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Discussion Starter #1
After reading many posts, I have the basic question,

"What are the characteristics of a supurb suspension fork, and do these characteristics apply to all types of forks (XC, trail & downhill)"?

Is it the damping? The spring rate/curve? The stiffness? The customer service? I think all are important, but if you were to rate them, what's the most important and why?
 

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MattSavage
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There isn't any one good answer...

That's like asking what is a good religion. Every single person will tell you somthing different. Asking that question is begging to start a war.

For me, a good fork has a smooth action through its stroke until the end, where the compression damping kicks in to reduce the effects of bottoming. This applies to my xc forks as well as dh/fr.

Secondly is ease of adjustability and maintenance.

Third, is customer service. What good is a fork if you can't easily get it fixed or upgraded.

This is why I choose Manitou products. They have the action I look for, they're easy to maintain, and the customer service is excellent.

There are forks out there that may feel smoother, be more adjustable or have some additional feature, but they're probably lacking in one of the other area's or two.

Of all the forks out there, I feel Manitou's score the highest "overall". If I was to have a points rating.

Just my opinion, others are bound to tell you otherwise.
 

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yeah, manitou has lotsa features, good damping, and great custermer service, but they are lacking in one area: reliability

alot of people have had problems with their forks, but have had it fixed by the customer service quickly only to have it break again. altough some were caused by improper use. IMO the Sherman series has the best track record and best reliability.

im not a pro marz/anti manitou person, but my marzocchi is by far the best fork i have ever felt, its really plush, not alot of adjustability, but plsuher than an air fork like the AM2, is alot more reliable in the long run than manitou, and IMO looks better than RS or Manitou
 

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Compression damping, multi stage, adjustable. Serviceable and customizable by the end user.

Most suspension for MTBs is rudementary at best. There's the odd piece of equipment that comes stock performing adequetely, but overall today's suspension needs work.

Marzocchi is the worst in terms of compression and rebound damping. Manitou's got promise, but its never really really been 'there'. Rock Shox's Motion Control is great in stock MTB terms, but its still not as good as it could be. Fox has the best 'feeling' compression damping, but its not servicable by the user. I'd pick Rock Shox over any other stock product because it performs well, easy to maintain and service, and its light and structurally sound.

That said, there's a Mojo kit going into my Boxxer, and I'm also getting the new Mojo 999 cartridge kit to test that replaces all the internals within the 888.

For rear shocks, Manitou 6 Ways are way over-damped for most bikes, unless you're riding them with a high leverage frame. Same goes for 5th Element shcoks, which are leaving the MTB market apparently. The newer Fox shocks are the best, in my opinion for compression damping for most bike designs, and offer the easiest and most effective after market custom tunability. I have yet to try extensively an Avanlanche shock, but I hear nothing but praise for them.

One thing to remember is that with good suspension, it really shouldn't matter what frame design you're using.
 

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All 26.5" all the time!
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MajorPain said:
Is it the damping? The spring rate/curve? The stiffness? The customer service? I think all are important, but if you were to rate them, what's the most important and why?
All of the above. The single most important thing is the ability to tune the fork to the end users needs. One rider's perfect fork is another's POS.

A great suspension fork would have wide range of adjustment for:

Spring rate
Spring rate progression
Low speed compression damping
High speed compression damping
Low speed rebound damping
High speed rebound damping
 

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Bicyclochondriac.
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14,390 Posts
Control and travel

MajorPain said:
After reading many posts, I have the basic question,

"What are the characteristics of a supurb suspension fork, and do these characteristics apply to all types of forks (XC, trail & downhill)"?

Is it the damping? The spring rate/curve? The stiffness? The customer service? I think all are important, but if you were to rate them, what's the most important and why?
For me, the three most critical aspects of a fork are:

1) Travel adjustment. (TALAS or U-Turn type)

2) Ride stability. Plenty of forks can be set up to be butter-smooth, that's no biggie. What makes a great fork it one that let's you stay in CONTROL. It resists diving and bouncing around. Good low speed compression dampening that opens up when it needs to for the bigger-faster hits. I'll give up some smoothness for some control. This is true for rear suspention as well.

3) Stiffness. 20mm axle is a must, and I wish they made more xc forks with them.

Kapusta
 
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