Friday, June 25, 2010

Fork Flip Friday

Maybe you don't pay attention to these sorts of things, but I do. Fork lengths on 29"er hard tails are getting longer. Used to be you went with the ol' original Reba at 80mm travel and you were all good. Then Fox got into the game with an 80mm travel fork. Okay, yippee! Manitou was there with an 80mm fork, life was good.

100mm forks were for FS rigs. Nice! Works well there. But guess what? Now all the new hard tails have 100mm forks. Ever see a 2010 with an 80mm front end? Not too many are set up that way anymore.

So it was that when Lynskey sent over this bike, it had a 100mm Fox fork up front. Nice fork and all, but the front end of the bike was so tall, that the handle bars were higher than the tops of my Fargo drop bars! Umm............'scuse me, but that's tooooo upright folks! Not only that, but the longer lever arm the 100mm fork presented was playing havoc with the front triangle of the bike. I wasn't really digging it, ya know?

So I figured that I'd try a suspension corrected for 80mm travel rigid fork, like the Salsa CroMoto Grande' Ahhhh! It is just the right spicy additive to this titanium stew! Man, the bike is just really a whole heckuva lot better than it was. Better steering, better stiffness in the front end, better seated position, better weight distribution on the front wheel, and oh is lighter too. 

But what about that rigid, stiff steel fork? Ya know what? Funny thing is that it rides just about as smoothly as it did before. Oh sure, big hits will rattle yer eyeballs a bit, but the frame is working now like it hasn't before because of the rigid fork. The little stuff I'm hitting feels about the same as it did before. Titanium. Nice. Smooth. I wasn't getting that so much from the front suspendedness I had going on before.

Front end lowered to a reasonable height, lighter, better steering, nice titanium feel. It's like I have a different bike to test now. Too bad I didn't swap it out earlier! It's a Twenty Nine Inches test rig, so it won't be here much longer. I just know that now I'll need to stock an 80mm travel suspension fork for these longer legged hard tails that the industry is foisting on us now. Ya know, sometimes "more" isn't really "better".

Have a great weekend and ride yer bicycles!


Captain Bob said...

What's next, 120mm? It's an unusual direction to see. Taller and taller front ends are good for some but for those folks that want even a level saddle/bar height it will force them to use negative rise stems. Plus, we will all have dented top tubes from the brake levers hitting them. The standover height is getting a bit tall on 29ers too which I just don't get.

Guitar Ted said...

@Captain Bob: Yeah, no kidding. And to think that one of the early criticisms of 29"ers was that their front ends were too high!

SS:Mtn Biker said...

Ironic isn't it? LOL! Personally,I may one day have the need to add a susser fork to my 29er (which has been sporting a Vassago ODIS for over a year),but it will most definately be 80mm in travel...don't need my 'boys' any closer to the TT than they are =P

Have a great weekend yourself,GT =)


Paul said...

GT- I have a 100 mm on my Flight which is made for an 80. I just have the sag down to 80 and it works wonderfully for me.

MG said...

Well what do you know... The "magic metal" does it again. I can't say I'm particularly surprised at your results here. Riding rigid isn't the solution for everything, but it sure is sweet for a lot of what we do here in the Midwest. And you're right, it makes it a lot more elegant in terms of achieving a good, efficient saddle-to-bar relationship.

GNAT said...

Looking good GT.

I rode Murphy yesterday on my rigid El Mariachi steel bike and thought it felt "just right". Can't wait to see what it feels like in ti!

My build of my El Mariachi Ti will be very similar, but mine will have gears.

jkeiffer said...

I've been riding an On-One carbon fork for a long time now (since they first came out). I really like it. But my CA trails are getting damn bumpy and dry. I've been thinking of getting an 80mm Lefty. It would probably be a big hassle, but the travel would be about right and wouldn't grow the front end much. I also wish I had a Ti frame though...

Guitar Ted said...

@MG: Thanks man! You're right, there is something about titanium, but you have to have the bike set up right, or it doesn't matter what it's made of. Hope you are having fun riding this weekend!

@GNAT: Geared?!! Awwww! C'mon! I thought maybe you'd slip up and say you were going to have a titanium SS too. Mr Cagey McCagerson wouldn't let that slip though, if it were true, so I guess it's all good! have a great weekend!