Hardcore Hardtail Owners – travel adjust fork

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  • Hardcore Hardtail Owners – travel adjust fork
  • ‘ello everyone – i’m currently building up a super slack super gnarcore hardtail designed to run 160mm, now i wanted to ask other people with similar set ups, do you have (and if so, do you use) travel adjust forks?

    On the one hand they seem like a perfect mix, run it at 160mm for full on descents/days out but for xc duties or long ascents wind it down! On the other hand is it necessary? Surely a bike built solid is best used for hardcore days and an xc bike kept for gentler ones. Although, i’d rather the one bike tbf – maintenance/use/ethos (at the mo i’m running a xc 100mm hardtail everywhere. it gets seriously sketchy and my ridings progressing)

    the final component would be does fork choice ability<travel adjust.. eg. (see other thread) Bos deville’s impressive damping+huge service intervals vs Pike’s good damping BUT travel adjust

    Thank you fellow singletrackers!! This is my dream build, and i havent the money to a. get it wrong, b. get one and see if it works.. then try switch it if dosnt


    My cro-mo frame is slack and 140 coil is all I need. Not sure the same would apply if the frame was rigid aluminum. I try and avoid fettling with the forks when I’m riding so don’t personally think I’d get on with adjustables.


    I was you once..

    I went for a 120mm/150mm rockshox fork and hated it

    150mm on a hardtail is just too divey, that much travel just messes with the geo of the frame and leaves you constantly feeling like you’re getting bucked over the bars..

    120mm is about bob-on and enough to take on most jobs, but I didn’t get the impression that it was a default setting on the rockshox.. I sold ’em on after a couple of rides and got a shorter fork


    If you are building a 160mm hardtail, yes get a travel adjust fork.


    Stiff fork with 130-140mm works best for me… I’ve tried travel adjust and longer forks etc but they felt worse.

    Reduced travel Fox 36 on a Ragley Blue Pig BTW… with a reverb as you need a dropper post IMHO etc :mrgreen:


    What back wheel and tyre are you speccing to cope with the big hits a 160mm fork can take?

    Premier Icon JAG

    I have a BFe and I run it with 140mm Fox forks.

    No travel adjust and I try not to use the lock-out.

    I like to jump on and go – no messing about with the bike/fork just ride and focus on the riding and technique development 8)

    …anyway whenever I use the lock-out I forget to turn it off and usually only spot it after a long descent!


    I run my Mk 1 Dialled Alpine with a Marzocchi Z1 FR 150mm fork (which has along A-C for its travel) and it is fine for all day riding. The fork has ETA on it which helps a bit with climbing but no other adjustments is needed in my opinion.

    Premier Icon Northwind

    Back when I needed travel adjust I had a set of u-turn revs in it, can’t think of a better match. Shame u-turn’s been binned as it’s the only adjustable travel option that’s designed to be ridden properly at the shorter settings, everything else is a climb-mode crippler IME. Latest TALAS looks like it might finally not suck balls?

    Premier Icon Northwind

    Les deux post

    Premier Icon mikewsmith

    I have run one with 36 Talas, Travel Adjust 160mm bombers and some 150mm Revs with U-turn. I did use it a bit but once it’s setup and going as a 160mm bike there isn’t much 100mm XC type work it’s going to do.


    150mm on a hardtail is just too divey,

    Shirley this has little to do with the frame and more to do with the forks in question. For instance coil forks with a medium spring and a heavy rider will dive. Air forks not set up correctly will dive too. Then you just get shitty forks that dive no matter what you do (FOX Evolution CTD) I had em…trash. FIT are better but still tinkering to find the best balance. My eyes are looking towards the X-Fusion Slant RL2 DLA. 130-160. getting some very good reviews. At £440 much more affordable than pikes. Just my thoughts… 😀


    I have a Chameleon (last model with eccentric BB) with a set of TALAS RLC’s. I use 100mm and120mm the most, I rarely use 140mm. 120mm is perfect, 100mm is great for long fire road climbs. If I bought a new fork I would just get a fixed 120mm. I find 140mm sketchier to ride than than 120mm, guys above got it spot on, it just makes it vague and divey. though in fairness I suppose its what you get used to. I don’t personally think travel adjust is worth the bother.

    enft – interesting, i’m with you on the not fettling! (At least the internals) i’m not sure why the material matters in this case, but it’s ti! 😀

    yunki – we shall see, i havnt had that experience from trying friends, so each to their own! plus, the pikes/devilles are meant to sit firmly high in their travel +for enduro/dh races i dont see this as a problem!

    kudos – could you elaborate?

    and messiah – interesting i was wondering the same! Ofc the option could be to get travel adjust and run at preferred height, i just dont like the idea of the more complicated internals!

    northwind and souldrunner, interesting to hear the conflicting view points!! i feel like i’ll just get used to the bike, in the same way i have to my current one, once your used to it, you just approach things differently! Surely the dual position faff on the new pikes works the same way?

    I have recently got pop lock forks and found myself using the lockout all the time for climbing – but that may also be to do with the fact i have just changed from ss, so am still mainly out the saddle – and with the development of a smoothy climbing technique this may change


    I’ve been running a 100-130-160 TALAS on a Genesis Alpitude. I wasn’t too experienced and it was really an experiment to see if I could tell the difference. If I’m honest I used it just because I could. I do know that I preferred the 160 when it got rough, it saved me a few times when would 130 would have sent me OTB. Reckon I could get away with 140-150 fixed travel now. Just this week swapped them onto a Met 5.5 FS as my next experiment

    Premier Icon allyharp

    I’ve been quite amazed at how few travel adjust forks there are around nowadays – at the shorter end of the travel spectrum at least. My 85-130mm U-turn revelation died this year and I did use it across the whole range quite frequently. I’ve had to go for for a fixed 120mm Reba and have found things a bit more difficult on the climbs as a result.

    Any suggestions for why RS binned U-turn?

    Premier Icon mattjg

    Any suggestions for why RS binned U-turn?

    Not enough people bought them?

    (Wow 160mm on a HT! Surprised there is such a thing!)

    Orange Subzero here – old version that came with 150mm forks and at one point 2008? They released it with 170mm THAT is a hardcore hardtail not this 120mm lark. Yes the fork dives, but the head angle means you don’t go too far forward. An adjustable fork is a good idea of course but I’ve yet to find one that’s reliable.

    It’s not the kind of bike that I’d use for long XC days but I’ve done long days like Helvellyn on it – loads of fun.


    I have a ti slackline with a float 36 up front but I’ve had it lowered to 140mm and find it spot on, ride dh no probs but still climbs fine. Never felt the need for travel adjust. Had an old u turn pike on my BFe when I had that, found that worked best dropped a bit to about 130mm but once there I rarely moved the travel either way. I find stiffness is more important than travel on a hardcore hardtail.

    Premier Icon Northwind

    allyharp – Member

    Any suggestions for why RS binned U-turn?

    People seemed to think that turning the dial was too much like hard work, it does after all take entire seconds… so they brought in 2-step to be more like the competition.


    I’ve got travel adjust lyriks on the HT, but to be honest, rather than changing the travel on the fork, it’s better to just point the bike at rougher stuff 🙂


    I never really bothered with travel adjust either (when I did put it in short travel mode I usually forgot about it for the rest of the ride). Then again I’m definitely a set-it-and-forget-it kind of guy in general so YMMV. I think my Slackline does everything I want it to just fine with 150mm and the right amount of sag and compression damping though.

    Premier Icon Northwind

    Yeah, mine hasn’t moved since I got my Ragley, which actually works right with the fork at 140mm, no need for the adjustment. But when I had them in my BFe it certainly could use the adjust.

    The u-turn in my Lyriks makes it easier to get the bike in the car 😉


    I’ve been running 160mm on my dialled alpine for a few months now and have come to the same conclusion as many others, it’s just a bit too much. Previously I ran 130m on a Soul and dive was far less of an issue. Next step is trying the Slants on my alpine at 140mm, until then I’m just running them hard so that I only get full travel when something has gone very wrong!

    For me, fork travel was something I had to try for myself before making a decision. I suspect many people are the same but it does seem that most eventually arrive at the same conclusion.


    Chromag stylus an 160mm u-turn lyrik. I use the u-turn regularly for extended climbing in peak/lakes, messing around in the park at glentress (at 115mm), riding it on he street. 160mm for peak and Lakeland chunk. Sweet spot at 145ish.

    These frames (stylus, old trl, gypsy) have been ridden in the bike park at whistler, some with totems. Check jinya’s hardtail vids out.

    Here’s a 2014 with uturn lyriks on:



    I’m running z1 freeride 150 w/eta, I don’t use the eta, partially because I can’t be bothered and partially because the knob is broken. Back in the day I had some Psylos with u-turn on my jump bike regularly switched between 80 mm for jumping and 130 for riding downhill


    Fox 36 Talas 2012 on 456c. I love it. I used to have 110-140mm Revs U-turn. The U-turn is such a royal pain in the ass to wind and unwind turn between low and high travel, that I rarely used it. No wonder they ditched it for the 2 Step. Also I prefure the travel of the 36s much more. Not that it’s longer, but better.

    I do a lot of riding in my native Bulgaria, where 1000m+ of ascent (and then the same descent ofc) is not unusual and there the travel adjust is a must for me. The 456 goes to about 65 degree on 160mm, which is awesome downwards, but is waay too slack for climbing.

    Premier Icon lungman

    150mm to 120mm forks on my slackline it and never used the 120mm setting. So I would say depends on the fork and frame geo. I’m using a fox 32 talas fit and these seam far better than I remember 🙂


    I used to run 150mm forks on a 456. Overkill for me.

    I had travel adjust forks but vowed never to use them again because

    -more bits to go wrong
    -u turn rattled
    -forgot to use it half the time or
    -wound them down then forgot to wind them out

    Now have a shorter travel bike but have dispensed with lockout, u turn etc. for simplicity.

    150mm on the 456 actually ran ok but the 120mm on the inbred is more than adequate for me but them when I want 150mm I have a full suss.

    Thanks for all the helpful experience 😀
    the frame geometry is designed to be ridden 120-160mm (but actually at 160mm!) however is uber slack, running at 63 for a 160mm fork to 65 for a 120mm fork.. at which point i’m reckoning that getting the travel adjust is the best way to ‘hedge my bets’ (As this is going to be one of the first couple produced – so no test ride 😛 ) and at worse i can switch out the cartridge?

    NOW – 150-120 or… 160-130.. is it that much difference? Will the 160 make it that bit more capable/comfortable after a long descent but wil the 130 be just too slack to function as a rag around the Peaks machine? (either way i’ll probably just get used to riding it xD – but advice is much appreciated please!!)


    What yunki said. And I still have to run forks fairly hard with less than “correct” sag on a hardtail to get rid of that divey feeling.


    I have 140-115 manitou forks on my current bike and can’t remember the last time they were below 140mm and I commute on this bike!

    I’m just a fit and forget type person though really, I opted for fixed 160mm for my new build.


    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.

    (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!)

    Very good point maxtorque! I was thinkibg along similiar lines.. The battle is also between a rockshox pike or a bos deville. Perhaps I am expectibg too much of this build – there is no harm in havibg two bike mayve xD


    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.

    Premier Icon BillOddie

    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.

    Premier Icon timmys

    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?

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