• 01-17-2013
    WishfulThinking
    Upgrading entry-level bikes and warranty questions
    Alright - so in the time since I've gotten my bike and rode it on the trail, I've come to agree with the general consensus that low-end Suntour forks are in fact awful. Granted I more or less knew from these forums that would be true - I figured I'd at least try it out to get a feel for it. Needless to say, I agree.

    When I bought the bike, I didn't have enormous amounts of money laying around, so I bought an entry level-hardtail ('13 Hardrock) new from the LBS. I could have gotten more for my money buying used, but I hate used things so I deal with it and spend more. Now that I know 100% I like mountain biking, I've been looking into what kind of things I can do to improve my bike. I know upgrading entry level frames is a losing battle and that in theory I should have bought something "better". At the same time, I know what bike I really do want, and that's a large purchase that would surpass any money I could sink upgrading this bike.

    I've already swapped out the stem and bars to suit me better and tune the cockpit. And as far as I'm concerned, basically everything else can remain until they break because they won't offer me any vastly noticeable benefit. That being said, the fork doesn't really do it's job at all and I'd be happy to find a suitable replacement. But along with having potential warranty issues, I'm having a few problems understanding what exactly I can do.

    As it seems, the rule is a frame is only warrantied for a bike so long as it's fork is within 10% of the original travel. All the forks I have looked at seem to bottom out at 100mm. Which is over a 10% increase from 80. The thing is, knowing the logic behind the whole "nothing over 10%" rule, doesn't that mean axle to crown length is more important than travel as far as frame stresses and handling? And if so, if I manage to find a higher travel fork with equal axle to crown, will that still void my warranty? I've searched and nobody seems to have a very clear answer.

    If it *does* void my warranty regardless, then I'll need to space the forks I want down to 80mm... if it's even possible. As of right now, I'm looking at:

    2013 Rockshox Recon Silver TK (~300)
    2012 X-Fusion Enix (~330)
    2013? Suntour Raidon (~250)

    Everything is air-sprung, and as far as I can tell they all have adjustable rebound - which are both things I'm focused on. The first because I'm a very light rider (125/130lb) and the second because the stock Suntour I have essentially has none. They're all 1-1/8 steerers with disk only mounting. The Recon and Raidon seem to be around the same weight at ~2000g, with the Enix standing out at around ~1800g

    The thing is, knowing about the supposed upgrade program with Suntour (which apparently offers some good discounts), I'd probably be able to get the Raidon much cheaper, or simply move up a few notches to a much better fork at the price I'm willing to spend now... which begs the question of which option? And even then which ones can be taken down to lower travel so I can maintain my frame warranty?

    I've been doing a bunch of searching about these forks, but it doesn't seem like anyone has very much experience with more than one to make a useable comparison. That being said, any advice would be great!
  • 01-17-2013
    mimi1885
    Going from 80mm-100mm should be ok withe the hard rock, regardless of axle to crown. If you have concern about the warranty then just give spech an email to make sure.


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  • 01-17-2013
    bluto in mo
    I just bought a hardrock in November had problems with the stock fork and got it replaced under warranty. The fork that they sent is a XCR in 100mm travel. It is a little better than stock with 20 mm more travel. With knowing that I don't think you should have an issue.
  • 01-17-2013
    zebrahum
    Contact the manufacturer of your bike with any questions. The 10% you've stated is an estimate and some frames can accept 40mm of travel difference while other frames will void the warranty if you change the travel at all. It is also worth asking whether or not changing parts affects the warranty. The only people who can make this determination are either your LBS or the manufacturer themselves.
  • 01-17-2013
    robselina
    Their warranty doesn't say anything explicit about fork travel:

    http://service.specialized.com/colla...nty-Policy.pdf

    But you can see how putting an 8" travel DH fork on there might suggest miss-use/abuse ;)
    As others have suggested, call/email Specialized.

    The main reason you don't want to go much different than stock is that it will affect overall bike handling as the geometry is affected. That being said, 100mm vs 80mm is probably no big deal, it'll just make it a little more slack.

    As you suggested - it's axle to top of crown that defines the geometry, but longer travel forks tend to be longer in this dimension. You also want to think of them in the loaded configuration (~30% suspension compression), so 20mm difference in travel is really more like 14mm difference in the loaded configuration.

    BTW - forks are one of those things that can be had at a heavy discount after a model year change. May be worth checking the usual online storefronts. Here's just one example of many:

    BlueSkyCycling.com - 2012 Marzocchi Corsa SL LR 29er Fork

    reviews:
    Marzocchi Corsa SL LR 2011 Forks Reviews

    Other than travel and head tube diameter/length, make sure it has the right axle config for you front wheel (or plan on a new front wheel in the upgrade process)
  • 01-17-2013
    Harold
    the good thing is that with the Hardrock, you bought one of the more flexible beginner-oriented frames. I think you'll find it is fine with a fork with 120mm travel. Maybe more. Contact Speshy to be sure.

    I doubt changing anything else would affect the warranty, but do be aware about brake rotor diameter with whatever fork you decide. Some forks have limits on rotor diameter (mostly the low end forks, but still be certain before making changes to the brakes if you choose to do so).

    If it was me, though, I'd prefer to stay under $300 for a fork for that particular bike. It's still a beginner bike. If you decide to resell it in the future, prospective buyers will see that it's a Hardrock, and not so much that it has an upgraded fork. So because of that, I'd look into Suntour's upgrade program. I don't know much about their better models, but the Raidon looks decent on paper at least.
  • 01-17-2013
    TiGeo
    Is the warranty that big of a deal anyway?
  • 01-17-2013
    raman503
    i agree with NateHawk; check into Suntour's upgrade program. i think you can get a raidon 29er for $175 and it has larger diameter stanchions, adjustable rebound, lock-out and is air sprung for unlimited adjustability. game changer on a hardrock.
  • 01-17-2013
    chef7734
    If you have a suntour fork already you could get the raidon for 150 or epicon for around 250 direct from them.

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  • 01-17-2013
    WishfulThinking
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    the good thing is that with the Hardrock, you bought one of the more flexible beginner-oriented frames. I think you'll find it is fine with a fork with 120mm travel. Maybe more. Contact Speshy to be sure.

    I doubt changing anything else would affect the warranty, but do be aware about brake rotor diameter with whatever fork you decide. Some forks have limits on rotor diameter (mostly the low end forks, but still be certain before making changes to the brakes if you choose to do so).

    If it was me, though, I'd prefer to stay under $300 for a fork for that particular bike. It's still a beginner bike. If you decide to resell it in the future, prospective buyers will see that it's a Hardrock, and not so much that it has an upgraded fork. So because of that, I'd look into Suntour's upgrade program. I don't know much about their better models, but the Raidon looks decent on paper at least.

    I thought about that. My logic here was that I doubt I'll sell the bike since it'll probably always stick around as a back up if/when it gets replaced. Personally I'm more concerned about what I'll get out of it in use than what might happen should I try and recoup some money.

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TiGeo View Post
    Is the warranty that big of a deal anyway?

    Honestly, probably not considering how much the bike is worth in of itself. But at the same time I figured I'd play it safe. That and I don't necessarily know if I'd be okay with the handling change.

    As of now, I'm going to keep looking around and probably inquire more about the various Suntour upgrade discounts.
  • 01-17-2013
    77charger
    Thats the same deal i was in last year.As far as warranty goes i'd rather fix it myself or upgrade and if its a frame issue you may be without bike for awhile and probably reached its limits if it got damaged so time for a new frame.

    I have the RS tekon silver airs and love them i know they aint close to fox or similar but way better than the suntour pogo sticks.At first i thought the suntours were fine til i rode a friends that had fox forks.My suntours also clunked when they were quickly extended which bothered me and wondering if i pulled up hard would they fall apart.

    I can afford to put money into my bike in increments vs buying a good used bike.If i break the frame then i will buy a better one then swap the parts i currently have or buy another frame put my originals back on my current bike give to my son and use my upgraded parts for a new build.
  • 01-17-2013
    AndrwSwitch
    Couple points.

    First, the Hardrock is built pretty strong. I'd be surprised if you managed to crack it without doing some other warranty-voiding thing too.

    Second, low-end forks are often very inefficient about their use of material. In terms of bike handling, it's true that jacking up the axle-crown height is not such a great thing. But as others have said, 20 mm is just perceptible, and I suspect you wouldn't change it by that much anyway. Between sag and nicer forks frequently also being a lot more efficient about use of material, I bet it's a relatively small difference.

    Bottom line: while it may void your warranty, I think unless you're really attached to having a warranty for the sake of having a warranty, there's no problem going to a 100 mm fork, either in terms of breaking your bike or in terms of screwing up the handling.

    As far as which fork - I don't know the X-Fusion or Suntour fork you mention, although X-Fusion is supposed to make at least some good forks, and I've heard that Suntour's named forks are decent products. So they seem like they'd be reasonable choices. Last time I researched forks, I decided that it was Recon Gold or something else entirely. In the past, at least, the TK damper has had durability issues. I don't know if that's been fixed for 2013, but I'd be doing my homework on that.

    I upgradeitised a Hardrock too. It probably hasn't been efficient, but I have arrived at a very reliable bike and now when I demo high-end bikes, I'm as likely to notice things that I miss about my own as things that I wish I could have. Sort of like getting the wrong message from learning that coat hangers are conductive enough for audio. :D If I could give people who are bent on doing the same thing one piece of advice, it would be not to screw around with intermediate or incremental upgrades. Get components you'll be happy with for as long as they last, and that should last a good, long time. Whatever that means for that particular part.
  • 01-17-2013
    bc3xx0
    I went from a suntour xcm on my revel to a silver recon solo air.

    I was in the same boat as you and bought what I could afford. I was fine with the suntour until I rode a buddies bike with the silver recon. I was able to save up and get a 13 recon solo air. It was a night and day difference. The suntour was really "chattery" if that makes sense! Where I ride there are a lot of rock gardens and to go over the smoothest of them would make the bike feel like it was gonna fall apart with the suntour. The recon is super smooth in comparison, which has really helped the handling or has at least helped my confidence in taking obstacles!!

    In my opinion (for what it's worth!) I'd say the benefits of upgrading the fork would outweigh the warranty on the frame...... my reasoning being, the effects of the upgraded fork probably reduce the issues that would cause frame failure triggering a warranty claim!!!