160mm forks for the Alps… Worth it?

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  • 160mm forks for the Alps… Worth it?
  • gsp1984
    Member

    I’ve got an Orange Five at the moment with 140mm Fox 32 RLCs and a Factory RP23 on the rear.

    It’s fine in the peaks and copes well going UP and down the really rocky stuff, but on bigger drops I suffer as I have shit knees and ankles. We’ve got two trips to the alps planned this year and I’m debating whether I should / need to go 160. I’ve not been before, but everyone I ride with has, or is going 160 for the trips. We’re entering the passportes on Wednesday which I understand will be fine on 140, it’s the rest of the fortnight I’m worried about.

    I’ve been quoted a really good price on some 160 Fox 36 RLCs and a CCDB… Just need to decide whether to go for it 🙁

    Anybody got any valuable advice that’s been to the alps? Particularly if you’ve done the passportes too.

    And has anybody got any advice on 160mm and a CCDB on a five, as I’ve heard mixed reviews.

    Cheers

    Premier Icon alfabus
    Subscriber

    yep.. go for it.

    (140mm is fine for the alps, but 160mm is more betterer 🙂 – I’ve been riding my 575 with 140mm and 150mm out there for a few years; last year I had 160mm 55s on it and it was awesome!)

    Dave

    godzilla
    Member

    Who’s doing CCDBs at at good price at?

    +1

    160 coil Lyriks here. Wouldn’t cross the channel with anything less.

    Trimix
    Member

    The Alps are very steep and the decents last a life time, so whatever you can cope with here will not compare over there.

    Sure, you could do it on less, but you will enjoy it way more with 160. Plus you will be less beaten up and less tired and safer with more. I would advise fitting the biggest brake discs you can.

    More suspension will mean you can go a bit faster.

    alpin
    Member

    are you visiting bike parks or just acking trails?

    if you are riding trails then 140mm is fine, IMO. i’ve ridden over 20 transalps on my DB Alpine with 160mm fork – which is kinda comparable to a 140mm FS (but probbaly more intense as far as the legs are concerned).

    beef up your rotors and you’ll be fine. yes the descents are longer, but what you encounter isn’t all that differnt to what you probably ride in the UK.

    in fact i’ve just fitted a rigid fork to the Sanderson to make things more interesting this year…

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    What sort of alps? Passportes certainly doesn’t need more than a 140mm Five. All sorts of riding can be found in them thar hills, they’re several times bigger than the UK after all.

    lucien
    Member

    I’ve got a Pitch that I’ve taken to the Alps a couple of times now and put 160mm Van R’s on it – kept the RP2 on the back and 150mm of travel. Also put 200mm discs on it and shortened the stem and it’s coped exceptionally well – to the extent that I also have a dedicated DH bike and not sure which I would prefer for a full days riding as I am a weedy 11.5 stones, and after a few hours on a full DH rig, arms are like jelly

    nickegg
    Member

    I’ve done 3 trips to the Alps on 3 different bikes( 2009 Orange 5, 2010 Lapierre Zesty and 2011 Santa Cruz Heckler with Lyrik’s) and looking back i think that 160mm, whilst great at just ploughing through stuff, is too much for just trail riding IMO….it was great in Tignes bike park but that was a one-off.

    This year it’ll be a Genesis Alpitude with 150mm Rev’s.

    Premier Icon chakaping
    Subscriber

    I felt a bit undergunned with a rev last year tbh

    even in the passportes in places

    j4mesj4mes
    Member

    Good price on a ccdb sounds intriguing

    tpbiker
    Member

    Daft question as I’ve also been toying with the idea of gettting 160s for my heckler for my upcoming alps trip, but does 1cm really make any difference?

    I’m a newbie to biking and notice the difference between my current 150s and the 100mm I had before, but is it really worth splashing out min £300 quid for forks I’ll probably only benefit from for the duration of the trip, then they’ll be back in the cupboard until next year.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    Can you blag a shot of a set of 160s? I thought when I tried mine that they might end up being cupboard forks, but it turned out the bike worked well with them even for bog standard simple XC- bit weighty but no disaster. Hard to predict how things will work out I think.

    coogan
    Member

    Went with 140mm Pikes a few years back. Then 160mm Lyriks the following year. Can’t say I noticed a massive difference to be honest. Year apart is a bit difficult to tell. I had a larf each year, so I was happy either way.

    geetee1972
    Member

    i think that 160mm, whilst great at just ploughing through stuff, is too much for just trail riding IMO

    …and other comments to this effect.

    Really guys, everyone has a different definition of ‘trail riding’; certainly my experiences of riding in the Alps has taken in some tracks where 160mm was definitely the order of the day. There are plenty of fire roads trails in the Alps. The PPDS seems to love taking most of them in. But you could also end up riding stuff as rough as Fort Bill.

    FWIW, the guides at Bike Verbier swore by their ‘Alpine Fives’; either the ‘Strange’ designated Five that didn’t make it to production or just a regular five with 160mm forks.

    but does 1cm really make any difference

    It’s not so much about the travel, more about the stiffness of the chassis and the benefits that confers to steering precision and integrity.

    Premier Icon chakaping
    Subscriber

    Yeah it’s the bigger legs that do the trick.

    Ironically i tjink i most wanted a 36 instead of a rev when bombing down fire roads covered in stones at 40mph

    Premier Icon UK-FLATLANDER
    Subscriber

    Coming from the flat lands of East Anglia, I found that “over forking” helped with the confidence in the Alps. Same with brakes – my first trip I fried my 180/160 set up now over the top with 200/180 – but it gives me more confidence.

    I find that 130/140 is fine for general trail stuff and only found my 140Vans bottomed out at speed sessioning a particular mtb-only-trail, once i’d gotten used to where the compressions/waterbars etc were. If you keep the speed down and you don’t look for jumps then i reckon 140 is adequate.

    alpin
    Member

    This year it’ll be a Genesis Alpitude with 150mm Rev’s.

    kerrching….

    If you keep the speed down and you don’t look for jumps then i reckon 140 is adequate.

    wrong… 140mm is adequate. depends how good a rider you are.

    is it really worth splashing out min £300 quid for forks I’ll probably only benefit from for the duration of the trip, then they’ll be back in the cupboard until next year.

    i think you’ve just answered your own question….

    Premier Icon jam bo
    Subscriber

    Uturn lyriks on my five. 140 most of the time, 115 for a long climb, 160 when it gets steeper and rockier. Takes 30s to go from 115-160 and you can do it while riding along. . What’s not to like?

    cynic-al
    Member

    Sounds like it might make a difference to you OP.

    PPDS is bumpy as and a long day, I’d expect you to be mildly less otasted on bigger forks after.

    Otherwise, as above, depends on the riding a bit.

    DrP
    Member

    Hmm – If you have the forks to hand, or can easily spare the cash for a new set, then yes – it’ll probably be a bit faster and you’ll be ‘more capable’ on some runs.
    However, it’s not 100% necessary (as in, if you said I’ve a rigid single speed, do I need a bigger bike, the answer would probably be yes. But as it stands your bike is fully capable as it is).

    I’ve done the PPdS twice, each time on a meta 5 with 140 pikes (air) and never felt the need for bigger TBH. That said, if someone GAVE me a set, then I wouldn’t hesitate to pop them on a give them a try!

    DrP

    grum
    Member

    I found my 140mm Pikes on the Pitch ok for the Mega/Alpe D’Huez, but the 36 Vans I have now would have been much better.

    joao3v16
    Member

    anybody got any advice on 160mm and a CCDB on a five

    It definitely seems to be horses for courses regarding this setup.

    Some love it, others think 160mm up front is too much, especially when you’re back in the UK. Some think 140mm is enought for the Alps, others swear by 160mm.

    Personally, I like it. Suits me well.

    Never ridden the Alps, but if/when I do I’d go for 160mm as I’d be expecting the big mountains and long downhills to encourage me to go for it a bit more than usual 🙂

    Premier Icon jeff
    Subscriber

    Very happy with Lyiks here after previously riding Pikes and Z1 FR2 forks in the alps.

    It’s not all about the travel more about the quality of the damping I found.

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    I’ve done PPdS a couple of times and going again this year. I have a 5yr old Giant Reign with 160 forks/RP23 and it’s a good all round Alps bike. Our PPdS/Alps group have a variety of kit most forks are 140 or 160.

    IMO it depends totally on the type of trails and how aggressively you ride it (as others have said) as to what setup you’ll want.

    You should take some time there to tune your shocks to the conditions and the riding sytle.

    If you will not use the 160s when you get back the purchase is questionable (you could resell them on here ?)

    How are your brakes, do you have any body armour/pads, suitable tyres (eg Maxxis Highrollers) ? Upgrades here may be better use of your £’s

    You can also rent a full DH bike for a day for a play about once you are into the riding. In all liklehood after 2 weeks of Alps riding you’ll probably need to spend some money on maintenance so best to leave something in the kitty.

    DrP
    Member

    In all liklehood after 2 weeks of Alps riding you’ll probably need to spend some money on maintenance

    very true. Bearing in mind brake pads over there can be had for the bargain price of £25 (!), I’d think about stocking up (over here) on pads, rear mech (cheap 2nd had one that works), chain, spokes, and a spare tyre. These will be ‘better buys’ than new forks you might not use back here?

    But as it stands, it’s your money, and if you’ve got it spare, go for it!

    DrP

    gsp1984
    Member

    Cheers for the input guys.

    I ordered some float 36 160mm RLCs and a coil CCDB today.

    I figured I’d be gutted if I got out there and then chickened out of the chatel road gap because I was on 140s.

    I’m tempted to keep the 140mm RLCs and RP23 as I don’t fancy doing the Manx end2end on a 160mm heavy beast, but they are in the for sale section incase I get the right offer.

    DrP
    Member

    I figured I’d be gutted if I got out there and then chickened out of the chatel road gap because I was on 140s.

    So now you have to do it, don’t you!! No excuses!

    DrP

    gsp1984
    Member

    Yep… I’ll do the big chatel road gap on the last day, then if I pull it off I get a nice video and pics… If I fail, I get an extended holiday.

    gsp1984
    Member

    They turned up Friday, I just need to find time to fit them now before the peaks next weekend.

    cool!

    now. who did you a ‘good’ price on a ccdb? 🙂

    godzilla
    Member

    ^ what he said ^

    What do you call a good price?

    gsp1984
    Member

    Muhahaha, all fitted… just need to get into the peaks at the weekend now.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    Forks wrong colour 🙁

    Blower
    Member

    coil Lyriks
    or mazz 55

    gsp1984
    Member

    I didn’t want black forks so stayed white, breaks it up a bit.

    Was tempted by the lyriks, both coil and dual position air, but was advised against them by two places, and my bike is heavy enough 🙁

    I’ve never been out riding in a group thinking..

    ‘I really could use some 160’s down here’

    I have been out riding in a group thinking..

    ‘Oh my Buddha, my thighs and calves(moo) are on fire’

    For that reason in preparation for my Alps trip this year I’ll not be buying 160’s but doing some star jumps :mrgreen:

    Nice bike. Doesn’t sound like he wants to share his bargain with you guys. Or looking at his spunky kitchen he payed full price and feels like you’ll hammer him for it?

    Hob Nob
    Member

    That bike must be some serious heft now.

    You need to attack that Reverb cable with a knife!

    roblane65
    Member

    Who advised you against lyriks ? wasn’t the peps selling you the fox’s was it . Got some coil lyriks and can’t fault em to be honest.

    godzilla
    Member

    Doesn’t sound like he wants to share his bargain with you guys. Or looking at his spunky kitchen he payed full price and feels like you’ll hammer him for it?

    ^ +1:) ^ did you pay less than Freeborns price?

    gsp1984
    Member

    I’ve never been out riding in a group thinking..

    ‘I really could use some 160’s down here’

    I have been out riding in a group thinking..

    ‘Oh my Buddha, my thighs and calves(moo) are on fire’

    For that reason in preparation for my Alps trip this year I’ll not be buying 160’s but doing some star jumps

    That’s a fair point, riding in the peaks, keeping up with the group i ride with is hard work. So in the alps doing the 85km of the Passportes Du Soliel I figured I need both 160 and lots of start jumps.

    Nice bike. Doesn’t sound like he wants to share his bargain with you guys. Or looking at his spunky kitchen he payed full price and feels like you’ll hammer him for it?

    Spunky Kitchen :p whats one of them? It’s a muddy kitchen now.

    That bike must be some serious heft now.

    Yep, a fair old weight 🙁 the weight was the only real downside to the 160 and CCDB, and the only thing that really put a doubt in my mind.

    You need to attack that Reverb cable with a knife!

    I tried it shorter and the cable didn’t run right, it kept getting snagged and was a pain so went back to a long cable.

    Who advised you against lyriks ? wasn’t the peps selling you the fox’s was it . Got some coil lyriks and can’t fault em to be honest.

    Shops that sell both and have no really benefit in selling either. One even had the Lyriks in and not the Floats

    ^ +1:) ^ did you pay less than Freeborns price?

    Yes, but not much to be fair… TFTuned, so kick away lol.

    Good on you OP, fox 36 and ccdb on an o5 is the perfect combination for the Alps. Anyone who thinks 140mm 32s is fine out there isn’t riding proper trails or rides like some old granny IMO. Jesus next thing you know there’ll be some stw riding gods talking about how they do just fine on a ht 🙂

    Edit: if you’re one of those guys who thinks you’re smashing Les Crosets on your stumpy let me put you straight, you are just holding everyone up and everyone thinks you are a twunt for bringing your Surrey bike to the Alps. There I said it.

    I’m going on my folding shopper

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