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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I'm after some thoughts and advice please.

I was going to treat myself to a new full sus bike to replace my 20 year old hard tail that has done me proud for that time.

Unfortunately, a house move, car problems and other things have put that on hold for at least 6 months.

In the meantime I had considered upgrading the forks on my HT, which are my biggest gripe with it.

It's a Schwinn 26" v-brake only, and currently has a coil spring Rockshox Psylo on it.

Obviously it's a bike that's not worth spending much on, but I was considering getting a Rockshox 30 tk Silver, or perhaps the Recon if it's worth the extra cost to tide me over until I can by a new full-sus.

I've seen the 30tk Silver for about £129.

My concerns are:
- the 30tk Silver won't be much better than the current Psylo.

- Even if it offered a bit if an upgrade it's a waste of money.

So, question is: do you think the 30tk Silver would be much better than the coil Psylo?

Is it possible to convert the coil Psylo to an air spring?

Thanks!
 

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I put serious thought into getting an older 26 hardtail, because I love steel bikes mostly. I could deal with everything being stuck in the 90s since I wanted it just as a nostalgia thing, and as a way to give some variablility to the trails I've ridden hundreds of times. The thing that always kept me from taking the leap was the issue of what to do about the fork.

You can find older used forks from the era, but anything in decent shape costs a fortune, and there's no promise it's actually in good working order. There are some newer 1 1/8 straight steerer air forks around, but again, most are used and come with no promise of function... There are new forks to be bought to breathe new life into old straight tube 29ers, but the selection is small, and they aren't much to write home about. I keep hearing about new 26 forks for such purposes, but in my looking, I never actually came across any of the offerings. Maybe people in other countries can get such items, or maybe other people can do better internet searches than I can, but getting a suspension fork worth the expense was always the road block to me getting an older hardtail.

I started looking at period correct rigid forks, but matching paint and other things proved pretty difficult and would only add a different layer of frustration. In the end, I decided I already had a rigid bike, and any old 26er would only be worth it to me in a turn key state, in perfect condition, which basically rules out anything with a decent suspension fork since there are very, very few new in box quality bikes sitting around from back then.

I don't know what to tell you about limping your old bike along... I really just wanted to commisurate with you here because I understand your plight... Maybe just find another old, used bike for not much money?
 

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- Even if it offered a bit if an upgrade it's a waste of money.
I think you already know in your heart that it's not worth doing the upgrade. In fact, buying aftermarket forks is usually not worth it, even for higher end, more modern bikes. I totally get the upgrade-itis urges. To distract yourself, think about:

1. The sweet upgrades or gear you could use it for if you wait till you get your new bike.

2. How riding with a crappy fork is actually great training... it forces you to think harder about line choice and to use your body as suspension instead of just sitting there and letting the fork make up for your mistakes. Kind of like lifting weights, but for your riding skills.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I think you already know in your heart that it's not worth doing the upgrade. In fact, buying aftermarket forks is usually not worth it, even for higher end, more modern bikes. I totally get the upgrade-itis urges. To distract yourself, think about:

1. The sweet upgrades or gear you could use it for if you wait till you get your new bike.

2. How riding with a crappy fork is actually great training... it forces you to think harder about line choice and to use your body as suspension instead of just sitting there and letting the fork make up for your mistakes. Kind of like lifting weights, but for your riding skills.
😄 This has been my attitude for the last 20 years! Hence why I'm riding such an old bike!

I started riding in the late 80s when all bikes where rigid steel lumps! My attitude has always been that the bike snobs are just soft and I don't need a £2000 bike just to hit the trails!

However, I am tired of feeling like I'm riding a pneumatic drill down the increasingly rocky trails that are found at many trail centres now.

Plus, I was hoping it might encourage me to get out a bit more often.
 

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Haha, perfect! In that case you are already perfectly prepared to endure the wait. I imagine that modern full suspension is going to feel pretty revolutionary once you get your hands (or, butt?) on it. I'm excited for you, even as a fellow bike-advancement curmudgeon.

Sent from my LG-H872 using Tapatalk
 

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I replaced an old RST elastomer fork on my 1996 iron horse HT mainly because i was worried it would fail catastrophically. I got a recon with 100mm travel. Its a bit longer than ideal but geometry doesn’t matter too much for the kind of riding i do on that bike (mainly riding around my son with a front mounted seat). The difference in feel of the new fork is night and day, feels awesome compared to the old piece of crap RST. I plan on riding this set up for many more years or migrating the entire build over to a different steel 26er frame i have in storage so the investment in a new fork makes a lot of sense for me. This definitely isn’t the case for everyone but i wanted to share an opposing viewpoint to provide a different perspective.

the main questions to ask are: how many more years do you plan on riding this bike? How much does your current fork suck/ what is the risk of it failing? Can you still get your current fork serviced? Then again a full service may cost almost as much as a new recon… good luck in your decision!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
the main questions to ask are: how many more years do you plan on riding this bike? How much does your current fork suck/ what is the risk of it failing? Can you still get your current fork serviced? Then again a full service may cost almost as much as a new recon… good luck in your decision!
I will keep the bike even after buying a full-sus. I'd use it as a hybrid/family/town bike probably.

I'd considered trying to service the Psylo but, like you say, thought that the cost+time might equal an outcome worse or at best barely equal to getting a brand new modern fork.
 

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I will keep the bike even after buying a full-sus. I'd use it as a hybrid/family/town bike probably.

I'd considered trying to service the Psylo but, like you say, thought that the cost+time might equal an outcome worse or at best barely equal to getting a brand new modern fork.
Yeah I am not familiar with the Psylo or know its condition but modern parts by reputable companies are generally so good these days it is hard to go wrong. A new budget rock shox (or manitou, suntour etc…) fork on a retro HT 26er is going to feel awesome. Biggest concern may be geometry changes as mentioned earlier. It hasn't been a big enough issue for me to look into dropping the travel in this set up but something to keep in mind as you make your decision.
 

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I've been pondering this issue as well. I want to find my old Schwinn URT suspension bike to build up for riding around town on the paths. The biggest sticking point is the fork. You can find all the quality parts new for a 26" bike except for the Fork. From what I've been reading the Manitou Markhor sounds like the best 26" straight steerer available if you can deal with only 100mm of travel.
 

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I've been pondering this issue as well. I want to find my old Schwinn URT suspension bike to build up for riding around town on the paths. The biggest sticking point is the fork. You can find all the quality parts new for a 26" bike except for the Fork. From what I've been reading the Manitou Markhor sounds like the best 26" straight steerer available if you can deal with only 100mm of travel.
More frequently, on old bikes 100mm is way too much travel for the intended geometry of the frame. The slacker HTA is not so much the problem but reach gets shorter and STA gets slacker, both further exaggerated in the less optimal direction. That said, I don't mind these trade offs in a mostly recreational bike myself.
 

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It's a Schwinn 26" v-brake only, and currently has a coil spring Rockshox Psylo on it.

Obviously it's a bike that's not worth spending much on, but I was considering getting a Rockshox 30 tk Silver, or perhaps the Recon if it's worth the extra cost to tide me over until I can by a new full-sus.
Rockshox started motion control damper in 2004, and Psylo seems before that. MTB action has an article back in 2000 talking about a on the fly lockout but with blow off, so it is almost certainly a shim damper. TK30 comes with turnkey, which is a fancy name of orifice only damper. It is quite a downgrade comparing to a shim damper. The main difference between 30/Recon is the 32 vs 30mm stanchion, but equally poor damper and spring.

Is your fork air spring or coil one? The online info is inconsistent…

I would say find someone who can service it would be your best choice.

[edit]

Missed your question about converting coil to air, and the short answer is no due to coil scratching inside of stanchion making air spring not sealing. What's the complaint about the coil one? Find the proper spring rate for your weight could be a big improvement.

Some user reviews on MTBR said Psylo is not that stiff when compared to a 32mm Recon.
 

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Psylo was a decent fork. I would start with a service on it. If you have the clearance, wider tires at lower pressure can make a good improvement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Rockshox started motion control damper in 2004, and Psylo seems before that. MTB action has an article back in 2000 talking about a on the fly lockout but with blow off, so it is almost certainly a shim damper. TK30 comes with turnkey, which is a fancy name of orifice only damper. It is quite a downgrade comparing to a shim damper. The main difference between 30/Recon is the 32 vs 30mm stanchion, but equally poor damper and spring.

Is your fork air spring or coil one? The online info is inconsistent…

I would say find someone who can service it would be your best choice.

[edit]

Missed your question about converting coil to air, and the short answer is no due to coil scratching inside of stanchion making air spring not sealing. What's the complaint about the coil one? Find the proper spring rate for your weight could be a big improvement.

Some user reviews on MTBR said Psylo is not that stiff when compared to a 32mm Recon.
My main issue is small bump compliance. It doesn't seem to do much unless I hit something significant. I'd be surprised if the spring is too stiff as I get a fair bit of sag and it seems pretty soft.
 

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My main issue is small bump compliance. It doesn't seem to do much unless I hit something significant. I'd be surprised if the spring is too stiff as I get a fair bit of sag and it seems pretty soft.
If the fork is never serviced, the lower leg must be dry. Fresh oil and saturated foam ring would improve the smoothness a lot.

Wiper seal also improves a lot comparing to 2000, but I am not sure if the latest SKF low friction seal is available in 30mm or not.

Also check the damper oil level, an overfilled damper (by sucking in lower leg oil) will feel harsh as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
So... finally had a go at servicing it.

It didn't go well! Big problem was that the service guides seem to be split between several different documents with different procedures depending on what version and what damper and what adjustments the fork has.

Anyway, got the lowers off, gave it a clean, saw that I couldn't go any further without the special pliers and so tried to put it back together with fresh oil and lube.

Unfortunately, I can't get the right leg damper upper to reach to the bottom of the lowers so that it can be bolted back together.

It says I need to push something down from the top to get the bottom to reach and engage, but I can't remove the top cap and it's made of really soft plastic! All other pictures I've seen online are metal, so I'm wondering if it isn't meant to be removed? I've tried quite a few times but it's beginning to gnarl up the plastic.

I'm now stuck with a fork that won't go back together properly!

Any ideas for what I can do. I've attached a photo of the offending top cap.

Cheers
Bicycle Wheel Crankset Tire Bicycle tire
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Why don't you just pull the shaft down, e.g. with a really long bolt while compressing the fork?
I've kind of tried that: Compressing the fork and hoping to catch it while compressed. For some reason this doesn't work. The bottom of the upper tube is just compressed away from the bolt hole, not sure why.

Hadn't thought of trying a longer bolt though. I'll try it if I can find a suitable bolt, but I feel like it won't work (I think something is pushing the end away from the bolt hole).

There was also an extra piece in the fork that I didn't see on any of the service manuals I've seen. It's like a large washer on a large spring about 2cm deep. I don't know what it's for and I'm not 100% certain it's been put back in properly either!
 
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