Your next endurance race bike gonna have 100 or 120 fork?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Your next endurance race bike gonna have 100 or 120 fork?

    With all the new frames and their marketing push toward 120 forks, and race courses getting a little more rowdy, are any of you planning your next endurance race bike/build with a 100mm fork?

    If you were building one tomorrow would it have 100mm or 120mm up front (obviously this does not apply to you badass rigid types)?

    Rider weight is 155 pounds. Western US racer (HC100, ZIA events, etc). My recommendation was 120, but he's so OCD that it's gonna take umpteenth second opinions hence my forum post.

    He has a HT with 100mm fork, a 120/130 trail. But for a 100mm rear 29er he's not 100% sure.

  2. #2
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    120 I think but have no real firm opinion.

    I swap stuff around and have different forks for different courses (32mm or 34 @ 120mm, 32mm @ 100mm - stepcast and a 34mm 140mm) for basically three bikes. I don't think more travel is necessarily better but it sure is nice to have. I don't ride the stepcast very much and tend to prefer the f34 120mm so that would get my vote.

  3. #3
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    I just picked up a 115x120 Scalpel SE to race endurance on. I'll make some tweaks to shave some weight but I'm fairly happy right out of the box.

    Last edited by locustfist; 04-26-2018 at 07:45 PM.

  4. #4
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    My ďnewĒ bike is 120. Only ridden once so Iím still going to be dialing in the psi and number of tokens.

    I have always run 100 until now but got such a good deal on a Camber frame, I put the 120 air shaft on a Reba I had. Weíll see this weekend if it makes a noticeable difference.


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    120 front 100 rear here (Kona Hei Hei), but it isn't career changing. Was nice to have the 120 up front for Breck Epic last year. Only really did one other endurance race (out of 7 or 8) that 120 was definitely nice to have. Really depends on terrain IMO....but it certainly is the trend and I think makes the bike a lot more capable on more courses.

  6. #6
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    This is my next Endurance bike. Just build it in last few week.

    100/100. Given the handling of it I have no desire to go 120.
    Weight is 21.9lbs without bottle cages and swat box.



    I used to have a Santa Cruz Highball (2012) with a 120mm fork for these endurance rides. I don't miss the 120 travel and due to the new geomertry the head angle is about the same . 69.5 on Epic and 69.5 on Highball with 120.

    So far I like it as handles well and gives me comfort on the descents allowing me to go fast and save energy for next climb/pedaling section. I personally never needed more slack angles for endurance races, but did tend to get beat up on rocks on my HT on longer rides as I was pushing harder. This set-up is getting me just want I wanted. However I have not had the chance to get in full up Endurance race mode. My next chance is a 60-70 miler around Flagstaff memorial day. I expect it feel pretty similar, but slightly faster over the long haul since I will be a bit fresher. That is assessment in shorter 2 to 2.5hr is rides so far. Faster and more relaxed. When I moved from my 26" HT to my 29"HT I felt much the same. Faster, due to less effort and as the rides go longer the effect was magnified.

    After Flagstaff I have 24 hrs Enchanted Forest on the schedule (4 man team) and then Breck Epic in August.
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  7. #7
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    120. I have 120 on my Hei hei and will have 120 on my SB100

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    Recently completed the Pisgah Stage Race, and a couple of 60-75 miles in Pisgah on a hardtail with a 120mm RS-1. I plan to ride the 111k and 55.5k later in May, and couldn't imagine running less travel. If the Fox SC 34 had come out this winter, instead of later this year, I'd be riding one of those instead.

  9. #9
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    Thanks, all. Simply gonna fwd URL, and let my paralysis-by-analysis buddy read for himself.

  10. #10
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    SS for 12/24 hour solo efforts and long endurance events/rides: 120 mm

    FS for same: 140/130 mm (Intense Primer)

    Zero desire for a 100 mm bike.


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  11. #11
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    I donít want to muddy the waters too much but the quality of the fork has a lot to do with it. Iíve ridden top of the line 100mm forks that are both more supple on chatter AND more controlled on big hits than lower end (not cheap, just a notch or two down from top) 130mm forks.


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  12. #12
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    Agree on fork quality, and bike, and your age and skill.

    But just going from the OP, and since you're out west, I'd probably lean towards 100. I'm from out west (Oregon, lived in Nev and Cal too), and while nasty black diamond stuff can be found everywhere, when I moved to New England and found that there's pretty much rocks, roots and rock bed on almost every trail, I realized things like more travel, more rubber, tubeless, etc. meant more, had more impact.

    Just lookup the Freetown 50 if you want to know what I'm talking about.

  13. #13
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    120. There is no 100 mile course I've ever raced where a 100 mm fork would be an advantage.

    High Cascades 100 might qualify. Echo Valley 60 definitely qualifies -- but a rigid bike would be fine on that course.

    And that's it, in my PNW and Montana experience.
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    460mm A-C.
    About 40mm of undamped, air spring based travel.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by kosmo View Post
    120. There is no 100 mile course I've ever raced where a 100 mm fork would be an advantage.

    High Cascades 100 might qualify. Echo Valley 60 definitely qualifies -- but a rigid bike would be fine on that course.

    And that's it, in my PNW and Montana experience.
    I'll second that and add the races I've done in in N. Cal, S. Cal and AZ.

    After riding mostly hardtails and a 100mm front/80mm rear RX29 for years I stepped back from racing until this season. Because I'm way OLDER now, the races that interest me are rougher, and I wanted a bike I like riding everywhere, I went even a bit bigger than 100-120/100 for this year's escapades: 130 front/125rear with a new/old 2016 Niner [Huffy?] Rip9, MRP Stage/Ribbon [the 2017 Stage is a Ribbon w/o the fart button] combo. Fun bike, plenty nimble, versatile and rugged. It's sitting right at 26 lbs in "trail mode". Come this year's CCP, probably 25.75lbs. After mucking about with rear shock for a bit, it's an efficient climber and a, "thank you Jezu$ for saving my A$$ descender".
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by jms View Post
    I went even a bit bigger than 100-120/100 for this year's escapades: 130 front/125rear with a new/old 2016 Niner [Huffy?] Rip9.
    That bike, with a decent rear shock lockout should tear up the Creampuff. My fastest, funnest, most comfy endurance bike to date has been my 120 x 120 mm 2016 Fuel Ex.
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  17. #17
    jms
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    Quote Originally Posted by kosmo View Post
    My fastest, funnest, most comfy endurance bike to date has been my 120 x 120 mm 2016 Fuel Ex.
    I always pay attention to yours and a couple other posters information Tom, and your opinion @ the Fuel EX .. has helped steer some of my equipment choices on this bike. Building a bike that climbs well and I can throw down the Alpine, Cloverpatch, etc...

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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    This is my next Endurance bike. Just build it in last few week.

    100/100. Given the handling of it I have no desire to go 120.
    Weight is 21.9lbs without bottle cages and swat box.



    I used to have a Santa Cruz Highball (2012) with a 120mm fork for these endurance rides. I don't miss the 120 travel and due to the new geomertry the head angle is about the same . 69.5 on Epic and 69.5 on Highball with 120.

    So far I like it as handles well and gives me comfort on the descents allowing me to go fast and save energy for next climb/pedaling section. I personally never needed more slack angles for endurance races, but did tend to get beat up on rocks on my HT on longer rides as I was pushing harder. This set-up is getting me just want I wanted. However I have not had the chance to get in full up Endurance race mode. My next chance is a 60-70 miler around Flagstaff memorial day. I expect it feel pretty similar, but slightly faster over the long haul since I will be a bit fresher. That is assessment in shorter 2 to 2.5hr is rides so far. Faster and more relaxed. When I moved from my 26" HT to my 29"HT I felt much the same. Faster, due to less effort and as the rides go longer the effect was magnified.

    After Flagstaff I have 24 hrs Enchanted Forest on the schedule (4 man team) and then Breck Epic in August.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by BmanInTheD View Post
    Nice bike and photo. How're those wheels working out for ya?
    Wheels are a working out great. Thanks. I love them and they are getting used.
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  20. #20
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    I would go 120, it won't slow you down having twenty extra mm but could be nice if drops are about.
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  21. #21
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    100mm after spending some time on a 120 fezzari signal peak and a 100mm spark rc, a Bixs 100mm and a new felt edict all on the same trails. Plus my experience on the Top fuel, scalpel, anthem, mach 429sl. I have a 120 f34 on my niner rdo but that would have a 72 hta without a 120 fork. So in that case ya 120, however if i was on a Pro cal or Les, or Scale it would only have 100. Im convinced hta is more important than travel in this question.
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  22. #22
    DLd
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    With the availability of the new 34 120 Step-cast. I'd say 120 all the way. The weight penalty is a lot closer to negligible now. Would depend on bike geometry as well, but for the courses around me, most XC bikes except for the most modern, could benefit from the slacker HTA. A modern XC bike like Sniper, SB100, or Spark will already be slack enough for my style of fun, or come with a 120 anyway.
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  23. #23
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    120mm front seems a great idea
    Some great 120 xc style bikes out there now.
    Which is best?
    Cannondale Scalpel SE
    yeti
    S works Camber
    Santa Cruz
    Iím thinking scalpel SE as the 100mm scalpel climbs VERY well so Iím guessing the SE will also

  24. #24
    LDC is ded,deth by trollz
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bay1 View Post
    120mm front seems a great idea
    Some great 120 xc style bikes out there now.
    Which is best?
    Cannondale Scalpel SE
    yeti
    S works Camber
    Santa Cruz
    Iím thinking scalpel SE as the 100mm scalpel climbs VERY well so Iím guessing the SE will also
    120 front can be effective. Not sure some of those actually exist though. Santa cruz doesnt make a 120 bike, yeti i dont believe does, the sworks camber is not xc in any way, the scalpel is 115 rear. Kona males a 120 hei hei, Scott makes a 120 spark, pivot makes a 116 Trail 429, the tallboy 3 is 110 i believe, fezzari signal peak is 120/120,intense sniper 120/120..
    Ill be out riding, youll still be trolling mtbr. Mtbr, where people who dont ride come to pretend they do.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaneDetroitCity View Post
    120 front can be effective. Not sure some of those actually exist though. Santa cruz doesnt make a 120 bike, yeti i dont believe does, the sworks camber is not xc in any way, the scalpel is 115 rear. Kona males a 120 hei hei, Scott makes a 120 spark, pivot makes a 116 Trail 429, the tallboy 3 is 110 i believe, fezzari signal peak is 120/120,intense sniper 120/120..
    The original post was re a 120 fork:
    Tall boy comes with 120 fork
    Yeti sb 100 has a 120 fork
    429 trail comes with 130

  26. #26
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    120.....

    I have a 100 now and use it all up, would like a bit more squish.

    Just waiting on the 2019 Rocky Mountain Element...

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by locustfist View Post
    I just picked up a 115x120 Scalpel SE to race endurance on. I'll make some tweaks to shave some weight but I'm fairly happy right out of the box.

    I would love to give this bike a test ride. Looks prime

  28. #28
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    I have run a 120 for endurance events since 2013 (on a 100mm tallboy). If buying a bike right now, I'd be looking at 100 rear/120 front minimum for a blur, 110/130 for a tallboy, or 120/140 for a ripley. Probably would go with either a pike or a fox 34 too, vs the 120mm fox 32 that I currently run.

    Use to date has been HC100 x 2, Capitol Forest 50 x 3 (I think), Creampuff 50 x 2, TOE x 1, Breck Epic x 1 and again this year. I haven't wanted more travel, and have never felt like I was overbiked at these events, with the exception of Oakridge where I kind of wanted my rigid SS for the gravel climb.
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  29. #29
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    Just did the Whiskey Off-Road a couple weekends ago. My 32 Stepcast fork was great on this race. The fork is light, it works well for the amount of travel, it's everything I want in an XC fork for the most part. It doesn't really matter to me, 50 miles or 100 miles, the fork works well for this and I'm not looking for more travel or a more rigid chassis.

    This, as opposed to my ride in Sedona a few days after the WOR. Riding down the "double black" trails there are several steep chutes where having more travel and a more rigid chassis is nice. One friend switched to more beefy tires on his XC rig, which would have helped me, but he was also running a 120mm Fox 34 up front, which for Sedona riding on the more extreme stuff, is very helpful. I was able to make it down most of these chutes and tech sections, but not with as much confidence and control as I wanted. These are the types of sections that most will walk down BTW, but with a dropper post and good brakes, you can get pretty far IME.

    Even though many XC races are no walk in the park as far as technical these days, you rarely see the level of technical that occurs on the most extreme trails, and as such, I think 100mm does just fine, even better if you can get Push or someone else to tune the fork. The biggest mistake I've noticed myself doing for races is to increase the pressure, thinking that I'm going to need more support, etc. It turns out to be the opposite, when my body gets dog tired, I really appreciate the extra compliance of running my "normal" pressure and over-doing (too much pressure) has only brought me worse results. This as opposed to stiffer compression damping, which I don't notice as much when I'm really pushing a bike hard, this is where yes, you might want some more support, but more travel is kind of the opposite of this.

    I don't think there's much benefit of having 20mm more travel. Quality of travel is more important than 20mm more or less. There may be some ancillary things like raising the HT a bit, making a bike a little less nervous, which may be nicer in some situations. There are a couple ways to think about weight, if the 100mm fork is significantly lighter, that's weight you can use for something like food, that you will eat, but then on mile 95 does it really matter that your bike is half a pound more or less? No.

    Ultimately, whatever allows you to keep pushing your body hours into the day is what works best for you.
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  30. #30
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    Iíve recently gone to a 120mm fork on my bike (Niner RKT 9 RDO) and I donít think Iíll be going back to 100mm. The 120 attacks the descents with greater confidence and does great on the climbs. The only disadvantage in my mind was weight, there werenít a lot of options for a lightweight 120 fork until recently. I just ordered the new 120mm Fox 34 SC so that should lighten up the bike a bit. The only race on my calendar is the Park City Point to Point, 75 miles of singletrack and lots of climbs and descents. There is one particular section (Johns) of singletrack that is full of aspen root ledges and in past years my wrists felt totally hammered at the bottom. Weíll see how it goes with the 120 but on my local trails I really love it. Iím not expecting to end up on any podiums but the 120 for me is just way more comfortable and actually feels faster overall so in my mind itís an easy choice.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Just did the Whiskey Off-Road a couple weekends ago. My 32 Stepcast fork was great on this race. The fork is light, it works well for the amount of travel, it's everything I want in an XC fork for the most part. It doesn't really matter to me, 50 miles or 100 miles, the fork works well for this and I'm not looking for more travel or a more rigid chassis.

    This, as opposed to my ride in Sedona a few days after the WOR. Riding down the "double black" trails there are several steep chutes where having more travel and a more rigid chassis is nice. One friend switched to more beefy tires on his XC rig, which would have helped me, but he was also running a 120mm Fox 34 up front, which for Sedona riding on the more extreme stuff, is very helpful. I was able to make it down most of these chutes and tech sections, but not with as much confidence and control as I wanted. These are the types of sections that most will walk down BTW, but with a dropper post and good brakes, you can get pretty far IME.

    Even though many XC races are no walk in the park as far as technical these days, you rarely see the level of technical that occurs on the most extreme trails, and as such, I think 100mm does just fine, even better if you can get Push or someone else to tune the fork. The biggest mistake I've noticed myself doing for races is to increase the pressure, thinking that I'm going to need more support, etc. It turns out to be the opposite, when my body gets dog tired, I really appreciate the extra compliance of running my "normal" pressure and over-doing (too much pressure) has only brought me worse results. This as opposed to stiffer compression damping, which I don't notice as much when I'm really pushing a bike hard, this is where yes, you might want some more support, but more travel is kind of the opposite of this.

    I don't think there's much benefit of having 20mm more travel. Quality of travel is more important than 20mm more or less. There may be some ancillary things like raising the HT a bit, making a bike a little less nervous, which may be nicer in some situations. There are a couple ways to think about weight, if the 100mm fork is significantly lighter, that's weight you can use for something like food, that you will eat, but then on mile 95 does it really matter that your bike is half a pound more or less? No.

    Ultimately, whatever allows you to keep pushing your body hours into the day is what works best for you.
    It's "only" 20mm more in context of the "only" 100mm you're comparing it to.

    20% more travel makes a difference in the mid travel feel, a big difference in comfort and control..especially comfort.

    Who would ever say that the 20ish% increase in travel of a DH fork over an enduro fork wouldn't make a difference?

  32. #32
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    What do you guys this of this? Chris Cocalis is talking about how well it performed at Old Pueblo. He starts to talk about suspension around 7:15 minutes into the video.

    https://youtu.be/jhxOEcDpNjA

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by richde View Post
    It's "only" 20mm more in context of the "only" 100mm you're comparing it to.

    20% more travel makes a difference in the mid travel feel, a big difference in comfort and control..especially comfort.

    Who would ever say that the 20ish% increase in travel of a DH fork over an enduro fork wouldn't make a difference?
    Even at 100mm, Iíd take a tuned 100/100 suspension over OEM 120/100 or 120/120. Damping makes a much bigger difference IME. Just like going from my older performance 100mm float to the factory 100mm sc, I had to run the older float way over-pressurized because the damping was so bad (blowing through travel). The 100 Sc is a way better fork, could still be better, but the travel is secondary IMO. The damping on the sc is simply far better. Unless we start talking about massive travel differences, like forks with nearly 2x the travel, damping is the most important.

    On that second point, I would definitely argue that. My lyrik with Avy cart is amazing and while only 170mm, I never feel like I need more travel on the DH in steep terrain, because itís so well controlled. Iíve had plenty of DH forks, but tuned suspension at 170 wonít dive as much, wont pack up as much, it has a hydraulic bottom out cone, so I donít have to worry so much about running the pressure just right and preventing metal on metal bottom out, and so on. Yes, if I put this type of damper in a stock DH fork, it would be even better, but good damping more than makes up for relatively small increases in travel. Chassis stability of tuned suspension is mind-blowing the first time you experience it.
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  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Even at 100mm, Iíd take a tuned 100/100 suspension over OEM 120/100 or 120/120. Damping makes a much bigger difference IME. Just like going from my older performance 100mm float to the factory 100mm sc, I had to run the older float way over-pressurized because the damping was so bad (blowing through travel). The 100 Sc is a way better fork, could still be better, but the travel is secondary IMO. The damping on the sc is simply far better. Unless we start talking about massive travel differences, like forks with nearly 2x the travel, damping is the most important.

    On that second point, I would definitely argue that. My lyrik with Avy cart is amazing and while only 170mm, I never feel like I need more travel on the DH in steep terrain, because itís so well controlled. Iíve had plenty of DH forks, but tuned suspension at 170 wonít dive as much, wont pack up as much, it has a hydraulic bottom out cone, so I donít have to worry so much about running the pressure just right and preventing metal on metal bottom out, and so on. Yes, if I put this type of damper in a stock DH fork, it would be even better, but good damping more than makes up for relatively small increases in travel. Chassis stability of tuned suspension is mind-blowing the first time you experience it.
    I think you both covered solid points. I've found poorly dampened forks pack up quickly on long distance races with the longer downhill segments if you're running the correct amount of sag. An easy way to help the fork out would be to drop your spring rate but as mentioned I also found that the fork will blow through the mid stroke. Having a bit more travel can help that situation depending on your bikes geometry.

    Of course, the preferred fix is having a damper that can handle the spring rate that you need to run. Usually you find this with the higher end forks or through a suspension tuner.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrcRS View Post
    I think you both covered solid points. I've found poorly dampened forks pack up quickly on long distance races with the longer downhill segments if you're running the correct amount of sag. An easy way to help the fork out would be to drop your spring rate but as mentioned I also found that the fork will blow through the mid stroke. Having a bit more travel can help that situation depending on your bikes geometry.

    Of course, the preferred fix is having a damper that can handle the spring rate that you need to run. Usually you find this with the higher end forks or through a suspension tuner.
    Except that he compared apples to oranges by conjuring up a poorly dampened 120mm strawfork to compare to his 100mm fork.

    Going from 100 to 120mm is a difference you can feel, increases stiffness (which impacts how the fork moves), and will decrease hand fatigue.

    If you ride and race on smooth trails, or ride only at casual speeds, it obviously isn't for you. The entire conversation doesn't apply to you, so how much you want to defend your current equipment choices has little to do with anything.

  36. #36
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    I bought the 2018 Specialized Epic Carbon Comp --100mm front and rear --with the notion that I would throw a 120mm on it. I have added a dropper post, bigger tires and a Carbon wheel set but still not changed out the 100mm Reba fork. I primarily ride a 160mm travel bike and spend huge amounts of time dialing in the suspension for different rides so I do appreciate travel but I'm really loving the 100mm for the local, in-town trails.

    Side note: it is my observation that most folks do not spend the time to figure out how to get the most out of the travel they have. I beleive this is especially true of the XC crowd.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by GlazedHam View Post
    Side note: it is my observation that most folks do not spend the time to figure out how to get the most out of the travel they have. I beleive this is especially true of the XC crowd.
    Being that this is the endurance forum, I'd bet that many of us here spend huge amounts of time on our bikes figuring out what works.

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