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I ride pretty aggressively cross country and trail in colorado, and occasionally will go to the bike park and do some jumps.

I recently bought a specialized hardrock 29er for my wife, who's a novice rider. The price was right, and the bike is great for her. The problem is I want to ride it sometimes, but the fork sketches me out. First: it sucks compared to my fox fork on my 26" bike and second: I'm afraid it's going to break on me.

The fork is an 80mm SR suntour. Does anybody have any suggestions for reasonably priced replacements? I don't want to change the geometry too much. I think the idea is if i put some money into the fork, we could put it on her next bike if/when she decides to upgrade.

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More information is needed to make a recommendation: steerer type (straight 1.125" vs tapered), wheel mounting (9mm hollow axle with a QR, 9mm threaded axle with nuts, 15mm QR-throughaxle/maxle, 20mm throughaxle...), brake type (V-style, IS disc, Postmount "Hayes" disc...) –  Emyr Oct 8 '13 at 16:38
    
Is the bike one of these? specialized.com/us/en/bikes/mountain/hardrock/hardrock-disc-29 –  Emyr Oct 8 '13 at 16:40
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I'm struggling to find a replacement fork that's 80mm travel, QR axle and less than 400USD. A refurbished/serviced "pre-loved" fork from a reputable brand may be appropriate. –  Emyr Oct 8 '13 at 16:49
    
I think in a sale you could find a previous year 80/100mm air sprung fork through one of the online retaillers for about 400USD that would make a huge difference to the ride. Valuewise I think you'd get your moneys worth from changing the fork, the ride would be more enjoyable and it would help your wife's riding as well. Something like a RS XC32, Manitou Tower or X Fusion X-Slide. There's even some of the SR Suntour forks that are ok. Hardrocks are one of the bikes at the low price point that are good frames poor components so can last a long time. –  DWGKNZ Oct 8 '13 at 22:12
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2 Answers

Been there and not done that. The only option I found was to go used, but even then, its hard to get a reasonably prices upgrade. A better option for me was replace the bike. For the price of upgrading the shock (at least $400) I sold my old bike ($300) and got an 'as new' bike that was much better all round.

Accept that you are choosing to ride her cheap bike. Even if you upgrade the shocks, you will be still be riding a cheap bike..... before you know it it will be Grandfathers Axe (3 new heads and 4 new handles, but its the same axe my grandad used).

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Perhaps try for a used fork. For a decent new 29er fork you're looking at £250+ (I estimate thats around $300) (such as rockshox reba) - or go rigid. It's sureley better than a cheap fork.

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