|Well, you've got a lot of things going against you on this one, but the short answer is no, that fork will not fit your bike. Your frame has a standard, straight head tube that only accepts 1 1/8'' fork steerer tubes, so the FOX fork's tapered steerer is too large. However, it would be a terrible idea to put a 150mm travel fork on your cross-country bike for two important reasons: one, the fork's extra length is going to put a lot of leverage on a frame that was really designed for much shorter forks; two, your bike will feel so unbalanced that it'll likely ride terribly. I'm big proponent of balance between a bike's front and rear suspension, and I'm usually not even a fan of companies ''up forking'' a bike with an extra 20mm of travel on the front. The 150mm travel fork you're thinking about putting on will not only cause your bike to not handle how its designers intended, the suspension action between both ends will feel awkward and unconnected. - Mike Levy|
The 2011 Element Sport is a cross-country bike that should never be fitted with a 150mm travel fork.
| Your supposition that 130 millimeters of rear-wheel travel would be a good upgrade from a 100-millimeter XC trailbike is spot on. Most bikes we have tested in the 130 range retain the snappy acceleration and much of the stable ride height that makes a short-travel bike feel so good in the corners, and they add a measure of performance over the bumps that a 100-millimeter machine cannot attain. There seems to be a break point at 130 that defines where all-mountain begins and the capabilities of the classic XC based trailbike ends. As you pass 130 and near 150, pedaling feel and acceleration degrade quickly unless suspension aids are employed to prop them up, and fore/aft weight transfer becomes more critical to help balance the suspension's ride height in technical situations.|
Modern, pedal friendly suspension designs and adjusted geometry have nudged the acceptable limit of suspension travel for an XC/trailbike from 100 to 120 millimeters and now we are seeing that figure edging to 130. But, the in-between nature of that category has created a wider spread of "personalities" between makes, so ride a few before deciding. I'd suggest you ride the 125-millimeter Santa Cruz 5010, the 135-millimeter Specialized EVO 29, and the 130-millimeter Scott Genius 900 for a start to get a feel for the range. Also, remember that suspension numbers are not the end-all definers for performance. Most riders will go faster on bikes that feel familiar to them. Your XC skills may be better put to task in the more technical realm aboard a shorter-travel 120-millimeter bike with slacked-out frame numbers from an all-mountain specialist brand like Knolly. - RC
|If you're happy with the range of your current 11-32 setup, I'd recommend sticking with it when you switch to a 10 speed drivetrain. Going to a cassette with a 34 or 36 tooth cog as the easiest gear will make climbing a little easier, but it sounds like that's not much of a concern. By going with an 11-32, you'll have an ever-so-slightly tighter spread of harder gears - on a Shimano cassette the steps will be 11,12,14,16, compared to 11,13,15,17 on the 11-34 and 11-36 options. There's also the option of going with a road cassette, but you'd be sacrificing that climbing ability even further, especially if you went with a narrow 11-21 or 11-23 tooth spread. I'd stick with what you're used to for now, and in the future if you want to trim down your cassette even further, companies like OneUp Components and Fouriers offer spacers that let you reduce your cassette down to 7 speeds, leaving you with a drivetrain that's only has the gears you'd use when going downhill, and nothing more. - Mike Kazimer|
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