Need a fork for 1996 Ventana El Habanero
I was luck to find a '96 Ventana that has been garaged almost it's entire life.
The Halston Inversion Fork (going to sell it) needs elastomers AND the steering tube is way too short.
I'm clueless when it comes to all the available forks out there. I was looking at the Rock Shox Sid SL 80mm on ebay which seems to be a decent fork but have no idea if it would be a good choice for cross country riding.
What is the Axle to Crown height of the Halston? That will help you find a compatible height fork.
It's at the shop right now. I'll check when I get it.
Old Ventana's are cool. Post a pic when you can.
Any fork from the era should be fine. Judy or early SID. Probably something in the 63mm arena.
Or better yet, what Banks said.
I will post a photo soon.
I thought about keeping the fork and extending the steerer. I've got a local veteran wrencher who can do it for me. But then there's the issue of the elastomers which need to be replaced. Kinda of torn about that as the Halston inversion forks are way cool and I really don't need a lot of travel for the kind of riding I'll be doing AND the bike might have more value by keeping it original.
Axle to crown on the Halson (not "HalsTon"!) is 16.5", whatever that comes out to in millimeters.
You could get replacement parts from here: Suspension Fork Parts eStore - Halson Inverted Elastomer Refresh Kit - (Powered by CubeCart)
The original elastomers were 5" long at the top, each an inch long, and color-coded for four different hardnesses, and the at the bottom of the stack was a narrow, hard, red 2" elastomer. You could really fine tune the spring rate that way. The replacement is similar, but I think they are all one hardness. The holy grail would be a set of microcellular elastomers from the later Halson PDS fork and which happen to backward compatible with the fork you have. You may just be able to get some from user DeeEight, who I believe has a PDS, and just maybe has some elastomers. By the way- elastomers from the Manitou Mach 5 fork, which sometimes pop up on ebay, also work, even though the hole in them for the skewer is a little big.
Or you could replace the whole fork, either with something newer and better, or something contemporary. I used to be a big fan of these forks- it was true that their longer elastomer stack (total 7" versus contemporary 6" or even 4" on some forks) offered more compression and rebound control, almost like a damped fork, but their brake brace is super heavy and clunky, and flexy to boot.
Halson claimed that these forks had a lot of advantages:
1) Lower unsprung weight (this is the weight of all the parts of the fork that have to get lifted by the force of a bump every time you hit one) from having the lower diameter tubes on the bottom
2) Greater rigidity from having the larger diameter tubes up top, where bending forces are greater, and also from the massive crown
3) More rebound control from having a longer elastomer stack
4) Easier tuning possibilities from having an elastomer stack that you can remove tools-free
3) and 4) are true, but in reality the lower legs of the Halson Inversion used heavy-gauge unbutted aluminum versus Rock Shox, and later Manitou's, cast magnesium; also the brace as I mentioned is heavy AND flexy. As for rigidity- they were OK. The advantage of larger stanchions was negated by drilling long slots in them so the brakes could attach to the lowers, and by the absolutely stupid, long dropouts. Also- all the offset for the front axle is in the crown- look at the fork from the side, you will see what I mean. This means that the center of gravity of the fork is far from the center of the steerer tube, ie, its rotating mass when turning is high. This means it feels clunkier and slower to turn than a Manitou, which had all its offset from the dropout. One cool thing is that the finish on the legs is nearly invincible, and it is easy to take apart.
Overall, that fork was superior in some ways to its contemporaries, but inferior in others, which, along with the fact that the key in selling MTB gear is marketing and not engineering, kept them from fielding more than two generations of forks.
16.5 is about 420mm which is Short! Most 80mm forks are 455mm. Choke a newer 80mm Rock Shox to 60mm and that should ride ok.
That bike was made for an 80mm fork...
The 80mm Judy SL was the fork of choice for that bike back in the day. Even the Ventana team riders agreed in spite of their Halson contract.
Originally Posted by Rumpfy
The Halson Inversion had 1.9" of travel.
You sure? even later gens?
That's manitou 1 or 2 travel!!!
I dont know, just surprised. They were , like the oil shock proponents of the era, trying to get past stiction and resistance to getting full travel.
Originally Posted by uphiller
Just a heads up ( if youre looking to keep it retro) the habanero was ventana's answer to the propensity of marble peak owners to run coil shocks on their bikes. The original marble peak was a falling rate setup, designed to keep bob at the minimum but suddenly break free under hard impacts. Thus, Sherwood always considered the marble peak an air shock XC FS bike.
In other words, you need a coil shock circa 95.....judy dh:)
There may be one other option. IF you want this as a rider first and foremost instead of a period piece.
Give Ventana a phone call and see if they can work some magic with the frame. They may be able to swap out a headtube for something larger. Like 1 1/8, that would free up a lot more forks.
It won't be the cheapest option, but should keep it on the trail the longest. Finding a good 1" fork isn't easy. I'm still looking. :)
EDIT: I am assuming your frame has a 1" headtube. The Marble Peak frame I've got is from around 95 or 96 and is 1". I don't know when Ventana switched to 1 1/8" for certain. IF the frame is 1 1/8" then if you want to keep it retro, a Judy would be a good fork or go with one of the early Bombers. Or if you want something more modern Sid, or even a newer Fox should work.
Originally Posted by JmZ
Lets see it!
I have a soft spot for Ventana's. I would kill for an early elevated chain stay MP.
I am absolutely sure. I had two of them. There were two forks- the first generation ones, which were matte black, were made largely from cast aluminum parts; they had 1.9" of travel, all the offset in the crown, and solid elastomer springs 7" long. They came out in late 1992 or early 1993 as I recall (DeeEight, correct me with a "Bzzzt, thanks for playing" if I am wrong). There were two versions of that fork. One was made in Taiwan by RST and had a black steerer tube, and there was the same fork that was made in the US and which had a silver steerer tube.
Originally Posted by Michael Ventana
Later, I think in 1995, they started advertising the Halson PDS, for "Pneumatic Damping System". It had air damping, 2.5" of travel from MCU's, an incredibly rigid tubular aluminum brace, all the offset in the dropouts, an enormous gold ano aluminum bolt that screwed into the threads at bottom of a tapered aluminum steerer, squeezing it into a hollowed out CNC crown.
They said they wanted to eliminate stiction by getting rid of the oil damper- oil has natural surface tension that must be overcome each time you hit a bump, a fact which does not pertain to the air used in the Halson's damper, which also had the advantage of being speed sensitive- compress the fork slowly, and the air is compressed slowly, providing minimum resistance; try to compress the fork abruptly, and the air is less willing to be compressed. Another cool thing is that the fork constantly breathes new air, so there is no overheating. The RST Mozo air damped fork of the same period used similar principles.
How well does it work? I found that the boots on the PDS were sticky, more than negating the lower stiction aspect. So I lubed the inside of the boots with Tri-Flo. I also later broke the fork- the inside of the thing was kind of fragile, it has these long hollow rods that came down from the bottom of the crown into the upper legs. One of them snapped after Halson was already long out of business, and it was impossible to repair.
I talked to the owner of the company, and he told me that they were planning on a new generation of forks with some more unique ideas- oval-shaped steel (!) tubing which prevented twisting- but he also said that after you go above 2.5" of travel, the slots in the stanchions get too long and the fork ends up being weak. So they were contemplating going to a standard design.
Interesting designs on paper, but not always so well-executed.
Linkage to frame thread
Ventana Marble Peak FS Thread.
Originally Posted by Rumpfy
When it was built up. It ended up being a hair too large for me. So now the frame sits in the closet. :(
I'm still tempted to have it refurbed for my brother who's a hair taller. See if a 1 1/8 headtube can be installed, fresh paint, and a modern shock. Need a bit of coin before I can do that though.
Ooooh, its a fully. Gotcha. I thought it was a hardtail.
Originally Posted by JmZ
Funny, my first full suspension bike was a blue Marble Peak like yours....my second full suspension bike was a Super Dust El Salt. Ha!
Thanks mates ~
Wow, what a wealth of information you all have. Thanks so much for sharing. It has helped me in deciding to keep the Halston fork, extend the steerer tube and obtain some new elastomers. My riding is cross-country, so the rebuilt Halston should be enough. In the mean time, if it turns out not to serve my needs, I can look for a Judy SL as Michael Ventana suggested, although I'm not sure how easy it would be to find one of these in decent shape. I guess I could also look for a Bomber. I do like the idea of keeping it retro.
I do have a 1 1/8" headtube by the way and it's 1996 for sure according to the original owner who put less than 500 miles on it.
You can get A White Brothers Magic 80 in a 1" steerer tube. It's a fine modern fork. I use it on my 95' Indy Fab Deluxe #007.
I have a 1 1/8" tube!
I see a couple of decent 1 1/8" Judy SLs on eBay that I'm watching.
Originally Posted by mattytruth
Spoke with Stewart at Ventana
He says my Halston is 50 mm of travel - best alternative is the Judy SL 80 mm.
I'm going to rebuild this fork & see how it feels as well as trying to pick up a Judy SL to try that as well.
I found the Halaton Refresh Kit here -
Suspension Fork Parts eStore - Halson Inverted Elastomer Refresh Kit - (Powered by CubeCart)
Not sure of whether to get the Firm or Medium - they don't give a description.
Anyone familiar with the difference in the ride between the two.