Newer Vs Older forks

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  • Newer Vs Older forks
  • stompy
    Member

    So, disregarding all the marketing bs that seemingly swamps the bike industry…..

    Is there a tangable difference in performance between a brand new fork and, say, one from 8 years ago? I appreciate it depends on the model and how high up the range the fork may be but has technology moved so far that the bog standard, non pro, rider can ultimately tell much of a difference?

    90% of riders (completely made up stat) will never use any given fork to it’s full potential so can we really pretend to compare…

    I have some old 9 year old air Pikes and still really rate them, even compared to newer forks.

    Am looking at some 2010 Wotans and wondering if there is any real world difference?

    Premier Icon tomhoward
    Subscriber

    Stiffer, thanks to tapered steerers/thruaxles
    Lighter?
    Better damping?
    More adjustable?

    stompy
    Member

    Are they though?

    Surely a tapered steerer is heavier?

    Lighter materials but less ‘stiffness’ and more prone to damage?

    Better damping maybe…. I have no real knowledge, just reasoning.

    I looked at some new Reba’s the other week and thought they looked flimsey…. I Would be scared to hammer them whereas my 2008 ones are seemingly indestructible…

    Premier Icon joebristol
    Subscriber

    I remember ’98 Bomber Z1’s being smooth and silky, long travel and very overbuilt. I got some in the last year for a cheapie hardtail build I’ve done with some modern stuff and some retro stuff.

    Next to my Yari’s the bombers look ever so short travel and flimsy! Appreciate they are 20 years old now – so they are doing well to still be here and functional.

    I think they need the oil changing and oil level looked at for my weight – ideally they could do with stiffer springs but thats a futile search these days.

    They are still pretty smooth though – I’ve not used them in anger yet.

    Premier Icon Northwind
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    stompy – Member

    Surely a tapered steerer is heavier?

    For equivalent strength and stiffness tapered is lighter. But sometimes straight is still lighter if they’ve just made it less stiff or strong, which is an option…

    Some forks really stand up well. Weight aside, the classic coil Lyrik DH still beats almost every new fork you can buy today, I was never happy with the new Pikes that I replaced them with so eventually I went back. Now I have some gucci 36s and they’re a little better, and a lot lighter, but then even used they cost me as much as a brand new Lyrik did so they’d ****ing well better be better.

    Dual flow rebound in the rockshox range is probably the biggest difference over your old Pike 426 and that’s genuinely something many people would notice I think… But then you can retrofit it into an old Pike too.

    Reba is a fairly different fork now, it’s the Sid chassis so it’s very light, it doesn’t really do the same job. Though tbh, I didn’t think it felt any different to my old 130mm Rev 426s in terms of stiffness etc

    My newest forks are 2007 Marzocchi Z1 SL, the ones with about 20 air valves to tune fiddle with. They’re on a 456 built up on the burly side and, once fiddled with properly, are great.

    The oldest set I use regularly are some 1999 Jnr T’s. These are on a little single speed hardtail I use for DH typr stuff, albeit nothing massive. I have no qualms about really leaning on them despite the quick release and skinny legs.

    I’m not ignorant to fork performance but honestly I don’t feel held back by any lack of stiffness or damping with the T’s. I’ve been riding them hard for years and see no reason to stop. The only thing that bothers me is the very thin casting around the caliper mount, I think I best take off the 8″ rotor..

    mindmap3
    Member

    I have some old 9 year old air Pikes and still really rate them, even compared to newer forks.

    Whereas as I hate that era Pikes. I had three pairs and thought they were all poor; heavy and poorly damped. The Motion Control damping is still used in fork like the Yari’s so RS can’t think it’s that bad.

    I think modern damping has improved; my original 888’s blew through their travel so easily whereas my current 380’s are still plush but have better support on steep stuff and don’t bottom out as easily.

    Premier Icon breadcrumb
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    I’ve had original Pikes and have the 35mm ones now. Night and day.

    More controlled, stiffer, more adjustment.

    Premier Icon nixie
    Subscriber

    I think they need the oil changing and oil level looked at for my weight – ideally they could do with stiffer springs but thats a futile search these days.

    I might have heavy springs. Definitely got a set in the forks and a set in the toolbox. Which is which I’m not sure.

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Subscriber

    Eldest_oab just sold a set of Mazocchi AM1 SL forks.
    Not quite full retro. However, mega plush, controlled and reasonably stiff.

    Mrs_oab loved her Headshock – it was tuned to her 7st weight, again very controlled and sensitive for such travel.

    I also had some proper retro forks on the kids bikes a few years ago. Manitou Mars ( Uber flexy, poorly damped), Manitou Black (Flexi, terrible compression feel) and Marzocchi X-fly (wow, plush, nice damping, Flexi).

    zero cool
    Member

    My Marz 55 RC3 Ti forks from a few years back still outperform a lot of the newer, lighter forks I’ve tried over the past few years. And a set of 2012 Boxxer Teams set up by tF Tuned were better than a lot of the new stuff I’ve tried out of the box.

    I’m sure there are improvements but apart from a few leaps and bounds I’m sure top end forks from 5 years ago are no worse than the latest Lyriks or Pikes.
    Most of the Pro riders will be running custom set up and internals anyway.

    Tom KP.

    Im still happy with a pair of 2004 Bombers! (For riding local trails).
    95% of people who ride mtb (made up stat) just want something on the front end that bounces up and down. That’s all.
    A more “serious” mtb’er may pick up on the differences, but I don’t think as an average rider I could really notice much apart from smoother more controlled action, and more flipping knobs and dials to **** things up with! 😆

    Edited to add: I have ridden much more modern forks. All I noticed was “plusher” action, and more (un-needed) adjustability.

    Premier Icon jameso
    Subscriber

    A good tuner-tweaker can do great things with older forks. Customised shim stuff, etc. Most of the gains in last 5-10yrs have been better damping as std and stiffer chassis so if you don’t really need the stiffness then a tuned set of older forks is a good option.

    Premier Icon boriselbrus
    Subscriber

    Currently running a Pike RCT3. They are nearly as good as the 2005 Marzocchi AM1’s I had. Shame they didn’t make them in 29er size.

    The AM1’s were a bit heavier though.

    Up to 8-10 years ago, maybe a little more, I’d say not much.
    They all have decent tuneability, decent sized stanchions, sensibly designed lowers, reasonably sized steerer and so on.

    In fact, all the things they have today, except in more fashionable colours. 😉

    Probably more difference going from the entry level version to the top of the range than there is between comparable models 10 years apart. (As long as they’ve not been abused.)
    My 10 year old fox 32s are indistinguishable from my 2 year old ones. I’d be gutted if I’d paid for the “upgrade”.

    montgomery
    Member

    Two years ago, after 10 years on rigid forks, I bought a set of cheap RS TK30 Gold Solo Air forks out of curiosity. Nearing the end of their lifespan now, having been used, I suspect, well beyond their design brief. Although a bit flexy, these cheap forks have been much better than the Pace & Magura forks I was running 2001-2006.

    emac65
    Member

    Still got my 2004 Z1’s, serviced them for the first time a couple of years ago, the oil was spotless clean ! Double seals on each leg work, end of ! As for are they as good as my Pikes. They’re a bit fiddlier to set up, but when set up right they work nearly as good, but better than a pair of Revelations or Rebas ….

    But I do like the fact you hardly ever have to service them though 😀

    RockShox Reba (old): was unhappy with this fork. Not enough progression.
    RockShox Sektor (new): cheaper and much better than the old Reba. But although “tapered” and “thru axle” stiffness roughly the same.

    Friends of mine: run fairly new Suntour Auron and Suntour Durolux forks.
    These forks are extremely good now. Compared to five years ago or so: price tag of such an excellent fork would have been 700…800 bucks. Now, in sale around 500 bucks or less?

    Bought for one of my older bike a brand new 130 mm Fox 34 Float Rhythm for 199 Euros end of 2017 in “winter sale”. Great fork.

    My conclusion: competition in the fork business is fierce and you get for less money much better products compared with 5 … 10 years ago.

    Premier Icon nixie
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    Only two forks I’ve owned have stood out as much better. 98 Z1s and the first 130mm Fox Vanillas. Others have just been incrementally better. I’ve never got on with RS damping though

    Premier Icon Northwind
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    mindmap3 – Member

    The Motion Control damping is still used in fork like the Yari’s so RS can’t think it’s that bad.

    The compression damper is similar but they all get the dual flow rebound now I think- which used to be blackbox only so there’s a bit of trickledown for us. Makes sense, it was always the rebound damping that let the old moco down, they felt great if they only had to do one thing at a time but chuck it into a load of rocks and they pretty much panicked

    srshaw
    Member

    I’ll be honest and admit I probably tell a good fork from a bad one. My Stanton Sherpa is currently running 3 yr old Sid rct3s. All I know they are better than my previous manitou 4 forks fitted to a 90s Marin. Especially now the elastomers have crumbled to bits. I’ll bet fork technology is pretty mature now.

    mikey74
    Member

    90% of riders (completely made up stat) will never use any given fork to it’s full potential so can we really pretend to compare…

    Even accepting it’s a made-up stat, that is a daft thing to say: Ever bottomed out a fork? You’ve used it to it’s full potential. If you haven’t, then you really need to look at your setup.

    mikey74:

    Ever bottomed out a fork? You’ve used it to it’s full potential. If you haven’t, then you really need to look at your setup.

    this was the main problem with:

    RockShox Reba (old): was unhappy with this fork. Not enough progression.

    In the end, after endless tweaking: simply ran without any sag and high pressure…(and replaced the fork in the end).
    This fork definitely wasn’t made for my style of biking.

    What I forgot: in our biking group we have a couple bikes with fairly new X fusion 130 mm tapered forks. The bikers are very happy with these forks. Guess this fork is in the range of 300 bucks. But not sure.

    Impression I have as well: on a trail hardtail bike I like to have more travel for the fork and a higher quality fork. On the full suspension bike less travel and bit lower quality forks are fine? (for same trails, same riding style)

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    I have some old forks and some newer ones. The 2014 Foxes I now have have a closed damper. This means thick sticky lube (Fox Gold) for the sliders and damper oil in the damper. This means that they are very plush. 10 years ago most were open bath weren’t they?

    There’s a lot of gradual evolution I think.

    Double seals on each leg work, end of !

    Lots of stiction though. At least on my Marz there is.

    Premier Icon mmannerr
    Subscriber

    90% of riders (completely made up stat) will never use any given fork to it’s full potential so can we really pretend to compare…

    When you see your fork top caps and springs fly past you on the downhill you’ll know the full potential was realized 😀
    Granted, this was with “tuned” RS Quadras back in the day…

    I remember when Fox forks came available the finish and quality feeling of the adjustments were just another level from the other forks. Marzocchi and Manitou had pretty good damping then but their forks were built like tractor parts or plastic toys.

    stompy
    Member

    Even accepting it’s a made-up stat, that is a daft thing to say: Ever bottomed out a fork? You’ve used it to it’s full potential. If you haven’t, then you really need to look at your setup.

    My set up is fine thanks…. Bottoming out a fork is not using it to it’s full potential. If it happens regularly you need to look at your set up or lose some pounds you big chunker 🙂

    Your missing my point…. All mountain forks used on Singletrack ridden by overweight old geezers are not being used to their full potential. 160mm forks in most of the UK are not being used their full potential.

    High end forks, unless you are pretty ace/sexy god like/above average are not being used to their full potential….

    * All of the above is nonsense….

    emac65
    Member

    Lots of stiction though. At least on my Marz there is.

    I do remember mine taking forever to loosen up, but they did & still feel plush now when I use them…

    jamesoz
    Member

    I have a worrying number of forks to compare:-

    98 Z1 Bams:- I bent two braces and the fork was massively improved with the black spire brace. Great fork now on GF’s bike.

    99ish Stratos MX6 not a bad fork but heavy and easily twisted with a total loss lubrication system. Unlikely to be used again.

    2004 Z1 ETAslightly modified and still in use on my Turner. Good forks very noisy. A bit heavy.

    2004 Z something ETA with the holes drilled in the crown and canti mounts. Fine on my single speed.

    2008 66SL more valves than is sensible works brilliantly when you can remember what valve does what. The travel is adjustable with air pressure which is cool. As good as my 2015 pikes before the luftcappe. Weight is the only reason I’m not using them.

    2015 pikes, I must admit I was disappointed with them out of the box aside from the light weight. They’re the only fork I’ve had Stantion damage and they are very needy maintenance wise. They’ve grown on me but I’m not sure about the HSC.

    2017 mattoc pro, Not ridden yet but look promising.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    “Using it to its potential” isn’t important. I have a set of 36s, they’re inevitably better than I am. But you don’t need to strain a fork to its maximum to benefit, a better fork is better all the time and makes the bike work better. Everyone can benefit from that.

    Stick an old Pike into a load of rocks and then do the same with something like an old Lyrik of the same age, and feel the difference, it’s really pretty big and could easily be the difference between making it and binning it, especially if you’re a basher.

    99ish Stratos MX6 not a bad fork but heavy and easily twisted with a total loss lubrication system. Unlikely to be used again.

    Ha ha! My brother’s got a set of these complete with the total loss system. He ended running veg oil in (or out of) them while he saved up for some 888’s.

    I remember getting his bike out the car, absent mindlessly turning it upside down to put the wheel in and him panicking ‘cos all the oil was escaping.

    He ended up “rigidifying” them for a drift trike project so he could use a Hope 6 pot on it..

    massively improved with the black spire brace.

    I’m intrigued.

    jamesoz
    Member

    The gravity trike sounds awesome.
    Not my pic.
    Blackspire brace

    That brace truly is a thing of awesomeness.

    mindmap3
    Member

    Granted, this was with “tuned” RS Quadras back in the day…
    I remember when Fox forks came available the finish and quality feeling of the adjustments were just another level from the other forks. Marzocchi and Manitou had pretty good damping then but their forks were built like tractor parts or plastic toys.

    My Judy’s used to do that on heavy handing like an expensive nerf gun! The joys of plastic top caps.

    The Fox forks did feel qualify, but came with a price tag to match. Marzocchi stuff was pretty well made up to 2007; no plastic parts in my older Marzocchi forks.

    Best forks I have had are my current Pikes. Think they’re a 2015 model bought in 2016.

    After that the smoothest and best performing were some 2011 DT Swiss XMM140’s. Great fork and more impressive than the Yari and Secktor that I have had since or the Fox 32, 36 and Revs that came before. Rated my 2006 Pace RC40’s too.

    Premier Icon drewd
    Subscriber

    Interesting reading here. I was under the impression that Rebas were well respected forks due to their reliability, ease of servicing and performance. All the reviews at the time used to rate them well and people on here always used to recommend them for general trail/XC duties.

    As far as I am aware when someone asks which 100mm 1/8″ straight steerer fork for a 26er the default answer is a used Reba from the classifieds, yet there doesn’t seem to be much love for them on this thread.

    Is a case of it was one of the better performers in that configuration? Or have things really moved on that much? Can something like a 2010 Reba dual air not be set up to perform anywhere near as well as a modern fork?

    I’ve never ridden a Reba, but I have one that I am in the process of servicing to replace my dying Maguras. The only criticism I have of the Magura is the way they blow through their travel. They ride really nicely otherwise. They have better dampening than the Marzocchi Bomber Z1 XFly that I had before.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    I had some 2010 Rebas and swapped them for 2014 Fox 32s because I wanted a different offset.

    The Rebas were nearly as plush, but I had trouble setting them up to give enough support without losing comfort. The Foxes have a coil negative spring which I think is a great idea (my Pace RC41s had one too) and do not have this problem. They may be stiffer front to back too, not sure.

    High end forks, unless you are pretty ace/sexy god like/above average are not being used to their full potential….

    The only people using a fork to its full potential are those winning WC DH races and EWS stages. So it’s rather a pointless statement.

    I know I prefer riding with a better fork and a better setup fork and the gnarlier the conditions the more difference it makes – and the more extra speed it ekes out from my meagre talents.

    Can something like a 2010 Reba dual air not be set up to perform anywhere near as well as a modern fork?

    Have only a limited number of bikes with a limited number of different forks. The trails I’am biking: wouldn’t describe them as “wild” at all – but lots of uphill and fast downhill (few rough stretches). I would say perfect for a trail bike.
    For this: the Reba didn’t work for me.
    The fork is reliable. And plush as long as you are able to run with sag.
    But if you run with sag and hit some fast rough spots the Reba is quickly at it’s limit – and this was too dangerous for me. (And without sag the Reba – as all other forks as well – isn’t fun to bike)

    My impression, for the style and trails I bike: yes – newer fork designs – also low cost – appear to cope much better with the trails.
    But possible as well: that I used the Reba for a riding they never were designed for…

    @molgrips:

    The Rebas were nearly as plush, but I had trouble setting them up to give enough support without losing comfort.

    I was too slow writing my post…
    This is exactly what I meant as well.
    😉

    Premier Icon drewd
    Subscriber

    Ah right, that makes sense. It’s the same problem I have with my current forks, which are from 2007 I think. Not 100% sure as I bought the bike second hand.

    I kind of hoped that the dual air system would improve on this a bit. I don’t ride very hard and am a light rider so hopefully the Rebas won’t be any worse than what I currently have.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Depends on bike geometry too. With a different HA and reach you are putting different force vector through the fork.

    Premier Icon cookeaa
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    TBH at the lower to middle end of the price range I think the main differences are going to be around weight, or lack thereof…

    I’ve just chopped in a set of ancient 26″ marzocchi AMs with coil springs, 140mm travel, 20mm axle and pretty plush but simple damping; for a more recent pair (used of course) of 29er Rebas, air spring, 120mm, 15mm axle, tapered alloy steerer…

    Suspension performance wise I don’t think there’s much in it TBH, I’ve gained a lockout knob, lost some travel, but they seem pretty similar otherwise, both 32mm stanchion forks, an over built straight steel steerer vs lighter weight tapered alloy one again pretty similar on the trail…

    The main gain is, well, a loss of weight. The best part of 1kg, admittedly a whole lot of other stuff has changed along with the fork including wheel size and a lighter Aluminium frame but still those two forks are separated by about 8 years, and probably sit at about equivalent price points in their respective ranges.

    At the very top end of the market, I expect there are a few genuine improvements in suspension sensitivity and damping performance, but for the “average” rider I think the major improvement is likely to be lower weights as much as anything…

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