Need fork replacement help

Newbie here, long time bicyclist. I recently got my hands on a Trek 820 MB built about 2008 (the price was right - free) and the bike is generally in very good condition (I put new cables on and checked it over well - crank, gears and shifters, pedals, etc.), but the front fork is totally shot, local shop said not repairable.

The fork is labeled RST 181 C5 (or CS). Bike is fitted with caliper brakes, and is rideable, sort of, and as I want to give this to my grand-nephew, I thought I would replace the fork. Finding a replacement has proved somewhat challenging, mainly due to its age and the fact that this is a starter-level bike.

I am willing to get either a suspension fork or rigid, doesn't really matter as we're pretty flat here and he'll be starting on paved trails.

Any thoughts or directions to a direct replacement will be greatly appreciated. A lower cost replacement would be VERY much appreciated as well.


PS: I just watched the YT video by RJ The Bike Guy on reconditioning the RST 191 CS. Anyone know if this is possible for the 181?


  • Have a look at some cheap Suntours.
    Scroll down the bottom page.
  • steve_sordy
    steve_sordy Posts: 2,446
    edited January 2021
    A rigid fork will be cheaper and a much better proposition than a cheap Suntour. It will have a coil spring and will be heavy. I have not had this decision to make myself, but I have seen this recommendation made so many times on bike forums (unchallenged) that it must be true. It certainly has the ring of truth about it.
  • steve_sordy
    steve_sordy Posts: 2,446
    edited January 2021

  • mully79
    mully79 Posts: 904
    I would attempt to strip them as per the bike guys vid. Id expect them to be very similar as theyre all a similar price point whilst keeping half an eye on a rigid replacment as Steve says.
  • I did strip them, it went well, maybe an hour. Nothing broken, but dirty and wet as all get out. Cleaned everything, lubed and re-assembled. Snapped the rubber grommets on the plastic shims/travellers, and everything works well. I get the distinct impression that the bike store guy just didn't want to deal with it all, or thought that it was too much money to invest on top of the other work he did. Still, he told me they were shot and irreparable, so there's that . . .