Ditching suspension for rigid forks

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  • Ditching suspension for rigid forks
  • Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    I just swapped in the rigid forks and remembered to lift the front a bit more when crossing obstacles at 90 degrees to direction of travel.

    It’s a lot easier to lift the front end with a lighter fork which helps a lot.

    I’d just give it a go, take it easy for a couple of rides and see how you get on with the kit you’ve already got.

    Premier Icon StefMcDef
    Subscriber

    The Rebas from my hardtail 29er are sick and are going to have to be sent off to the fork doctor, so I have procured a pair of rigid carbon forks from the classifieds – cheers Bernaard! – to keep me rollin’ in the meantime.

    What are the differences in technique, tyres, pressures, handlebar angles, grips etc you’d be looking out for going from bouncy to rigid? Anyone else made the switch and found it much better? Or have the tooth-loosening qualities of a rigid ride sent you scurrying back to the comfort of suspension?

    Has made me a better rider, don’t notice the forks most of the time, but they’re a pain in the arse over rough stuff and especially braking bumps. You just can’t slow the bike down over braking bumps as it’s just bouncing off them, so you have to scrub speed before the bumps to still make the corners. I blame the 160mm skill-compensator brigade.

    I do need to fit a 2.4 up front and convert to tubeless so I can drop the pressures a bit though, that’ll help massively.

    Fit a high volume front tyre
    I fitted ESI Chunky grips too

    This is what I ride most of the time (though I did build a cheap full susser for when I want to play around more)

    Might as well go SS as well though if you’re going all old-skool simple.

    Also, consider your frame when buying your rigid forks; those on-one forks above are about the longest 26″ forks money can buy, they’re still a good 3-4cm too short for my frame (Transition TransAM), so my BB is too low, my head angle is all over the shop and I whack pedals all the time. 29er forks are 3-5cm longer and I’ll be swapping to a set fo these shortly.

    B.A.Nana
    Member

    As waswas says, you have to concentrate on your front end a lot more or you’ll be off. I think it actually improves your technique, because you have to work the bike more to keep it flowing. Chunky grips on the front will def help prevent the front from just going from under you.

    Premier Icon jameso
    Subscriber

    Move your bars and saddle back a bit if you can, I find a rearward weight bias helps a lot, the main thing is getting your hands well behind the f axle.

    Premier Icon letmetalktomark
    Subscriber

    Foam grips
    Decent volume front tyre
    I found a swept back bar easier on the wrists.

    So far so good.

    mudsux
    Member

    – get up off the saddle more
    – large volume front tyre
    – a little less psi
    – pick your lines carefully
    – work the arms to absorb the trail

    I started out on a rigid bike in the 90s and was a pretty late convert to front suspension. Now ride a rigid 29er exclusively. I live on Dartmoor so that includes a fair bit of rock and techie stuff.

    With the right technique and within reason, you can ride most most stuff rigid that you would on a hardtail or even FS.

    Basically you need to be out of the saddle on descents and and be prepared to move your body around a bit to unweight the front end over the rough stuff. Good idea to get comfortable with doing manuals.

    You also need to keep it fairly loose – if you’re holding the bars in a vulcan death grip, it’s going to really hurt after a while and your wrists will get a hammering.

    Your arms and legs are going to take the place of the suspension you don’t have so you need to flex them accordingly.

    As mentioned above, keep your weight well back on descents.

    With a bit of practice and enough speed you can effectively unweigh the bike completely and “float” over stuff like small roots and ruts in a zen / ninja stylee.

    Enjoy – getting a rigid bike through stuff that everyone else is riding FS will put a huge smile on your face for the rest of the day 🙂

    Premier Icon D0NK
    Subscriber

    What are the differences in technique, tyres, pressures, handlebar angles, grips etc you’d be looking out for going from bouncy to rigid?

    erm about the same as usual, just expect rocky downhills to be bloody hard work after a few hours riding. Maybe avoid the lines that are right at the edge of your skill limit, suspension is definitely an “enabler” imo (if not actually a skill compensator)

    Bigger front tyre may help but not essential unless you normally ride skinny rubber.

    Premier Icon StefMcDef
    Subscriber

    Well, this is the bike here.

    jameso – Member

    Move your bars and saddle back a bit if you can, I find a rearward weight bias helps a lot, the main thing is getting your hands well behind the f axle.

    Was already headed in that direction with a layback seatpost and Ragley Carnegie’s because straight-up bar and seatpost configurations didn’t feel right.

    Just taken it out for a lunchtime spin round the block and through the woods. Initial impressions are that it’s not that much more bone-jangling than the malfunctioning Rebas they’ve replaced. Can ride everything I’d ride suspended, just a bit more slowly and gingerly.

    Front end is noticeably much lighter and easier to loft over things. Rear end, oddly enough seems more prone to skipping about. Whole bike feels much lighter and the weight concentrated in the Alfine hub feels much more apparent.

    Remains to be seen how many aches and pains it’ll end up transmitting through me from fatigue on longer rides.

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