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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.
    Phillipians 2:3-8 "...but (Christ) made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant..."

  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.
    Phillipians 2:3-8 "...but (Christ) made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant..."

  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!
    Phillipians 2:3-8 "...but (Christ) made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant..."

  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.

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