Forking Ridiculous- Mtbr.com

Poll: The fork I best love is

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  1. #1
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    Forking Ridiculous

    Oh man. Winter is ending, and so are my shorter rides and now I'm starting to climb for several thousand feet on rides. I end up pretty beat.

    I am riding rigid, with a Dimension steel fork. It is fine, but I did a five hour ride last weekend and as I grew more and more tired, I got lazy and the bumps started owning me.

    As it might be expected, I started searching through the forums for fork information, but I ended up being confused. I thought carbon fiber would mean a noticable difference in smoothness, but a couple threads debunked that there was a qualitative difference between a carbon fiber fork and a decent to good steel fork.

    Made sense to me- I've had three steel forks and certainly could tell the difference between the three in terms of smoothness. And all were fine for any ride, assuming I was in decent riding shape.

    Then I found another thread that made me start thinking that at the end of that five hour ride, carbon fiber would have had made for a much more content back.

    Spill the beans, rigid riders- fork material and why?

  2. #2
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    suspension. I dont notice it on the climbs, and it just makes the rocky stuff that much more fun. I know i'm probably odd man out on this, but i really dont care. I like to go fast.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by ISuckAtRiding
    I know i'm probably odd man out on this
    I don't think so. With no disrespect at all to rigid aficionados, I look at a nice ss with a rigid fork and think: why? Or maybe that should be: why not?

    Different strokes for different boats, but there are plenty of us out there that like suspension up front.

  4. #4
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    umarth – good post. If I had to vote it would be forceful towards steel since that’s all I’ve ever ridden. So I’ll be closely watching this thread. I have been trying to get a straight answer to this question for over a year usually the threads get hijacked by personalities and pun (no problems with any of that but it would great to get an in-depth tech savvy review/analysis).

    Simply put: What are the significant differences between steel and carbon leg forks? (Leave the Niner full carbon body fork review out of it – adds a total different element to the question). A buddy emailed me last night “Carbon fiber is a cloth in the raw form. Depending on the weave and the glue and how you lay out the direction of the weave will tell you how the carbon will act. So you can make it super stiff in one direction and supper flexible in another on the same part.” Yet, this still doesn’t define absorption or reaction to bumps, etc. and similarly comparison to steel.

  5. #5
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    I have a Pace RC31 and it is definitely more flexible than a low-end steel fork. I've ridden Dimension steel forks and they feel harsh to me.

    I own a larger variety of CX forks, and find that a Tange steel fork provides a lot less flex than either a cheap CF fork or an Al Kinesis.

    IOW, it depends on the material to some extent, but also the particular fork.

  6. #6
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    I have ridden two rigid forks... the on-one steel and carbon versions on the same bike with same set up.

    I rode the steel last year and thought it was too rough for me and got rid of it.

    After thinking about it all winter I bought the carbon and love it.

    My opinion, is it feels like my Reba when locked out. I can ride it a couple hours and not feel beat up.

    So I like carbon but have not ridden that many to compare to.

    Disclaimer- 200lbs, midwest singletrack, 2.4 racing ralph tubeless on the front with Arches.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by jjmtb1

    Disclaimer- 200lbs, midwest singletrack, 2.4 racing ralph tubeless on the front with Arches.
    This is a good point, everyone's location and tire choice are going to be a huge variable in this poll. I'd probably ride rigid too if i had swoopy smooth singletrack or huge volume tires.

  8. #8
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    Rigid on the rocks here. Lots and lots of rocks, but rocks can be fun. I have a steel fork from a Haro Mary on my Inbred but have not tried anything else to compare it too. Works well from my limited point of view. Only painful part is high speed rock gardens (2-6in rocks, entering at 15mph) but I probably shouldn't be expecting any rigid fork to smooth that out too much

    Anyway, my piece of advice for this is to pay as much or more attention to your tires. I can tell a big difference between different tire volumes and air pressures. I've done rough rides at 20psi front with my ghetto setup and it felt awesome, and I've done rides on slightly smoother trails at 35psi and nearly killed my arms and got a slight headache from the pounding. The tires I've used are 2.25 Ardent, 2.35 Rampage and 2.3 Stout. Next on my list is either 2.4 Ardent or Bonty FR3

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomn
    Anyway, my piece of advice for this is to pay as much or more attention to your tires. I can tell a big difference between different tire volumes and air pressures. I've done rough rides at 20psi front with my ghetto setup and it felt awesome, and I've done rides on slightly smoother trails at 35psi and nearly killed my arms and got a slight headache from the pounding. The tires I've used are 2.25 Ardent, 2.35 Rampage and 2.3 Stout. Next on my list is either 2.4 Ardent or Bonty FR3
    I do not disagree that tire volume and psi make a huge difference in cush. I was hoping for a practical exploration into forks themselves. If the difference between a rigid fork is so negligible that one is better off looking into other aspects of a bike to help make their bike more comfortable, so be it.

    I've noticed a huge difference between rigid forks, so I am theoretically sold that carbon fiber would make a fantastic next step.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by umarth
    I do not disagree that tire volume and psi make a huge difference in cush. I was hoping for a practical exploration into forks themselves. If the difference between a rigid fork is so negligible that one is better off looking into other aspects of a bike to help make their bike more comfortable, so be it.

    I've noticed a huge difference between rigid forks, so I am theoretically sold that carbon fiber would make a fantastic next step.
    I wasn't trying to say fork material doesn't matter, just sharing the experience that I do have. I am theoretically headed to a carbon fork too when I have room in my budget

  11. #11
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    More than anything, I think it is interesting that there are no specific rigid fork reviews in the review section.

  12. #12
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    I ride rigid in the winter when the ground (mud) is soft and rides are relatively short and speeds are slower. I have a steel fork and a carbon fiber one.

    I ride suspension forks in the dry season when the ground is harder, speeds are higher and rides last as long as 8-10 hours.

    To me, saying one rigid fork is "more comfortable" than another is splitting hairs. They're both rigid forks. They'll all do what I want whenever I want a rigid fork. But none will ever come close to the comfort and control a suspension fork provides.

    Personally, my advice is don't elevate your expectations much if you're looking for a "comfortable" rigid fork. It ain't gonna happen.

    --Sparty

    P.S. I didn't cast a vote in the poll because different forks serve different purposes. The one I love best changes from season to season.
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  13. #13
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    Cannot vote because it has been years since I last tried a rigid fork for any riding

    Are there big differences in rigid fork strength?

    I am just heavy enough to be considered a clyde, trails are a bit bumpy, but they are so twisty and slow that catching any air is rare. I don't think I need a rigid Dirt Jumping fork, but am not sure if should trust my good looks on a carbon fork either...

    Any opinions, information or wisdom on that?

  14. #14
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    I've ridden suspension, carbon, and steel. The particular fork I'm riding right now is the best rigid I've tried. It is the stock Reynolds 520 fork on my Singular Swift.
    The axle to crown is a little longer @ 485mm and I think that helps with the vibration damping on the trail. There is a little brake vibration at slow speed speed scrubbing, but it's only something I've noticed in the parking lot.
    On my Karate Monkey I swapped to the Exotic carbon fork to eliminate brake vibration (could feel it on the trail), as well as some weight, but that was the only real difference I noticed with that swap.
    I've toyed with the idea of trying the new Niner carbon fork as it would drop almost a pound and a half off my bike, but the Swift's works so well.
    I talked to the Niner rep at Singlespeed-a-palooza and it sounded as if their carbon fork was designed to be quite a bit stiffer than what I've been enjoying.
    But never say never.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomn

    Anyway, my piece of advice for this is to pay as much or more attention to your tires. I can tell a big difference between different tire volumes and air pressures. I've done rough rides at 20psi front with my ghetto setup and it felt awesome, and I've done rides on slightly smoother trails at 35psi and nearly killed my arms and got a slight headache from the pounding. The tires I've used are 2.25 Ardent, 2.35 Rampage and 2.3 Stout. Next on my list is either 2.4 Ardent or Bonty FR3
    This is a very noteworthy point. Perhaps, this is why I have never considered going to a carbon fork previously. My stock Bianchi steel fork doesn’t seem that abusive to me since I am running the ExiWolf 2.3s (I am told they are closer to 2.4s) with 20psi in the front and 25 in the rear. I have tried a few different tires and pressures but this works best in most applications. Besides the weight difference, I don’t expect I will notice a significant difference between either fork. But I plan to finally get one and compare both later this year. Add to the equation a recent test ride from 26” wheel to 650b – noticeable difference in resistance, cornering, and softening bumps.

    The other comparisons to steel & carbon thus far are quite thorough and interesting.

  16. #16
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    I have both the Niner 853 fork and the Niner Carbon fork. The carbon makes the trail so much smoother.

    Front tire s a RR 2.25 at 30psi. If I run it up at 35psi I notice the bumps a little more and less than 25psi and I worry about dinging the rim.

    While it may well be "all in my head" at <25psi my riding isn't as smooth because I'm watching the trail too much.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by umarth
    More than anything, I think it is interesting that there are no specific rigid fork reviews in the review section.
    I know why
    But i shall not say.

  18. #18
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    I haven't ridden a carbon fork but I have ridden 3 different steel forks. I currently run a Viscious fork and felt less sore immediately. I noticed the dampening in the first half hour of riding.

    Personally, I like steel as it is a simpler design and won't be damaged if the bike takes a tumble. I guess it is like everything, you get what you pay for.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by pwh4130
    Personally, I like steel as it is a simpler design and won't be damaged if the bike takes a tumble. I guess it is like everything, you get what you pay for.
    Steel sure can be damaged if you fall, especially with nicer steel forks that often achieve their lower weight and smoother feel by using thinner steel. Most modern carbon is built strong and with tough outer layers for protection so they can take tumbles with nothing more than clearcoat scratches.

    No facts on this, but I would say if any crash causes significant damage to a carbon fork it most likely would have done the same to a steel fork as well. There are differences in what kind of damage they receive and how far you would trust them after visible damage though, and that is certainly a factor to consider. But with all the carbon and steel rigid forks that MTBR riders are using, how many complaints do you see here about either one?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomn
    Steel sure can be damaged if you fall, especially with nicer steel forks that often achieve their lower weight and smoother feel by using thinner steel. Most modern carbon is built strong and with tough outer layers for protection so they can take tumbles with nothing more than clearcoat scratches.

    No facts on this, but I would say if any crash causes significant damage to a carbon fork it most likely would have done the same to a steel fork as well. There are differences in what kind of damage they receive and how far you would trust them after visible damage though, and that is certainly a factor to consider. But with all the carbon and steel rigid forks that MTBR riders are using, how many complaints do you see here about either one?
    I have no doubt that CF is stronger, and i would not hessitate to ride CF at all (i've even had CF bikes in the past). But i think the thing that scares people off is the way it fails, if it does. However, i sheared the headtube off a chromoly bike so fast that it would put a CF failure to shame. POP! On my face. That's why i'm so ugly

  21. #21
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    niner carbon fork and 2.5" muddy mary= smooth!
    (not enough ride time to give a REAL qualitative opinion, but so far I'm loving it)

    surly steel rigid with 2.6" and up= about the same, but probably a pound and a half heavier (several pounds heavier with the 3" gazzi)

    but no rigid fork is analogous to suspension.
    even my old bolt-arch 3" marzocchi gives me more impact absorption than either of the rigid options. (as you expect it would)

    going up a tire size or three CAN make a big difference though, if you're running 2.1's or so look at 2.4 and up, lower psi/more air volume filters an awful lot of the chatter that makes long rides terminally exhausting.
    If steel is real then aluminium is supercallafragiliniun!

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomn
    Steel sure can be damaged if you fall, especially with nicer steel forks that often achieve their lower weight and smoother feel by using thinner steel. Most modern carbon is built strong and with tough outer layers for protection so they can take tumbles with nothing more than clearcoat scratches.
    No facts on this, but I would say if any crash causes significant damage to a carbon fork it most likely would have done the same to a steel fork as well. There are differences in what kind of damage they receive and how far you would trust them after visible damage though, and that is certainly a factor to consider. But with all the carbon and steel rigid forks that MTBR riders are using, how many complaints do you see here about either one?

    There are numerous full carbon MTB frames being produced these days.
    One has to wonder if there would be a market, if they were not relatively bombproof?

    That being said, I think the statements above are two pretty BIG ASSUMPTIONS (maybe correct, but still raise my eyebrows).
    The clearcoat on the carbon IS the structure that keeps the carbon matrix intact.
    So damaging that material is way more likely to cause a failure, than scratching (or even denting) steel.
    Laying down a bike on rocks, at speed will dent Steel, then I don't see how it won't compromise carbon clear coat.
    My experience with carbon bars is that it takes about the same impact to scratch/damage, as what it would take to scrape paint or powdercoat on a frame.
    I scratch my fork legs up just manuevering through tight and rocky sections of trail. I certainly don't want to adjust the way I ride because my equipment.
    I have broken a custom steel fork (snapped both legs in half), but do not have any concern about breaking another.
    I worried about small nicks on my carbon MonkeyLite riser bar from day one.

    Is the tradeoff of a small difference in feel and cost premium worth 'peace of mind'.....not to me.
    More specifically, who would risk having a catastrophic failure (read 'INSTANT') with a carbon fork?
    I think a carbon fork would be great for smoother and less tech trails, but then why would you need a more forgiving fork then??

    Maybe I just fall off my bike more than the average rider, or ride rockier trails than some, but I just don't see the benefit. If you want a fork to be more compliant, buy a short travel suspension..............or slow down.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrsalty
    Maybe I just fall off my bike more than the average rider, or ride rockier trails than some, but I just don't see the benefit. If you want a fork to be more compliant, buy a short travel suspension..............or slow down.
    I started the thread with the intention of trying to round up concise information on fork options, especially for SS riders. Their is a dearth of information and reviews out there.

    I will ride rigid until physical limitations force me out of it. While I happily "make do" with the fork I currently have, it would be great to sit down and find out with a greater degree of certainty of what options I do have to make my bicycle more comfortable, or give me a chance to ride rigid longer.

    The right grips make a difference. So does fat rubber. What is inexplicable, from my perspective, is the generic- "Steel is real, but custom steel is better. Oh yeah, CF is freaking sweet too, but could suddenly designate your nose for removal to another part of the face."

    Good info so far. I'm still entirely uncertain as to a clearer picture of what the best option is, of course.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by umarth
    I started the thread with the intention of trying to round up concise information on fork options, especially for SS riders. Their is a dearth of information and reviews out there.

    I will ride rigid until physical limitations force me out of it. While I happily "make do" with the fork I currently have, it would be great to sit down and find out with a greater degree of certainty of what options I do have to make my bicycle more comfortable, or give me a chance to ride rigid longer.

    The right grips make a difference. So does fat rubber. What is inexplicable, from my perspective, is the generic- "Steel is real, but custom steel is better. Oh yeah, CF is freaking sweet too, but could suddenly designate your nose for removal to another part of the face."

    Good info so far. I'm still entirely uncertain as to a clearer picture of what the best option is, of course.
    Yeah, my elbows and knees have the audible snap, crack, pop going on...............but they would do that if I sat on the couch.

    I think the 'ultimate' would be a custom Ti fork, but the cost would likely buy you a couple of CF forks theses days.

    If I had $300 burning a hole in my pocket, I would get a set of Ti Black Sheep Mountain Moustache bars, and go from there.
    I have never ridden them on trails, but did spin them around a T-Head parking lot on a Karate Monkey.............FU#&IN AWESOME!
    EricN
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by umarth
    What is inexplicable, from my perspective, is the generic- "Steel is real, but custom steel is better. Oh yeah, CF is freaking sweet too, but could suddenly designate your nose for removal to another part of the face."
    Blanket statements annoy me too. The thing to remember with custom steel is that these forks are generally better tuned to the weight and intended use of the rider. Stock steel forks are built to be stiff enough and strong enough for the heaviest rider the company foresees using it to avoid failure and liability as well as having to make multiple versions of the same fork, which all means it's likely overbuilt for someone in a different part of the spectrum. Custom steel isn't necessarily better, but it seems to have more potential

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrsalty
    The clearcoat on the carbon IS the structure that keeps the carbon matrix intact.
    So damaging that material is way more likely to cause a failure, than scratching (or even denting) steel.
    The resin impregnated within the woven cloth provides the strength. On top of those structural layers are usually a couple layers of cloth for looks (with the right type of weave look that people assume carbon is supposed to have) and maybe for impact strength (kevlar cloth is popular for this) plus an additional layer of clear resin over all of that. The clearcoat is not a primary source of strength

    Quote Originally Posted by mrsalty
    Laying down a bike on rocks, at speed will dent Steel, then I don't see how it won't compromise carbon clear coat.
    never said it wouldn't. I said both would likely be damaged.

    Quote Originally Posted by mrsalty
    My experience with carbon bars is that it takes about the same impact to scratch/damage, as what it would take to scrape paint or powdercoat on a frame.
    I scratch my fork legs up just manuevering through tight and rocky sections of trail. I certainly don't want to adjust the way I ride because my equipment.
    I have broken a custom steel fork (snapped both legs in half), but do not have any concern about breaking another.
    I worried about small nicks on my carbon MonkeyLite riser bar from day one.
    Are you saying you've cracked or put holes in carbon bars or that you've scratched them. Just curious for clarification

    This is not meant in any way to attack you, but I find this example a good illustration of how well-instilled assumptions about carbon make us act. You snapped a steel fork and still feel completely confident in steel, while you have apparently not catastrophically destroyed anything carbon yet but still worry a lot about it.

    Quote Originally Posted by mrsalty
    Is the tradeoff of a small difference in feel and cost premium worth 'peace of mind'.....not to me.
    More specifically, who would risk having a catastrophic failure (read 'INSTANT') with a carbon fork?
    I think a carbon fork would be great for smoother and less tech trails, but then why would you need a more forgiving fork then??
    Any material can catastrophically fail under a number of circumstances. For example, have you ever seen a broken aluminum or steel handlebar that wasn't catastrophic. Also, your fork.
    I think you are making assumptions yourself though to say that the carbon damage most people are at risk of encountering is complete and catastrophic failure. Maybe it is, but lots of carbon failures are also cracks or holes that don't cause catastrophic failure and give at least some visual indication that further use would be catastrophic

    Quote Originally Posted by mrsalty
    Maybe I just fall off my bike more than the average rider, or ride rockier trails than some, but I just don't see the benefit. If you want a fork to be more compliant, buy a short travel suspension..............or slow down.
    Never!! Ok, well maybe when I'm older.

    Anyway, if you don't feel comfortable on carbon I can accept that completely. Nothing wrong with having a personal preference and I'm not trying to convince you into using more carbon. But I have my own as well and they include no fear of carbon

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomn
    ...

    Never!! Ok, well maybe when I'm older.

    ...
    Now YOU'RE inferring impaired abilities upon older riders.

    Take if from a grandpa who's not the least bit interested in slowing down, you will not outgrow your desire for the thrills that come with hardcore mountain biking.

    That's my experience, anyway.

    --Sparty
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    We get old because we quit riding.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparticus
    Now YOU'RE inferring impaired abilities upon older riders.

    Take if from a grandpa who's not the least bit interested in slowing down, you will not outgrow your desire for the thrills that come with hardcore mountain biking.

    That's my experience, anyway.

    --Sparty
    Haha, thanks. That is encouraging. I don't plan on letting the fire die, but I do plan on showing those grandkids someday how its done

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomn
    Haha, thanks. That is encouraging. I don't plan on letting the fire die, but I do plan on showing those grandkids someday how its done


    You didn't ask for any advice, but I'll offer some anyway. If you want to ride when you're old, just don't ever stop.

    Bikes or anything else.

    I know too many guys my age who I ask me what I did with my weekend, and when I tell them, they say, "I could never do that." Sad thing is, they're at an age where they're right. At some point, ability goes away, and usually it happens while we're assuming it's not happening.

    It's too late for them. There's no coming back now.

    Not that you would ever let that happen.

    Kids, job, marriage, new house, relocation, whatever... don't let anything get in your way of doing what you love and you'll always be able to love what you do.

    Sorry to sound like an old man offering unsolicited advice, but that's exactly what I am in this case.

    --Sparty
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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparticus


    You didn't ask for any advice, but I'll offer some anyway. If you want to ride when you're old, just don't ever stop.

    Bikes or anything else.

    I know too many guys my age who I ask me what I did with my weekend, and when I tell them, they say, "I could never do that." Sad thing is, they're at an age where they're right. At some point, ability goes away, and usually it happens while we're assuming it's not happening.

    It's too late for them. There's no coming back now.

    Not that you would ever let that happen.

    Kids, job, marriage, new house, relocation, whatever... don't let anything get in your way of doing what you love and you'll always be able to love what you do.

    Sorry to sound like an old man offering unsolicited advice, but that's exactly what I am in this case.

    --Sparty
    sounds pretty damn good for unsolicited advice

  31. #31
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    Both?

    I ride both at the same time. Well, uh kinda. I had been riding a Salsa 29er fork and moved over to a Fox fork and have been very happy since. Got a lock out and a setting for full on squish. Options are good folks in my opinion.

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    The dampening characteristics of any fork. Is directly due to how its designed and how it is made. I can make a carbon fork using a weave set up to make it stiff as heck. Or flexible as a wet noodle. Same with steel. I can make a fork using .25 wall strait gauge tubing or make one out of some Columbus Spirit. Same fork with strait lags or a nice radius bend. Then add in tires, wheel size, grips, handle bars even saddle position. All have an effect on ride quality.
    Buy a cheap bike part and 9 times out of 10 you get a cheap bike part.

    Tim

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomn
    sounds pretty damn good for unsolicited advice
    I want to get in on the group hug. I'd believe Sparty, whatever he says. I would have never guessed grandpa.

    In fact, he might start looking good after a couple beers.

  34. #34
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    I have a RockShox Dart3 (came with the bike) that never goes out of lockout mode. I'm replacing it asap. I'm not a huge fan of the suspension forks. Well I'm sure I would be if I were willing to spend over $500 on a really nice one but that ain't really going to happen. My old dual squish ride had a decent Marzochi Bomber on it but even then I could never get use to it. For me the weight isn't really worth it so I'll go back to a rigid fork when I get the cash.
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  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by robbyracer
    I have a RockShox Dart3 (came with the bike) that never goes out of lockout mode. I'm replacing it asap. I'm not a huge fan of the suspension forks. Well I'm sure I would be if I were willing to spend over $500 on a really nice one but that ain't really going to happen. My old dual squish ride had a decent Marzochi Bomber on it but even then I could never get use to it. For me the weight isn't really worth it so I'll go back to a rigid fork when I get the cash.
    FWIW there are good suspension forks for less than $500, but the one's above that are really good

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by umarth
    I want to get in on the group hug. I'd believe Sparty, whatever he says. I would have never guessed grandpa.

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  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomn
    Rigid on the rocks here. Lots and lots of rocks, but rocks can be fun. I have a steel fork from a Haro Mary on my Inbred but have not tried anything else to compare it too. Works well from my limited point of view. Only painful part is high speed rock gardens (2-6in rocks, entering at 15mph) but I probably shouldn't be expecting any rigid fork to smooth that out too much

    Anyway, my piece of advice for this is to pay as much or more attention to your tires. I can tell a big difference between different tire volumes and air pressures. I've done rough rides at 20psi front with my ghetto setup and it felt awesome, and I've done rides on slightly smoother trails at 35psi and nearly killed my arms and got a slight headache from the pounding. The tires I've used are 2.25 Ardent, 2.35 Rampage and 2.3 Stout. Next on my list is either 2.4 Ardent or Bonty FR3
    It is interesting that you consider those pictures to be extremely rocky, in all honestly our wonderful trail system out here in Phoenix puts those to shame for rock content. Those trails are smoother than anything I ever see out here.

    This is not a rock bragging statement, just pointing out how important the terrain is in a decision like forks.
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  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by randyharris
    It is interesting that you consider those pictures to be extremely rocky, in all honestly our wonderful trail system out here in Phoenix puts those to shame for rock content. Those trails are smoother than anything I ever see out here.

    This is not a rock bragging statement, just pointing out how important the terrain is in a decision like forks.
    because they are extremely rocky, yours are just even more extremely rocky

    Pictures and video are deceiving and never do justice to a trail anyway. Ever take a picture of a gnarly section to show people how difficult the things you do are, then notice that the picture makes it look smooth and easy? Bah, now you've got me feeling defensive, lol. I'll save you the bother of making excuses for my pics

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomn
    because they are extremely rocky, yours are just even more extremely rocky

    Pictures and video are deceiving and never do justice to a trail anyway. Ever take a picture of a gnarly section to show people how difficult the things you do are, then notice that the picture makes it look smooth and easy? Bah, now you've got me feeling defensive, lol. I'll save you the bother of making excuses for my pics
    haha, no worries!

    It's like video or still pictures, they always flatten the ascent/descent and make it look far understated.
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  40. #40
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    I have a singular swift on which I have run a fox 32rlc, a carbon fork (the same, made in taiwan one that's re-branded by a number of companies...), and now the stock steel fork.

    Like ISAR, I like to go fast, too. I suppose I probably can go fastest down rocky, crappy stuff with my suspension fork but, for me, the hassle of locking a fox fork out for a climb is more than I care to deal. It was a bit too fiddly, and I was too likely to change the rebound setting every time I time I touched the lock-out lever. So that fork came off the bike.

    Switched to the carbon. Ok, it's nice and light, and I'm *ahem* within the recommended weight range. The bike felt snappier while accelerating and climbing with it was a no-brainer. But descending with it didn't really feel so hot. It felt as if every hit got transmitted in sharp relief, straight up through my grips. It was just kinda hard on my hands. And while I'll ride the hell out of some carbon bars, I just couldn't get totally comfortable with watching that thing flex...

    CB2 complimented the stock Singular steel fork in different thread so I figured I'd give it a shot. While it's heavier than the carbon (duh), I'm liking it. For one thing I like not having to think about how my fat a$$ might tax it's strength/integrity. But it also feels a bit more compliant. I won't say "softer" though that's kinda what comes to mind. Maybe it's the rake of the fork, combined with the attributes of steel, but so far so good.

    I'll keep the fox around so I still have that option, but for now, the steel fork is working quite nicely.

  41. #41
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    so i've picked up a SS cross bike since the start of this thread. It's a steel bianchi san jose, and i run 32c small block 8's. It had a steel fork, but i put a Bianchi carbon fork on it. The steel fork was about 1lb heavier, but it was a bit smoother, IMHO. The carbon feels like it sends a shock through the frame on hard impacts. The steel deadened it a little more.
    I know not all forks are made equally, but i felt that was a pretty good side by side comparison since i was running the same psi, same tires, same bike, same trails, etc.

  42. #42
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    fascinating that both voodoochild and isuckatriding both talk about carbon transmitting the impact right to your hands. I would have never guessed that.
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  43. #43
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    I'm no materials guy, but from my little layman's brain I think it has something to do with the straight carbon tubes. I don't think carbon is well-suited to this application. If the fork had curved blades, I think that might help. Though of course that would make for a more expensive fork...and then what about flex/strength?
    Last edited by voodoochild; 08-24-2010 at 03:32 PM.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by voodoochild
    I'm no materials guy, but from my little layman's brain I think it has something to do with the straight carbon tubes. I don't think carbon is well-suited to this application. If the fork had curved blades, I think that might help. Though of course that would make for a more expensive fork...and then what about flex/strength?
    +1. I just ordered a steel fork to replace the White Bros carbon on my Selma because the carbon is just too harsh. Instead of bumps and rocks feeling as though the front wheel is being deflected out in front of me "sort of up and away" it feels as though the wheels is further under me and it just hammers straight up.

  45. #45
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    I have ridden rigid aluminum, rigid steel, front suspension and full suspension and have found that the level of ease and comfort of the ride increases in that order, while the level of control and predictability in the ride decreases in that same order. Since I cannot afford a bike for every situation, I try to find a nice middle-ground, which is a hardtail with front suspension. This provides a decent level of comfort on long rides and rocky downhill sections, while still providing an adequate level of predictably while performing back flips and such . . .

  46. #46
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    OK, now I have a rigid fork. It does not flex much. A steel jump fork with 20 mm axle can be pretty stiff, even if it is 465 mm A to C.

    Fat tires are nice.

  47. #47
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    it's funny how people are all worried about the catastrophic failure of carbon, when the only product that has ever done that to me was a steel frame.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by ISuckAtRiding
    it's funny how people are all worried about the catastrophic failure of carbon, when the only product that has ever done that to me was a steel frame.
    http://www.bustedcarbon.com/
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  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by randyharris
    you mean the site where most of the broken carbon is the result of a crash and not the cause, and most of the others are "just riding along" stories or without context? Not only that, but steel and carbon fail regularly too, they just don't have websites trying to collect every last picture for amusement and/or fear-mongering.

    That site is a strong pet-peeve of mine and I don't even have any carbon on my bike!

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomn
    you mean the site where most of the broken carbon is the result of a crash and not the cause, and most of the others are "just riding along" stories or without context? Not only that, but steel and carbon fail regularly too, they just don't have websites trying to collect every last picture for amusement and/or fear-mongering.

    That site is a strong pet-peeve of mine and I don't even have any carbon on my bike!
    agreed.
    The owner of that site gets the ban stick from my site.

    I've spent some time with probably the top guy in composites, and i also got a tour of his facility. The tests and manufacturing processes that every component goes through is pretty damn impressive. And having worked with metals every day for the past 13 years in both engineering and manufacturing aspects, i have a pretty good understanding of what was going on there. I also know that most frames made of metal would have failed durring some of those tests.

  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by ISuckAtRiding
    agreed.
    The owner of that site gets the ban stick from my site.

    I've spent some time with probably the top guy in composites, and i also got a tour of his facility. The tests and manufacturing processes that every component goes through is pretty damn impressive. And having worked with metals every day for the past 13 years in both engineering and manufacturing aspects, i have a pretty good understanding of what was going on there. I also know that most frames made of metal would have failed durring some of those tests.
    I have carbon forks on my road bike, and try to not ever let it worry me about doing a Hincapie. My only real concern about carbon is that I MTB in Phoenix, AZ which has extremely rugged and rocky terrain, and I am simply not comfortable with the thought of a carbon frame coming down hard on a sharp rock. I personally have more *faith* in metal than carbon in this circumstance. Note I starred faith, because it is a personal believe that isn't really grounded in absolute fact.
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  52. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by randyharris
    I have carbon forks on my road bike, and try to not ever let it worry me about doing a Hincapie. My only real concern about carbon is that I MTB in Phoenix, AZ which has extremely rugged and rocky terrain, and I am simply not comfortable with the thought of a carbon frame coming down hard on a sharp rock. I personally have more *faith* in metal than carbon in this circumstance. Note I starred faith, because it is a personal believe that isn't really grounded in absolute fact.
    Oh i hear ya, i live in San Diego, and it's pretty rocky around here as well (on the good trails, anyways). Same sharp rocks as i'd assume you have. However, i did ride a full carbon frame for a while, and it definitely took some major diggers without an issue. Maybe i was dumb for riding it after, but it never failed. Only reason why i got rid of it was because it was too small for me.

  53. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomn
    you mean the site where most of the broken carbon is the result of a crash and not the cause, and most of the others are "just riding along" stories or without context? Not only that, but steel and carbon fail regularly too, they just don't have websites trying to collect every last picture for amusement and/or fear-mongering.

    That site is a strong pet-peeve of mine and I don't even have any carbon on my bike!
    I'm not particularly scared of carbon fiber anything and I got to use my first set of handlebars recently, and things were certainly smooth, just not sure if smoother.

    I did drop my bike pretty hard on some volcanic rocks and put a small dent in my downtube. My worry is that if I put a cf fork on my bike, eat crap and put a dent in it, I'll need a new fork. Steel keeps on trucking.

    Since I started the thread I picked up a suspension fork (came with new bike). I have really enjoyed it in terms of fatigue for longer rides and there are sections I can plow through that I'd have to carefully pick through otherwise. Every climb I want the steel back and on that fine, fairly smooth NW singletrack, a rigid fork is perfect. If the ride is <2 hours, rigid. Over, suspsension. Fall, Winter and Spring... rigid. Mostly, I think.

  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by umarth
    I'm not particularly scared of carbon fiber anything and I got to use my first set of handlebars recently, and things were certainly smooth, just not sure if smoother.

    I did drop my bike pretty hard on some volcanic rocks and put a small dent in my downtube. My worry is that if I put a cf fork on my bike, eat crap and put a dent in it, I'll need a new fork. Steel keeps on trucking.

    Since I started the thread I picked up a suspension fork (came with new bike). I have really enjoyed it in terms of fatigue for longer rides and there are sections I can plow through that I'd have to carefully pick through otherwise. Every climb I want the steel back and on that fine, fairly smooth NW singletrack, a rigid fork is perfect. If the ride is <2 hours, rigid. Over, suspsension. Fall, Winter and Spring... rigid. Mostly, I think.
    The same rocks flew up and hit my carbon frame's downtube as they do to my Bianchis, and the metal frames are all dented to hell underneath. The carbon never got more than a small chip in the superficial clearcoat (and yes, it was purely superficial). I dont believe that the same impact that dents a steel or aluminum frame will destroy a decent carbon MTB frame or fork. But not all frames, rocks, and dents are created equally so i think it needs to be taken on a case by case basis.

  55. #55
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    Why is Bamboo not included in the poll?


    Baby, I want my face to be your quiver killer.

  56. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by randyharris
    I have carbon forks on my road bike, and try to not ever let it worry me about doing a Hincapie.
    bit of an aside: that famous failure on Hincapie's bike was actually an aluminum steerer. Where's your God now?

  57. #57
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    Interesting thread. I'm ordering a new rigid fork this week to replace my stock steel fork. Once upon time upon original research was convinced to the Salsa CroMoto steel fork, then recently rolled back to the idea of carbon (Origin 8 425 AC model). Trying to mimic my 420 AC length on my current setup. Now after reading this and a few other threads, starting to lean back towards the Salsa fork (price match on Universal sub-$90). Decisions, decisions...?

    Of course, there is mention of 849g custom steel fork by Walt also… (Assuming that might be out of my price range).

  58. #58
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    I think that there's something to be said for a nice steel fork that has tapered legs. Yeah, sorta like my singular fork, or those that I've seen from Vicious and maybe Walt, too. There's just enough lateral give to take the edge off.

  59. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by voodoochild
    I think that there's something to be said for a nice steel fork that has tapered legs. Yeah, sorta like my singular fork, or those that I've seen from Vicious and maybe Walt, too. There's just enough lateral give to take the edge off.
    Steel's advantage over CF, in my book, comes down to the fact that CF often looks very silly.

  60. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by voodoochild
    I think that there's something to be said for a nice steel fork that has tapered legs. Yeah, sorta like my singular fork, or those that I've seen from Vicious and maybe Walt, too. There's just enough lateral give to take the edge off.
    Keep reading enough and the answer finally appears... I'm going with a Walt fork, sent him a email, I think this is the best option for what I am looking for.

  61. #61
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    yea, even the tapered steel fork on my crappy bianchi cross bike was more plush than the expensive carbon for that went on it.
    However, i've ridden carbon mtb frames that felt like a friggin couch. I could ride them all day. Just goes to show that you cant catagorize too much.

  62. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by ISuckAtRiding
    yea, even the tapered steel fork on my crappy bianchi cross bike was more plush than the expensive carbon for that went on it.
    However, i've ridden carbon mtb frames that felt like a friggin couch. I could ride them all day. Just goes to show that you cant catagorize too much.
    I am considering trying to make a carbon fiber frame one of these days.... Winter project, maybe...

  63. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by umarth
    I am considering trying to make a carbon fiber frame one of these days.... Winter project, maybe...
    I thought about it too, untill i went to the serotta composite facility and saw how much actually goes into making a decent frame or fork. The most i'd do is maybe make it with carbon tubes and ti lugs.

  64. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by ISuckAtRiding
    I thought about it too, untill i went to the serotta composite facility and saw how much actually goes into making a decent frame or fork. The most i'd do is maybe make it with carbon tubes and ti lugs.
    My inspiration is this: http://www.bmeres.com/carbonframe1.htm

    I probably wouldn't trust it for the trails, but I like to think I could make a solid commuter. Or something.

  65. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by umarth
    My inspiration is this: http://www.bmeres.com/carbonframe1.htm

    I probably wouldn't trust it for the trails, but I like to think I could make a solid commuter. Or something.
    Pretty cool.
    I hope you end up doing it.

  66. #66
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    not to High jack here, but I think a set of Ti handle bars will help a lot with being smooth. It never falls to have a Ti fork too.

  67. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by dixie whiskey
    Keep reading enough and the answer finally appears... I'm going with a Walt fork, sent him a email, I think this is the best option for what I am looking for.
    Groovy. Post up some pics when you get it. Sounds nice.

  68. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by voodoochild
    Groovy. Post up some pics when you get it. Sounds nice.
    Will do. I am pretty stoked about it since I was practically planning to spend the exact amount on a carbon fork anyhow and the Walt fork is guaranteed for life. I expect mine will be very light since I am going to mimic the 420 AC length off my stock fork. In addition, I am not hard on my bikes either, so that may prevent from building it overly-beefy.

    My Bianchi is about to get overhauled with new fork, cranks, BB, and full 650b. Photos certainly will be coming. I plan to document the WTB 650b wheel build with lots of photos of comparisons to other sized wheel/tire combos also. Hopefully will get started on this in the next 2 weeks or so.

  69. #69
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    I just had a 650b wheel built for my Bianchi (siss). I'll be picking it up this week.

    From what I've read, my fox fork should accommodate the new wheel/tire size. It'll be interesting to see how different the wheel size will make on that bike. Honestly, I haven't been riding it since I started riding the singular. If it doesn't fit, I'll be looking for a good rigid fork, too.

  70. #70
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    If you still have the stock Siss fork its 420 AC (all Bianchi forks are this length actually) – plenty of room for 650b, I know a guy who ran a 29er wheel in his Puss fork. I don’t know what Fox fork you have, maybe check the fork thread in the 650b section; I would be inclined to think you will be fine. Although, I saw a Sid fork on a Wuss Saturday and there is no way anything bigger than a 26” wheel is going to fit with that fork.

    If you do end up going rigid, here’s a helpful tutorial on measuring what fork size you need: http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=631967

  71. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by dixie whiskey
    If you still have the stock Siss fork its 420 AC (all Bianchi forks are this length actually) – plenty of room for 650b, I know a guy who ran a 29er wheel in his Puss fork. I don’t know what Fox fork you have, maybe check the fork thread in the 650b section; I would be inclined to think you will be fine. Although, I saw a Sid fork on a Wuss Saturday and there is no way anything bigger than a 26” wheel is going to fit with that fork.

    If you do end up going rigid, here’s a helpful tutorial on measuring what fork size you need: http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=631967
    I'm pretty damn positive it'll fit on the rear as well (i have a puss). There's a mile of room. I also believe my r7 fork will clear a 650b wheel with a 2.1.
    I was actually able to put my 700c cross wheels and tires on that bike with a decent amount of room.

  72. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by ISuckAtRiding
    I'm pretty damn positive it'll fit on the rear as well (i have a puss). There's a mile of room. I also believe my r7 fork will clear a 650b wheel with a 2.1.
    I was actually able to put my 700c cross wheels and tires on that bike with a decent amount of room.
    Yup. As a test, I dropped a 650b Alex wheel w/IRD Fire XC 2.0 tire in my Muss Saturday and had plenty of room. We measured the width and height off my front 650b WTB wheel with Wolv 2.2s and it will fit also (this is a farily large wheel combo for 650b). All Bianchi frames should fit 650b front & rear fine.

  73. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by ISuckAtRiding
    I'm pretty damn positive it'll fit on the rear as well (i have a puss). There's a mile of room. I also believe my r7 fork will clear a 650b wheel with a 2.1.
    I was actually able to put my 700c cross wheels and tires on that bike with a decent amount of room.
    My r7 fit a 2.35 Nev with the air out. Seriously, what is up with all of these 650b guys all the sudden?

  74. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by umarth
    My r7 fit a 2.35 Nev with the air out. Seriously, what is up with all of these 650b guys all the sudden?
    I saw a hipster riding 650b a while back and figured I betta get on the fad wagon!

    Actually, I was a diehard 26er, not interested in the 29er parade, dropped a buddy's 650b front wheel on bike for a test lap and became 'born again'. In all seriousness, IMHO 650b with fully rigid is the sweet spot. Plus, other than new rims & tires it's a easy upgrade which fits in almost all applications.

  75. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by dixie whiskey
    I saw a hipster riding 650b a while back and figured I betta get on the fad wagon!

    Actually, I was a diehard 26er, not interested in the 29er parade, dropped a buddy's 650b front wheel on bike for a test lap and became 'born again'. In all seriousness, IMHO 650b with fully rigid is the sweet spot. Plus, other than new rims & tires it's a easy upgrade which fits in almost all applications.
    Sounds like a perilous journey towards self-discovery. I'd avoid it if I were you.

  76. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by umarth
    Sounds like a perilous journey towards self-discovery. I'd avoid it if I were you.
    I still won't drink the grape koolaid when they pass it around. I prefer cherry.

  77. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by umarth
    My r7 fit a 2.35 Nev with the air out. Seriously, what is up with all of these 650b guys all the sudden?
    2.35 26"?
    I run a small block 8 2.3 and there's a bit of room there still. I know the nev has taller tread, but i didnt think that much.


    And like Dixie, i tried the 29er thing and hated it. But i'd like to try the 650b thing if they actually produce some tires for them. I do really like my 700cx32c cross bike on the trails, and that seems to be a closer overall diameter to a 650b with a legit mtb tire.

  78. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by ISuckAtRiding
    2.35 26"?
    I run a small block 8 2.3 and there's a bit of room there still. I know the nev has taller tread, but i didnt think that much.


    And like Dixie, i tried the 29er thing and hated it. But i'd like to try the 650b thing if they actually produce some tires for them. I do really like my 700cx32c cross bike on the trails, and that seems to be a closer overall diameter to a 650b with a legit mtb tire.
    Sorry! 650b, and it measures more like a 2.4. I think the r7 can clear a 650b, but some models might cause a certain problem at the crown if the fork fails. Mine is fine. Thankfully.

    29er was nice to me, because it gave me a lot more confidence. I took my 26er out one day and realized the 29er handled like a turd. If you didn't live in CA I'd let you borrow my 650b set up for a stretch.

    Cross bikes offroad are really fun. I've never taken such sharp turns on switchbacks, and they really get going when it gets smooth and rolling.

  79. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by umarth
    Sorry! 650b, and it measures more like a 2.4. I think the r7 can clear a 650b, but some models might cause a certain problem at the crown if the fork fails. Mine is fine. Thankfully.

    29er was nice to me, because it gave me a lot more confidence. I took my 26er out one day and realized the 29er handled like a turd. If you didn't live in CA I'd let you borrow my 650b set up for a stretch.

    Cross bikes offroad are really fun. I've never taken such sharp turns on switchbacks, and they really get going when it gets smooth and rolling.
    Ahh, ok that makes more sense. Yea, i was thinking a 2.1 small block 8 on a 650b would clear, if they made such a thing. If they ever do make a 650b small block 8, i will likely pick up a set of wheels and give it a shot.

    Cross bikes offroad... agreed on the switchbacks... those skinny tires cut in good and you can corner like an ace. I've been riding mine on probably 75% of my mtb rides lately, and it's just a blast. The only ones i dont ride it on are the rides where even a hardtail mtb is painful.

  80. #80
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    26" WTB Exiwolf are 2.35, I believe. I ran a MK 2.4 on my old Santa Cruz that was smaller than the Exiwolf tire. That Exiwolf tire is almost the size of 650b Alex wheel.

    If you want to see size comparisons to 26-650b-29, check these photos out: http://forums.mtbr.com/showpost.php?...41&postcount=4 (also 650b to 650b with the Alex - WTB).

    According to Cateye's wheel circumferences my 700x28 wheel is 2136 where my 650b 2.2 tire is 2169 which I found interesting. Side by side about the same (as best I can tell)

    If anyone is ever near New Orleans and wants to test ride 650b, there are several us rolling them.

  81. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by dixie whiskey
    26" WTB Exiwolf are 2.35, I believe. I ran a MK 2.4 on my old Santa Cruz that was smaller than the Exiwolf tire. That Exiwolf tire is almost the size of 650b Alex wheel.

    If you want to see size comparisons to 26-650b-29, check these photos out: http://forums.mtbr.com/showpost.php?...41&postcount=4 (also 650b to 650b with the Alex - WTB).

    According to Cateye's wheel circumferences my 700x28 wheel is 2136 where my 650b 2.2 tire is 2169 which I found interesting. Side by side about the same (as best I can tell)

    If anyone is ever near New Orleans and wants to test ride 650b, there are several us rolling them.
    good info, thanks. So it looks like my 700cx32c is 2155, which means my fork would likely clear your tire no problem. There's about 5/16" clearance between my 700cx32c and the fork crown.

  82. #82
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    We originally thought the chainstay may rub on the WTB 650b wheel/tire on my bike. But actually upon dropping the 650b Alex wheel w/IRC tire in my rear and measuring with the gauge, the outside tread of the IRC 2.0 is actually slightly wider than the WTB 2.2 wolv (although as you can see from the pic is a much bigger tire in comparison). So the 2.0 tire is wider than the 2.2 (even with the WTB rim being 3mm wider).

    Usually the front is easier to clear than the rear. Another buddy was quick to upgrade his front wheel to 650b and figured he couldn’t go up in the rear so bought the same WTB rim/tire combo for 26”. He's riding a Fisher alloy frame so knew he couldn’t bevel the chainstay (which I was prepared to do if I had not gotten the tire clearance). Fact of the matter is, he prob could have fit 650b rear with the right tire regardless.

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    +1

    Quote Originally Posted by umarth
    More than anything, I think it is interesting that there are no specific rigid fork reviews in the review section.

    yeah, I've noticed that too... wtf mtbr?
    no chain no gain.

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