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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings,
I am looking for a new hardtail and have questions about the forks. The 3 forks on the bikes I am looking at are the Tora SL Coil (Chrome tubes), Tora SL Air (Chrome tubes) and a Recon SL Coil (with aluminum tubes). It seems that the aluminum tubes are better than steel w/ chrome. Correct? But more important, what would be better coil or air? I have an air fox talus that works fine on another bike and an old Judy that worked fine until oil went everywhere. I get all sorts of opinions at the bike shops.
Thanks,
 

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Its a wear issue and durability too, so plan accrdingly, Al is light and tempered up stiff and if maintained will go long but steel and chrome is way more durable over the long run. Best just get what you need dependent on your replacement cycle. BTW I wish they had steel/chromed forks way sooner than now since I do tend to wear things out!
 

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Coil requires less maintenance but if you need to change the preload (how much weight the fork can carry) then you need to buy a new spring. With an air fork...you just pump it up a little. These days, performance difference is almost nill.

If your a do it yourself kind of person and like to learn about how your stuff works and how to improve it then go air. If your set it and forget it kind of guy then coil is probably a safer bet.

The aluminum tubes (called stanchions) are better than the chrome ones.

The big reason I dislike coils is because I am light and it's very hard for me to find a spring in my weight range. If your of average weight then a finding a coil is a lot easier.
 

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Bikesair said:
The aluminum tubes (called stanchions) are better than the chrome ones.
Chrome last way longer on steel than any coated/baked Al. Every see a motorcycle with Al stanchions?

Key is what you need and how much you use it, either is fine but if you ride a lot go steel!
 

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Brown_Teeth said:
Its a wear issue and durability too, so plan accrdingly, Al is light and tempered up stiff and if maintained will go long but steel and chrome is way more durable over the long run. Best just get what you need dependent on your replacement cycle. BTW I wish they had steel/chromed forks way sooner than now since I do tend to wear things out!
I just want to say that this makes it sound like the aluminum stanchions are only made of aluminum. They are anodized so the comparison of aluminum to steel/chrome is invalid.

Chrome does beat anodizing for durability but they can not chrome plate aluminum cost effectively. You have to plate the aluminum in something else before the chromium : / The anodizing on the aluminum is much much much more durable then any aluminum alloy though.
 

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Brown_Teeth said:
Chrome last way longer on steel than any coated/baked Al. Every see a motorcycle with Al stanchions?

Key is what you need and how much you use it, either is fine but if you ride a lot go steel!
Ya but when did your average Honda rider have to do a 20% grade over a 1000 foot incline with nothing but their OWN power. And then on top of that how often do you see an average Specialized rider doing a woop section doing 40mph. Look at every pro MTB rider today and find me a steel stanchion.
 

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As I see it steel is not any more than a few more grams for way more durability. If you buy forks every few years don't take my advise, but if you ride for life steel/chrome is way more miles for the buck!
 

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Brown_Teeth said:
As I see it steel is not any more than a few more grams for way more durability. If you buy forks every few years don't take my advise, but if you ride for life steel/chrome is way more miles for the buck!
I can agree here. It really is only like 150 grams. A half pound is quite a lot in the mtb world though. It becomes more when your on mile 15 too.
 

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Bikesair said:
I can agree here. It really is only like 150 grams. A half pound is quite a lot in the mtb world though.
150 grams is one beer or a tall glass of water so its not weight issue to most. Have fun!
 

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Instead of worrying about what the stanchions are made of, worry about what damper they're using. All three of your selections us Rock Shox's Turnkey damping, which sucks. Spend the extra money and upgrade to something with Motion Control damping, preferably something with an adjustable floodgate. Motion Control will be more comfortable and will also give you better traction and control, especially at speed.

Aside from that, chrome plating steel will be more durable than anodized aluminum. However, the aluminum is significantly lighter, and with proper maintenance, durability isn't a concern.
 

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Brown_Teeth said:
150 grams is one beer or a tall glass of water so its not weight issue to most. Have fun!
Every bit counts. Do you know how you can build a light bike? You sweat every single part.

Don't knock having a really light bike until you've tried it. A sub 20 pound hardtail is yum.
 

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bad mechanic said:
Instead of worrying about what the stanchions are made of, worry about what damper they're using. All three of your selections us Rock Shox's Turnkey damping, which sucks. Spend the extra money and upgrade to something with Motion Control damping, preferably something with an adjustable floodgate. Motion Control will be more comfortable and will also give you better traction and control, especially at speed.

Aside from that, chrome plating steel will be more durable than anodized aluminum. However, the aluminum is significantly lighter, and with proper maintenance, durability isn't a concern.
+1 I'd take a Tora Race over a Recon SL any day of the week. The Motion Control damper is a significant performance increase over the Turn Key damper.

BTW-You could actually make a light fork using chromed steel stanchions, or better yet stainless steel...it would just cost more than any alloy stanchioned model so it would be a hard sell considering how expensive top end forks are these days.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks

Thanks for your comments. This is somewhat important because I am looking at a Gary Fisher so my ability to switch out a fork is very limited. Once I get the bike, I am kind of stuck with it. I am replacing an older GF Big Sur (a model without the fork offset) and I just love the way the bikes fit me. Thanks again.
 
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