Trek X Cal 6 questions - fork- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Trek X Cal 6 questions - fork

    Fairly new to the mountain biking world. This is my first “real” trail bike. Growing up always had lower end, but I would consider this bike the highest quality bike I’ve owned.

    Bought the bike used last spring and now have a year on it.

    I was thinking of upgrading the fork to possibly a lower end air fork. I was looking on the used market, but I find there are so many variables ( axle size, offset, etc ) and I’m just not sure what will fit my bike.

    I did some internet research trying to find particulars on my bike, but could not find the information needed, in order to make a confident purchase.

    Im looking to have more plushness in the damping and maybe some rebound control. I find the XCM forks just bounce. They go down then spring back up very fast, but not in a comfortable way.

    I have a dirt bike background, so I do know what I like when it comes to suspension. The cycling scene is still new to me, so Im not ready to shell out piles of money on something that is beyond my ability.


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  2. #2
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    You didn't say what year the bike is ,that would help . In general there are 2 types of axles ,quick release or thou axle . Quick release has lever that you fold away from the bike and then unscrew a couple of turns then the wheel and quick release axle drop off the fork. Thru axles also have a lever that folds out , but then you unscrew it all the way the axle is in your hand ,the wheel is separate . You need to know how much travel the fork has to be able to get a like replacement ,you shouldn't install anything longer ,that could change the handling and put too much stress on the frame. Then you need to know if you have a straight steerer tube or tapered. Straight are mostly1 1/8 " top and bottom . Taper are 1 1/8 " top and 1 1/2 " bottom . Then you need to know how long the steerer tube is . If you look on the Trek web site you might be able to find the specs of that bike somewhere. The reason that it springs back is because, it doesn't have a damper. Plus it has plastic bushing that wear out pretty fast if you dirt trail ride. You can find forks on Ebay or used on Pink bike.

  3. #3
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    Yep we will need the year so we know which bike to look at. In general, you can look at Fox Racing and Rockshox for air forks depending on how much travel you need. the X-Cal is primarily a XC bike so you probably want to stick with 100-120mm fork travel. A Rockshox Reba, Recon, or Fox 32 would be a good starting point!
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  4. #4
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    The bike definitely has a quick release front and rear. From my research it has a non tapered tube.

    Not sure what year the bike is, I bought it used. Is there a serial number or date stamp somewhere?


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    For some unknown reason Trek doesn't include fork info in the specs listings under archives. They have a good Tech Support group when you call them.
    Suntour has low cost air forks that are ok choices.
    The Raidon and Epixon are air forks with sealed dampers. No oil changes so less maintenance.
    The forks weigh 1.5-2 lbs. less than your fork.

    The next question is whether to change your front wheel. The oem wheel will be heavy and skinny with a 21mm or so inner rim width. Currently some comparable bikes from Nukeproof or NS come with 30mm inner width rims to make better use of 2.3-2.6 tires at lower pressures. Bontrager XR Team 2 and 3 are among the best for your bike. Better cornering traction and controlled slide-out for less crashing. I'd go 35mm.

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    Im also unsure as to what size my axle is. I see 9mm, 15mm quite a bit; and “boost”.

    I dont think Id want to get into changing wheels.

    I think at that point I would look at getting a newer bike all together. Im just not knowledgable enough on the parts to make confident purchases.

    The only thing I really would like at this point; is a better performing fork.


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  7. #7
    jcd's best friend
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    Quote Originally Posted by XRAlways View Post
    Im also unsure as to what size my axle is. I see 9mm, 15mm quite a bit; and “boost”.

    I dont think Id want to get into changing wheels.

    I think at that point I would look at getting a newer bike all together. Im just not knowledgable enough on the parts to make confident purchases.

    The only thing I really would like at this point; is a better performing fork.


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    If you remove your front wheel and the axle that passes through looks like a BBQ skewer with springs, then most likely you have a 5mm QR axle. If it does have some thickness to it, then the axle is most likely some type of 9 or 10mm thru bolt style. Getting an aftermarket fork with open dropouts can be difficult. Your best bet is to see what air forks that SR Suntour has for sale on their website and go from there.

    If you aren't sure which axle you have, just take a photo of the fork and the axle and share here.
    Cannondale Synapse Neo | Salsa Timberjack

  8. #8
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    A picture would help

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    Ok I will do that tonight.

    I did speak to a local bike shop and the guy was very helpful. They actually stock RockShocks. Full Cycle in Ottawa. Spoke to Rob.

    He can get me a Recon Silver for $400 installed.


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    When you've removed the wheel look at the bottom of the fork legs. If the very bottom of each is open you've got a QR axle. If it's closed it's thru-bolt.

    https://www.srsuntour.com/products/f...avel%5B%5D=200

    Trek X Cal 6 questions - fork-1111111binary.jpg

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    Its definitely a QR. I’m just not positive on the diameter.


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  12. #12
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    There's only one QR. for forks.

    If you're talking about the steerer tube you can drop your fork a little to see if the tube is straight or tapered.


    Listen to the part starting at undue your top cap...

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  15. #15
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    Trek X Cal 6 questions - fork

    I measured the diameter of the axle and it is 5mm. Although, I’m not sure if its as simple as that.

    I included a few pictures as well of the frame sticker and the info stamped on the fork

    I also noticed that the front tire is a “2.2” and the rear is a “2.0” - is this common?


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  16. #16
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    That's a quick release fork. two generations of hubs have come after it. 15x100 thru-bolt and the current 15x110 Boost hub. Also thru-bolt.
    The Boost hub allows for 3" or less tires on 50mm wide rim wheels with a 29+ or 27.5+ fork.
    2.3 or 2.6 width tires can use a 30mm or 35 or 40mm rim wheel.
    When you use the wider rim you can lower the air pressure in the tire without getting sidewall foldover when cornering. Something common with 21mm or so rim wheels like you may have on your bike. Foldover means crashing because the sidewall becomes the tread surface with no grip. Skinny rims require keeping the tire more inflated so it can't do that. On wide rims the sidewall wrinkles instead. You get a much bigger footprint for more traction. This is a very big performance deal.

  17. #17
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    The diameter of the axle doesn't matter as long as the end caps fit the fork drop outs .
    $400 for the fork and to install it isn't to bad. But that 400 would go a ways to a new or newer bike bike. There isn't that much to changing out a fork, the three hardest things are cutting the steerer tube and removing the headset race ,and installing the the star nut, you don't really have to cut the steerer ,with right spacers ,you could be good to go. I would think You tube would have some how to's .

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    I didnt think the $400 was terrible either.

    Im actually starting to step back and think about this a bit more now.

    I may look at just putting some new tires on my bike ( which it needs ), and saving for a new modern bike. I feel that this bike was a great stepping stone for me, but I am starting to see now that modding it will cost me the same as maybe a new bike with all the features already.

    May have to research some sub $2000 XC style bikes.


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  19. #19
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    Here's a $1100 bike to compare other models against.
    https://www.chainreactioncycles.com/.../rp-prod183330
    Good geo, wheels, drivetrain and acceptable fork.

    SC Chameleon
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