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05-23-2012, 08:44 PM #1
Long-term / Immediate fork upgrade help needed!!
So here's the situation..
I finally decided that this year was time to start riding a bike again so I pulled my 2004 Novara Ponderosa hardtail out of the garage, 'tuned' it up, and have started exploring the local singletrack offerings.
I quickly realized that a fs bike would be WAY nicer for a lot of the stuff that's around here (fells, lynn woods, etc) but $2-3K just isn't really a possibility right now, so I devised a plan..
I'm going to slowly upgrade the hardtail with good components that I will eventually be able to swap over to a full suspension frame, building the bike as my budget allows and getting the benefit of the better gear as I acquire it rather than trying to save up and just buy a complete bike. I was going to start with brakes and then move onto wheels, drivetrain, etc until tonight...
As part of my 'learn as I go' tuning up of the old bike I decided to change the oil in the fork, a 2003 Manitou Axel Comp. I got it apart fine but while piecing everything back together I managed to snap the rebound assembly, something that google confirms happened all too often with these cheap forks.
So now my dilemma is that a replacement fork has quickly moved itself to the top of my purchase list (trumping the brakes I was going to pick up tomorrow) but can I find a fork that will work on both my old hardtail and my future fs xc/trail bike? I wasn't sure if this was possible to begin with which is why it was replacing the shitty OEM fork was pretty low down my upgrade list, but now that necessity calls I need the help of the collective!
Is there such a thing as a fork that will work on both my hardtail and my future xc/trail bike? I don't really know what I'm envisioning as a future bike yet, I've got a lot more reading and demoing to do before I will feel confident about it.. but I need to fix this fork problem NOW so I can keep riding. Can I really go from a 80/100mm fork on the hardtail to something that I'll be happy with on a 5-6 in full travel setup?
If so, can I find one for around $300ish??
Thanks for helping a bike jong keep pedaling!
05-23-2012, 08:58 PM #2
Having been down this road, don't do it. Thrash and fix up this old bike while you save up yours funds for when you find a good deal on a new/newer/better bike.
05-23-2012, 08:59 PM #3Registered User
- Join Date
- Nov 2011
Hopefully somebody smarter than me will chime in here, but I think you just need a cheap fork to keep the Novara running. I've been down this road fairly recently. Although there are long travel forks that can be stepped down so that you could use it on the hardtail without getting really wierd geometry, a good one is gonna be hard to find at $300. In addition, your old Novara probably took a 1-1/8" steerer, and it seems to me like all the manufacturers are going to 1-1/2" or tapered steerers, so you may end up with a fork that doesn't maximize the frame you eventually get. I'd go for a cheap replacement fork, which you should be able to find for $100 or less, possibly much less, and get some riding in, with your new brakes.
And I like the approach you're taking. Frames are relatively cheap, and a good deal is going to pop up at som epoint for you. If you've got a solid set of components ready to trade over, you'll be in position to grab that opportunity when it arrives. You're not going to save any money, buying a full build is almost always the cheapest way to go, but your method is about the only way to buy a bike in stages.
05-23-2012, 09:06 PM #4Registered User
- Join Date
- Oct 2008
Kind of along the lines of the previous 2 posts, if you buy a fork now you may very well limit your options in the future. With a new bike you might want a tapered steer tube or a 15/20mm thru axle. Probably not an option if you get a nice new fork for the Novara.
05-23-2012, 09:10 PM #5
What you are planning? Stop. Choosing a fork that will work well with the bike you have, you will seriously hamstring choices for a modern FS rig. I would get a capable xc fork for the bike you have, and a new checking account to start putting money away for a new bike all together. Ride the bike you have, replace with like items as needed, since everything has updated, replacement parts that are similar to what you have on the bike now are not terribly expensive. What extra you have put into the separate checking account. Feel like upgrading the drivetrain/wheels/etc? Put that value into the checking account. Buy a new bike when that separate account has enough in it. It will be way cheaper in the long run to buy a complete rig, as opposed to piecemealing a frame, and you won't be stuck with parts that won't transfer over well.
05-23-2012, 09:11 PM #6
As the others have said, don't do it. A 5-6" travel bike will not use the same fork as your bike. You could put a 140mm or so fork on the bike you have now, but it will change the way the bike handles and possibly cause the bike to fail in a very bad way. And Putting a 80-100mm fork on a bigger travel bike would be like masturbating with a condom on while watching soft core porn. Not to mention it would change the handling characteristics and everything else.
Buy a cheap used fork and save the extra dough for the new bike.
05-23-2012, 09:26 PM #7
Thanks for so many replies so quickly.. what can I say, I guess that's what I was afraid of.
So I buy a cheap fork to keep the hardtail running until I can upgrade, what about the rest of the plan?
Current bike has avid rim brakes, I was going to step up to slx discs with the idea of putting them on the new bike whenever that happens.. I was then going to look into better/lighter/stronger wheels, tires, etc. The theoretical plan would have then led me towards front and rear derailleurs and possibly even crank / full on drivetrain.
My thought was that all of these components would be $$ on the new bike, but I'd gain months of noticeable benefit from them on the hardtail before I swap 'em over, possibly enough benefit that it would be worth taking advantage of rather than just holding onto the cash.... is that a bad idea?
Will I really save significant $$ in the long run if I wait and buy a complete bike?
Despite my recent destruction of the manitou fork, I feel reasonably competent in my technical abilities / learning style that I would hope I should be able to build a bike myself (I completely stripped down and rebuilt my father-in-law's '60s pugeout 10 speed last year and it hasn't fallen apart yet..)
Last edited by JayPowHound; 05-23-2012 at 09:49 PM.
05-23-2012, 09:32 PM #8
You could go the upgrade route if you want. Just buy used stuff and slowly upgrade. Then build up a new frame.
But if it were me I would just save up for the new bike and forget the upgrading. Replace only the stuff you need to to keep it on the dirt. Then retire the old bike as a backup if something breaks on the new one or as a loaner for bikeless friends.
05-23-2012, 09:35 PM #9
i didn't read a single word of ^^^^^ responses.
but sell the bike you have. and sell some other shit. maybe even a kidney or at least some bone marrow. whore yourself. or god forbid get another job. somehow afford a new bike.
no. you don't need to spend 2000. but I bet you need to spend 1300. get a 29er hardtail with decent components on it. or get a simple FS rig. scour craigslist, bike swaps (and really this place) and find a decent bike
the upgrade game is BS and not worth it. 'speshially for a decade old Novarra. sheesh. lots of time and paying shops to install new parts quickly adds up.
05-23-2012, 09:46 PM #10
Last edited by JayPowHound; 05-23-2012 at 10:01 PM.
05-23-2012, 10:09 PM #11
What Manitou? I have a shit old Manitou that came off an old trek that I'd gladly drop in the mail if it would help.
05-23-2012, 10:16 PM #12
^^ PM Sent
05-23-2012, 10:40 PM #13Registered User
- Join Date
- Mar 2010
- on the couch, under the knife
1)Frame and Fork, more important than anything else, they each hold one whee and in this case, they move. ( 60%)
2) wheels (30%)
10) everything else(10%)
there is a lot of discussion and alot of info on drivetrains but unless you're racing it's really not that important. As long as it works it's not going to impact your ride substantially, especially from a value perspective though i will say i'm a suckling whore for nice brakes.
whatever route you choose, i'd recommend trying to get to your ideal frameset quicker rather than slower. if you want a nice fork for your current rig ive got a fox rlc 100 sitting around, it'll be a substantial upgrade and you can recoup value from it when you sell it and upgrade but you can't put it on a tracer2 or a heckler and from the sounds of it that's where you want to end up.
I'm in boston, and yeah riding lynn woods on a hardtail is fun but leaves my back telling the world to go blow itself
05-23-2012, 10:55 PM #14
I'm with them in the "don't do it" camp. Building a bike from components is never a good financial decision (unless you hoard parts and have them sitting around). The only reason to do it is if you have a specific list of parts that you want on a certain frame and it doesn't come that way.
I understand the desire to ride something better in the meantime. If that's the case, buy a $1500 bike from a few years ago for $700. Then in a couple years when you're ready for a nice bike, sell it for $600. Two years of use for $100. If you're patient and find a good deal on CL to begin with, you might even be able to break even. I guarantee this $100 is less than the additional $ you would pay by buying parts and building a frame, plus you get the bonus of having a full suspension now.
For example, this was my first "real" bike:
It was an awesome ride and it's 90% as capable as my new Remedy is.
05-24-2012, 10:19 PM #15
I'm going to shamelessly piggyback onto this thread. My wife is getting into riding and has a pretty sweet 2006 yeti arc, but it's cursed with an axel coil sprung fork, terrible tektro vbrakes and bargain wheels. I was going to throw a $150 crossride wheelset and find some used discs, but I'd LOVE to replace the boat anchor fork with an air sprung fork that will actually move under her 105lbs. Doesn't need to be sexy or stiff. Just a decent 9 or 15mm fork that functions (and has disc mounts). Been looking to snag one of those magura 100mm forks on chainlove, but would much rather go down the fox or RS road.
05-25-2012, 02:15 AM #16
Agree with all of the above. Find a cheap fork to keep the Pondo kicking.
Save a bit and buy something like this like I did: Used 575 for $1k I'm getting married next month and we have a bunch of big purchases coming up, but my 2006 Marin HT was rusted as shit from living two close to the beach and not having enough storage before I moved back to the Bay Area. The Marin will eventually turn into a 1x9 commuter (it's a killer steel frame).
Find a good deal on something used and get used to riding FS. Continue saving up for latest carbon shit and thrash the used bike in the mean time.
poopghost got a KILLER deal on a used Specialized in here a few weeks back. Keep an eye out.Originally Posted by The Suit
05-25-2012, 04:29 AM #17
listen to these guys. Whatever fork or upgrades you want now for your old hardtail will not transfer over to a newer trail bike.
05-25-2012, 05:52 AM #18
^^ Yea, got it. Thanks. Used the current rei sale to get a decent deal on a cheap rock shox replacement so I should be good to go there, thanks for all the offers tho!
As for finding something used in the $1K range, that'd be sweet. Problem is I have no idea what I want, or even where to start... if anyone can steer me towards a good resource to learn about this stuff or recommend some bikes or types of bikes that fit my needs I'd really appreciate it..
So here's me and my intended uses:
30, 5'7, and heavier than I should be by quite a bit. (Like 170) Not in great shape at the moment, but working on it.
I'm riding mostly xc style singletrack around Boston (lots of little ups and downs) and would like to get into the more technical, rocky stuff as soon as my skills and steed will allow. No jumping anything yet, but could see some mellow-is 2-4 footers in my future. My folks live in north Conway so I'll be riding around there too, which means longer climbs and bigger, more committing downhills... possibly a few days of lift service here and there, although those will most likely be few and far between.
So what bikes or type of bike do I want that will do all that well and that I can find for $1-$1.5K used??
Thanks for helping this jong break into a new sport.. I put another 8 miles on the hardtail yesterday, and riding more is pretty much all I want to do!
05-25-2012, 09:37 AM #19
You want 120-160mm of travel, either DW or VPP type suspension or some type of platform suspension for pedaling, fairly slack (certainly no steeper than 68-69 or so), low standover, low bb. Thats pretty much the trend in trail/enduro bike design right now.
Spec Stumpjumper, SC Blur LT or Nomad (really any of about 6 Santa Cruz bikes fit the bill), Yeti 575 or ASR-5, Giant Reign or Trance. The list is endless.
You could almost definitely find such a bike either here or on Craigslist for under 1500 if you're on a really tight budget. Check the classifieds on Pinkbike.com too. Check here for maggot approval on any finds you think you might have. The world of mountain bikes can be confusing to navigate at first but you'll learn.
I was in your exact position last spring. I had gotten into the sport on a shitty old hardtail (borrowed in my case). I needed a real bike. I bought a 2010 Marin Mt Vision on clearance online for $1000. I rode the piss out of it, got a lot better at riding, thrashed a few things and slowly replaced broken or worn out shit and splurged on a few upgrades. I've probably put another $1500 into the bike since then and nothing on it is stock. But now all I need to do is replace the frame in a year or two.
In other words, welcome to your latest money pit! Come on in, the water's fine.Originally Posted by Odin
05-25-2012, 10:35 AM #20
Agree with birdman. You're looking for a ~5-6 inch travel trail bike. 140-160mm on the fork. Tons of used options around. If you can find a deal on a VPP/Maestro style bike in your price range (vs. single-pivot), all the better.Originally Posted by The Suit
05-27-2012, 06:52 AM #21
THIS would rock your world, of course the budget has to grow so you'll have to sell some shit.www.apriliaforum.com
"If the road You followed brought you to this,of what use was the road"?
"How many words would a butthurtjong type?
If a butthurt jong could build a hut? " skifishbum
05-29-2012, 11:50 AM #22
Wait till this winter and put away the cash until then. I passed on quite a few 2-4 year old VPP style bikes in the 120-150mm realm this past winter for under a $1000 until I found the 'right' bike. Come October or November start looking for a deal.
Buying a complete bike is almost always the cheaper option. It's one of the reason you see so many bikes parted out. The components are worth much more individuallly than as a complete bike.
Both of my local bike shops have free or inexpensive demos, especially during the weekdays. Give quite a few bikes a whirl on the hill to determine your needs.Driving to Targhee
05-29-2012, 12:44 PM #23
Possible Pinkbike find: http://www.pinkbike.com/buysell/1100239/Originally Posted by Odin
05-29-2012, 01:32 PM #24
That being said, I think it's going to be difficult to find a DW/VPP or other advanced suspension in your price range. And I wouldn't buy older than 2009 at this point. I have found that single pivots offer better value and less maintenance IME, although they definitely have their limitations. Though as a novice rider, you'll never notice.
Same with components, you won't appreciate high end stuff until you cut your teeth on shitty gear. Same with skis, etc. For your old bike, don't upgrade it. Just ride it. Then you'll actually appreciate the crisp shifting, light wheels, and powerful brakes.
I will replace SP frame with probably DW or FSR next, and thinking about building a 29er hardtail...but I've also been riding for 2 years now and I finally know what I want. If you see my thread above, I had no clue when I was buying my first bike.
06-01-2012, 08:14 AM #25
Last edited by JayPowHound; 06-01-2012 at 08:31 AM.