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I have an older version of this bike: alt text

They have made some changes to the components since I bought my bike but it is more or less the same. Here are the specs on the newer bike.

I was hoping to put a solid fork on my bike for the winter. I want to keep the mountain feel and have lots of clearance for wide tires, etc but I want to get rid of the weight and give my fork a rest.

When choosing a solid fork what do I need to know?

  • Will any solid fork fit onto my bike? Do forks come in different sizes? Different diameters? Different lengths? I heard something like you need a special fork if you are going to put it on a bike that was designed to be used with shocks.
  • I know that I want a fork with disk break mounts so this makes the search slightly more difficult. Ideally I would also like rack/fender mounts. (For future touring).
  • My wheel size is 26 inches, what would happen if I used a 700c fork on my bike? This seller claims thats what he was using this solid fork for.

Edit:

Thanks for the great information. After reading I have been looking around for a used local fork. I think that I found one possibility. But any feed back would be appreciated.

  • The fork was designed to be used with 700C or 29 inch wheels but it has an axel to crown length of roughly 17 inches (431 mm). I currently have 100mm Travel in my suspension fork so Lantius says that I should get a fork with a length of 455 mm (17.9 inches). Is this reasonable? Does it matter if it was designed for a 700C tire if the fork length is correct?

  • As you can see in the picture of the fork the fork has some rake. Is this a problem? Will that amount of rake make the bike ride strangely/differently?

  • The steer tube/ headset size is 1 1/8th standard size which is the same as my bike so no concern there.

Here is a picture of the fork: alt textalt text

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THanks, doing the same thing with my montague paratrooper, heard a Kona Project 2 will swap (www.crazyguyonabike.com), but may need a 700 fork length, might try a 700 or 29er wheel on the front and a 26er on the back, like a kawasaki dirt bike? building an ultralight/gravel grinder for international flying, therefore a folder. b –  brian lindsay Apr 22 at 12:39

3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

It sounds like you've sorted out the first issue, headset size. You'll need something with a 1 1/8" (also seen as 1.125" or 9/8") steerer.

Your bicycle's handling is based on the geometry. Changing the axle-to-crown distance will change the angle of your head tube, altering your bicycle's handling significantly. The other major characteristic of a fork is "rake", or the distance that the axle is in front of an imaginary line down the center of the steerer. Within 5-10mm of rake change you should notice a fairly minimal effect on the bike's handling, which is good because suspension fork rake is rarely published and measuring it directly is difficult.

The axle-to-crown distance is one factor, to get that right - assuming your bike has an equivalent fork - you should be looking for a "100mm suspension-corrected" rigid fork. In practice this means a fork with an axle-crown distance of about 455mm.

If you want a 100mm suspension corrected, 26" wheeled fork with disc brakes that also has rack (I'm assuming you mean midfork low-rider rack mounts) and fender mounts, your options list is relatively limited. The new Surly Troll Fork is likely to be one of your few options.

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thanks for the link to the Surly Troll Fork. I think that that is now my "ideal fork". With shipping included that fork is currently out of my price range. I did find one fork recently that is local (no shipping) and $60 (Canadian). I updated my post. Tell me what you think. –  sixtyfootersdude Jan 20 '11 at 12:55
    
I'd ride it and see how it handles. The fact that it was originally designed for 700c only really matters for the placement of the cantilever bosses, which you won't need since you're using disc brakes. You might also be slightly restricted in tire width, since many 700c forks aren't designed around anything wider than a 2" tire. –  lantius Jan 22 '11 at 0:25

You can not fit just any solid fork there, you have to compensate for the suspension part or riding on it will feel weird, the pedals will be closer to the ground (they'll be dangerous on turns).

You have to make sure that axle to crown length stays the same: alt text

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So would you say that head set size and fork length are the only two variables to determine if the fork will fit? How close does the fork length need to be to the original fork length? –  sixtyfootersdude Jan 19 '11 at 13:22
    
I think ±1 inch is very safe. –  Papuass Jan 19 '11 at 13:31
    
@Papuass - I did some edits for spelling and grammar, I hope I didn't change the meaning of your answer. –  Neil Fein Jan 20 '11 at 6:28
    
@neilfein, no problem –  Papuass Jan 20 '11 at 8:37
    
@Papuass, I may have found a used fork locally. Tell me if you think this would be a reasonable investment. –  sixtyfootersdude Jan 20 '11 at 12:57

I did that with my Kona Dew FS (now no longer FS). The fork didn't like winters, and the gaskets or something blew. I just had the guys at the local bike shop dig around and see if they could find a rigid fork that would fit. They did. It did. Works great. (Bow Cycle in Calgary is fracking awesome, by the way).

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1  
Fair enough. I asked at my local shop but they didn't have anything in stock and wanted to charge me an arm and leg to buy a new rigid fork (with disk breaks). Can I ask you what they charged you for the new fork/installation? –  sixtyfootersdude Jan 19 '11 at 4:30

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