Upgrading 150mm forks to 160-180mm forks- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Upgrading 150mm forks to 160-180mm forks

    Hey expert riders,

    I am running 150mm on me bike and wanted to know if upgrading to a 160mm or 180mm fork going to change the dynamics of the bike dramatically. What changes does it make and is it recommended to do it or should I stick to 150mm only?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    It'll change things a bit. A 160/180 fork will be a bigger change in height than the 10/30mm the travel difference would suggest, since those forks are built burlier and end up having a beefier (and thus taller) crown, etc. Depends a bit on the bike in question, but going to a 160mm fork is probably okay, but it will slacken the head tube angle and raise the bottom bracket a little. I wouldn't recommend putting a 180mm fork on a bike designed for 150.

  3. #3
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    Different bike designs will have different sensitivities to their forks axle-to-crown length, which is really the parameter that matters here. Depending in the fork, there might not be a difference at all, but there usually is. A 160mm will probably slacken the bike a bit and make for a more stable DH experience at the expensive of climbing ability. Running up to 180mm on a bike designed around 150mm will probably be too much, and make the overall handling poor and undesirable.

  4. #4
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    If you are rolling a Pitch Comp, do not put a 180mm fork on your frame. The frame is not engineered for the increased leverage such fork will transfer to the frame.

    If you go shopping for a new fork, find your current axle-to-crown dimension and then shop for forks that keep you in the original spec's.

    Travel may increase by only 10mm, but axle-to-crown dimensions may increase 20mm-35mm. This increase will slacken your head angle and add minimal wheelbase. These two attributes will increase stability on the descents.

    The above attributes will also raise your bottom bracket and cause the front end to lighten up while going uphill. In order to control your bike while climbing, you will need to get more weight over the front end. Changing stem and handlebar length/rise may compensate for the negative effects, but you then run the risk of compromising steering stability.

    A travel-adjustable 160mm fork will allow you to keep the geometry that well paid engineers designed into your frame while adding stability when you point your rig downhill.
    The suspension of your bike sucks if it's different than mine. Really. It sucks. Big time.

  5. #5
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    It may not be an upgrade. Personally I have a TALAS 140/180 and love it. I spend most of my time in the 140 mode, which actually is 150, and only go to 180 on bigger downhills.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by canuck_tacoma View Post
    It may not be an upgrade. Personally I have a TALAS 140/180 and love it. I spend most of my time in the 140 mode, which actually is 150, and only go to 180 on bigger downhills.
    On what bike?

    Op unless you are changing a fork and the the option is 160 then you probably not going to notice much. However going to 180mm is going to void the warranty on your 150mm bike.


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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boulder Pilot View Post
    If you are rolling a Pitch Comp, do not put a 180mm fork on your frame. The frame is not engineered for the increased leverage such fork will transfer to the frame.

    If you go shopping for a new fork, find your current axle-to-crown dimension and then shop for forks that keep you in the original spec's.

    Travel may increase by only 10mm, but axle-to-crown dimensions may increase 20mm-35mm. This increase will slacken your head angle and add minimal wheelbase. These two attributes will increase stability on the descents.

    The above attributes will also raise your bottom bracket and cause the front end to lighten up while going uphill. In order to control your bike while climbing, you will need to get more weight over the front end. Changing stem and handlebar length/rise may compensate for the negative effects, but you then run the risk of compromising steering stability.

    A travel-adjustable 160mm fork will allow you to keep the geometry that well paid engineers designed into your frame while adding stability when you point your rig downhill.
    thanks mate, very helpful
    what is axle-to-crown? and what do you mean by slacken head angle and add minimal wheelbase?
    and also if it will raise the bottom bracket will that damage anything? like bearings etc?
    yeah i was originally thinking about the 160mm.. i was more curious about the 180mm but thanks for clarifying

  8. #8
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    Also consider your weight and riding style.

    Sure, 180mm will be more leverage on the head tube of the frame, but if you're a light guy with a smooth style (and you don't break parts all the time) then you're probably OK. On the other hand, if you are on the heavier side or ride really hard and do break parts, then you should only change out the fork if you're sure the bike was designed for that much travel.

    Obviously, it would be ideal to get a frame that matches the longer fork and was designed for it, but that's not always an option.

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