Monday, October 16, 2006

Rigid Forks Versus Suspension Forks....Again!

One of the really cool things about 29"ers and the whole evolution of the wheelsize is the rehashing of ideas and concepts thought to be closed years ago. Things like front end geometry, standover height, and rigid forks for off roading are topics for discussion again. It's as if we get to have a "do over" in mountain biking, and it's even affecting the 26 inch mountain bikes.

One of these things that I'm dealing with now is the rigid fork versus suspended fork debate. It's a question that several of you might think is crazy to bring up again. However; due to the way that 29 inch wheels roll over things,it's a legitimate question to ponder again for many folks and courses.

I've had the pleasure of riding on a White Brothers 80 mm travel 29"er fork with their IMV technology lately. Well, only because it's stuck on the front end of the Badger Cycles Dorothy. Since I've now had several rides on the fork, I can say that I really liked it, most of the time. There still are some niggling issues with suspension and me that haven't been overcome to the point that I'm going to run out and buy a suspension fork for one of my 29"ers.

I have always despised how the front end geometry of a mountain bike changes through out a forks stroke, especially when I'm on the hairy edge of control in a corner. The suspension compresses over a bump and hey! The whole feel of the bike in the corner is upset, I either have a yard sale, or I have to slow it down to correct for the change in geometry to a steeper head angle for a moment with less trail. That harshes my shred, dude! I don't like it.

Then you've got the whole maintenance issue thing, and the initial costs of the fork which are necessary evils of going to squish that make it harder to swallow for me. Give me a cheaper rigid fork, with no maintenance, that doesn't change geometry mid-corner, and doesn't exhibit brake dive. I'll take that!

Maybe I'm just lazy, cheap, or a glutton for punishment. I don't know, but I'm still not convinced that I need this suspension thing. Well............not yet, anyway!

Maybe I'll change my mind about that........stay tuned!

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