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I'm just returning to mountain biking after a 10-year gap. I ride (rode) a Mongoose NX 8.3, which is a decent little aluminum frame bike that comes in right at 30 lbs. It's got a Manitou Mars front fork (~85-100mm travel) and a Cane Creek AD-5 rear. Almost all my riding is single-track in Maryland and West Virginia (lots of climbing), no downhill. Long term plan for the bike is that I want to get back into racing next spring.

The Mars is only about 3 lbs. Most of the forks I'm seeing on the market at 5.x lbs. Is it worth the extra 2 lbs? What about the AD-5? Any value in replacing it with an Airo? My budget is <= $250 total for "modernizations ".

Thanks for any advice!

Dave.
 

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You won't like my answer...but...keep the $250, sell the Mongoose, put the money together and buy one of these:
http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/motobecane/fantom_elite09.htm

Or even better, one of these:
http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/motobecane/fly_pro_x.htm

$250 isn't going to buy you a fork which will help you climb better, and the AD-5 will be as good as anything you can get for the bike. The fact is, it's a 10 year old full suspension, and if climbing and racing is your thing, a new hardtail would serve you much better. It'll be lighter, it'll have new components on it (components have come a long way in 10 years), and it'll just perform better.
 

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bad mechanic said:
You won't like my answer...but...keep the $250, sell the Mongoose, put the money together and buy one of these:
http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/motobecane/fantom_elite09.htm

Or even better, one of these:
http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/motobecane/fly_pro_x.htm

$250 isn't going to buy you a fork which will help you climb better, and the AD-5 will be as good as anything you can get for the bike. The fact is, it's a 10 year old full suspension, and if climbing and racing is your thing, a new hardtail would serve you much better. It'll be lighter, it'll have new components on it (components have come a long way in 10 years), and it'll just perform better.
Yes, logic dictates that bad mechanic is correct.

You are also making an emotional decision. Since I am very emotional..I'd get the fork you want with the understanding that the bike will not be competive for racing. Use the bike for a few races. Make your decision if you are to keep racing. If yes, sell the bike and do bad machanics thing.
If you say no to a serious attempt at racing, you have saved money and you have a FS bike you seem to like.
 
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