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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm not the most knowledgeable on suspension, having ridden rigid for decades, but I do love a good front suspension fork and railing downhills like the rest of us. I am currently am using a 130mm MRP Ribbon 27.5+/29 with 51mm offset. As is conventional wisdom (?) I wanted to keep the trail lower with such a slack head tube angle. I've been experimenting with the limits in my last two personal bikes and I've joined the forward geometry club with a front center of 780mm currently and 66.5 deg head angle, 40mm stem. This feels long to me while climbing and when not going fast downhill.
I'm 6'2" and all torso and know I'm biased towards XC style all-around riding though.

What are your thoughts on the low offset forks that are more available since when the below article was written. I have my thoughts but I haven't ridden one with low offset since a Mag 21 :)
I want to hear what you've experienced, and if you recommend it.

https://www.bikeradar.com/features/...an-experiment/?image=7&type=gallery&gallery=1

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I'm not sure I totally get it. I went full forward on my new bike - 820 front center, 65 sagged head tube, 31mm stem. It climbs awesome and is stupid fun down hills. It seems like the desirable handling characteristics come from that long front center and less offset means you have to go steeper on the head tube to keep the trail in check, which means you have to shrink the front center to maintain your reach? Maybe I need to build a low offset, slightly shorter front-center, same reach bike to see what that is all about... steeper head tube might be nice.
 

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I'm not sure I totally get it. I went full forward on my new bike - 820 front center, 65 sagged head tube, 31mm stem. It climbs awesome and is stupid fun down hills. It seems like the desirable handling characteristics come from that long front center and less offset means you have to go steeper on the head tube to keep the trail in check, which means you have to shrink the front center to maintain your reach? Maybe I need to build a low offset, slightly shorter front-center, same reach bike to see what that is all about... steeper head tube might be nice.
So what offset are you running on that bike?
 

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I'm not the most knowledgeable on suspension, having ridden rigid for decades, but I do love a good front suspension fork and railing downhills like the rest of us. I am currently am using a 130mm MRP Ribbon 27.5+/29 with 51mm offset. As is conventional wisdom (?) I wanted to keep the trail lower with such a slack head tube angle. I've been experimenting with the limits in my last two personal bikes and I've joined the forward geometry club with a front center of 780mm currently and 66.5 deg head angle, 40mm stem. This feels long to me while climbing and when not going fast downhill.
I'm 6'2" and all torso and know I'm biased towards XC style all-around riding though.

What are your thoughts on the low offset forks that are more available since when the below article was written. I have my thoughts but I haven't ridden one with low offset since a Mag 21 :)
I want to hear what you've experienced, and if you recommend it.

https://www.bikeradar.com/features/...an-experiment/?image=7&type=gallery&gallery=1

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I don't think the head angle is slack enough to need a low offset fork. Besides, I don't think a hardtail would get to a fast enough speed in the chunder where the difference would be felt.

What I do know is that climbing will not be as good as your current setup now. A lower offset fork tends to be floppy on slow speeds and twitchy on climbs.
 

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If I did bike design, I'd choose high offset with slack HTA and low offset with steep HTA.

I'd use steep HTA (with low offset) when I wanted to keep the wheelbase compact, but wanted to increase reach and stack, such as for a tall rider.

I'd use slack HTA (with high offset) when I want to increase the front center, but keep reach and stack low, such as for shorter riders.

I'd consider the offset more to tweak the steering response to be a bit more normalized. Don't want the slack HTA bike to be much like a DH bike, nor do I want the steep HTA bike to be much like a road bike.

A range of 39 to 51mm offset sounds a bit limiting to me. Rather have more options, like 65+mm offset.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Almost everything you will be reading in the magazines or online is total idiocy or marketing copy. Watch out for sales pitches.
Pretty much as i expected and your writeup confirms what i was thinking, i'll quote your article to drive it home:

"If we are to believe that the move is being made for a reason other than marketing, the goal is then for even more stable straight line bikes on smooth surfaces. Turnkey confidence for the average rider to gain confidence on gentle flowing trail, this due to the greater castor effect of the system. Simple enough."

I was thinking the reason they like the lower offset forks is it gives a shorter wheelbase and front center (everything else held constant) so would have the benefits of higher trail for "straight line stability" and also maybe easier to weight and unweight the front wheel since the axle isn't as far out as it would be with more offset. But i do wonder at that amount of front center and trail, is 9mm in MT even noticeable?
The magazines and Chris says yes, and maybe for more discerning riders but...

One thing I don't understand is why you don't have to worry about using lower fork offset until you get above 830 front center? Is it just something you've experienced that it's just TOO long in the front so the lower FC and wheelbase will handle better?
 

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pvd, got a pic of you on your bike plowing rock gardens on fairly level ground? I wanna see where your hips are, in relation to the BB. I imagine with that much front center, compared to rear center, that your legs will be aligned with the pull of gravity, rather than angled back. Seems to make more sense to ride this way, rather than be forced back due to cramped front end (forced to use arms to hold on, rather than to suspend body).
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I tried putting a Fox with 44mm offset on my same bike and did notice the difference. It's not as minimal a difference as I thought it'd be but I'm sure it's not as pronounced as with a longer front center. I can see why people like it. The added wheelflop at slow speeds is not great, but the stability when moving at speed is nice and the shorter front center is noticeable and feels more 'normal' to what i'm used to and can place the front wheel nicely.

I can see it being a way for builders to have options in how the bike handles for different rider needs. It's nice to have OPTIONS of fork offset in suspension forks whereas we would only be able to adjust head tube angle to manage Trail and FC. I just hope they continue to offer these and more options: 36, 44, and 51mm offset.

I would like to ride a "modern" bike and see what you mean PVD. But i'd have to ride your bike so next time I'm visiting family maybe i'll bug you.
 
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