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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I was pretty happy with my Rockshox Dart 2 forks until recently, when I've noticed that I'm being rattled around quite a bit. Will a better fork make much of a difference, or in my old age (40 in January), is it time to get a dual suspension or full suspension? I've also heard that 29ers take a lot of the bounce out since they kind of just roll over things. I have been riding in areas with lots of roots and rough spots on the trails, and I'm being bounced around quite a bit...wondering how much of a difference a new fork, FS, DS, or 29er will make.
 

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A Dart 2 is an entry level fork.

If I were you I would demo/rent a couple of different bikes. Get a 29er hardtail with a good 100mm or 120mm fork. Then get a 100mm FS 29er and then ride a 26" FS 140mm bike.

If you want a cheaper route get a good used fork 100mm fork for your existing bike and give 'er a try.
 

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Im 40 and I ride and race over some pretty rough stuff (roots, rocks, ruts etc). I have a FS bike with a pretty crappy fork and let me tell you I am thankful every time I race for my FS. It really absorbs the crap that I fly over. I cant imagine how good it would be with a good fork on the front too.

I rode a 29er (Stumpjumper) for a week as a demo and although it was a great bike and a good ride it didnt absorb the abuse that my FS does and my back hurt almost every time I rode it.

Just my 2 cents.

Oh by the way I got my FS used. Dont be afraid to look for a good used FS to save you some money.
 

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The Dart isn't a good fork, new or well worn. I suggest upgrading your fork to something better. Don't go off and drop a large amount of money on a new bike if the only thing you dislike about your current bike is the fork.

I just recently purchased a '11 RS Reba RLT for my '08 RH to replace the Dart 3. It should arrive tomorrow. After reading the reviews I have no doubt that this will be a huge improvement. You can pick up this same fork for less then $400 on fleabay but you won't come close to that price on some of the bikes that were suggested on this thread.
 

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Fat-tired Roadie
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Demo demo demo.

A good fork on a 26" hardtail makes a really big difference. I rode a 29er the other day and was impressed. I haven't been a fan of the FS bikes I've tried, but some people swear by them.

If you're considering spending a lot on a fork for your current bike, make sure that a 26" hardtail is "your" platform.

And, technique makes a big difference too. Try to ride with loose joints - don't fight the bike, let it follow the terrain, and let your arms and legs flex. If you're relaxed, your bike can move around a ton and you can still ride smoothly and without getting beaten up. People have been mountain biking for longer than suspension has been standard on mountain bikes. I'd be lying if I said that riding rigid on rough singletrack or a descent didn't make me miss my suspension fork, but using your body right is much more important.
 

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The Dart isn't a good fork, new or well worn. I suggest upgrading your fork to something better. Don't go off and drop a large amount of money on a new bike if the only thing you dislike about your current bike is the fork.

I just recently purchased a '11 RS Reba RLT for my '08 RH to replace the Dart 3. It should arrive tomorrow. After reading the reviews I have no doubt that this will be a huge improvement. You can pick up this same fork for less then $400 on fleabay but you won't come close to that price on some of the bikes that were suggested on this thread.
Add $600 to that and you can pick up a pretty good pre-powned FS bike and even some new ones that are a model year or two old.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Last Winter I had the opportunity to pick up a brand new 2008 Jamis Dakar XC for $500 - it was sitting in a bike shop collecting dust. At the time, it seemed like more bike than I needed, and it wouldn't have worked so well on the streets, which is where most of my rides were at the time. It had Rockshox Tora 289 forks on it...which I'm sure would have been much better than my current Dart 2 fork! Oh well...I like my Leader hardtail, and its good for a lot of riding I do, but I just didn't anticipate being bounced around so much on it. Anyway, I'm kicking myself now for not picking up the Jamis - here is the link to what I missed out on:

BikePedia - 2008 Jamis Dakar XC Complete Bicycle

Next winter, I plan to pick up a new fork for the Leader to replace the Dart 2, but its kind of pointless now since I have only a few more weeks of riding before the Nebraska Fall / Winter weather arrives. On that note, I'm taking two hours off work to go riding right now since the weather is unusually warm for this time of year! :)
 

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Class Clown
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I've got my Dart3 dialed in rather nicely with a softer spring and new oil. Rebound adjustment makes a difference which I don't believe the Dart2 has. At the end of the day it's an entry level fork.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
A good fork on a 26" hardtail makes a really big difference. If you're considering spending a lot on a fork for your current bike, make sure that a 26" hardtail is "your" platform.

And, technique makes a big difference too. Try to ride with loose joints - don't fight the bike, let it follow the terrain, and let your arms and legs flex. If you're relaxed, your bike can move around a ton and you can still ride smoothly and without getting beaten up.
Thanks. I just got back from a ride, and tried to put what you said into practice, at least to a certain extent, but it was mainly when I was standing up, rather than sitting down. It was easier to flex and bend my legs than my arms, though. Still, at the end of the ride, I felt pretty rattled, but as you eluded to, a good fork will fix some of that.
 

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I have a Giant Revel 0 that came with a Dart 2. A while back I replaced it with a Recon Silver air. I can't believe the difference it has made. It doesnt have the pogo stick feel and it doesnt seem to "twist" as bad due to the larger stanchions.
 

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I4NI
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Upgrade to a better fork that has a rebound damping control. Dont expect a change to a 29" wheel to make that much of a differents. Didn't do it for me. Before droping the big bucks try a bigger, high volume tire up front, maybe a 2.3 for added shock absorbing
 

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My Manitou Magnums feel the same way to me, but I am just starting out so maybe its cause i havent sorted out tire pressures and what not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Before droping the big bucks try a bigger, high volume tire up front, maybe a 2.3 for added shock absorbing
Thanks. I'm seriously looking at buying 26 X 2.3 or 2.4 tires, which I may need anyway for snow riding. How much do these tires slow you down? Do you have to have special tubes for them, or is there a possibility that they won't fit the bike or fork? I ride a Leader 510H, shown in this thread:

http://forums.mtbr.com/beginners-corner/leader-510h-frame-build-***photos****-737782.html
 

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I4NI
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Thanks. I'm seriously looking at buying 26 X 2.3 or 2.4 tires, which I may need anyway for snow riding. How much do these tires slow you down? Do you have to have special tubes for them, or is there a possibility that they won't fit the bike or fork? I ride a Leader 510H, shown in this thread:

http://forums.mtbr.com/beginners-corner/leader-510h-frame-build-***photos****-737782.html
I was worried about this( How much do these tires slow you down?)also! I bought lightweight Michlien Wild RaceR's. One of my better purchases so far:thumbsup:
 

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Huckin' trails
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Dart 2 forks are great value for the money, but without rebound adjust, it's kind of a yes/no feeling. You can change the damping speed by changing the oil to 7.5 wt or heavier, it will slow down the damping. Mine has over 1 000 km on it and I just did a oil change and it feels good again. But any other fork at RockShox, Manitou, Marchozzi or Fox will perform better. And cost more. If you wanna be comfortable doing what you love, get a better fork with rebound adjust. If you don't wanna spend money on something you don't need, stick with the Dart. Or just keep it a a beater fork for those nasty mud/snow rides.

Look on Chainlove.com, a few Marchozzi forks are being sold on a regular basis, and you could get a 22 or 44 micro Ti for cheap.

David
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Before droping the big bucks try a bigger, high volume tire up front, maybe a 2.3 for added shock absorbing. I was worried about this( How much do these tires slow you down?)also! I bought lightweight Michlien Wild RaceR's. One of my better purchases so far:thumbsup:
Thanks - I just got a pair of WTB Stout 2.3 Tires for just over $32 shipped:

eBay - New & used electronics, cars, apparel, collectibles, sporting goods & more at low prices

Hopefully, they will make at least a little bit of a difference until I get better forks. Awesome suggestion, thanks again! :thumbsup:
 
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