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I've been out of mountain biking since the early 2000's and a lot of things have changed since I built my bike in the mid to late 90's. I test rode a Trek Roscoe 8 last weekend to see what a modern bike was like. The dropper post was neat but not mind blowing. Geometry and wide bars were fine and I can see it would be an improvement. 1x SRAM system shifted fine and I'm sure I could get used to no big rings in the front (I did drop the seat a couple of times going to downshift). By far the biggest difference was the suspension fork for me. I don't know what fork was on it but I'd say it was a good order of magnitude better than my late 90's Girvin Crosslink Pro Carbon suspension fork. I was looking for big roots to roll over and the shock would eat up the bumps without me ever feeling them.

My son has gotten into biking so my dad gave me his old Raleigh for my son to ride. It has my old Girvin Vector on it and the springs were set up for my ~200ish lbs dad so they were way too stiff for my son. I swapped out the shock unit from my Pro Carbon with it's lighter spring and lower weight oil to my son's Vector. Now I'm riding a bike with a spring that's a little too heavy with too heavy weight oil so it's over damped and feels fractionally better than a rigid fork.

I don't feel the need to get a new bike as I like my current on. I have a 1 1/8" steerer which opens up more options and Magura hydraulic rim brakes I would like to keep. I was surprised to see Rockshox still makes a 1-1/8" steerer fork with brake bosses for a 26" wheel in the Recon with coil springs or "Solo" air. How would those compare to the Judy in the Roscoe 8?

I figure A2C measurement will be an issue no matter what I get. The Pro Carbon is only 422mm by my tape measure so even a 100mm fork is going to be a drastic change. I doubt I will change my fork as I love my bike as is but a new suspension fork is tempting. So talk me into or out of this change. My son would like someone to talk me into it so he can get my Pro Carbon on his bike.

 

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I don't think it matters at all what the length of the extended fork is. It's the length when the fork is settled in its travel by the weight of the rider. From experience, you can increase travel on conventional forks by 20mm or so and yes, you will feel it but it's not ruinous. As your Pro Carbon is a completely different design more of a difference might be ok?
 

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I have a 1992 Marin Bear Valley SE. Made before "suspension corrected geometry" was a thing.
With a 120mm fork it flopped from side to side and was basically unridable. The 120mm fork spaced down to 100mm was okay. With 80mm it was perfectly fine and that's how it's been since.

It's possible that 680mm bars would have made it ridable with 120mm. But that wasn't a thing back in 2005 when I did that.
 

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I wouldn't do it personally, even if I enjoyed the bike. It looks like the recon silver tk is the best and most logical answer and that's $250 bucks, even on ebay. You could maybe find a 30 series with the brake bosses for 160, but that's a pretty crummy fork. If you were to upgrade the front wheel to a disc wheel ($50), get a shimano br-m615 front brake and rotor($35), that would open up your options for forks. Which would likely lead to spending a bit more then the recon $275-300, but a tubeless front tire, better rim profile, disc brakes etc.

But what's the point? you can walk into a bike shop right now, and get a brand new, previous model year giant talon 2 for 550 bucks. (link to my lbs that has just such a bike on clearance https://www.thepathbikeshop.com/sales/clearance/mountain-bikes/item/2019-talon-29-2-65098) Going down the path of putting a suspension fork on that bike is going to leave you with compromised geometry.

I realize you're not looking to buy a new bike, and I'm sure you have reasons for that... but putting literally ANY money into this bike other then maintenance, is a mistake in my opinion. Once you start, it's just a rabbit hole and you're still going to end up with a substandard product. Just ride this one as is, save some cash and if you start riding enough to justify a new bike, get a budget hardtail.

There's a lot more to these modern bikes then just in so many words, incrimental geometry changes etc. Going from that bike to a modern bike for one ride, isn't going to be enlightening. Over a few rides, you're going to notice changes in your riding style etc.
 

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I'd look for a Marzocchi Z2 If you want to keep the bike rideable and use those brakes. You can still get seals and an oil change is quick and easy, and it's period correct for the frames geo and they work well. A2C on a 98 Z2 is 432.5 before sag.
 

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I've been out of mountain biking since the early 2000's and a lot of things have changed since I built my bike in the mid to late 90's. I test rode a Trek Roscoe 8 last weekend to see what a modern bike was like. The dropper post was neat but not mind blowing. Geometry and wide bars were fine and I can see it would be an improvement. 1x SRAM system shifted fine and I'm sure I could get used to no big rings in the front (I did drop the seat a couple of times going to downshift). By far the biggest difference was the suspension fork for me. I don't know what fork was on it but I'd say it was a good order of magnitude better than my late 90's Girvin Crosslink Pro Carbon suspension fork. I was looking for big roots to roll over and the shock would eat up the bumps without me ever feeling them.

My son has gotten into biking so my dad gave me his old Raleigh for my son to ride. It has my old Girvin Vector on it and the springs were set up for my ~200ish lbs dad so they were way too stiff for my son. I swapped out the shock unit from my Pro Carbon with it's lighter spring and lower weight oil to my son's Vector. Now I'm riding a bike with a spring that's a little too heavy with too heavy weight oil so it's over damped and feels fractionally better than a rigid fork.

I don't feel the need to get a new bike as I like my current on. I have a 1 1/8" steerer which opens up more options and Magura hydraulic rim brakes I would like to keep. I was surprised to see Rockshox still makes a 1-1/8" steerer fork with brake bosses for a 26" wheel in the Recon with coil springs or "Solo" air. How would those compare to the Judy in the Roscoe 8?

I figure A2C measurement will be an issue no matter what I get. The Pro Carbon is only 422mm by my tape measure so even a 100mm fork is going to be a drastic change. I doubt I will change my fork as I love my bike as is but a new suspension fork is tempting. So talk me into or out of this change. My son would like someone to talk me into it so he can get my Pro Carbon on his bike.

Early 2000s bikes are fkn nasty. They're pretty good if you want to ride flat, smooth dirt roads and trails, and a huge handicap for anything interesting. It's common for riders who abandoned the sport in the 'bad old days' to not understand modern bikes. They need to be ridden in a different way (it takes time to adjust) and their excellence isn't obvious until you take them on terrain that's nigh-impossible on the old garbage. Your experience is typical.

So it's common for these folk to go 'well new bikes aren't that great... but how do i attach the obviously better stuff to my old trash?' It's a reasonable question, but it does you a disservice. The next common step is to look for something 5-10 years old that 'feels good,' but this will net you the worst fancy bike from the era slightly before a lot of really important (but subtle) improvements were made.

The butt-dyno is miscalibrated and can't be trusted.

I think your bike is super neat. I'd ride the crap out of it (on rail-trails- i like XC bullshit too). But i wouldn't spend any money on it that wasn't to ensure it fit correctly and was reliable. It's a museum piece, a slice of nostalgia. Go get a 2-3 year old 'trail bike', or a new 'XC (not race) bike', spend enough to get a quality ride, and enjoy all the new riding experiences you can have with that added safety and comfort. I'm sure it will breathe a new love in to a sport you abandoned- money well spent. In my experience you won't do that, though. Once these riders have decided to cling to the bad stuff, they choose to be miserable, scared, and slow forever.

(this is written tongue-in-cheek, but also not. I only wish you the best! :) )
 
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Early 2000s bikes are fkn nasty. They're pretty good if you want to ride flat, smooth dirt roads and trails, and a huge handicap for anything interesting.
I understand what you're saying but I think it's a bit harsh. They're not 'nasty', just not as good on rough trails that point downwards. But let's be honest, on a smooth, flat trail they'll leave a modern bike behind. They'll almost certainly climb better as well.

The geometry might not be ideal for descending but they are typically much lighter than today's bikes so are nimble and fast. My hardtail from back then weighed 24lb, and it wasn't a high-end one. An entry level hardtail today is going to be probably over 30lb.

So you can't blast down hill with the same confidence but other than that these bikes are quick, lively and fun to ride. Not everyone is trying to win races.
 

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I understand what you're saying but I think it's a bit harsh. They're not 'nasty', just not as good on rough trails that point downwards. But let's be honest, on a smooth, flat trail they'll leave a modern bike behind. They'll almost certainly climb better as well.

The geometry might not be ideal for descending but they are typically much lighter than today's bikes so are nimble and fast. My hardtail from back then weighed 24lb, and it wasn't a high-end one. An entry level hardtail today is going to be probably over 30lb.

So you can't blast down hill with the same confidence but other than that these bikes are quick, lively and fun to ride. Not everyone is trying to win races.
Agree 100%! Don't get me wrong. Love my daily, latest greatest trail geo ride. But yeah, my 2003 Gary Fisher Sugar 3+ Disk (purchased new in '03 for a whopping $1,700) is faster, climbs much better, and, with enough caution and finesse, can hold its own going down. Nothing like a 24lb full suspension bike! :) But... it's what we today call an XC bike, not a trail bike.

DeoreDX, you mentioned the RockShox Recon. I replaced the fork on my '03 Sugar 3+ with a 130mm Recon Solo Air. Went from 108mm (original fork measured in inches - 4.25") to 130mm. Obviously, it artificially increased the bikes HTA. But it works great. It also raised the BB height from what was already pretty high by today's standards. I also slid the saddle back on its rails, and put a shorter stem on the bike. To my surprise, it actually handles pretty nicely. Still good on tight twisty stuff, great climber, and is a little better at going down that it was originally. The Recon is actually a surprisingly plush fork for its price point. Anyway... just some input on what you might consider for your bike.
 

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I understand what you're saying but I think it's a bit harsh. They're not 'nasty', just not as good on rough trails that point downwards. But let's be honest, on a smooth, flat trail they'll leave a modern bike behind. They'll almost certainly climb better as well.

The geometry might not be ideal for descending but they are typically much lighter than today's bikes so are nimble and fast. My hardtail from back then weighed 24lb, and it wasn't a high-end one. An entry level hardtail today is going to be probably over 30lb.

So you can't blast down hill with the same confidence but other than that these bikes are quick, lively and fun to ride. Not everyone is trying to win races.
I like that you repped me and then disagreed. Good response.

In response to your defense of the nasty-

---My gravel bike is comfortably under 20lbs and it isn't a high-end one. The geometry might not be ideal for descending, but it's so nimble and fast. On a smooth, fast road it will leave any mtb behind. It almost certainly climbs better as well.---

We know all bikes are compromises of some sort. And they're all fun. Even (especially?) the nasty ones. I feel that old XC bikes make compromises that limit how much a non-expert can explore/enjoy the sport. I also feel that a novice dork is more likely to create a handling mess than they are to kludge together the ultimate machine. It's my opinion, but it's based on a painful amount of experience. DeoreDX should abandon this line of thought.
 

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My gravel bike is comfortably under 20lbs and it isn't a high-end one. The geometry might not be ideal for descending, but it's so nimble and fast.
It's interesting that you bring up gravel bikes, and that you own one. It seems somewhat contradictory that you appreciate the virtues of a gravel bike but have disdain for older mountain bikes when their strengths and weaknesses are similar. Of course, early mountain bikes used geometry more akin to road than the very different set ups we see today so that's hardly surprising.

In fact, the popularity of gravel bikes could be the result of the modern mountain bikes being so ill suited to suited to smooth trails?

So on the one hand you think older mountain bikes are useless, yet you own a gravel bike which has limitations in exactly the same areas but which are much worse! Make your mind up? ;0)
 

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I looked at upgrading my 1994 Klein in order to make me sit more upright, since the lean forward was killing the arthritis in my spine. Overall, even though I've loved the Klein since I bought it in 1994, it just was not worth upgrading anything, a new bike was a 100% upgrade and cheaper.

Once you find the new fork, then you need the new hub to fit the fork, and might as well buy a rim and spokes to go with the hub, and the new front brake, and the new brake lever, maybe a shifter, some hand grips, etc...
 

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It's interesting that you bring up gravel bikes, and that you own one. It seems somewhat contradictory that you appreciate the virtues of a gravel bike but have disdain for older mountain bikes when their strengths and weaknesses are similar. Of course, early mountain bikes used geometry more akin to road than the very different set ups we see today so that's hardly surprising.

In fact, the popularity of gravel bikes could be the result of the modern mountain bikes being so ill suited to suited to smooth trails?

So on the one hand you think older mountain bikes are useless, yet you own a gravel bike which has limitations in exactly the same areas but which are much worse! Make your mind up? ;0)
Totally agree on all points.

Gravel bike is a lot of fun to ride on the road, but those old XC bikes are kinda slow (i know, i ride one every day). Both are similarly bad at anything rough or technical. Gravel bikes are just a superior (and fashionable) IMBA-style XC mtb.

I think that the horribleness of old XC bikes has unfortunately killed interest in modern XC bikes. The new ones- with steep angles, fast tires, and long front-centers, are super super fun. But i never see anyone riding them.
 

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I think that the horribleness of old XC bikes has unfortunately killed interest in modern XC bikes. The new ones- with steep angles, fast tires, and long front-centers, are super super fun. But I never see anyone riding them.
I don't understand what you mean here? How could bikes from twenty years ago put people off riding modern bikes? I think modern bikes put people off modern bikes. They fall for the aggressive stance of today's mountain bikes when most of them just pootle around on roads and paths. It's only a fun bike in the right place.
 

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I'd look for a Marzocchi Z2 If you want to keep the bike rideable and use those brakes. You can still get seals and an oil change is quick and easy, and it's period correct for the frames geo and they work well. A2C on a 98 Z2 is 432.5 before sag.
This. I have a 1998 (I think) Stumpjumper Steel with a Z2 on it and ride it when I am at my parents house. 71 head angle and 74 seat angle. Fast in the woods but beats you up. But still a wonderful ride.
 

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I don't understand what you mean here? How could bikes from twenty years ago put people off riding modern bikes? I think modern bikes put people off modern bikes. They fall for the aggressive stance of today's mountain bikes when most of them just pootle around on roads and paths. It's only a fun bike in the right place.
It's only been fairly recently that XC bikes have gotten long enough to where they're a pretty great option for folks who just want to go and trundle through nature. But the last 20 years have taught the mtb-buying public to avoid XC bikes and get something more... robust, just as you lament. It's a bummer. I hope that the spread of forward-geometry will bring the resurgence of XC bikes, but we'll see.
 

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But the last 20 years have taught the mtb-buying public to avoid XC bikes and get something more... robust..
Yes, I see people trundling up the cycle track on trail bikes. Have to admit, I almost did it myself. When looking for a full-sus I nearly bought a 160mm trail bike but realised it was just vanity. I'd never fully exploit it. So I bought a 120 instead and it's more than enough bike for me.
 
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