Thoughts on the Niner or Enve Rigid fork for HT MTB- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Thoughts on the Niner or Enve Rigid fork for HT MTB

    I mostly use my HT for XC riding, light-ish trails, never jumps unless the opportunity happens to present itself to get some air. But I definitely don't seek out jumps.

    I've been thinking about doing some longer XC racing, endurance type 50+ milers. There seems to be some weight advantage to replacing my front suspension with a rigid fork, nearly two lbs, and maybe would be able to put more power to the ground without the flex of the suspension.

    What are the major downsides to a rigid fork? How much less gnarly terrain would I be able to tackle without the front suspension?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by a12k View Post
    I mostly use my HT for XC riding, light-ish trails, never jumps unless the opportunity happens to present itself to get some air. But I definitely don't seek out jumps.

    I've been thinking about doing some longer XC racing, endurance type 50+ milers. There seems to be some weight advantage to replacing my front suspension with a rigid fork, nearly two lbs, and maybe would be able to put more power to the ground without the flex of the suspension.

    What are the major downsides to a rigid fork? How much less gnarly terrain would I be able to tackle without the front suspension?
    I have a Whisky, quite happy with it.

    Yes it's lighter, I've raced mine short course a good amount. I would probably favor a sus fork for endurance racing, depending on the course of course.

    The biggest disadvantage of a rigid fork is being able to carry speed through rough stuff. Descending chunky trails is notably slower. You can still ride it but not as fast.

    On the climbs though, it's a lot faster.
    Rigid SS 29er
    SS 29+
    Fat Lefty
    SS cyclocross
    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  3. #3
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    All depends. My last 3 MTBs have all been rigid, steel SSs. Currently running a Crux 29x3.25 up front with a Waltworks steel fork and donít give up much time to the front/full squishies.

  4. #4
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    I have a niner carbon fork on my single speed and a steel fork that I swap out on occasion on my 29+ hard tail. I love doing 50+ mile endurance races as well. The types of races that I prefer (90+% singletrack) would be significantly slower with a rigid fork. The weight penalty is absolutely worth it assuming it isn't all fire roads. I haven't ever seen anyone on the podium of an actual endurance MTB race with a rigid fork (SS aside...).

    This is obviously a personal opinion, but I have yet to see a course that I thought I would be faster with a carbon fork... and I ride rigid bikes on a fairly regular basis.

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  5. #5
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    I donít race but have both the ENVE Mtn and the Niner carbon forks on SS bikes. I also have a 34Fox on my geared HT. All 29ers
    I also run i30 to i40 rims with fat tires. I mostly ride trails I know and have picked the lines that make my trails fast and flowing.
    I can see your point that a 2# loss would be an advantage on a long race but understand your concerns with a rigid fork. I do think that you can easily adapt to a rigid fork and will find a way to keep your speed and slice through the rough but if youíre spent at the end of a 50 mile race you might want to have a nice squishy fork on those last miles.
    Just my thoughts
    Seven Sola fully rigid MTN SS
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  6. #6
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    There's nothing I hate more than being stuck behind somebody on a rigid fork on downhill single-track. I currently have a Niner rigid fork. My opinion is unchanged.

  7. #7
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    I have thousands of miles on rigid bikes and absolutely love the simplicity and how they climb. I own a full suspension but still choose rigid for most rides.

    The biggest issue with rigid on 50+ mile rides is upper body fatigue. On big rides, my arms often give out before my legs and it takes a lot of focus to hang on. Late in a race when youíre tired, it can be nice to have the forgiveness of suspension especially since youíre more prone to make mistakes at that time.

    Another thing to consider is safety, especially if itís an unfamiliar course. I hit a drop on my rigid bike that resulted in broken bones, and I most likely would have been fine if I had suspension.

    Big tires definitely help and my experience they are faster when you have no suspension. I typically run 29x3.0. If you go rigid, try the largest tire your rims can handle. For racing the wtb rangers and bontrager xr2 roll very fast.

    I have an Enve fork on one bike, an RDO on another, and my wife has an RDO. The fender and adjustable offset on the Enve is nice, but the two forks have significantly different lengths. Choose the one that best fits the geo of your bike.


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