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I have a MTB which has a 1.600g frame and 2.600g suspension fork. Does being heavy at the front cause a disadvantage when climbing?

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    1600g frame is respectably light, while 2.6kg fork is absurdly heavy. I wonder how they ended up together haha.
    – MaplePanda
    Nov 21, 2021 at 19:26
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    @MaplePanda - RockShox BoXXer RC are 2.6kg,Marzocchi Bomber Z1 2.5kg, tacked to a high end, carbon hardtail DH frame? But then the question becomes why would you worry about riding uphill on such a machine
    – mattnz
    Nov 22, 2021 at 8:05
  • @MaplePanda It has been a long time but probably I got that frame on a bargain but as mentioned, I don't think the fork is absurdly heavy for suspension fork standards.
    – Ender
    Nov 22, 2021 at 9:47
  • Can you lock the suspension? Excessive suspension bounce can be a real killer when climbing on a mountain bike.
    – IronFarm
    Nov 22, 2021 at 11:10
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    @Ender The forks mattnz mentioned are downhill dual-crown forks, the strongest type available. High-end normal forks go down to 1300g in weight, but even the most budget-friendly forks I’d expect to be on a 1.6kg frame are like 2200g max.
    – MaplePanda
    Nov 22, 2021 at 19:07

2 Answers 2

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Weight anywhere makes climbing harder.

Weight over the front end is somewhat beneficial when on a steep climb, because it helps give the front wheel traction, which helps with steering and balancing.

If your front wheel is not carrying enough weight, then turning inputs are slower and eventually ignored completely.

Being tall, I find steep climbs a challenge because significant grades put more weight behind the rear axle, resulting in a "lifty" ride. Minor changes like moving my full waterbottle to the front cage can have a surprising impact on this.

Do remember that the rider will outweigh the fork, frame, and the entire bike by a wide margin, so your body posture is the single biggest effect on weighting of the bike.

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Bike frames are designed for a certain geometry, so swapping out a fork for something random might raise/lower the front of the bike to a point where it really doesn't 'play nice' with how the frame is designed. I would stick to a similar fork in terms of height/offset/etc as the original frame spec.

In terms of weight, some weight at the front when climbing might actually be helpful to keep the front wheel down and give you more traction. However, as soon as you get into more technical climbing where you're lifting your front wheel, doing j-hops, etc you might find the extra weight starts getting in the way!

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    There's a lot of FUD about how geometry gets “wrong” when you do this or do that. In fact there's no such thing as right or wrong or nice or weird geometry, just different geometries that suit different riders in different ways when riding in different styles. One thing that is true though is that an over-long fork can put excessive stress on the head tube of a bike that wasn't designed for the kind of terrain that this fork is good for. Nov 22, 2021 at 13:49
  • @leftaroundabout 100%, at the end of the day it's all about rider preference. People have been putting 27.5 rear tires on 29er bikes for years, now companies are designing around it! To share a personal experience, I've ridden 4 different forks on my current Santa Cruz Nomad; the last switch I went from 160 to 170mm and the extra 10mm made the bike feel awful - front wheel lifted way too much when climbing, I couldn't get it to bite hard in berms, etc - moving steering spacers around solved the problem, but even 5mm spacers made a huge difference.
    – wild coast
    Nov 22, 2021 at 17:54

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