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  Topic Name: Suspension Fork, worth the trouble? on: November 15, 2012, 09:22:10 PM
draghkar


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« on: November 15, 2012, 09:22:10 PM »

Sorry I haven't introduced myself yet... most forums I can get what I need by searching. But I haven't come across this opinion.

So, I've decided next year I'd like to spend more time off pavement. So I'm looking for a mountain bike to supplement my current steel touring bike.

My first notion was a hardtail, as a mid range FS (purchased in 2004) was an abysmal ride. I almost gave up riding because of that bike. Anyway, last weekend I rode a couple of bikes, and really dug the lockout on the Reba forks (I tend to get out of the seat).

Then I rode a Salsa Horsethief. Pretty cool bike, cushy in the right places, but the pro-pedal seemed, in my short test ride on pavement, to keep my mashing somewhat efficient. Yes, I know a smooth pedal doesn't effect it as much, but it's no fun if I have to focus on cadence and not just do what I feel like...

Anyway, talking to the sales guy about the Salsa, he nonchalantly mentions I should service the Fox fork every 40 hours. My jaw dropped... I couldn't even fathom that. I put that much on my road bike in a month during the summer with no trips. A week long outing would probably exceed that. I see that RockShox looks at 50 for oil bath and 100 hours for oil changes. Still seems like anything less than a year isn't worth it.

SO THE QUESTION: I see plenty of solid forks here, so I know suspension isn't absolutely necessary. But how many have been put off suspension forks for the cost of maintenance alone? Or am I over reacting to the actual time (which is probably very conservative in the manuals).

As for my riding, I'd say it will be mostly single track and forest service roads. Also, I rode a Surly Ogre tonight, and well, that was a pretty cool ride, and probably what I'll get. But I can get the Salsa for only $550 more, with much better all around specs. I'm driving myself nuts on this, so I'd love to hear some opinions.

 
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  Topic Name: Suspension Fork, worth the trouble? Reply #1 on: November 15, 2012, 11:42:52 PM
Area54
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« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2012, 11:42:52 PM »

I service my own forks (bike wrench by trade) and for bikepacking, I'd just rather take a full rigid for the no-nonsense durability - pretty easy to clock up one or more service intervals in one trip! Not from an operational point of view because they are all pretty long lasting, but moreso that with no moving parts, you've simplified your setup immediately. Great way to make something more durable is to either simplify it, or over engineer it. Forks and shocks are pretty reliable, but as the guides recommend, regular servicing keeps them running at optimal as the factory intended and maybe maintain warranty if that's important to you.

Your experience might be the best guide - how long your current and future trips are going to be, terrain type, what you want/need to carry, race or bikepacking casual, your physical dimensions, riding strengths and more etc would all come into play during a discussion if you were buying a new bike from me. Hopefully your shop will be able to help out with the correct information as well, and their experience will be invaluable for your decision.

Less time fixing also means more time riding.  Right tool for the job.
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Amazing where riding a bike will take you...

  Topic Name: Suspension Fork, worth the trouble? Reply #2 on: November 16, 2012, 11:06:51 AM
Colorado Cool Breeze


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« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2012, 11:06:51 AM »

Wow Great answer and advice Area54.

Welcome to the forum draghkar.
I don't think I'd be buying from that saleman. Telling you you have to service your fork every 40 hours is crazy.
Maybe if you were a pro down hill racer then you might service it after every race.

I'm a retired aerospace mechanical engineer and service all my forks annually not because they need it but because
I enjoy doing it. About every 3 years I'll replace the top seal.



If you go full ridged off road be prepared to be beat to death by the end of the day and I hope you like standing in the pedals.

disclaimer: I am old and decrepit and only ride FS bikes from gravel to ski resorts. No racing all pleasure riding. YMMV
« Last Edit: November 16, 2012, 11:10:40 AM by Colorado Cool Breeze » Logged

  Topic Name: Suspension Fork, worth the trouble? Reply #3 on: November 16, 2012, 03:13:05 PM
AZTtripper
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« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2012, 03:13:05 PM »

First off, very few people service their forks every 40 hours. I always thought it was 100 but even that's crazy. That could be as little as a couple of months. Once a year like CCB said seems like plenty for most riders, every 6 months if you ride a lot.

Secondly no you don't need it. But it is way easier on the body in the rough stuff. What's your terrain like?

A rigid bike with a carbon fork and tubeless tires with lower pressure can give a pretty smooth ride.
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  Topic Name: Suspension Fork, worth the trouble? Reply #4 on: November 18, 2012, 11:45:24 AM
Payton MacDonald


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« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2012, 11:45:24 AM »

I've been wondering about this too.  I'm going to attempt the GDMTBR this coming summer if all goes well with training and it seems from what I've seen that a rigid fork will do the job.  There are some washboards, but from what I can tell there's very little technical riding.   I use my Stumpy hardtail for bikepacking and most of the time I have the fork locked out so I've been thinking of switching over to a rigid fork. 

What do you guys think?  I know Matt Lee always had the suspension with his C-dales, but Kurt Refsnider put in the lowest time in 2011 with a rigid fork.
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  Topic Name: Suspension Fork, worth the trouble? Reply #5 on: November 18, 2012, 12:38:12 PM
draghkar


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« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2012, 12:38:12 PM »

Solid advice all around.  My racing days are very much over, so it's purely pleasure at this point. CCBreeze made good points (I'm only 43 1/2, but I am decrepit) about what my body may or may not be able to take.
AZTripper, you convinced me not to worry too much about it. A yearly rebuild appears to be enough and once I read up, not really as scary as some would indicate.

My final decision, good or bad, was the Salsa Spearfish (yes, trying FS again) for a great close out price. I should pick it up on Tuesday. At least with the Salsa, there will be very little overlap with my roadbike (a Rodriguez that I adore), and maybe that will allow me to get a bit farther off the beaten path than I have in quite a few years.

Thanks for all the input!
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  Topic Name: Suspension Fork, worth the trouble? Reply #6 on: November 19, 2012, 11:07:34 AM
wahday


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« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2012, 11:07:34 AM »

I see the OP made his decision, but thought I would chime in anyways as others may be having the same questions.

If I were getting a bike just for bikepacking, I would get a totally rigid ride. I think the ease of maintenance and low risk of being left in some remote area with a technical problem makes it worth it. Indeed,  I used to have one, but canít really afford to have one ride just for bikepacking. And since the bulk of my regular riding is not overnight,  I sold the rigid ride and got a bike with a suspension fork. I actually really love it and have been outfitting it for bikepacking anyway (though not exclusively). It really performs and is a lot more forgiving.

I am not a racer, just a recreational bikepacker, so I donít go all that fast when  loaded up anyway. That alone can make for a less jarring experience, plodding along like a turtle over rough terrain. To help matters, I had a 2.4 on the front and ran both tires as low as I could get away with tubes and it was a pretty pleasant ride. Again, if I could afford to have as many bikes as I wanted, I would get a rock solid rigid steel bike for bikepacking. But I canít, so the hardtail w/suspension fork is my way of cutting the difference.

Good luck with the spearfish!
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  Topic Name: Suspension Fork, worth the trouble? Reply #7 on: December 12, 2012, 03:53:04 PM
Ogre


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« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2012, 03:53:04 PM »

I have a Surly Ogre with a Fox 120 on it. The 120 is probably overkill but I'd never had that much suspension on any bike so thought it would be fun to try and I love it. I still have the rigid fork and would probably put it back on if doing a long multi-day ride without any technical stuff. However, the suspension fork isn't that much heavier than the stock steel fork (1/2#?) and it enables riding some very rough, technical terrain even fully loaded. That being said, on typical southern sierra fire roads and such I typically have the fork locked out. As far as maintenance, I haven't found the forks to be very maintenance intensive (lower travel fox fork on my mtb). I usually ride them until the seals are blown and then some (probably not manufacturer recommended), and so far haven't been hit with any costs above routine maintenance though I probably didn't have the best fork performance for periods of time. Bottom line, if riding rougher more technical routes is typical, suspension fork probably worthwhile. I really enjoyed bombing down the whole enchilada fully loaded with the fox fork.
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  Topic Name: Suspension Fork, worth the trouble? Reply #8 on: January 10, 2013, 06:19:15 PM
Tommi

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« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2013, 06:19:15 PM »

I always ignore the 'every 100 hours'servicing issues for shocks;  It's a bike, not a helicopter.
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  Topic Name: Suspension Fork, worth the trouble? Reply #9 on: May 26, 2018, 01:00:55 AM
Repellendus Reiciendis d


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« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2018, 01:00:55 AM »

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  Topic Name: Suspension Fork, worth the trouble? Reply #10 on: November 04, 2019, 11:23:11 PM
peterkate


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« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2019, 11:23:11 PM »

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