One of those crazy 'can you put on a 160 or 180mm fork on a hardtail' questions-
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  1. #1
    Maxxis cult follower
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    Apr 2017

    One of those crazy 'can you put on a 160 or 180mm fork on a hardtail' questions

    I know it can be done. They even have straight-steerer 180mm DH forks for cheap now. A lot of dudes in the All-Mountain forum are riding 150mm+ hardtails and say they love them. On paper, this looks fine. In reality, many people have said otherwise. They say for a stock 100mm bike frame, the geometry will be way off, handling will suffer, and eventually the frame around the head tube may crack or even shear off, which is obviously dangerous.

    But is the main (or only) reason because the bike would be 2.4 to 3.2 inches higher in front than it was stock with a 100mm fork? Is that the main reason? I'll first tell you what I want to do this for and why, and then I'll tell you how I have a little plan for reducing the height difference between the back and front end.

    Why I'm considering this: I just got some money in, so I'm doing a 23-24lb carbon XC build, more like a cross between aggressive XC and lite trail. But now I have two hardtails, that, aside from a 9-10 lb weight difference, both would have 120mm forks and both have a 70 degree head tube angle. Similar bikes, one just weighs less than the other. I want to differentiate by older bike now, and not just keep it as a heavier backup clone. The older bike has a straight steerer but as mentioned above, there are a lot of 'new' discontinued 150-160mm straight steerer air forks out there, and the Chinese have a lot of new ones too, even 180-200mm! I think if possible I'll play it safe and do 160mm, no need for more than that with an XC/trail hardtail. So bascially I want one XC/light trail bike for smoother, more flowing stuff, and one all-mountain hardtail for chunker, rockier stuff, with some drops, maybe some jumps, just to have more fun and see how fast I can go down the hill, within reason. Not too out of the ordinary, correct? Good or bad idea? If I have to get a new 67-68mm head tube frame that's tapered, so be it...later. Let me know if 160mm on a straight steerer is crazy and WHY.

    OK here is the plan to help partially offset the height of the front end: if 160mm is 2.4 inches more in front than the original stock 100mm fork, then all else being equal, the bottom bracket will rise around 1.2 inches, the bike will climb like crap, and it will handle slower, etc.

    OK...but what if all else were NOT equal? What if I put the tallest possible (largest diameter) 27.5 in the back that I can, which measures 28.2 inches high, and then put a 26 tire/wheel in the front, which would measure around 26.8 inches? There would be a tire that's 1.4 inches higher in the back than in the front. 2.4 inches of fork growth up front - 1.4 inch higher tire in back = 1.0 inches net gain of height in the front. That's doable. I've done different tire size combinations in front and back, with the same fork on of course, and while sometimes the climbing feel is odd (27.5 / 26), or the back end is not very planted (again 27.5 / 26), they all work OK. Sometimes they work great (26+ front / 27.5 back). 1.0 inches of additional height up front is fine with me. But what else could go wrong for handling or a possible frame crack later, and WHY?

    Would putting a smaller tire up front solve all of these potential problems, many of them, or hardly any of them?
    We ALL have something to learn here. Post helpful solutions instead of flaming for your own sadistic need.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    What exactly are you trying to accomplish by over-forking to the max? If you're doing it as an experiment of excess, and to see just how shitty you can make a bike handle, and how quickly you can snap the headtube, go for it.

    Those 'a lot of dudes' in the All-Mountain forum also probably have the proper frame for 150+ forks too. Not old 70* HTA with straight-steerers.

    If you really want to use that much fork on a hardtail, just get a frame specifically make for long travel forks. I've dabbled in the 'hardcore hardtail' segment. I had a proper 'hardcore hardtail' frame. They suck. They have all the disadvantages of a hardtail. And none of the advantages. Their long wheelbase, heavy weight, and slack and low geometry make them absolutely not fun to ride in everything but descents. And even then, they're not that fun at descending. A broken clock is right twice a day. That's what I feel about 'hardcore hardtails'.
    I no longer like to party. But I like the idea of it.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation: UEDan's Avatar
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    Apr 2010
    Now now, lets not bash hardcore hardtails. Lets stick with bashing OP. I love my Chromag.

    Get the right frame for it. I've over forked an old Evil DOC to 150mm(120mm orginal?), another issue is the slackened out seattube, made it impossible to climb without wheelie-ing everywhere.

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