer tube is cut too short I might be in bussines for a new fork?

  24. #24
    No, that's not phonetic
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    I'm not leaning towards anything in particular at this point. I have all summer off from the bike scene and I will pick it up again in the fall. I could entertain a MX or Marathon S zoke in 120, or see what Mantiou offers for '05. The current Minutes aren't bad, I just did not care for the SPV feature the way it was implemented so far (then again, I did not spend days dialing it in). For all we know, Fox will wow us all by I-bike.

    No offense to the SO's we shop for, but Barny for one is not a suspension-obsessed-tech-head. She thinks the Vanilla is just great. I dial it in, change the oil, adjust the dampening, replace seals, and she just gets on and says "it's so floaty!" I take that as her endorsement. She has never heard of brake dive or wallow. She is totally oblivious to bob. In other words, she enjoys her bike for what it is, not for what it ain't. I'd just put the Float on the Burner.
    My video techniques can be found in this thread.

  25. #25
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    New question here. just a quick question......

    the vanilla is advertised on the review boards as allowing it to be set a 80, 100or 125mm. Is that not like other "travel adjust" forks like the Talas and forks with ECC or ETA where you can adjust them on the fly? I am looking at getting the vanilla (r, rl, or rlc) for a hardtail SS in which I want something around 4 lbs., under 500 bills and 125mm and adjustable. did i read that wrong and do you have any other suggestions?
    It's all cycle-logical to me.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nimai
    the vanilla is advertised on the review boards as allowing it to be set a 80, 100or 125mm. Is that not like other "travel adjust" forks like the Talas and forks with ECC or ETA where you can adjust them on the fly?
    The Vanilla is NOT adjustable on the fly. You have to remove the preload cap, pull out the spring and spacers and then rearrange them to get the desired travel, then screw the preload cap back in. It takes about 2 minutes to do, and it's in no way "on the fly."

  27. #27
    No, that's not phonetic
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    Well, on the main spring side you have to juggle the spacers from above the spring to below or vice versa depending on if you are upping or lowering travel. Either way it requires you to pull the rod out of the leg which means you have to drain the oil. Hardly a 2 minute job, but not awful either. The damper side is easier and does not requite serious disassembly. Suffice it to say, once you have the Vanilla set, you won't want to change very often, and like CHL said, it is not "on the fly".
    My video techniques can be found in this thread.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by tscheezy
    Well, on the main spring side you have to juggle the spacers from above the spring to below or vice versa depending on if you are upping or lowering travel. Either way it requires you to pull the rod out of the leg which means you have to drain the oil. Hardly a 2 minute job, but not awful either. The damper side is easier and does not requite serious disassembly. Suffice it to say, once you have the Vanilla set, you won't want to change very often, and like CHL said, it is not "on the fly".

    Ooops...forgot about the oil part OK, OK, two minutes if I had 5 hands and cloned myself.

    One other thing about the vanilla IMO...Fox's spring recommendations are a little high.The manual recommends the next heavier (green?) spring over the stock (blue?) one for my weight. (I'm on the low end of the green spring) I swapped out the blue stock spring for the green one and haven't been able to get full travel or the correct sag, so I'm back to the stock spring. I'm just glad they ship the fork with the extra springs. I'd be pissed if I had to buy a different spring, then figured out it wasn't the right one after all.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by MARider
    Choosing a fork for my new 5-Spot and have it down to either a Vanilla, Firefly or Minute 1. Not overly concerned about weight, SPV or axle to crown length differences. Just want something smooth and stiff. Small bump compliance is a must as well as being able to track in the large rock stuff. I like the Vanilla and know that it is the fork Turner recomends but have heard great things about the Firefly and Minute so I don't want to rule those out. Strangley I am not a big fan of Z1s.
    Well, a Minute 1:00 fell into my lap today. A friend in town is building a bike and has some parts together (including the fork) but it looks like he is on the slow boat. He said I could try the fork out if I wanted. What a bud! (I suspect his ulterior motive is that he knows I will dial it in and learn the nuances of the thing and save him all the bother...) Anyway, I put it on my XCE and went for a spin today on my usual loop.

    The thing is stock. Not sure what spring is in it, but they are supposed to ship with a medium rate (170-190# rider, I think). I started out with 20-30psi (Manitou recommends 30-100) in the SPV chamber because I was not real happy with the SPV action on the 3:00 I tried on the 575 I demoed. My ride starts with a steep gravelly road climb and I tried out the wind-down travel adjust. It worked quite well and you can use it while riding, though it takes quite a few turns to go from 130 to 100mm. You can go back up to 130 while riding but you have to pull up on the bars once or twice while doing it. Not bad, but not fast enough to do unless you are faced with a long climb, imo.

    I stood up a few times to climb, mainly to see what the SPV did at that pressure, and the fork did bob less than my Vanilla would. Like my impression of the Minute 3:00, it felt "stictiony" when standing. Small bump compliance also seemed noticeably reduced when seated. The fork is new and probably needs breaking in (the manual says it may feel "notchy" for the first 20 hours of use) and an oil change, so I don't put a lot of stock in this impression right now. My reaction was that it did not remind me of the effect SPV has in a rear shock where the platform does not seem to reduce compliance that much.

    I turned off on the single track (basically a deer trail I have sanitized and added bridges to) and started a descent. Holy brake dive Batman! Talk about wallow. The thing stuffed itself 4" into its travel immediately. After all the talk about reduced brake dive, I was incredulous. I rode the rest of the steep, stepped downhill like this, but it sank noticeably deeper into its travel than my Vanilla @125mm would.

    I stopped where the trail leveled out and pumped the SPV to 70psi. Huge difference! People generally talk about SPV pressure only affecting platform, but it has a large effect on spring rate as well. It basically acts in large part like Zoke's air caps where the non-spring leg turns into an air-spring assist chamber. The fork rode much higher, offered much less sag, and was a little less active overall. It became too tall and reminded me of my Z1 with too little negative pressure (minus the harsh topout). I tried this pressure for a few miles but did not like it much, so I stopped and dropped the SPV pressure to about 40psi.

    That pressure was much better. The fork behaved a lot like my Vanilla at that pressure. No more or less brake dive, a little less bob when honking up a hill, similar sag. Not bad. Not great either though. I am pretty used to the VERY active nature of the Vanilla where it reacts to every twig. The Minute tended to pick and choose what small features it would feed through or absorb. Again, it is new, so it is hard to judge what is tight bushings and what is SPV. A person seeking a certain type of ride would need to balance the SPV chamber pressure with a coil spring rate. If you were light and wanted a lot of platform, you would need a very light coil spring and a lot of SPV pressure since they are apparently really not independent.

    I must say that the fork really starts to shine as the speeds increase. Tight, slow, technical singletrack show the SPV's somewhat unimpressive sensitivity to small bumps. Once you hit 15mph, however, the fork is quite a different creature. It becomes quite smooth and very controlled. It used more of its travel than I would have expected given the non-big-hit-nature of the trail, but then I had the SPV chamber volume all the way out. Next time I will decrease it a little. I could have also increased the SPV pressure and it would have ridden higher in its travel, but I did not like that behavior at slower speed. I do need to say that the fork did not bottom once the whole ride, despite the modest pressures and the fact that I am at the upper end of the supposed spring rate.

    The rebound adjuster is annoying. There are no detents. You cannot count clicks to see where you are. Personally I find this to be an inexcusably stupid design. All you can do is spin it blindly and push the thing down and see how it rebounds. Even that is misleading since the fork seems highly dampened even in the fastest setting, but then it mysteriously bounces back forcefully after a g-out. Rebound settings are probably a slow, feel-type adjustment process. Once you find it, put a notch on the knob and the fork leg so you know where to put it when it gets knocked out of adjustment. You also have to stop to adjust which sucks since the knob is at the bottom of the fork leg.

    The fork is pretty. It is the disc only model (no bosses for me to hack-saw off!), with the rough paint finish and laser etched graphics. Hose routing is different but not impossible with the reverse arch. My rotor does not rub on the brake post unlike the Minute 3 I demoed. It was stiff enough, similar to the Vanilla, probably a bit flexier than my Z1, but nothing real noticeable.

    Highlights: looks, high speed dampening control (better than Vanilla), sort-of-on-the-fly travel adjust, adjustable ride height coupled with spring rate and bottoming control (though possibly a lowlight, depending).

    Lowlights: rebound adjuster, no true independence of "air-spring assist" and platform (though possibly a highlight, depending), some lack of slow speed sensitivity (worse than Vanilla).

    I will probably be able to keep the fork for a few days, so I'll keep you up to speed.
    Last edited by tscheezy; 05-05-2004 at 11:50 PM.
    My video techniques can be found in this thread.

  30. #30
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    Good review

    Quote Originally Posted by tscheezy
    Well, a Minute 1:00 fell into my lap today. A friend in town is building a bike and has some parts together (including the fork) but it looks like he is on the slow boat. He said I could try the fork out if I wanted. What a bud! (I suspect his ulterior motive is that he knows I will dial it in and learn the nuances of the thing and save him all the bother...) Anyway, I put it on my XCE and went for a spin today on my usual loop.

    The thing is stock. Not sure what spring is in it, but they are supposed to ship with a medium rate (170-190# rider, I think). I started out with 20-30psi (Manitou recommends 30-100) in the SPV chamber because I was not real happy with the SPV action on the 3:00 I tried on the 575 I demoed. My ride starts with a steep gravelly road climb and I tried out the wind-down travel adjust. It worked quite well and you can use it while riding, though it takes quite a few turns to go from 130 to 100mm. You can go back up to 130 while riding but you have to pull up on the bars once or twice while doing it. Not bad, but not fast enough to do unless you are faced with a long climb, imo.

    I stood up a few times to climb, mainly to see what the SPV did at that pressure, and the fork did bob less than my Vanilla would. Like my impression of the Minute 3:00, it felt "stictiony" when standing. Small bump compliance also seemed noticeably reduced when seated. The fork is new and probably needs breaking in (the manual says it may feel "notchy" for the first 20 hours of use) and an oil change, so I don't put a lot of stock in this impression right now. My reaction was that it did not remind me of the effect SPV has in a rear shock where the platform does not seem to reduce compliance that much.

    I turned off on the single track (basically a deer trail I have sanitized and added bridges to) and started a descent. Holy brake dive Batman! Talk about wallow. The thing stuffed itself 4" into its travel immediately. After all the talk about reduced brake dive, I was incredulous. I rode the rest of the steep, stepped downhill like this, but it sank noticeably deeper into its travel than my Vanilla @125mm would.

    I stopped where the trail leveled out and pumped the SPV to 70psi. Huge difference! People generally talk about SPV pressure only affecting platform, but it has a large effect on spring rate as well. It basically acts in large part like Zoke's air caps where the non-spring leg turns into an air-spring assist chamber. The fork rode much higher, offered much less sag, and was a little less active overall. It became too tall and reminded me of my Z1 with too little negative pressure (minus the harsh topout). I tried this pressure for a few miles but did not like it much, so I stopped and dropped the SPV pressure to about 40psi.

    That pressure was much better. The fork behaved a lot like my Vanilla at that pressure. No more or less brake dive, a little less bob when honking up a hill, similar sag. Not bad. Not great either though. I am pretty used to the VERY active nature of the Vanilla where it reacts to every twig. The Minute tended to pick and choose what small features it would feed through or absorb. Again, it is new, so it is hard to judge what is tight bushings and what is SPV. A person seeking a certain type of ride would need to balance the SPV chamber pressure with a coil spring rate. If you were light and wanted a lot of platform, you would need a very light coil spring and a lot of SPV pressure since they are apparently really not independent.

    I must say that the fork really starts to shine as the speeds increase. Tight, slow, technical singletrack show the SPV's somewhat unimpressive sensitivity to small bumps. Once you hit 15mph, however, the fork is quite a different creature. It becomes quite smooth and very controlled. It used more of its travel than I would have expected given the non-big-hit-nature of the trail, but then I had the SPV chamber volume all the way out. Next time I will decrease it a little. I could have also increased the SPV pressure and it would have ridden higher in its travel, but I did not like that behavior at slower speed. I do need to say that the fork did not bottom once the whole ride, despite the modest pressures and the fact that I am at the upper end of the supposed spring rate.

    The rebound adjuster is annoying. There are no detents. You cannot count clicks to see where you are. Personally I find this to be an inexcusably stupid design. All you can do is spin it blindly and push the thing down and see how it rebounds. Even that is misleading since the fork seems highly dampened even in the fastest setting, but then it mysteriously bounces back forcefully after a g-out. Rebound settings are probably a slow, feel-type adjustment process. Once you find it, put a notch on the knob and the fork leg so you know where to put it when it gets knocked out of adjustment. You also have to stop to adjust which sucks since the knob is at the bottom of the fork leg.

    The fork is pretty. It is the disc only model (no bosses for me to hack-saw off!), with the rough paint finish and laser etched graphics. Hose routing is different but not impossible with the reverse arch. My rotor does not rub on the brake post unlike the Minute 3 I demoed. It was stiff enough, similar to the Vanilla, probably a bit flexier than my Z1, but nothing real noticeable.

    Highlights: looks, high speed dampening control (better than Vanilla), sort-of-on-the-fly travel adjust, adjustable ride height coupled with spring rate and bottoming control (though possibly a lowlight, depending).

    Lowlights: rebound adjuster, no true independence of "air-spring assist" and platform (though possibly a highlight, depending), some lack of slow speed sensitivity (worse than Vanilla).

    I will probably be able to keep the fork for a few days, so I'll keep you up to speed.

    Just the kind of info I am looking for. The lack of slow speed sensitivity scares me the most. I wonder how similar this performs to a firefly?

  31. #31
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    how does the vanilla compare.......

    upon looking at the fox talas rlc vs. the fox vanilla rlc, are there any differences besides price and the talas having adjustable "on the fly" travel? how is the durability and reliability of the vanilla compare with that of the talas? right now supergo is pushing the talas rlc for something like $550 and the vanilla rlc is around $455 at jenson. decisions decisions
    It's all cycle-logical to me.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nimai
    upon looking at the fox talas rlc vs. the fox vanilla rlc, are there any differences besides price and the talas having adjustable "on the fly" travel? how is the durability and reliability of the vanilla compare with that of the talas? right now supergo is pushing the talas rlc for something like $550 and the vanilla rlc is around $455 at jenson. decisions decisions
    I ride with 2 people that have TALAS forks, and they love them and have had no problems.
    I picked the Vanilla for two reasons:
    1. I wanted a coil sprung fork.
    2. You should send the TALAS into Fox every 18 months for servicing and/or rebuilding. The TALAS mechanism is not user servicable and I doubt most, if any, LBS's could do any work on it. This may be changing, but until it does, I'd rather not be at the mercy of Fox's (or any one else's) service dept.

    Ugh...hope my Romic behaves itself

  33. #33
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    Take my lack of slow-speed-sensitivity-to-small-bumps comment with a grain of salt at this point since the bushings may still be tight. That said, both the Breakout Plus and Minute 3 I demoed acted similarly in SPV behavior, and they were a little more broken in (though still fairly new). The forks are really superior to the Fox at speed. I have never been on a Firefly, but I did ride a Breakout Plus on a Gemini for a day in Moab, and that fork has an uncannily similar ride to the Minute, it is just WAY BIGGER. It seems that the engineering in across the Minute-Sherman lines are pretty similar, just a difference of scale. I would guess the Firefly rides a lot like the Minute, just heavier, perhaps a tad smoother, and beefed up.

    The Talas had some pretty serious reliability issues when it came out having to do with the travel adjuster going haywire. They probably have that worked out now. Still, you cannot service the air spring leg on the fork since it has a vacuum pulled on it or something. The Vanilla is totally serviceable by you. I hate sending things off to be worked on, so that is an issue with the Talas for me. Having travel adjust at your fingertips is the selling point to the Talas. Otherwise it is purported to ride pretty much just like the Vanilla. Tommyrod74 just sold his Talas RLC on Ebay for $300 in good shape, so there are bargains to be found out there.
    My video techniques can be found in this thread.

  34. #34
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    give it a couple more rides

    My Firefly has gotten really buttery smooth, not that it (an '03) was ever really stictiony to start with, but it's taken a few good rides to get there (3 or 4? w/ 2000 vft or so each).
    I rode a Talas R for a year, and it's travel adjustment rules - nothing can really match its overall adjustability yet. Next year at this time, that may have changed...
    And with any luck, Push will be able to service and modify Talas forks as well at some point in the future. If the Talas was anywhere near as stiff as my Firefly, I'd be waiting on pins and needles for that mod...
    Also, check out Mtnhighcyclery.com - that's where I got my Talas R from, for about the price you're looking at for a Vanilla. Doesn't have lockout, but with the travel adjusted down, I never felt a need for it...
    Last edited by dbabuser; 05-06-2004 at 02:22 PM.

  35. #35
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    i'm wondering the same thing....

    Quote Originally Posted by MARider
    Just the kind of info I am looking for. The lack of slow speed sensitivity scares me the most. I wonder how similar this performs to a firefly?
    Anyone here ridden both a Minute and a Firefly? I will post this question on the shock forum as well.

    Most of the stuff I have read about the Firefly raves about the plushness & sensitivity - I wonder how different this is from the Minute.

    Nice review, Tscheezy. I am considering a Minute for a El Saltamontes, but I am having trouble deciding between that a firefly, or one of the Fox forks. Decisions, decisions....

  36. #36
    AOK
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    Tscheezy - stiffness on the minute?

    How stiff was the minute? Better or worse than your Vanilla?

  37. #37
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    AOK, allow me to quote myself from up above: "It was stiff enough, similar to the Vanilla, probably a bit flexier than my Z1, but nothing real noticeable."

    As to the break-in thing, my Z1 SL took about 6 weeks to really work itself loose, and it took a few oil changes to come into its own. I bet the Minute will do the same. I'd rather start with tight bushings and have them wear in correctly than have something plush from the first instant which just gets sloppy later. Strangely enough the Fox forks are buttery smooth right out of the box and my old Vanilla still has not developed any play even though the bushings look like crap and I have worn the slippery gold coating off the left leg.
    My video techniques can be found in this thread.

  38. #38
    AOK
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    one more question about the minute

    Quote Originally Posted by tscheezy
    AOK, allow me to quote myself from up above: "It was stiff enough, similar to the Vanilla, probably a bit flexier than my Z1, but nothing real noticeable."

    As to the break-in thing, my Z1 SL took about 6 weeks to really work itself loose, and it took a few oil changes to come into its own. I bet the Minute will do the same. I'd rather start with tight bushings and have them wear in correctly than have something plush from the first instant which just gets sloppy later. Strangely enough the Fox forks are buttery smooth right out of the box and my old Vanilla still has not developed any play even though the bushings look like crap and I have worn the slippery gold coating off the left leg.
    Doh! I managed to read your first post twice & missed the stiffness comment both times.

    2nd question about the minute - any tire clearance issues? You run 2.3s or 2.4s, correct?

    Unrelated note - I just got back from my first ride on my newly PUSHed XCE. Very nice! More later...

  39. #39
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    Tire clearance is pretty good, but definitely smaller than on the Vanilla (I'd take pics, but all my cameras are in a ship's hold sailing west). The widest point in the Minute's arch is 2 7/8" and on the Vanilla it's about 3 1/4". I am running a Nokian Core 2.3 right now and it has adequate room, and I tried the Timberwolf 2.5 briefly too, and it passes with a little bit to spare.
    My video techniques can be found in this thread.

  40. #40
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    Sdizzle over on the shocks board has been running his for a bit. He has struggled with it a little due to Answer's odd choice of spring rates and such. He is also a Z1 SL owner and knows a bit about tweaking forks. His problem is that he bottoms even with the stiffest spring but he does not like the ride with the SPV chamber in its smaller volumes which would help with bottoming. He also does not put much pressure in the SPV chamber because it rides too high then. He is 155# I think. I suppose there are people whom this fork may not accomodate easily, because they are not "average". That is ironic because the fork has a lot of adjustments.

    Edit: HOLY CRAP! Did anyone notice links being snuck into our text which take you to a reseller of the item being discussed? Dude, time to start spelling component manufacturers wrong....

    Let's see: Manitou, Manitoo

    Yup.
    Last edited by tscheezy; 05-06-2004 at 06:28 PM.
    My video techniques can be found in this thread.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by tscheezy
    Tommyrod74 just sold his Talas RLC on Ebay for $300 in good shape, so there are bargains to be found out there.
    It was a TALAS R, but still a good deal for someone (who still hasn't sent payment yet...).

    dbabuser- last time I talked with Jimmy at Push, he said they have a couple of Minute forks there and are working on mods for them as well (probably SPV based). I would guess they're looking at the Firefly as well, it's such a similar damping system, so that may be an option in the future.

    I'll have a Minute 2 tomorrow- going out of town this weekend so no ride report for a bit, but I'll report fully on the Minute as well as the 5.25" Switchblade linkage and the Pushed Float R (AVA to come eventually).

    Tommy
    Registered Dietitian, Cycling Coach, Ascend Nutrition and Coaching

    www.ascendthepeak.com

    www.facebook.com/ascendthepeak

  42. #42
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    Fork

    I"ve run a Black, a Minute( currently) and a Flick. For me the Flick was the best (no spv makes it more plush) but the Minute while harsh on the small stuff seems faster on smoother and rolling trails but not as good on steep and rough DH trails For long climbs it's a push except for the pound and a half extra on the flick. But the rat is quicker and easier to use when the climbs come up suddenly.
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