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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

Given that you have a frame designed for whatever travel fork you have........would you rather have a shorter travel fork than a longer travel fork for XC riding?

Of course I realize there are limits as really long travel forks are not designed for or good for XC, but what do you think in general? It would seem that the longer travel forks would offer much better performance in terms of soaking up bumps, but probably a decrease in crisp handling and less peddaling efficiency.

I have a new Black Super Air SPV with 80mm travel that is matched with my 1999 Stumpjumper Frame (I am not a believer in going with a fork with travel longer than your frame was designed for). I am wondering if one day it would be worth upgrading my frame so that I can go with a longer travel fork. I would like better bump absorbtion, but not necessarily at the expense of more bobbing / sacrificed handling.

Aren't 80mm travel forks pretty much going to be obsolete soon, or is there a following who prefer shorter travel forks?

Just curious.


thanks

Matt
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Given a frame matched to your fork travel.........

Super Veg said:
changing your fork travel can also srew with your head angle

My question assumes that you are using a frame matched to whatever fork travel you have.

A shorter travel fork should only quicken your steering when using it on a frame designed for a longer travel fork. I don't believe in using a fork of longer or shorter travel than what your frame was designed for as it ultimately sacrifices your handling in my opinion.


Matt
 

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carpe mañana
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I think it really boils down to your definition of XC riding. If for you it is trucking up the hill, hammering, staying in your big ring on the flats and carefully picking your downhill line, with maximum amount of finesse, then sticking to 80mm is what you should do. On the other hand, if you care a bit less about getting to the top as fast as possible, are looking for "fun" elements of the trail, enjoy technical ascending and descending and don't want to take the absolutely smoothest line on the downhill, but a bit faster one, then 100mm is better.

_MK
 

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bowler1 said:
Hi,

Given that you have a frame designed for whatever travel fork you have........would you rather have a shorter travel fork than a longer travel fork for XC riding?

Of course I realize there are limits as really long travel forks are not designed for or good for XC, but what do you think in general? It would seem that the longer travel forks would offer much better performance in terms of soaking up bumps, but probably a decrease in crisp handling and less peddaling efficiency.

I have a new Black Super Air SPV with 80mm travel that is matched with my 1999 Stumpjumper Frame (I am not a believer in going with a fork with travel longer than your frame was designed for). I am wondering if one day it would be worth upgrading my frame so that I can go with a longer travel fork. I would like better bump absorbtion, but not necessarily at the expense of more bobbing / sacrificed handling.

Aren't 80mm travel forks pretty much going to be obsolete soon, or is there a following who prefer shorter travel forks?

Just curious.


thanks

Matt
I'd rather have a short fork for uphill, and a long fork for downhill. Like my Psylo Race U-turn...
 

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MattSavage
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Totally depends on your definition of "x-country". Racing and training, of course a short fork. General riding, it varies.

I ride xc on two forks. A 150mm Sherman and a 120mm Black. For shorter rides I take out my Dakar Pro with the Black, for epics I ride my Raleigh with the Sherman.

I don't see a problem with putting a longer stroke fork than the frame was designed for. My Dakar was desinged for 100mm fork, but the Black is 120, but it's not a problem at all. The steering is more predictable, descents and roll ins are more stable, and climbing is a non issue since it can be dropped to 100mm for the steepest ascents.

On the Sherman I can ride harder and longer since less abuse is sent to my arms and upper body, less fatigue. May be a slight weight penalty, but It's worth it if it means more fun. And tough technical climbs are a no brainer. With six inches of travel front and rear and 2.5 inch tires it'll crawl up the nastiest, rootiest, rockiest climbs around like it was on treads. It's the long haul grinders that are a pain, but then again, I'm not racing or training on this bike. (Mark Weir trains on a VP Free!)

I've never subscribed to the old school 71/73 geometry setup, that comes from roadie crossover racer guys who are used to twitchy bikes and had way too much design input/pull. The industry is finally realizing that that geometry really isn't suitable to mountain bikes. I wouldn't worry one bit about putting on a fork that is slightly longer than what the frame was origionally spec'd with. My buddy raced xc on a Giant XTC HT with a 130mm Minute! Now it's his regular trail bike.
 

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bike dork extraordinaire
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Depends largely on terrain

bowler1 said:
Hi,

Given that you have a frame designed for whatever travel fork you have........would you rather have a shorter travel fork than a longer travel fork for XC riding?

Of course I realize there are limits as really long travel forks are not designed for or good for XC, but what do you think in general? It would seem that the longer travel forks would offer much better performance in terms of soaking up bumps, but probably a decrease in crisp handling and less peddaling efficiency.

I have a new Black Super Air SPV with 80mm travel that is matched with my 1999 Stumpjumper Frame (I am not a believer in going with a fork with travel longer than your frame was designed for). I am wondering if one day it would be worth upgrading my frame so that I can go with a longer travel fork. I would like better bump absorbtion, but not necessarily at the expense of more bobbing / sacrificed handling.

Aren't 80mm travel forks pretty much going to be obsolete soon, or is there a following who prefer shorter travel forks?

Just curious.


thanks

Matt

It all depends on what you plan on riding, and how comfortable you want to be riding it. Even the pro xc guys will adjust their suspension travel based on the course. For anything not to bumpy/technical, 80 mm should be just fine. But if it gets rocky/rooty/really steep, I'd rather have at least 100mm on the front, if not 120-130mm, and preferably the same amount on the back of the bike.

I have everything from fully rigid, to 80 and 100 mm hardtail, to 100, 120, and 150 mm dual suspension, and I choose which bike to ride largely on what type of terrain I'm going to encounter. Last night, I rode my fully rigid single speed on some fire roads and it was fine. But a week ago, at Downieville, I was sure glad I had 6" on both ends of the bike.

Then there is also the weight issue. With some exceptions (Maverick forks, for example), the weight goes up when the travel goes up, so you have weigh that out too.
 

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How about the XC geeks and freaks who like to grind up

MK_ said:
I think it really boils down to your definition of XC riding. If for you it is trucking up the hill, hammering, staying in your big ring on the flats and carefully picking your downhill line, with maximum amount of finesse, then sticking to 80mm is what you should do. On the other hand, if you care a bit less about getting to the top as fast as possible, are looking for "fun" elements of the trail, enjoy technical ascending and descending and don't want to take the absolutely smoothest line on the downhill, but a bit faster one, then 100mm is better.

_MK
the steeps as much as bombing down nasty single track?

For me the comprise is 80 millimeters of Fox's or Marzocchi's finest offerings.
 

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I had a 100mm fork on

on my 98' stumpy and it worked great. My vote however goes to a adjustable travel fork. It really is the best of ALL worlds.
 

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Alot of Race forks like the Marz Marathon Race, Manti Skarab, and RS SID still come in in 80mm. Its definatly not obsolite. Although I would never get them since I dont do races or ride like them, (either that or im not good enough to). Ive biked with sponsored bikers and (one that owns a stumpy like you) they pick the best line as possible and zipp up and down the moutian like Gazille, its all about control.

Many forks like the marathon series that come in 100mm travel have about the same total length that regular 80mm do because they have a short crown. The new shocks however are buttery smooth, and non harsh you might not need more than 80 :)
 

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Rides like wrecking ball
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70mm works great for me! I'd personally never put more than 80mm on a XC hardtail.
 

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hrmm if you adjust the static preload to the same ride height.. then why does travel distance matter? the geometry would be preserved in normal conditions and the shock would simply have more travel up and downward for bumps and dips.. no?
 
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