26er susp. fork upgrade -- Recon? or?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    26er susp. fork upgrade -- Recon? or?

    Riding a 2001 Gary Fisher Marlin with a really terrible Rockshox Jett, only 65mm travel. Looking to upgrade the fork but obviously it's not easy finding a 26-er fork for rim brakes. The used market is pretty dry around me and I found the Recon Silver TK being sold pretty consistently at $250, which I can swallow I guess. Is that the best option? I'm aware that going from 65 to 100mm travel will change the geometry and ride a bit. From what I've read I'm open to those changes.

    Advice greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  2. #2
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    100mm travel is a big jump from 65. Typically 10 to 20mm change is what's considered acceptable. With a fork that much longer you're looking at a couple of degrees more slack head tube but also a more slack seat tube and a significantly higher bottom bracket. The bike will feel like its on stilts and when seated you'll feel like you're hanging off the back of the bike. An 80mm travel fork would be better but that will be just as hard to find. The right way to do this is to find a good used or new old stock fork off ebay, something that was higher spec in 2001 than what you have.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by CromolyCowboy View Post
    100mm travel is a big jump from 65. Typically 10 to 20mm change is what's considered acceptable. With a fork that much longer you're looking at a couple of degrees more slack head tube but also a more slack seat tube and a significantly higher bottom bracket. The bike will feel like its on stilts and when seated you'll feel like you're hanging off the back of the bike. An 80mm travel fork would be better but that will be just as hard to find. The right way to do this is to find a good used or new old stock fork off ebay, something that was higher spec in 2001 than what you have.

    Thanks for the thoughts. This is a bummer as I hate the thought of dropping cash on a 20 year old part that's prone to wear and may or may not have parts available should they be needed.

    If it matters for additional opinions, or thoughts on how I could adjust, here are the bike specs.

    26er susp. fork upgrade -- Recon? or?-geo.jpg

  4. #4
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    26er susp. fork upgrade -- Recon? or?

    Quote Originally Posted by thegildedgopher View Post
    Riding a 2001 Gary Fisher Marlin with a really terrible Rockshox Jett, only 65mm travel. Looking to upgrade the fork but obviously it's not easy finding a 26-er fork for rim brakes. The used market is pretty dry around me and I found the Recon Silver TK being sold pretty consistently at $250, which I can swallow I guess. Is that the best option? I'm aware that going from 65 to 100mm travel will change the geometry and ride a bit. From what I've read I'm open to those changes.

    Advice greatly appreciated. Thanks!
    I went from 80 to 100 with a Manitou Markhor (which can be converted to 80mm right out of the box). It is a relatively light single air fork and very affordable. The axle to crown length wasnít too much different either. Take that measurement on your old fork and shop 100mm forks to see what may work without changing the geometry of the bike too much. Manitou even makes an M30 100mm with better internals than the Markhor for about the same money as that Recon. Check it out, let us know what you come up with.


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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by HotelBravo26 View Post
    I went from 80 to 100 with a Manitou Markhor (which can be converted to 80mm right out of the box). It is a relatively light single air fork and very affordable. The axle to crown length wasnít too much different either. Take that measurement on your old fork and shop 100mm forks to see what may work without changing the geometry of the bike too much. Manitou even makes an M30 100mm with better internals than the Markhor for about the same money as that Recon. Check it out, let us know what you come up with.


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    Thanks for the ideas, will do some digging. Pretty sure those Markhor's and M30's are disc-only yeah?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by thegildedgopher View Post
    Thanks for the ideas, will do some digging. Pretty sure those Markhor's and M30's are disc-only yeah?
    Yes, they are disc brake only.


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    I race XC with a 2005 Raleigh M80. Yes, I really do.

  7. #7
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    thegildedgopher, I put a Recon Silver on a '03 Gary Fisher 3+ which originally had a RS "U-Turn" fork that was adjustable (on the fly) from 80 to 110mm. I put a 130 mm Recon on it. The resulting change in geometry was great. More playful, more aggressive, especially going down. Definitely changed the bike from an XC feel to more of a trail feel. I know comparing the Sugar and Marlin isn't apples to apples, but sometimes the change in geo by increasing fork travel isn't a bad thing. As for the Recon Silver... it's really a decent air fork. Supports disk and rim brakes. Does surprisingly well on subtle chatter, and more than capable of decent hard hits. Keep in mind, though, 130mm vs the 100 you're considering.

    I remember the Marlin. Used to see them all over the place. Honestly, I think it'd be cool to rake it back a little with a longer fork. If it were me, I'd try a 110mm on it. But I'm far more a trail bike guy than an XC bike guy. As for investing in and worrying about parts for the Marlin, don't. Although my Sugar is a couple years newer, it's built on the same standards as your Marlin. Every part I need is still available, even the proprietary suspension bushings, which Trek still has in stock to this day.
    You didn't quit riding because you're old, you're old because you quit riding.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by fredcook View Post
    thegildedgopher, I put a Recon Silver on a '03 Gary Fisher 3+ which originally had a RS "U-Turn" fork that was adjustable (on the fly) from 80 to 110mm. I put a 130 mm Recon on it. The resulting change in geometry was great. More playful, more aggressive, especially going down. Definitely changed the bike from an XC feel to more of a trail feel. I know comparing the Sugar and Marlin isn't apples to apples, but sometimes the change in geo by increasing fork travel isn't a bad thing. As for the Recon Silver... it's really a decent air fork. Supports disk and rim brakes. Does surprisingly well on subtle chatter, and more than capable of decent hard hits. Keep in mind, though, 130mm vs the 100 you're considering.

    I remember the Marlin. Used to see them all over the place. Honestly, I think it'd be cool to rake it back a little with a longer fork. If it were me, I'd try a 110mm on it. But I'm far more a trail bike guy than an XC bike guy. As for investing in and worrying about parts for the Marlin, don't. Although my Sugar is a couple years newer, it's built on the same standards as your Marlin. Every part I need is still available, even the proprietary suspension bushings, which Trek still has in stock to this day.

    Really appreciate that feedback. Even tho I realize the Marlin is probably more of an XC bike, I am more of a strictly trail rider and don't shy away from log obstacles, rock gardens, etc. They are pretty challenging on my current set up, but I dig that. I am almost exclusively riding blue/black single track here in MN.

    I have some options. I could give the 100mm Recon a shot and see how I adjust to the changes in geometry. I wonder if I could remove a spacer or two from the headset to compensate for the longer fork?

    The other option is to convert my front to disc, which could open up some different fork choices like the 80mm Manitou mentioned above.

    I'll be riding with my buddy who is a mechanic and LBS manager on Wednesday morning, so we'll go over the pros and cons and take it from there.

  9. #9
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    Another vote for the Manitou with ABS damper. That uses shims you can tune easily. Better than most other Fox or RS options. I'd start by removing the 19mm at one end of the stack. Makes small bump compliance really smooth.
    Yes you'd need a disc wheel. But a front Shimano 4 pot 420 or 520 brake would bolt on without bleeding for a big bump in power.
    And you could make that wheel 27.5(fork too) for many more tire choices.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    Another vote for the Manitou with ABS damper. That uses shims you can tune easily. Better than most other Fox or RS options. I'd start by removing the 19mm at one end of the stack. Makes small bump compliance really smooth.
    Yes you'd need a disc wheel. But a front Shimano 4 pot 420 or 520 brake would bolt on without bleeding for a big bump in power.
    And you could make that wheel 27.5(fork too) for many more tire choices.
    Thanks @eb1888 -- But you lost me with that blasphemy about the 27.5 stuff. Long live the 26-er haha!

  11. #11
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    I have a new 80mm Manitou Minute Expert 26"er with v-brake and disc tabs. I think it's able to convert to 100mm but I'm not exactly sure. I'll take $250USD for it..

  12. #12
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    Just be careful when changing to a longer travel fork. Yes, you change the geometry. But, you also add stress to the head tube that it was designed to take.

    My biggest concern would be frame failure going from 65mm to 100mm plus.

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  13. #13
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    Pretty interesting... depending on your bike you might have to upgrade forks, front wheel, and front brakes. Could be $$$$. Some pros: reuse & rebuild the rim for the rear, extra brake for the rear. Cons: $$$.

    Overall is it worth it? Anybody running front disc 26 or even 27.5 with rear V's?

    Like many, my frame can't support rear discs. At some point we won't have the option to upgrade and doing this upgrade sooner than later might be our only choice - is it?

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    Thought I'd check back in with an update. I went with the Recon Silver. Whatever geometry changes happened have been welcome here. Stilts? No, not at all.

    If there was a time to go disc, this was it, but I'm sticking with my trusty V brakes. We did some major surgery overall, replacing the entire drive train with 1x10. I got the entire kit donated by someone upgrading to the SRAM 1x12, which freed up my TINY budget to put toward new rims/tires and the Fork. Overall I'm thrilled with it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thegildedgopher View Post
    Thought I'd check back in with an update. I went with the Recon Silver. Whatever geometry changes happened have been welcome here. Stilts? No, not at all.

    If there was a time to go disc, this was it, but I'm sticking with my trusty V brakes. We did some major surgery overall, replacing the entire drive train with 1x10. I got the entire kit donated by someone upgrading to the SRAM 1x12, which freed up my TINY budget to put toward new rims/tires and the Fork. Overall I'm thrilled with it.
    Glad you got such a nice upgrade for free. I have the same bike she had a few questions:

    -Which Recon did SRAM end up sending you. When I went to turn in my Jett, I could have sworn they said TK, but the mechanic at my LBS was sure they told him RL? Mostly curious, either way is an upgrade and I can't complain about free.

    - I've also been thinking of switching to 1x10 in the more distant future. What parts did you end using for the conversion and how does it run? I've tried looking around, but my lack of knowledge makes it hard to tell what's even compatible with a twenty year old bike.

    Thanks
    D

  16. #16
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    I have also recently installed the RS Recon Silver on to my 26er and decided to retain V brakes. The forks have transformed my bike, the geometry changes I have noticed are the same - Its gone from being XC to an capable trails bike and is like riding on a cloud. Next up is 1x10 upgrade!

    I can't recommend the Recon Silver's highly enough. For reference I removed some terrible RS Jett XC's.

  17. #17
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    26er susp. fork upgrade -- Recon? or?-fdae4039-4fac-4aac-956e-b720f6f29b98.jpgIím in same boat trying to find either nice used parts or NOS stuff for my 99 K2 XC mountain bike. It is too upgraded and good condition not to use it. It would take 2k minimum to match the parts and specs. Iím on ebay fork #2 Marzocchi Bomber since the first one was trashed. Seller refunded and paid shipping back TG. Bike shop has my new to me (used) 2000 Atom 80 with supposedly low hours.?

  18. #18
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    Very nice!

    I'm super excited as I got the call from my local shop that the replacement fork just came in! I dropped my bike off at the shop. Sadly our shops are so swamped with orders and back orders, the clerk wasn't sure what kind of Recon SRAM sent. She actually want totally sure if they would even charge me labor to swap the forks out.

    It took SRAM almost 3 months to get the fork to my shop. I think they had a lot of issues due to the quarentine, but I really can't complain since they are honoring a 20yr old recall and replacing my Jett with a new fork for free.

    Now I just gotta wait a week or two for the the repair (they are super busy).

    Excited!

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by denyasis View Post
    It took SRAM almost 3 months to get the fork to my shop. I think they had a lot of issues due to the quarentine, but I really can't complain since they are honoring a 20yr old recall and replacing my Jett with a new fork for free.

    Now I just gotta wait a week or two for the the repair (they are super busy).

    Excited!
    Wait... they honoured the recall?! I didnít even think they would remember it 🤦*♂️ I went out and bought new RS 😂

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lankygit View Post
    Wait... they honoured the recall?! I didnít even think they would remember it 🤦*♂️ I went out and bought new RS 😂
    Yep! Other than the wait, it was painless. I called SRAM told them I had an old Jett that I thought was under recall. They asked for the fork's serial number to confirm it was recalled, told me they would replace it with a new fork and that I just needed to take it to an authorized dealer. They suggested I print out the recall from the CPSC and bring it in with me to my bike shop. Not even a 10 minute call. The person at SRAM said for a recall, they are going to try to honor it forever.

    I called my bike shop the next day, brought in the bike for them to see and they handled everything. The mechanics were also really surprised about the recall. I'm glad I printed out the recall notice a brought it with me as I think they were a little doubtful about the recall until they called SRAM to start the process.

    From what the mechanic told me, the shop buys the new fork and once they get it, sends back the recalled fork and gets a refund. No cost on my end or for the shop one is done.

    The customer service on both ends was great, just had to wait on the fork. My local shop told me SRAM was out of them in their warehouse and there have been a lot of supply chain issues, hence the wait.

    If you still have your Jett, check the recall, can't hurt to have a spare, lol.

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