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I ride hard-tail cross-country for recreation (Specialized Hardrock with disc brakes). Recently, my fork got damaged and now I am looking for a replacement. My current(now previous) fork has 80mm or 100mm travel, I'm not sure.

My goal is to make the bike a little bit more "down-hilly". I believe that this can be solved by a long-travel fork, for example 140mm. The goal is to both improve the suspension and change the geometry to compensate for the slope of the trail. However I am completely at loss as to how to select a new fork.

  • Does the fork travel correlate with the total length of the fork arms?
  • What other characteristics are important? There is significant variation in prices, although the longer travel seems to cost more. My target price is about $220
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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Longer travel will change the bikes geometry. A 140mm travel fork has 60mm more travel, therefore needs 60mm more clearance. To get this, you need a smaller wheel or longer forks. Presuming you are sticking to the same wheels, you have to raise the sheerer height. The effect of this is a more relaxed sheerer angle - changing the handling for the bike.

Personally I would not do it. The Hardrock is not a down hill bike, and never will be. With your target price, as you have observed - you get a lower travel higher quality fork. This would be far better. The fork will be stiffer and more robust, probably lighter and likely to be more adjustable.

In your situation, I would put on the highest quality shock I could afford, and forget about increasing travel. I recommend 100mm to 120mm max. A well setup better quality short travel fork will walk all over a cheap long travel fork on all but the most extreme DH rides, and the compromise when not on those extreme DH rides is, well, extreme......

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In the end I got a 120mm travel $75 fork and am quite happy. The secret with entry-level forks is to look for one without lockout, os that there are spring is both legs, not just one. –  Vorac Aug 2 '13 at 14:06
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