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I have (had) a basic Suntour spring fork on my hybrid and when I took it into the bike shop a couple months ago I was told the fork was excessively worn and needed to be replaced. Long story short I went cheap and put a solid fork on it which it turns out massively changed the geometry to the point were I'm putting pedals into the dirt on bench cut trails, even without roots.

I still have the old fork and it's something near 2 inches taller than the new rigid fork. I believed the shop at the time when they said it was worn but now I'm wondering. Holding the upper and lower portions of the fork I can feel it shift slightly when I try to bend it but it doesn't move visibly that I can tell.

Is it still reasonably safe as-is, should I get new bushings from Suntour for it and see if that helps, or should I accept it as dead and spend the money on a new suspension fork that is the right height?

  • As an aside, you can get a rigid fork that works on bikes designed for suspension. Just ensure you get a "suspension corrected" fork. It must be "corrected" to the travel on the fork you originally had. – Kibbee Sep 17 '15 at 20:06
  • I asked about those but the bike itself was only $550 new and most of the suspension corrected forks I was told were $200+ Looking around myself though I'm seeing them for ~100-110 which makes me rather unhappy with the shop. I'll be doing some measuring and calling the shop for sure at this point. – Jonathan Sep 18 '15 at 17:12
  • From what I can gather this one is suspension corrected to 100mm. There should be affordable options if you shop around. – Kibbee Sep 18 '15 at 17:19
  • For the record I looked at the old fork some more and realized the stanchions were pretty badly scratched (embedded dirt and rubber they were so deep). I wound up emailing Suntour support with a few forks that looked similar that I was considering and in the end they sold me a new fork directly, just make sure to mention that you have rim brakes if you do as most of what they sell now doesn't have the mounts for them. – Jonathan Oct 19 '15 at 20:21
  • Remember the web pricing is just for the item, whereas your bike shop fitted the new fork for you? Labour costs, and a fork fitment might be anything from 20 minutes to 2 hours depending on complexity. – Criggie Mar 7 '16 at 23:02
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It doesn't sound like it's dead yet.

Play means that the bushings are worn out.

If you continue to ride it just how it is, you will end up damaging the stanchions. However, it is not dangerous to your personal safety to do so.

Replacing the bushings seems like the best option. I doubt the stanchions have any damage if it's only a tiny bit of play like what you're describing.

It is also worth noting that the responsiveness of the fork (how well it "floats") would likely be much improved if you gave it new lube and bushings.

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