Putting a 140-150mm fork on a 100mm Santa Cruz 2012 SL 29- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Putting a 140-150mm fork on a 100mm Santa Cruz 2012 SL 29

    I got a Santa Cruz SL 29 in 2012. It was spec'd with a 100mm fork. The lbs swapped it out for an X-Fusion Slide RL2 29 with 120mm of travel.

    The rear end is 100 mm so the bike is still well balanced with a 120mm fork. I am fascinated by the whole new school geometry thing and want to try it out. However, I am a graduate student and won't have the money to invest in a new school full suspension for awhile yet.

    In the meantime I have been toying with the idea of a 140-150mm travel fork on the SC SL 29. I know it will slacken the head angle a bit, and raise the bb. I will probably want to lower the handlebars and go with a slightly longer stem (10-15mm).

    This is an option I could take right away, versus buying a whole new bike several years from now. I wonder how it will affect the handling. It occurs to me that the steering will slow down slightly, which will be useful in technical terrain. However the increased bb height makes me think the bike would be less stable, although the change might be minimal enough that it wouldn't make a difference. As with many things bicycle related, sometimes you just don't know until you try it.

    I have converted a fully rigid 24 inch wheel bmx cruiser with a 26" wheel in the back and a 27.5" wheel up front, with a 26" fork. So, it is not as if I am adverse to weird ride characteristics. The longer fork and higher bb are things I've gotten used to. However, comparing fully rigid 24" wheel bmx cruisers to full suspension 29er's isn't exactly apples to apples, given suspension sag, geometry differences, body position, etc.
    I have gotten used to the handling on that strange little bike. I guess it is all what one adjusts to. I rode a 26er with 74/74.5 head/seat angles, off-road, for years and loved it.

    Can anyone tell me off-hand if there is a 29er fork on the market with external travel adjustment? It would be cool to go from 120mm to 150mm at the top of a climb. I don't want to destroy the headtube on the frame with a fork that's too long, but the gussets and welds on the Santa Cruz SL 29 frame are huge and burly, so I am not overly worried about the frame. I am 6'4, 220 lbs and ride and xl frame but I am only doing xc, albeit on really long climbs and really long descents, hence the desire for a longer travel fork.

    Is going from 120mm to 140 or 150mm even worth it? On a ruler, 20-30mm looks like nothing, but I know that's not the whole story. With proper sag, I'd still get more travel out of a longer fork. I guess the thing that attracts me to the idea is that a longer fork could ride slightly higher in it's travel, and have more in reserve for the extra big hits. I realize going with a 150mm fork on a frame with 100mm of rear travel is an odd pairing, but a new bike is not in the cards until after graduation. In the meantime I am trying to figure out how drastic the change in geometry will be, and given my history of riding weird bikes with steep angles (Like a vintage Bridgestone MB-1 with a 72 degree head angle), can I get used to the quirks or should I forget about it?

    Perhaps a 27.5x2.8 rear tire would accomplish the same thing, without replacing the fork.

    Dunno how much of the rest matters but here are some numbers on my SC SL 29.

    Current head angle/seat angle -- 70/72(3?)
    Bars - 30 inches
    Stem - 80mm
    21.5" XL frame

  2. #2
    I Tried Them ALL... SuperModerator
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    Try finding a 2013 Pike, with dual travel. My old Pivot SL enjoyed 120/150mm travel so much, I even took it to the bike park:


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  3. #3
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    If it was my bike I'd skip dual travel in favor of a much better quality fork. One with more adjustability like a Manitou Mattoc Pro.
    https://manitoumtb.com/product/mattoc-2/?cat_id=23
    Maybe look for a used one as guys move to the new Mezzer which is too much for your bike.
    There's plenty of helpful discussion on this fork.
    Because of the damping adjustability and the level of performance you'll likely not need higher amounts of travel based on what you have at the rear. The fork can be switched internally 120-140 in one version.
    I'd also get wider rims and run wider tires at lower pressures based on your terrain and speeds.

    Review-
    https://nsmb.com/articles/manitou-mattoc-pro-fork/

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