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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay my quest for the right fork for my Balfa Belair continues and I'm seeking advice/input here.

The bike came with a RS Psylo which was nice geometry-wise, but the fork was not very stiff laterally and just not overly impressive.

So I sold it to a friend and installed a 2004 Talas R on the Belair - very plush, nice and stiff, light, but the axle to crown height and the rake of the fork steepened my head tube angle from trail bike to Cross Country-like and I didn't like that feel.

So then I traded the Talas for a Z1 FR which I currently have on the bike, but that fork is a tad tall and pretty damned heavy for my type of riding. I think it would be a good mate for a Heckler or Bullit - but it's a little heavy and tall for my Belair.

I'm looking for that happy medium - stiff, strong, lightweight and a tad bit taller than a Talas.

What are my options without breaking the bank - or possibly working out some type of trade/swap for the Z1 FR??

Manitou Minute 2 set at 130 mm? Is the other setting for the 2 100mm or 110?

Manitou Black - what are the major differences between a Black and a Minute?

Sherman Firefly - would this be lighter than the Z1 - noticeably so?

Any other ideas??

I doubt I can afford one of the new 2005 models that are coming out. I'm actually hoping to work out some type of possible trade or sale of my fork to get me into something a little less freeride and a little more Trail bike like.

Thanks in advance for any ideas you feel like throwing my way.

Mark
 

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2002 Z1 Fr

Look into an '02 Z1 FR. Depending on your weight & riding style, it is lighter than your fork, but every bit as good. The main difference is 30mm vs. 32mm stantions. I think the axle to crown is lower as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
jbf said:
Look into an '02 Z1 FR. Depending on your weight & riding style, it is lighter than your fork, but every bit as good. The main difference is 30mm vs. 32mm stantions. I think the axle to crown is lower as well.
yep 30mm stanchions on the 2002 - but you know that might not be a bad idea.

Thanks.
 

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CTRider said:
Okay my quest for the right fork for my Balfa Belair continues and I'm seeking advice/input here.

Light, stiff, superb dampner, adjustable ride height, stable platform - maybe in 05' ? Geometry wise a Fox is 495mm a-c 4lb. range, current Z1 is 518mm 5+ lb., Manitou Firefly 512mm a-c 4.9lb. Manitou Minute 130 505mm a-c 4lb. range. Manitou Black a-c 490mm shorter than a Fox. 02' Z1 Freeride 502mm a-c 4lb. range. I'll be selling a 2002 Z1 Freeride pretty soon...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
keen said:
CTRider said:
Okay my quest for the right fork for my Balfa Belair continues and I'm seeking advice/input here.

Light, stiff, superb dampner, adjustable ride height, stable platform - maybe in 05' ? Geometry wise a Fox is 495mm a-c 4lb. range, current Z1 is 518mm 5+ lb., Manitou Firefly 512mm a-c 4.9lb. Manitou Minute 130 505mm a-c 4lb. range. Manitou Black a-c 490mm shorter than a Fox. 02' Z1 Freeride 502mm a-c 4lb. range. I'll be selling a 2002 Z1 Freeride pretty soon...
I'm not sold on stable platform for a fork - especially when I don't have an spv shock in the rear of my bike - maybe a new RP3 would fit well inside my funky top tube shock mount on the Belair.

Hmmm Maybe a Firefly, maybe a Minute - or hell maybe a 2002 Z1 FR is the way to go.

I just aquired a 2001 X-Vert Air for $50 in mint shape and put it on my Marin Single Speed and I really like it. That sorta helped me realize that the 2003 Z1 FR is a tad too heavy and - what's the right word here - non-plush? - than what i like to run.

Could it be the red springs are still too heavy for me? I weigh a little under 170 without gear on. I recently had the reds installed with new oil - but I didn't do the work - a lbs guy did it - could he have used too much oil, too heavy an oil - although I'm pretty sure he used 7.5wt oil. Would the white springs make the fork feel more plush and responsive?

Damnit if only the F'in Talas were taller I wouldn't be in this conundrum.
 

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Hey Mark,

I was trying to find an '03 Z1FR for the 2Step but couldn't track one down so I ended up with the '02 FR QR20. Kind of for the opposite reasons you mentioned - me 200lbs without gear and looking for a burly fork. Too bad you don't need a QR20 or I'd have to work ya' hard for a swap!?!

Cheers,

Mike E.
 

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a 20mm firefly is 5.4lbs or so, not a whole lot different than the 5.7-6lbs that a Z1 is.

If you can stay tuned for 05 though, marzocchi will have some new 130mm forks that have the Z1-type chassi at a much lighter weight, this being the new All-Mountain forks. The regular Z1 is moving up to 150mm, yet it will be lighter than the current one too. It might be worth it to wait untill 05. There's always the Z1SL as well.

Fox forks are good too, the talas can be a good fork, it's not as much of a freeride fork as the Z1 though, the Fox Vanilla R is the way to go if you just want all out damping performance (like a Z1FR has) and you want to keep the weight resonable. These don't have 20mm axles and aren't the best choice for full on freeride, but as trail forks they are excellent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Mike E. said:
Hey Mark,

I was trying to find an '03 Z1FR for the 2Step but couldn't track one down so I ended up with the '02 FR QR20. Kind of for the opposite reasons you mentioned - me 200lbs without gear and looking for a burly fork. Too bad you don't need a QR20 or I'd have to work ya' hard for a swap!?!

Cheers,

Mike E.
Mike!!!

My fork is a QR 20!!!
 

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Mark, don't compromise on the fork...

This is probably the single most important part on the bike. In my mind, you don't want to cut corners there.

What exactly is the problem for the Z1 being too tall? If it's only on certain random steep climbs that you feel this way then I think you'd be better off using the ETA more and/or moving forward on your seat. By going back to a lower fork, you will compromise your ability for knarly stuff on the steep downhill.

There are a few 05 forks that will be great and lower weight than your Z1. The Marzo AllMountain1 would be the height of your Z1 but can be lowered to 110mm travel for XC days... The Nixon Elite will have a lower axle to crown height plus rapid travel wind down... The RockShock Pike will be the same height as your Z1 but also with travel adjust and the price should not be too excessive. The Nixon Elite and RockShox Pike should be in the high $400 to low $500.

If you absolutely want bargains, I think if I were you, I would try to find a 2003 Firefly, you would save a pound off your Z1 and be a bit lower axle to crown.

My 2 cents. Hope it helps a bit.

CTRider said:
Okay my quest for the right fork for my Balfa Belair continues and I'm seeking advice/input here.

The bike came with a RS Psylo which was nice geometry-wise, but the fork was not very stiff laterally and just not overly impressive.

So I sold it to a friend and installed a 2004 Talas R on the Belair - very plush, nice and stiff, light, but the axle to crown height and the rake of the fork steepened my head tube angle from trail bike to Cross Country-like and I didn't like that feel.

So then I traded the Talas for a Z1 FR which I currently have on the bike, but that fork is a tad tall and pretty damned heavy for my type of riding. I think it would be a good mate for a Heckler or Bullit - but it's a little heavy and tall for my Belair.

I'm looking for that happy medium - stiff, strong, lightweight and a tad bit taller than a Talas.

What are my options without breaking the bank - or possibly working out some type of trade/swap for the Z1 FR??

Manitou Minute 2 set at 130 mm? Is the other setting for the 2 100mm or 110?

Manitou Black - what are the major differences between a Black and a Minute?

Sherman Firefly - would this be lighter than the Z1 - noticeably so?

Any other ideas??

I doubt I can afford one of the new 2005 models that are coming out. I'm actually hoping to work out some type of possible trade or sale of my fork to get me into something a little less freeride and a little more Trail bike like.

Thanks in advance for any ideas you feel like throwing my way.

Mark
 

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Keen summed up the 04 offerings pretty well. Also, Fox gets bumped to 130mm in 05 and that will add 5mm to the a-c. I get the impression that Talas forks run quite a bit of sag. A Vanilla with the preload increased makes a noticeable difference on ride height without changing the fork's overall performace appreciably, so that may feel more like 10mm added height for you. If you like Foxes, consider an 05. The Vanillas aren't on-the-fly travel adjust though. I don't know if this is important to you.

The Minutes are also nice, but their feel is quite different from Foxes (you have probably seen my comparisons). A 1:00 with the travel wind down would be a good alternative to the 05 Foxes (same ride height, similar stiffness), and the 04 Minutes can be had cheap right now. With the stock spring being a bit on the stiff side for you, you could run low SPV pressure and end up with minimal platform effect. The rest of the dampening on the fork is brilliant. After break in and an oil change, the small bump sensitivity is supposed to be "good", but I never got that far. You can affect ride height dramatically through the SPV pressure too. However, it can be quite hard to balance all the factors: platform, spring rate, ride height/"preload" since they are all affected by the SPV pressure. That is where the Minute 3:00 with its air spring may be better (instant and easy spring rate adjustment), but it's travel adjust is [email protected] imo. Again, depends on if you care about that.

Zoke's new All Mtn line looks very nice, but I don't know if they are any shorter in the a-c than the Z1s. That may not be an improvement.

The Shermans and Z1s just sound like "too much fork" for your bike. If you do go Minute, have your float Pushed and you will find the fore-aft balance you want. On further consideration, Push your shock no matter what.
 

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CTRider said:
Okay my quest for the right fork for my Balfa Belair continues and I'm seeking advice/input here.

The bike came with a RS Psylo which was nice geometry-wise, but the fork was not very stiff laterally and just not overly impressive.

So I sold it to a friend and installed a 2004 Talas R on the Belair - very plush, nice and stiff, light, but the axle to crown height and the rake of the fork steepened my head tube angle from trail bike to Cross Country-like and I didn't like that feel.

So then I traded the Talas for a Z1 FR which I currently have on the bike, but that fork is a tad tall and pretty damned heavy for my type of riding. I think it would be a good mate for a Heckler or Bullit - but it's a little heavy and tall for my Belair.

I'm looking for that happy medium - stiff, strong, lightweight and a tad bit taller than a Talas.

What are my options without breaking the bank - or possibly working out some type of trade/swap for the Z1 FR??

Manitou Minute 2 set at 130 mm? Is the other setting for the 2 100mm or 110?

Manitou Black - what are the major differences between a Black and a Minute?

Sherman Firefly - would this be lighter than the Z1 - noticeably so?

Any other ideas??

I doubt I can afford one of the new 2005 models that are coming out. I'm actually hoping to work out some type of possible trade or sale of my fork to get me into something a little less freeride and a little more Trail bike like.

Thanks in advance for any ideas you feel like throwing my way.

Mark
Z1 SL is lighter. And '05 Fox Forx are now 130mm.
 

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A friend of mine rides a 2004 Manitou Minute 3, very stiff, very light. I like it, however, im not huge on the SPV, doesnt react to small bumps barely at all. If you dont care about that, that would be a good fork.
The main difference between minutes and most blacks are the SPV ( some higher end blacks come with spv too). The overall quality is higher on the minute.

But like someone said, thats one of the most important parts on your bike. If you really love the performance, just leave it until you can find the perfect fork
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
tscheezy said:
If you do go Minute, have your float Pushed and you will find the fore-aft balance you want. On further consideration, Push your shock no matter what.
Yes a Push upgrade or a new RP3 is in order for this winter break. That is a definite thing I'll be doing.

Funny thing at one point I had both a Minute 3 (the travel adjust is stupide on the bottom like that I agree) and a Talas and I opted to keep the Talas. I probably could have prevented this whole scenario had I kept the Minute 3! Probably was a reason Balfa was planning to spec them on their 04 bikes when they had plans to sell complete bikes - right?

For now I'll keep riding the Z1 and ajusting my riding style a bit and also trying to get it dialed in well.

The search continues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
BanzaiRider said:
This is probably the single most important part on the bike. In my mind, you don't want to cut corners there.

What exactly is the problem for the Z1 being too tall? If it's only on certain random steep climbs that you feel this way then I think you'd be better off using the ETA more and/or moving forward on your seat. By going back to a lower fork, you will compromise your ability for knarly stuff on the steep downhill.

If you absolutely want bargains, I think if I were you, I would try to find a 2003 Firefly, you would save a pound off your Z1 and be a bit lower axle to crown.

My 2 cents. Hope it helps a bit.
with my Zoke I have to run it at full Preload - is this normal?

I made an adjustment last night atn took out a couple of spacers between the crown and stem - that should help a bit.

ETA is cool, but it also makes my fork wicked stiff - practically rigid and some of the stuff I climb is rock infested - so the fork just sorta bangs off of stuff vs. soaking it up you know what I"m saying.

Mario - what fork did you end up selecting? I know your search and research were exensive and are you really happy with what you chose up front?
 

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I ended up with a Talas!!!

At first I was not satisfied at all because it was not plush. I changed the oil on the damper side to 2.5wt and now it's nice. Keep in mind that I'm only 150lbs tough.

However, even if I am "satisfied" with the Talas, I'm changing it very soon. I will keep it for my "comuter/training" bike, a Giant NRS.

I want to have a fork with a higher axle to crown length and hopefully a little "plusher coil" feel. That is why I warned you about going back to a lower fork after your Z1. It always depends what you are riding. At places like KingdomTrails, it's not very important. But in spots where it is steep and/or fast, I like to have a slacker front end.

The new Marzo AllMountain will be the same axle to crown length as the current Z1 when at 130mm travel. However, it will have a travel adjust to lower it to 110mm so it could be very nice for XC days.

Me, I am currently torn between the Marzo AllMountain1, the Nixon Elite and the RockShox Pike. I am waiting for reviews and feedback to make my final choice.

Hey, lot's of fun shopping again. Ain't mountain biking a fun sport. 70% of the time shopping, 30% riding!!! hahahaha

Cheers.

CTRider said:
with my Zoke I have to run it at full Preload - is this normal?

I made an adjustment last night atn took out a couple of spacers between the crown and stem - that should help a bit.

ETA is cool, but it also makes my fork wicked stiff - practically rigid and some of the stuff I climb is rock infested - so the fork just sorta bangs off of stuff vs. soaking it up you know what I"m saying.

Mario - what fork did you end up selecting? I know your search and research were exensive and are you really happy with what you chose up front?
 

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How's about a vanilla, lighter than the Marz' but taller than the talus by a bit. I had one and my wife has a talus and mines about 3/4" taller. Both are 125mm but the vanilla is just taller. Still was much lighter than the Marz, much lighter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
rockcrusher said:
How's about a vanilla, lighter than the Marz' but taller than the talus by a bit. I had one and my wife has a talus and mines about 3/4" taller. Both are 125mm but the vanilla is just taller. Still was much lighter than the Marz, much lighter.
Really the Vanilla is 3/4ths of an inch taller? If so that could be a serious option.

Although I did some fork tweeking on the Z1 tonight - adjusted preload and rebound settings a bit and the fork felt much better - now I need to get it out on the trails a couple more times before making any harsh decisions - it sure does plow right over big bumps like they were nothing that's for sure.

I'll still have to double check the Vanilla axle to crown height measurements - thanks for the heads up.

Mark
 

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I think that is a mistake...

The Talas is probably set at 100mm to be 3/4ths of an inch less than the Vanilla or it has not fully extended after having it's travel lowered.

I have a Talas, when the travel is set at 125mm and I make sure that it is fully extended, it has the same length has what I've always read about the Vanilla length (500mm).

CTRider said:
Really the Vanilla is 3/4ths of an inch taller? If so that could be a serious option.

Although I did some fork tweeking on the Z1 tonight - adjusted preload and rebound settings a bit and the fork felt much better - now I need to get it out on the trails a couple more times before making any harsh decisions - it sure does plow right over big bumps like they were nothing that's for sure.

I'll still have to double check the Vanilla axle to crown height measurements - thanks for the heads up.

Mark
 

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one option for the fork you already have......

i have an 04 Z-1 - already has the air assist top cap on the damper side. i pulled the coil out on that side, and am running only air in one leg; well, air/oil. kept the ETA side with the stock coil. saved about a 1/4 pound. not much, but it all helps. won't help the height, but save alittle weight. of course, you have the 20mm axle version, so it's already heavier than my version i'm sure. mine is the QR version.

all you have to do for yours (since the 03 doesn't have air assist on the right side- i think, right?) would be to pick up a 32mm stanchion air assist topcap, pull the old on off, remove the coil, install the new one, play around with the air pressure to get ti where you like for your weight and riding type. i'm running 35-45 psi depending on terrain/kind of ride, and i'm at about 160-170# when all geared up on the bike. runs about $25-30 for one of the caps. it's been working great
 

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Hey ctrider,
you should definitely NOT have to run full preload on the Z1. Those (red) springs are just about right for your weight. I weigh ~185 lbs with just clothes, and I only run like 3-4 full turns of preload. That is also weird cause in one of your posts you said it wasn't plush enough, yet you run full preload. It sounds like your fork is not set up with the correct amount of oil, cause the oil height keeps it from bottoming out.

I would suggest before you go buy another fork, that you buy some fork oil, and go about finding the correct oil height for you. If it is bottoming out unless you run full preload, it is an oil height issue, not a preload issue. You may have waaay to little oil in there. Marzocchi is known for not being consistent with their oil height. It is not that hard to mess with oil height, and change the oil. I have this fork, and have tuned it for my riding, and I have never opened up any other fork! There is lots of info on working on the Z1's on this forum if you are interested. -t
 
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