Fantom 29 Pro SL brakes and fork- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Fantom 29 Pro SL brakes and fork

    I recently drove over to Cycle Spectrum in Houston and test rode a Fantom 29 Pro (No SL on the floor) with the Avid Juicy 5 disc brakes and a RockShox Tora fork.

    I was quite unimpressed with the meek stopping power of the Avid Juicy 5 disc brakes. Worse than my 10 YO Gary Fisher with V-Brakes (could throw me over the bars back when I was 145lbs lol). Is this typical stopping power of all Disc brakes or do the brakes probably need to be broken in or what? Those of you with the Fantom 29 Pro SL, do the Avid Elixirs have enough stopping power to easily lock up the front wheel and/or throw you over the bars? Also, noticed that mech disc brakes on another bike I test rode (I think a 600 HT or something with like Avid BB5's or something) were even worse than the Avid Juicy 5's.

    I was not quite as impressed with the Tora fork as I thought I would be, although it was definitely a step up from my Manitou Magnum on the Fisher. How is the Reba SL? Does the Reba SL that comes with the Fantom 29 Pro SL have the Dual air chambers (+ and - chambers for greater adjustability)? In general, does it feel like a good front fork should?

    The way I see it, the better fork and brakes alone is well worth the $200 upgrade from the Pro to the Pro SL, not to mention better shifters, dérailleurs etc.

  2. #2
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    Disc brakes need to be bedded properly (transfer pad material to the rotors) for optimum stopping power. Brakes that you can lock up easily are not optimally set up for the trails even though one-finger lock up gives the allusion of power. Your braking performance and control especially go down at lock-up. The key to braking on the trails is modulation, basically the ability to varying the amount of stopping power from barely touching to full on lock-up, which means that it will take some effort to get the wheels to lock-up but that you'll be able to dial in the right amount of brakes through the full lever travel.

    I'm new to disc brakes, but I feel that brakes at the Juicy 5 level probably have plenty of stopping power for most riders if they are set up properly and the rotors are bedded correctly.

    The Reba SL is indeed Dual Air and the Pro SL is definitely worth the $200 premium over the Pro, IMO, and that's the consensus of the board as well.

  3. #3
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    Meek stopping power on Juicy Fives? I think not, or at least not when properly bled/bedded in. I did a retarded OTB this weekend testing out my rebuilt Tora fork in front of my house. Neighbors thought it was funny, and I figured out the brakes work really well. Totally locked them up with two fingers and wasn't even trying that hard. On downhill runs, they've got more than enough stopping power for me, and I'm about 180# with gear.

    I also have the Tora Solo Air 318, and I'm very pleased with it. The travel is decent, can be changed by swapping out spacers (requires taking it apart), and the Motion Control damping and lockout works great. Feels very plush on the bigger drops, and keeps the steering smooth on lots of small chatter in the trail. The Solo Air spring is easy to set and mess around with to get the preferred amount of spring too...I just used the guide and it feels right. Of course the Reba is going to be an upgrade and will give you some more features, but are you going to really use them?

    As a general rule, if you spend more on BD you'll get more. The $800-1400 bike line really has some great deals, the 29er Pro SL being one of them. Very nice components for the price, of which the suspension, drivetrain, and brakes are alone worth the $$$.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the reply's guys. I'm pretty sure that the brakes just weren't broken in or adjusted properly. Also, since the Tora's felt pretty good when I rode them-much better than the Dart on 26" I test rode. If I get even 1/4th the improvement by going to the Reba as I felt from the Dart to the Tora, i'll be extremely happy!

    This will be my first bike with an air shock. Do I need to purchase a special shock pump for the bike? What do you guys recommend? Also, any good tutorial on how to adjust a dual air shock so that I have an idea as to what kind of adjustments to expect to have once I get the bike?

    Also, does Avid/BD do a decent job bleeding the brakes or will I need to purchase a kit to bleed them myself? Could I furnish my own kit from stuff lying around the garage (I know I have a syringe, maybe some other stuff etc)?

  5. #5
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    You will need a special pump. I bought a Fox Shock pump, and it works perfect. It's light enough that I just keep it in my camelbak just in case I want to adjust pressure on the trail.

    My Cliff 29er came with Juicy Fives and while the rear brake was bled perfectly out of the box, the front brake had some air. If you want to do this yourself you'll need to buy their kit, which is pretty specific to their own hardware. I ended up paying the LBS $20 to do it for me, but most places wanted to charge $40. Check with the LBS on how much they charge...at $40+ it's worth it just to get the kit and then you'll have it forever.

  6. #6
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    So i'm assuming that shock pumps all pretty much have a standard valve/adapter? Such that I can buy pretty much any front shock pump and it will work on any other front shock regardless of brand/manufacturer right?

  7. #7
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    I've seen shock pumps that only read up to 150 psi.. Look for one that goes up to 300.

    All use Shrader valves, so that's a non-issue.

    FWIW... I use a Buzzy's Pollinator, works just fine for me!
    "Fear not the ob-stackles in your path"

  8. #8
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    Cool thanks. Just ordered the bike. Have an air compressor that will go to 200 PSI, and it looks like most people run the Reba SL Dual air around 120 PSI so I think i'll be good for now... (yes, the air compressor has one of those cheesy pressure regulators so I can easily adjust the output pressure of the line to close to what I want so I don't run the risk of ruining something as easily.)

  9. #9
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    Skip the air compressor.

    The shock chamber volume is TINY! The negative chamber is so small that just checking the pressure will cause you to lose up to 10psi from it.

    Pump it by hand. It won't take that many strokes to get where you want.

    I run 10psi higher in the negative. I think I'm at 130/140. I weigh 210# and have no complaints with my ride quality at this setting.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by teh_pwnzr
    Cool thanks. Just ordered the bike. Have an air compressor that will go to 200 PSI, and it looks like most people run the Reba SL Dual air around 120 PSI so I think i'll be good for now... (yes, the air compressor has one of those cheesy pressure regulators so I can easily adjust the output pressure of the line to close to what I want so I don't run the risk of ruining something as easily.)
    Cheesy means, inaccurate and potentially faulty. The price of a shock pump is way less the a new fork so why take the chance.
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  11. #11
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    Just got the bike today. Assembeled it and took it for a quick ride down the street. Perfect shifting, everything I could want from a new bike.

    Front shock was a little low and I probably won't have time to take it out on the trail for a couple weeks anyways (not to mention that it also needs to stop raining around here!), so I'll just wait for a shock pump. Very pleased with the brakes, and I think they'll work even better after i've broken them in. Shock feels excellent, just needs to be pumped up a bit. Overall, very, very pleased with the bike thus far. The real test will come in a couple weeks when I take it out on the trails and put it through it's paces!

    Very pleased with the fast shipping too. Ordered it Wed night, got it this (friday) afternoon. Less than 48 hours! (I live in Texas hence the fast shipping).

    Thanks for all the advice guys, y'all are really helpful. (Also, next major project will be to convert to tubeless in a few months probably, so you'll see me around lol)

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