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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
In an odd roundabout kind of way, my farting around trying to make a decision on which fork to buy for my old Kona Kiluaea has resulted in me deciding to stick with my retro rigid set-up with rim brakes and just blow my cash on a new fork for the 5 Spot.

The decision on the fork has been pretty easy. Fox Talas 130RLC. I've read the reviews and followed a lot of fork-related threads here, and it sounds considerably better than my current Vanilla 125R, which is getting pretty wornout anyway.

What's the final opinion of other 5 Spot riders? Basically if a load of you guys support my decision to buy the Talas I will. I'm basically mechanically illiterate and I respect the opinions of the people on this forum.

My prefered riding is aggressive xc and trail riding. I don't do many drops. Well, bugger all really, and certainly nothing over 4 feet.

I'm not taking the piss. If the borg says I should buy the Talas 130RLC I will.

Cheers,

Duncan
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
cheers

This is so cool. Within 10 minutes of posting my question, no-one less than the founder of the Turner company posts a personal reply. It's no wonder Turner seems to have so many loyal life-long customers.

Cheers,

Duncan
 

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TALAS forks are very smooth..and very linear..too linear IMO. They just seem to blow through the travel, especially on steep technical stuff.
 

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I wonder if the 05 Talas forks are improved over the older ones. I rode both the 05 Floats and Talas at Ibike and greatly preferred the Talas. I'd take DT's input on this one though (duh).
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yes, I'm still thinking of getting the talas. I really want to have something that I can wind down for the really steep climbs (maybe combined with a slightly longer stem again). From my experience steep climbing is the only area where I've really had a bit of frustration with the 5 Spot and I think the Talas may help overcome that.

I guess the poor little Kona rigid will just have to settle for new hubs and a SRAM drivetrain for the moment. Man, I don't know how so many of you guys can divide your good luvin' between 6 different bikes. I'm having dilemmas with only two in my harem.

Cheers,

Duncan
 

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carpe mañana
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Why are you not considering the 05 Vanilla? I had 03 RL, 04 RLC and 05 RLC. Between 03 and 04, there was hardly any noticable difference. The compression adjustment did squat as well. 2005 Vanilla was quite an improvement. It felt plusher and the compression adjustment helped reduce brake dive and tune the fork further. You may also want to consider the Maverick SC32. It is sub 3.5lbs and has 125/80mm travel settings, ETA style. I've seen quite a few guys DJ on those and had lots of good comments about its rigidity. After following some conversations on this forum, I went with an 04 Z1 FR for the Spot and after my trip to Moab a couple weeks back, I could not imagine going back to a Vanilla or any other 32mm Fox offering. It is a quick release version, but it is so much stronger than the Fox (not to mention that you can get these new for under $300). I climbed some really steep stuff and didn't have any issues, but keeping in mind the thread you started some time ago, I won't recommend that fork to you. Out of all the Fox 32mm bretheren, I would go with the Vanilla, I am not too impressed with the plain Float in terms of plushness, I have a 100mm RLT on my hardtail. Talas is better, but bottoms out easily when setup plush, at least the 03 RLC did. I don't think I am helping much here, but good luck with your search.

_MK
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
MK_ said:
Why are you not considering the 05 Vanilla? I had 03 RL, 04 RLC and 05 RLC. Between 03 and 04, there was hardly any noticable difference. The compression adjustment did squat as well. 2005 Vanilla was quite an improvement. It felt plusher and the compression adjustment helped reduce brake dive and tune the fork further. You may also want to consider the Maverick SC32. It is sub 3.5lbs and has 125/80mm travel settings, ETA style. I've seen quite a few guys DJ on those and had lots of good comments about its rigidity. After following some conversations on this forum, I went with an 04 Z1 FR for the Spot and after my trip to Moab a couple weeks back, I could not imagine going back to a Vanilla or any other 32mm Fox offering. It is a quick release version, but it is so much stronger than the Fox (not to mention that you can get these new for under $300). I climbed some really steep stuff and didn't have any issues, but keeping in mind the thread you started some time ago, I won't recommend that fork to you. Out of all the Fox 32mm bretheren, I would go with the Vanilla, I am not too impressed with the plain Float in terms of plushness, I have a 100mm RLT on my hardtail. Talas is better, but bottoms out easily when setup plush, at least the 03 RLC did. I don't think I am helping much here, but good luck with your search.

_MK
Thanks MK. I checked out the reviews for the forks you mentioned. The Maverick looks good but seems to require a lot of maintainance and requires a new hub. The 2004 Z1 FR also looked good but the 05 versions seem to have a few problems with air pre-load. I'm on a 2004 Vanilla 125R now and it's been great except on the really steep climbs. Can you tell me, does the RLC version lock-out at the full five inches, or can you lower it when it is locked-out? One review mentions 3 different travel settings. Maybe a new vanilla could still be in the running...

From the reviews the 05 Talas sounds like it's pretty plush and no-one seemed to mention bottoming out. Probably not a big problem with me anyway as, at less that 170 pounds, I'm just a wee fella and I don't do many drops (and if I do I take the stress off my bike by landing on my face).

Anyway, thanks again for your advice MK. Maybe it's a toss-up between Vanilla and Talas.
 

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5Spot is the best climbing bike I've ridden!

Duncan said:
Can you tell me, does the RLC version lock-out at the full five inches, or can you lower it when it is locked-out? One review mentions 3 different travel settings. Maybe a new vanilla could still be in the running...
No, the travel settings are internal adjustments. I.e. you have to take the fork apart to change the travel setting. Not something you'd be doing on the trail...

I'm very surprised that you find the 5spot hard work on steep climbs as I've found it one of the best bikes, certainly the best long travel, bike for such things. The steep seat angle and low headtube means that you can get your weight well forward to stop the front from lifting.
I'm currently running a pyslo fork (yes, I definatly need a better fork on it!) which has a slightly longer A-c length than your vanilla 125 and the only time when I've struggled with the front end was when I had a short stem on - 90mm. This stem certainly made the bike handle well on the downs, but was made it hard work on the ups and I've since swaped to a 100mm, which doesn't sound a big difference but it has made a world of difference to the climbing.
The great balance of the 5 spot, along with the traction it finds, means that this bike is one of the best climbing bikes I've riden. The only thing totally holding me back on the climbs is the weight, but then you need that extra bit of security for the speed you can get up to on this bike during the downs... :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
good point about the stem

Thanks for clarifying that question about adjusting the Vanilla's travel.

TrailDog said:
the only time when I've struggled with the front end was when I had a short stem on - 90mm. This stem certainly made the bike handle well on the downs, but was made it hard work on the ups and I've since swaped to a 100mm, which doesn't sound a big difference but it has made a world of difference to the climbing.:D
Yes, I think a lot of my trouble boils down to my current short 90mm stem as, without wanting to sound to cocky, I think my technique and strength are generally fairly decent on the climbs and I still do pretty well compared to most of the riders I meet. Having said that my Kona just shoots up the steep stuff compared to the Turner (that is until it gets really rough). Apart from experimenting with stem length one thing I will also try is just rotating my riser bar forward a bit. That should get my body weight a bit further forward. Maybe take out some of the spacers too eh?

Cheers, Duncan
 

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Since no one else has suggested it let me throw the AM1 into the mix. Yes it is heavier than the Talas and the Float but the quality of travel is excellent. IMO...A 110-130 version would work well on a spot. Wind the travel down to about 120-125mm for the optimal a2c for the spot and the ETA will give you the "slam-down" feature for those uber steep climbs. And yea, the color isn't great but get DT to send some of those new GREEN ICT stickers to you and they will divert some of the attention!!;)
 

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TrailDog has an excellent point about the stems. I have had similar climbing issues on my large 2002 XCE. I am 6'1" with a 32" inseam and ride a 110mm 10 degree rise Easton EA70 stem. I also use Monkeylite riser bars and have a 2004 TALAS. I have experimented with the height adjustment of the TALAS and found it helped some with the climbing issues, but not enough. I then decided to experiment with some stems so I went to JensonUSA and bought two different bargain basement stems (<$10/ea). Here are my initial results

110mm 10degree Easton EA70 (initial setup) - Downhill and general riding felt great. Couldn't be happier. On short, very steep climbs I could not keep the front end weighted enough to track properly and on several occasions even did a backwards endo. Even if the TALAS adjustment would have worked you generally do not have enough time to use it during these situations.

130mm 0degree Easton EA50 ($9) - I decided to shoot the opposite end of the spectrum here to see how much better climbing I could get. This stem really, really helped the climbing. It felt like my old fully rigid hardtail. Things that I never climbed before on the XCE were not a problem. BUT - my general riding position was much less comfortable and made it fell like I was on a stretched out race bike. This was really noticable on steep downhills. Sliding the seat forwared a bit improved my general riding position but made the downhills slightly worse. Onto the next stem.

120mm 5degree Pazzaz? ($9) - I was a little leary about putting this stem on because I had never heard of it before and it was light (140g) and I was afraid it would break and kill me. But what the hell, all in the name of science. This stem was a little flexy but the geometry felt very good. It gave a nice balance in between general comfort and good climbing ability. Using this stem with my seat moved slightly forward proved to be the best combo so far.

I am still experimenting with various stem and handlebar combos but I feel I am narrowing in on a combination that works well for me. With the abundance of cheap components out there it is not too expensive a proposition to experiment a little and I feel it will be worth it the long run. Once I find what works best for me I will plunk down some dollars on some higher quality stuff and know that they will be the right size. I hope this little summary was useful. You may want to consider experimenting before dumping $400-500 on a new fork. Good Luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for the detailed information. I started off on a 120mm 5degree Thomson when I first got the bike but that stretched me out a bit too much (I'm only about 5'8"). My current stem is just 90mm 5degrees and great for the descents. Indeed, my initial impression was that it even made the climbs easier too, but that illusion has since been shattered now that I can compare the 90mm stemmed 5 Spot to my 110-120mm stemmed Kiluaea. I will certainly experiment with some 100mm or 110mm stems that I can borrow from my LBS. Does anyone have any other opinions about removing spacers and/or rotating the riser bar forward?

As for the new fork, well, I still think I'll buy one because, well, um... I have to sell my old fork to buy a new stem :D
 

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Remove any spacers you have under your stem and take a test ride. This should help your climb. You may also want to try some flat bars. This will also lower your front end and if it helps your climb there are flats available that have the same width and sweep as your risers (Titec hellbent flat trackers come to mind). Again, good luck.
 

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carpe mañana
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Duncan said:
Does anyone have any other opinions about removing spacers and/or rotating the riser bar forward?
With riser bars (you have moneky lights, right?) you have quite a few degrees of freedom (rotationally) without dramatically altering the bar angle (in correspondance to your wrist). Go ahead and rotate it forward some, and you should be able to achieve an effective stem of at least 100mm. I don't think that you want to keep it that way permanently, at least, I don't know how the carbon fiber resin is oriented and in which direction it has optimal strength, but I am sure that if you take it for a ride and stay away from big drops it will be alright. Removing spacers will shift your way forward and down. It might help keep your front wheel down a bit, but it will make the downhills harder as well as popping wheelies, manuals, etc.

_MK
 

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Been riding an 05 TALAS since September 04. It is a great fork. The compression damping (on the RLC model) is much improved from the previous models. Adjusted correctly it can go a long way in keeping you from blowing through the travel. However, the TALAS is still a very linear fork. LAS does stand for Linear Air Spring me thinks. It hasn't really bothered me much and I'm a 170ish lb rider.

As for the TA in TALAS, I used it at first, but eventually found a sweet spot at about 120mm and have left it there. My bike (not a 5spot) will climb well and decend well at that setting. Going from 90mm on a climb to 130mm for the decent just wasn't practical. Too many knob rotations I guess...

--rip
 

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$.02

Not to complicate it, but I am going to second MK and say that you may want to check out the Maverick SC. The fact you have to build a new front wheel for the thru-axle is an added expense, but the travel adjustment is simple and easy to do on the fly. I have had the fork for about a month (200 miles) and it has been awesome. It gives the spot a really agressive xc geomentry for climbing and singletrack, but still rocks on the decents. Be aware that they are fixing some seal issues, but those are being resolved and the customer service is awesome.
 

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My 2 penneth...

I first built my 5 Spot up with a TALAS R (back in May '03), it was plush and smooth, plenty stiff, but just too linear. I stuck with it for 18 months, but I could never get the balance right between not enough compliance on the small bumps and stopping the dive on drops/steep stuff. I should say that, like you, I'm a wheels_on_the_ground kinda rider doing the odd drop, but nothing beyond 2 1/2 feet or so (and rarely that). I have considered PUSHing the TALAS as it apparently much improves the nasty diving character, but I haven't as yet. Also my fork is pretty old, so the newer ones may be much improved.

I do however own a couple of Vanillas ('03 RLC and '05 R) both used on hard tails; the newer fork is set to 130 and it's smoother, not linear and all round better than the TALAS - well worth the 1/4lb difference (or whatever it is).

I've recently been riding with a Mav DUC and it is better again! Very smooth, stupidly stiff and very confidence inspiring. The hub interface is very much an integral part of this and friends who have the SC love that fork too (and it's shorter if you want a racier position).

I'd also consider the Marz AM range even if they are a bit long - I really fancied one, but got a good deal on the Mav (and it's very light too).

That's all I know...
 
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