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One of the things you can tell from pushing down is how much resistence there is. If it goes down too easy then when you ride there's a chance it will bottom out easy and that means it won't be able to suck up certain size bumps(depends on riding style and riders weight). You can also check out rebound speed. If the fork doesn't have rebound adjustment then rebound speed will be what it is unless you can change out spring, or oil, or elastomers. If you get a fork with too quick a rebound then you'll just pogo all over the place. Too slow and you won't benefit from the whole travel as it could be partially compressed by the time it hits the next rock/root.

Good forks cost, but you can usually pick up a past years model(01, 02, 03) that was considered at the time as top notch for a song and it'll work just as good now as then. My Manitou X-Vert super started out around $400 or so in '00. I think you can still get one on occasion for around $100 or so. It still works great and has rebound and compression adjustments. There are others too. Just check the review section.
 

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1' to flat.
2' to flat.
3' to flat.
4' to flat.
5' to flat.
6' to flat.
7' to flat..

and so on.

You'll find out sooner or later :rolleyes:

Seriously though.. aslong as you feel comfortable and the fork gives you that little bit of courage... keep rockin it.
 
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