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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I currently ride a steel On-One Inbred with steel On-One Inbred rigid forks and love the ride on tight singletrack. For me there is wonderful "Zen" feeling of riding clarity. Me and the trail. The bike seems to disappear and the feeling is really liberating. For me the essence of singlespeeding is this Zen feeling of never having to worry about the components or gears just the trail and the struggle(uphill).

However, I recently rode with a friend on his dual suspended bike and I was horrified at how far ahead he pulled on a section of rutted and bumpy trail where, to be honest, I was hanging on a bit to just stay on line.

I began to wonder if a suspension fork would kill the Zen. Would I forever be wondering if I had the right air pre-load ? Is that oil leaking out there ? Is that a clunk I heard there ?

Alternatively, how much smoother would a rigid carbon or titanium fork be on the really bumpy stuff(whilst retaining full Zen) ?

Please give me your views and experiences.

Shaun.
 

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OneFear said:
Alternatively, how much smoother would a rigid carbon or titanium fork be on the really bumpy stuff(whilst retaining full Zen) ?

Please give me your views and experiences.

Shaun.
I think if your idea of retaining full zen is the entire bone jarring eye rattling experience, then you will be dissapointed in how a suspension fork will allow your to tame the rough stuff. I'd have a hard time believing that any carbon or ti rigid fork would feel much different as far as less harsh than a steel fork than running a larger volume front tire, which is certainly cheaper.

I too loved the feeling of being connected to the trail on my rigid steel SS, but I live on the Front Range of the Rocky mountains and the connected rigid feel too often ended up being one with the trail, literally laying on it, so I enlisted a stiff tunable suspension fork with a lockout if needed (turns out I never lock it out) for my zen retention solution.

Nothing like a steel rigid on smooth fast singletrack, but sometimes I think that some of us here are a bit stubborn with our SS simplicity philosiphy to the point of keeping a more dangerous rig pointed down the most technically challenging for the sake of trading periodic suspension fork service for additional wear and tear and excelerated fatiuge on the rider. I'd rather abuse myself during my SS experience by enduring the pain of cranking and pushing the only gear I have than by beating and jarring myself to death like I'm riding on a jackhammer for a fork. But some of us like to live and ride more dangerously and can enjoy those beatings in their youth. I'd say what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger. So if you wake up alive the next morning, try it again until you succeed.

Cheers,

Dave
 

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What is your real concern here?

if speed on tech trails is what you are really concerned with....you need only look as far as your nearest pro MTN bike race. none of the top finishers will be running SS, and all will be running suspension of some sort....why would they use bikes that are heavier than a rigid SS? Because they are faster and cause less fatigue on longer races.

Now! is your concern more with enjoying YOUR ride, or keeping up with someone else?? There has always been someone faster than me, but now that I ride SS, I dont care as much about that. And as these guys dust me on their geared works of science, I suspect that on a level playing field (putting them on a SS) I would have the advantage.

Go borrow a full suspended geared bike and take it for a spin. You may like it...I dont. you may be faster on it....but not care.

Do what you like. dont worry about someone else...unless you enjoy the social aspects of riding more than the zen you describe.

and remember everything is just a shade of gray somewhere between suspension and full on rigid with a steel bomb proof fork (Like yours), and gears and SS.
 

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Fo' Bidniz in da haus
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quite simple solution actually.....as i too love the ride of a fully rigid, most of the time; you need another single speed that has a suspension fork. this is what i have done and it works like a charm ;)
 

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Got Mojo?
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OneFear said:
I recently rode with a friend on his dual suspended bike and I was horrified at how far ahead he pulled on a section of rutted and bumpy trail where, to be honest, I was hanging on a bit to just stay on line.
Apples and Oranges.

You cannot compare a FS bike to a rigid SS on a single section of trail. Lemme ask you, who made it to the top of the climbs first?
 

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No Justice = No Peace
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Simple suspension

Zen is a state of mind. Wrist fatigue and arthritis are more tangible properties.

I have an 80mm SID on my single speed, andI never worry about it. It doesn't leak air, it makes no noise, it sucks up bumps, the wheel goes round and round at the bottom, and all is well.

Recently rode a Bridgestone RB-1 which is very simalar in fit and geometry, and although the rigid ride was cool on the smooth stuff, and it felt great in the twisty-track, it wasn't enough to make me want to go rigid on my Bontrager.

Namaste, or whatever.
 

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What you really should be asking yourself is ... why are you even thinking about faster or slower ... what you should be focused on is becoming one with that rock garden and flowing through it like water on that perfect Zen machine ... the rest will fade away.

Now picture that foomanchu dude in the Miller Light commercials with the bamboo stick... fthwack ... AGAIN! :D
 

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Depends on your trails...

Some folks are fortunate enough to live in areas where the trails are very smooth and rigid forks are the ticket. I know where I live the riding is so continually rocky that it's no fun at all with a rigid fork. Most of us ride for fitness and fun. The continual rattling produced by a rigid fork wouldn't even let me focus on most of the trails... and that's no fun.

Maitenance... I've found my Fox forx to be extremely low maintenance. I think they save me maintenance by helping to keep my front wheel true and my front from pinch flatting. They are relatively free from noise and are not that heavy. The Float needs its air topped off my 2 times a year if that. The Vanilla Forx are great for SS as they don't even need air and are bomb proof as well as fool proof.

Bottom line... (IMO) unless you live in an unusually smooth area, you'll have more fun, be faster, and have no extra maintenance if you ride a nice suspended fork.
 

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What they said..

So.......you see your friend blast over a bumpy section of track on his FS.

Did you observe this ? Yes.

Were you affected by it ? Yes.

How much so ? You were "horrified".

Did this make you feel inferior? Yes, so much so that you are looking for a way to compensate.

I suggest sir, that you have a long way to go, zenwise.

R.
 

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I don't pretend to be an expert, but as an enthusiastic practitioner of zen Buddhism, I'd like to contribute this:

You cherish those rides in which you become lost in the experience and are only living in the reality that is occuring at each moment. Your awareness and focus are clear and fully present, to the exclusion of other distractions. That is very zen!

But these moments can occur with whatever equipment you choose. The bike isn't going for a ride, you are. Every piece of equipment has the ability to both rid you of distraction and to be a source of distraction; often simultaneously. So it's not the fork.

It's you.

As soon as you notice or care whether your riding buddies are clearing sections of trail faster or more effortlessly than you, you have already lost the sensation that you are calling "zen."

Shunryu Suzuki: "When you do somethiing, you should burn yourself completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself."
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Simplicity

I may be misusing the "Zen" word but what I love about singlespeed riding is its simplicity. Not worrying about gears gives me the freedom of thought to think about the trail and not the bike. I am just testing the water here as to whether people have found that adding a suspension fork to the mix disturbs this simplicity.

The answers so far seem to go both ways depending on the trails one rides which makes a lot of sense I suppose. As far as being "un Zen" myself, I am a pretty competitive person although this doesn't always translate into results. Won't stop me from trying to be as fast on my singlespeed as I can.

I still am curious of people's experiences in switching from rigid to suspension forks or vis versa.

Cheers,
Shaun.
 

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use both

OneFear said:
I still am curious of people's experiences in switching from rigid to suspension forks or vis versa.
I've been SS'ing for about 5 years and have gone from suspended to rigid to suspended and now to both. When I first started SS'ing, I used a suspension fork. I never even thought about riding rigid. However, a couple of years later, I bought an "off the shelf" complete SS (a Bianchi SISS) that included a rigid fork. I thought, what the heck, I might as well try it, and I ended up riding exclusively rigid for a couple of years. However, I recently developed osteoarthritis in my hands and wrists and the rigid fork, even with a big, fat, plush front tire, hurts to much to ride more than occasionally. So I went back to suspension, but I bought a fork with a lockout which really helps on the climbs. I also bought an extra crown race for my headset so I can swap the rigid and suspension forks back and forth as the urge strikes. I say run both!
 

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As far as front suspension goes...

Keeping in mind that your Zen has no bearing on what you are riding...

The front suspension feels much softer over the rough stuff once you get it dialed in.

It takes the shock out of the hits, smoothes out the bumps nicely.

However, it also dives under braking, which isn't so good. If you choose a fork like the Reba, it can be locked out for climbing.


R.
 

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Rainman said:
However, it also dives under braking, which isn't so good. If you choose a fork like the Reba, it can be locked out for climbing.

R.
I'd have to second that endorsement on a RockShox Reba, and if you try adjusting the amount of both the positive and negative air, you may find that you rarely want to lock it out, if at all. It has great small bump compliance without pedal bob, which tends to allow you to roll over things without killing your out of saddle momentum. The Floodgate is very easy to adjust to your liking, unlike some forks where you spin dials around and feel little difference, you would like this one. As far as setting it up, a Reba is very easy to adjust the air, and mine does not leak, it has been set it and forget it once I got it dialed. The recommended starting air is listed right on a chart stuck to the fork. And the seals are holding up well. I got the Pop-Lock (remote dial model on mine), and I hit my left knee on it occcasionally, so something to consider, they have a model with a lockout out knob on the crown too.

Whatever you get, you will have to have it serviced periodically, just like you change oil in your car, no getting around that. I figure on seals and oil at least once a year on forks I ride the heck out of. The ones I ride the most, I do in the spring and fall.

Speaking of forks, I put a Fox '06 TALAS on the SS I ride the most now and I like it very much, I don't lock that fork either. I have had a lot of problems with leaking seals on Fox Forx over the past few years though. I have the best luck with Marzocchi forks as far as reliability goes, but I have not had any trouble with my Reba at all, so my faith has been restored in RockShox after some previous (pre-SRAM) fork problems.

In order of customer service, hands down, RockShox (SRAM) is currently by far the best from my experience, they want your business these days, which is refreshing. Second Marzocchi, and next Fox.

Whatever you get, just consider getting something with rebound and compression adjustment, or at least both pos. and neg. air to help you set it up right for you and the way you ride.

I like decent equipment and adjustment dials, but what I like the most is stuff that is adjustable enough to get it right without difficulty and just ride on it without continually screwing with it.

Cheers,

Dave
 

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I think you do what makes you happy.

When I got rid of my big bike I had to give up the notion that I would get up front on the descents. While I do miss that feeling of flying carelessly down the hills I am invigorated with the challenge of getting down as fast as my set-up allows. I get much more butt-pucker to dollar ratio now.
Am I jealous from time to time as I watch my hugely suspended brethren rip it up? Sure. Do I remember that I left that stuff behind for a reason? Eventually.
Whenever I do an endurance race I know I am giving up a huge advatage to the other riders. I have to remind myself that I am racing to see what I can do with what I have.
Maybe someday I will feel some effects of riding rigid and have to give it up. Maybe someday I won't be able to run one gear. Until that time comes I am going to get the most(the way I see it) from the ride.
 

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When I get my monocog it will be rigid. As soon as I have money for a decent suspension fork it will get one. Why? Well I learned to ride on a rigid GT that I stole from my sister. That was years ago. Since then I've had occasional outings on rigid forks or friend's bikes. It's different and a challenge occasionally but for the miles I usually put in it just ends up being an unnecessary beating on my body. Ride what *you* want. I want a nice 80mm fork up front :)
 
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