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Suspension fork vs. Carbon rigids?

big_southern_jessebig_southern_jesse Posts: 729
edited January 2010 in MTB buying advice
Sorry, more questions...

I'm finally getting close to final ordering for the new bike. Assuming there's still some stock, it will almost certainly be an On One slot dropout 29er. I'll be runniing as a single speed, so I want to keep the weight low. So I'm looking for anyone's experience of carbon forks...

Is there much spring or bounce in them? I've been riding with a 10 yr old pair of RST's with about 20 mm of travel. With fat tires, on a 29er and carbon forks, will it be close to a similar ride? I've just done a couple of rides on a fully rigid very old raleigh, and the cromo forks were nasty... felt very wobbly, and really struggled with the bumps. I don't do anything manic, but tree roots, flints etc all get hit quite hard, and the odd jump leaves me a foot in the air. Can carbon forks offer spring and control whilst still tracking well, or am I better off spending the money for some proper bounce?

Any ideas?
Proved by testing to be faster than a badger.
The world's ultimate marmite bike


  • proper bounce...

    three wrongs is worse than two
  • three wrongs is worse than two

    :lol: I've no idea what you mean... :wink:

    Edit: And coming from the man building a single speed inbred himself! :shock:
    Proved by testing to be faster than a badger.
    The world's ultimate marmite bike
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    fat tyres will offer some kind of dampening but we're talking the equivalent of 10mm travel kind of amounts, enough to remove some sting but not enough to allow you to float like suspension allows you to.

    it will all come down to technique in the end. in the same way as we use legs and whatnot to absorb bumps on ht bikes, you will need to develop a similar technique for the front of your bike.

    im assuming comfort isnt the reason for riding bikes like these, lightweight, low maint and just having something different are plenty good enough reasons though. im sure you will learn to cope with the rigid fork but just be honest with yourself about what you want from the bike.
  • Well, I know I'm certainly not the best rider technique-wise!

    If i can get hold of some bounce, I'll go for that choice. I've been getting up the hills relatively well on an old clunky SS, and a few more runs and I'll be beating the geared riders. So a SS gives me a simple, light bike, and as a 29er, it will have the correct sort of geometry for a lanky lad. I think I'll be happy to carry the weight of suspension forks when I've lost the weight of gears, and updated everything. In fact, with bouncy forks, I might head toward the stiffer but lighter Scandal...

    God I'll be happy when it's finally here in the flesh and I can just ride!
    Proved by testing to be faster than a badger.
    The world's ultimate marmite bike
  • I'd really put sus on, the difference off-road between having it and not having it on my inbred was massive. Bear in mind you want huge bars on a singlespeed, particularly so if you're also a lanky bloke.

    If you've got carbon forks you want carbon bars, and wide carbon bars are a touch rare.
  • Depends on what you want to do with it. If your planning to hit the trails then go for some sprung forks. If your mainly going for smooth(ish) rolling tracks then carbon.

    I road a 29er in Canada with rigid forks on smooth rolling trails and it was great, but the rough stuff made it a challenge and slowed me right down.
    This is why!
  • JamesBrckmnJamesBrckmn Posts: 1,360
    i would go for something like 90mm rebas - lightweight, stiff, strong enough for small jumps etc.
  • NorthwindNorthwind Posts: 14,675
    I just got a set of 120mm-corrected carbon Exotics for the Soul. Not a permanent change, just for variety since you can change a fork in no time at all. And it's really kind of cool. I mean, it's no replacement for suspension, though it does have a little twang to it so it's nicer than my old steel rigid. It feels slightly damped, rather than cushioned, quite unlike suspension.

    But it's still ace, makes for a really nice change- sort of like taking the bikes I learned to ride on but with tyres that work, wheels that don't bend, etc. I'd not want to take it to innerleithen or fort william but for my local routes it's ace, and I'll get it down to glentress at some point. It's not about weight loss for me, though that's nice too, it's just a way of adding variety to my riding, making familiar trails feel different. And a bit harder to boot... Which is good, since it puts a bit of challenge into trails that you barely notice on a suspended bike.

    The best bit's a bit hippyish and Singletracky ;) But I really feel connected on the rigid forks, like everything I do goes straight into the wheels and everything they do goes straight into me, even a hardtail with a good fork soaks up quite a lot of what's going on. Which is usually good, obviously, that's what suspension's for but sometimes it's good to just ditch all of that. I've never felt so connected as I do on the rigid forks. It's really quite a different ride.

    But still, I'd sooner have suspension if I was to have only one ;)
    Uncompromising extremist
  • Okay, well thanks to everyone, that's pretty much what I'd guessed...

    Suspension for fun riding, and maybe a pair of carbons later for really light smooth stuff....

    depending on financing and delivery times... photos and reviews to follow soon!
    Proved by testing to be faster than a badger.
    The world's ultimate marmite bike
  • I wouldn't necessarily say carbon forks aren't for fun riding. I ride plenty of the same stuff with my Kona (see below) as I do with my Commie, just no way near as fast. It's just different styles. On a side note, I've noticed that riding a rigid bike has made me a lot quicker when I go back to having some bounce.
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