I've a set of older 36 Talas on my 456 Summer Season (110-150mm). The travel adjustment still works and i can have 110 (sometimes) or 150 (almost never). It's a bit vague in between the extremities but somewhere around 120-130 is where i prefer it, even for DH days.
Hardcore Hardtail Owners - travel adjust fork
I'm not really sure what "travel adjust" forks are actually mean't to do. They certainly don't turn a long, low, slack HT into a XC race whippet as far as i can tell.
Ummmm, no it just steepens the headangle and seatangle by a bit/lot depending on the fork.
(i also can't actually think of any hill i can get up on my 100mm XC race bike that i can't get up on my 150mm HT, so i'm not sure if they make climbing better either? Perhaps a smidge less wandering on the way up, but there's much more in your pedaling technique and body positioning than in a bit more fork sag imo!)
I have run 3 forks on the same frame (Ragley Blue Pig):
U Turn Pike 454 - don't touch the U-Turn just leave it at 140mm.
Rev 150mm - not adjustable.
Marz Z1 FR SL (130mm but long A-C) - has ECC which locks the fork down to about 60mm of stiff travel, this make climbing steep stuff so easy it actually feels like cheating!
The climbing technique needed when using the 2 RS forks is slightly different to the Marz fork in terms of weight distribution etc.
I have U-Turn 140mm Sektor. I never touch the travel adjust, the only thing I ever do is lock it out for road bits. The frame is designed around a 140mm fork so no odd angles and it climbs fine.
I've got 2010 Fox 36 TALAS (160-130-100) on my Slackline. I wanted the massive range to do everything from DH at the 160 end, to mucking about on BMX track at 100 end, with 130 for the majority of the time. I've found I use the 160 more than I thought and the 100 less. If I had to choose a fork now (without having to worry about cost) I'd go for a new Pike with 160/130.
Interesting, the bike in question is by someone whom i trust with the geometry. The current bikes he produces are likewise awesome at the 160mm (hardtails-incredibly similiar to the slackline) - but this is meant as a slacker enduro/gravity/dh hardtail with headangle of 63 at 160 and 65 at 120. my main concern here is pedability. hell i dont expect it to be a xc machine but i want to be able to ride up the mountain before shredding down. The frame is designed to have the same riding position as the previous one, despite the head angle change (other angles changed to accomodate) Now, theres no point getting the travel adjust if in the other positions it's too much compromise to be of any use. Likewise theres no point getting fixed travel forks if for all but the gnarliest extreme they feel rubbish?
Got a RS Lyrik Dual Position 160mm to 130mm on my Slackline 853. Only using the 130mm when I am going to hit long fire road climbs or very technical climbs, to keep the front end low down. For the rest of the time, 160mm all the way. I used to run 120mm on my Slackline. It was so snappy and punchy in terms of handling and power transfer. However, the BB height was so low which you can catch some rocks underneath you. For smooth trails, 120mm is so good. I am now using my Slackline to do DH runs. 160mm fork on the Slackline is simply sublime.
I used to consider the new Pike over Lyrik. However, my Slackline 853 cannot fit tapered fork. So i end up with the Lyrik and never regret about it. Loads more adjustment than the Pike, Low/High Speed Compression + Rebound + Lockout Threshold rather than just 3 position (CTD like). Also, Lyrik use 20mm axle rather 15mm on the Pike, so it must be stiffer. Lyrik wins.
I've used travel adjust forks in the past and they are good for one thing IMHO... finding the sweet spot fork length for a frame . I've had a couple of pairs of 120-150mm Revelations and when I first put them on I think they are great; they are light, they seem to work well and go where I point them, and I can fiddle with the height...
after a while with them on I find I'm pushing them harder and feel the flex, and overwhelm the damper, never use the traval adjust as I've found the sweet spot, and end up swapping them again for my heavier Fox 36's which feel so much better (set the Fox at the height I liked the Revs... 130mm for the Mmmbop).
Having said that I like long travel forks on hardtails which are designed for long travel. I ran this with 160mm forks for 6 months (the frame cracked ).
This bike was great fun, very slack head angle, relatively low bottom bracket, and a seat angle that was steep enough to climb. The only time the forks being 160mm was any kind of issue was when "honking" out of the saddle, but even then if you weight the front they didn't bob too much (they bob even less now they have an Avalanche Speed Sensitive Damper in them). With the low bottom bracket it feels great when cornering; you might think the payoff for this is hitting the pedals of the floor but I didn't find that the case as when your using all the travel your not pedalling (if your forks are crap or set up badly I'm sure they will cause pedal strikes!).
I think people say things like "too much travel for a hardtail" based on their own experience of bunging a fork that is too long on a frame designed for a shorter fork... if the frame is designed for a long fork then it will work well with a long fork. IMHO travel adjust forks are a crutch for frames with over long forks, or poorly designed frames
Coming off the last Mmmpob onto this Blue Pig the Fox 36 fork is still set at 130mm, I think there is room to lengthen it a little but I'm really enjoying how this rides at the moment... long, low and slack at the front with a seat angle steep enough for techy climbing. The stiff fork feels great and I can really keep the bike where I want it on the muddy techy trails I ride often... it puts a huge grin on my face.
If I was getting a custom hardtail frame for where and how I like to ride I would base it on the Ragley Troof I broke. It would be designed for a 160mm fork and be slack head angled with a low bottom bracket, and a seat angle steep enough for climbing. Fork wise I would want a 160mm fork that rides high in its travel rather than being soft and wallowy, that way it will perform well most of the time but have the big travel available when needing it. From my experience this would be a Bos Deville or the Avy Fox 36 I have... although I have heard the new Pike rides high due to the mid-valve technology (like the Bos and Avy). Enjoy!
Stanton Slackline here with X-fusion Velvet RL2 DLA 110/140. I love it! 140 with the boys, 110 with the wife..
Messiahs pretty much covered it. Ride a frame designed for the travel and its not really an issue. Got a Shan with 160mm Lyriks, and it climbs well, inst divey, doesn't pedal strike. It's not a massively fantastic jump bike though
Thanks messiah! That was a proper breakdown of user experience-great help! Sadly I cant afford going f oute a travel adjust/then a nice fork - so I think i'll risk the 160, it's what it is designed at, what the builder is running his version at and should make it a DH destroyer now, pikes or devilles
Pikes or Devilles?
Pikes, BOS are race forks. Massively brilliant performance but they need stripping and servicing on a very routine basis to get the best from them. Pikes on the other hand are forks for everyday use, not quite in the same league performance wise, but heaps easier to live with
I ran a set of 120/150 Sektors on my Sovereign for a while. I could see the merits of both settings on that particular frame, especially as I was using it as my only bike at the time. It was nice to be able to run the fork at 120 for longer xc days out, steepening up the head angle, making it turn a bit faster, and it was nice to run it at 150 when the going got more tough and steep, slackening the head angle, adding stability and allowing bigger hits.
Ultimately, I replaced the fork with a 150mm Revelation, and only occasioanlly miss the ability to reduce the travel.
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