Is there ever reason to have tons of front suspension travel on a hardtail?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Is there ever reason to have tons of front suspension travel on a hardtail?

    I can understand why somebody would want a full squish bike to have gobs of travel on both ends. Having it would make the bike the equivalent of a 4 x 4 truck.

    Though, for a hardtail, one side already is rigid, which (arguably) limits the bike's potential to XC riding. Why ever go ultra-plush on the front end? I ask this as I'm setting up my ss29er. I can set the Reba for 85mm or 100mm, and I'm leaning toward the lower side. In auto racing at least, suspension is set to the lowest height possible for a given set of driving conditions. The lower the suspension, the lower the center of gravity. The lower the center of gravity, the faster the weight transfer, and ultimately, the snazzier the handling. I believe this holds true for off-road as well as on-road?

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    mtbs are not race cars. Four wheels and two wheels react very differently.

    The fork length the frame is designed for is as or more important that the actual fork travel in this case.
    It is normal to adjust the cockpit of the bike (saddle position, stem and bar height) when the fork length is changed.
    A bike can have a low CG regardless of the fork travel. But remember that the rider is much heavier than the bike.
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  3. #3
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    I rode my 29er yesterday for the first time with a suspension fork. Had the Reba set at 100mm and while much of you say is true, I could not believe how plush it felt on the downs, hardtail or not. It soaked up everything much better than I thought it would. While it makes sense what you say, it felt awesome hammering through rough stuff with the hardtail aspect not being a big deal at all.

    But with the good there comes bad. After the ride I told myself I wish I could keep it as 100mm cause the way it rode through the rough blew me away....but on the downside (for me), I did not like at all what it did to the handling. It lost its very nimble feeling and on the climbs, I did not like how it felt like the tire was wandering (it wasnt technically wandering....but the sensation was there to a great extent). And because it is a single speed, I especially did not like how I felt cramped in the upper body when standing and climbing in the sense that my arms just felt much less extended when standing as now that the fork was both taller in axle to crown (42mm taller) combined with the resultant slacker head angle which while good for down, ruined it for me on climbs and flats and tighter singletrack.

    Frankly, this is a XC machine and as such, 3" of travel is plenty. So that puts me at (1) having the travel adjusted to 80mm from the current 100mm on the Reba and (2) perhaps playing with the headset spacers to bring down the "height" of the bars till it feels close to where things were with the karate monkey fork.

    At least with the Reba versus Karate Monkey, the 80mm travel setting will still have a slacker head angle when climbing since I use the Poploc for climbing which will keep the Axle to Crown at 490mm over the 468mm KM AC. But when just riding along, given the sag in the fork, it will ride virtually spot on at where I rode with the KM which is really where I want things.
    Last edited by FoShizzle; 01-17-2006 at 05:58 PM.

  4. #4
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    Sure lots of them in the 26” world; Cove Stiffe, Rocky Mountain Flow, Norco 4 hun Etc…

    Descending capability [to a certain point] has more to do with front suspension than rear.

    If I had the funds for a totally off the wall hardtail I would hardly use, it would be a 29” beefy steel hardtail with super low standover, laid back geometry, a DUC 32 and super beefy wheels.

  5. #5
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    New question here. Why suspension???

    Quote Originally Posted by FoShizzle
    I rode my 29er yesterday for the first time with a suspension fork..
    As one of the more knowledgeable people on this forum, I was wondering why you went to a suspension fork???... seems that riders go back and forth with rigid vs suspension. After a while, it seems that they just want something different. I started mountain biking back in the 70's... everything was rigid... we didn't know anything else as suspension was just a gleam in Paul Turner's eye's. Front suspension then came along and riders started riding it and exclaimed the wonders of a "soft" front end going over everything.... course everybody then noticed how much shock was coming up the seat tube... then we had rear suspension 1 inch, 2 inches, 3.5 inches... damn! 5 inches of soft plush travel that shallowed bumps like Deepthroat! ... Now it seems there is a distinct movement back to rigid... not only that, but single speed rigid... and not 26" but 29". And I got to tell you I really like the larger tires with the SS... it's a lot of fun. Now back to my original question, why are you considering changing to a suspension on the 29SS?

    Inquiring minds want to know....

    Laguna Niguel, CA :

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtber3737
    As one of the more knowledgeable people on this forum, I was wondering why you went to a suspension fork???... seems that riders go back and forth with rigid vs suspension. After a while, it seems that they just want something different. I started mountain biking back in the 70's... everything was rigid... we didn't know anything else as suspension was just a gleam in Paul Turner's eye's. Front suspension then came along and riders started riding it and exclaimed the wonders of a "soft" front end going over everything.... course everybody then noticed how much shock was coming up the seat tube... then we had rear suspension 1 inch, 2 inches, 3.5 inches... damn! 5 inches of soft plush travel that shallowed bumps like Deepthroat! ... Now it seems there is a distinct movement back to rigid... not only that, but single speed rigid... and not 26" but 29". And I got to tell you I really like the larger tires with the SS... it's a lot of fun. Now back to my original question, why are you considering changing to a suspension on the 29SS?

    Inquiring minds want to know....

    Laguna Niguel, CA :
    well....I DEFINITELY want a bike with a rigid fork, and I still have one. I just bought an Inbred 29er and will definitley leave that as a fully rigid. no doubt that for a fully rigid bike, the 29er is always the way to go and as such, I will ALWAYS have one set up that way.

    But because I have the disease which forces me to always have some sort of bike project, the suspension fork came to mind. Cause I got such a great deal on the Reba I "had" to buy it ;was actually not planning on it to be honest. I figured I would try it on the One 9 to see how it worked out. I hope changing the travel to 80mm will be closer to the handling I liked....or at least close enough.

    So part of it is simply curiousity of how much ass would a 29er kick with a suspension....and based on one ride, a lot of ass. Part of it was also that the Karate Moneky is just too stiff of a fork for all day rides (for me) which I quickly realized after getting my Inbred 29er which has a seemingly much more compliant fork. I may very well get a Waltworks of Ventana rigid for the One 9 for certain rides.

    The other part was that I do some rides with some groups of pretty technical riders and while on the climbs I am way out in front, I HATE to be far back on the technical downhills....not that I cant do them on my rigid (albeit slowly) but I just cant do em fast enough to keep up with my friends which shouldn't bother me but just does.

    I think for some rides, though some will argue is not mandatory, a suspension fork is nice, period. For say 12 hour solo events, I think I would opt for suspension, etc...

  7. #7
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    The difference between the Reba at 80mm and 100mm is negligable. It is not the difference between XC and DH. They are both very XC.

    4" is not "long travel."

    Riding rigid is an acquired taste, much like hard liquor, cigars, cocaine, and many other things which are or could be potentially dangerous.

    I have designed my most recent frame around a 4" Reba. It maintains a 71 degree HA.

    If I'm running suspension, I might as well use all I can, and still be reasonable.

    To me, rigid riding severly limits performance, so for a broad spectrum of riding, I opt for suspension.

    Bottom line, I enjoy descending. I also enjoy control and steering, both of which are contradicted severely by a rigid front end. Thus, most of the time, I opt for suspension.

  8. #8
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    yeah....i dont expect a massive change. However, the change in angle I do expect to notice from my experience with other bikes. the absolute height probably wont alter the ride per se but anything to get the head angle back to where I liked it (or at least thought I preferred it) I am at least gonna try.

    cheers

  9. #9
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    Sometimes you just have tio have a little squish...

    Quote Originally Posted by FoShizzle
    well....
    I think for some rides, though some will argue is not mandatory, a suspension fork is nice, period. ..
    I agree... that's why I'm trying to mate an ActionTec Pro Shock to a Wily 29er frame, even though Brad makes a very nice rigid fork.... a little suspension goes a long way and leaves my old bones feeling a lot better.

  10. #10
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    The downside I can see, even with a frame built to use loads of travel without slackened angles, is brake dive.
    If the fork dives under braking, and does so more than a short-travel one, handling deteriorates worse too. a long-travel linkage fork that eliminates shortened trail under dive, that'd be interesting...

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cloxxki
    The downside I can see, even with a frame built to use loads of travel without slackened angles, is brake dive.
    If the fork dives under braking, and does so more than a short-travel one, handling deteriorates worse too. a long-travel linkage fork that eliminates shortened trail under dive, that'd be interesting...

    how abt USE sub anti-dive fork?

    http://mtbr.com/reviews/Front_Shock/product_78218.shtml

    anyone heard if they are coming out with a 29er version?

  12. #12
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    Wink Like this one?!



    Quote Originally Posted by WarPigs
    how abt USE sub anti-dive fork?

    https://mtbr.com/reviews/Front_Shock...ct_78218.shtml

    anyone heard if they are coming out with a 29er version?
    It's already available and it's great. Far and away the best fork I've ever ridden.
    The anti dive is amazing and really does work.

    Laters

    Charlie

  13. #13
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    I ran a 4" fork on my 26"er before moving up in the wheel department. Can't say I ever ran into a situation where 4" was too much. Downhill, it was great having extra cush. Climing, I can't say I really noticed it. Tight trail? Not noticable to me either.

    All that said, I haven't tried 4" on a 29er yet. I'd certainly like to, but as I'm a cheap bastard, it's not likely to happen till I come upon a great deal on an older Reba. My personal rig won't even accept a CX-1 with out a serious geometry change, so putting one on that is outta the question(which is fine since I run it rigid most of the time anyhoos). Which means I have to get a new bike! damn.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by awai04
    I can understand why somebody would want a full squish bike to have gobs of travel on both ends. Having it would make the bike the equivalent of a 4 x 4 truck.

    Though, for a hardtail, one side already is rigid, which (arguably) limits the bike's potential to XC riding. Why ever go ultra-plush on the front end?
    ??? I ride a hardtail with 7inches of plush travel in the front. if you do XC then haveing a super plush long travel fork (psylo ETC) is a stupid idea. I used to run my hardtail at 100mm and then I swiched to 170mm it makes a huge difference. thing is on a hardtail, you learn to land in certain ways that would feel just like a fully. I know this is a little different than 29" XC. because i'm 26" freeride. but really, long travel hardtails are amazing. with plush travel in the front, you can controll the front end in rockgarden types of riding better.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by 29inchcharlie




    It's already available and it's great. Far and away the best fork I've ever ridden.
    The anti dive is amazing and really does work.

    Laters

    Charlie
    fantastic! i went to their website, didnt see anything abt able to fit 29er bikes. luckily there is a distributor here, will enquire more from them.

    but firstly a question,
    is it convertable from 26" to 29"? i was thinking of fitting it to my 26" first, and later when more funds come in, will get a 29" frame. ala maverick's forks?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by todd_freeride
    ??? I ride a hardtail with 7inches of plush travel in the front....but really, long travel hardtails are amazing....
    Word.

    I did for a while too. Was bucketfuls of fun. Super duper fast and fun, just glad I had a lift to get me to the top of the hill.

    I think that big wheels need suspension assistance less than 26ers. Having said that, I imagine that a 29er with decent suspension would be a mountain killer. I'm planning on putting a 100mm fork on my KM soon, I'll let you all know how it goes. hardly monster travel, but it'll be interesting to see how one of the most common 26er combos goes with 29er wheels.
    Ride.

  17. #17
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    (26er lurk mode of....)

    running 140mm up front of my hardtail, and with the slacked geometry (it was designed with that in mind) i have boatloads more fun on it than i ever did on a shorter travel/steeper head angled bike.

    yes, it's a bit more wallowy (is that really a word?) on climbs, but i love it in every other condition, even smooth/tight/twisty stuff.

    fat tires+69 degree head angle+140mm fork+wide handlbar=some kickass fun.

    granted, this isn't a racer, either. just the daily driver for me. if i were racing or only cared about how fast i could go, i'd have a totally different setup. but playing on techy stuff is waaaaay more fun this way.
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  18. #18
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    Sort of.....

    Quote Originally Posted by WarPigs
    fantastic! i went to their website, didnt see anything abt able to fit 29er bikes. luckily there is a distributor here, will enquire more from them.

    but firstly a question,
    is it convertable from 26" to 29"? i was thinking of fitting it to my 26" first, and later when more funds come in, will get a 29" frame. ala maverick's forks?
    As far as I know/understand, you COULD modify a 26" fork for use with 29" wheels (it has been done, a long time ago and there are some pictures floating around on the web) by shortening the travel, BUT you lose out on travel and I imagine it would have some geometry implications too?

    Here's one of the pictures I was thinking of:



    You can find some more here:

    https://www.shitshifter.com/pictures...id=66&first=36

    The guys at U.S.E. are super helpful so if you were to e-mail them I'm sure they'd give you all the answers you might want!

  19. #19

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    Oh, yeah!

    Quote Originally Posted by scrublover
    (26er lurk mode of....)
    but playing on techy stuff is waaaaay more fun this way.
    I agree with this too; there's nothing like big front-end travel when rolling through technical terrain. I built my first 29'er about 10 days ago (Surly KM) after having ridden a fixed cross bike w/44c's for over a year. Due to cash flow constraints (e.g. broke as hell) I'm running the new bike rigid for now. I have to admit that I agree with Chris (TSG) that suspension on a 29'er appears to make less of an impact from my very limited experience. The stock KM frame and fork handle the technical sections of the trail as good or in some cases better than my now stripped 26. I know that this has been debated to death... but the 29-inch wheel is great for bigger (>24") log crossings... at least that is how it feels for me.
    All in all I'd really like to try a 100+ fork on my new frame. In the end it's how you ride and what you like that matters: I've been schooled in gnarly sections by folks riding everything from mondo-FS to BMX bikes.
    BTW: Cool bike Scrub! Makes me want to buy some new parts for my scrapped 26". Any action pic's on that rig???

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by l-dub1
    BTW: Cool bike Scrub! Makes me want to buy some new parts for my scrapped 26". Any action pic's on that rig???
    i won't dirty up the 29er area with 26 action, but do a search on my name for passion threads started; a few over there.
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    Killer pic's!

    Quote Originally Posted by scrublover
    i won't dirty up the 29er area with 26 action, but do a search on my name for passion threads started; a few over there.
    Thanks for the link out to the pic's. You're in my old neck of the woods; I grew up in Lyons. It's good to see Long's in the background on one of the shots. It's my favorite 14'er! Anyway keep the good shots coming and I'll drop by the passion forum a bit more. Maybe I'll even get a few of my own shots on the new brown monkey this weekend to post.

  22. #22
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    Guys, you've all inspired me to put a long-travel fork on a hardtail.

    I can't wait to test this thing on the long climbs here in SoCal.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Padre
    Guys, you've all inspired me to put a long-travel fork on a hardtail.

    I can't wait to test this thing on the long climbs here in SoCal.
    neat SS conversion you got goin there too.
    Ride.

  24. #24
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    Morphine? I've got one of those! 100mm Black fork only. I've had it outside at the garbage, no-on ewants it but me, and I hardly ever ride it. Once a year maybe.

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