Ask PB: Will My Fork Fit, is 130 Millimeters too Much, and Do I Need More Teeth?

Mar 17, 2015
by Pinkbike Staff  
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Here at Pinkbike we get inundated with all kinds of questions, ranging from the basic "Can I have stickers" to more in-depth, soul searching types of queries like if you should pop the question or what to name your first child. Ask Pinkbike is an occasional column where we'll be hand picking and answering questions that have been keeping readers up at night, although we'll likely steer clear of those last two and keep it more tech oriented.

Fork Compatibility

Question: Pinkbike user silkysmooth24 asked this question in the all-mountain, enduro and cross-country fourm: I'm looking to upgrade the fork on my 2011 Rocky Mountain Element Sport that came with a 100mm travel RockShox Recon. The fork I'm considering is a 2012 FOX 32 Talas with 150mm of travel and a tapered steerer tube that's 7 3/4'' long. How can I ensure that this fork will fit my bike? I know that it's for 26'' wheels, but I'm unsure if it will fit my bike's head tube.

bigquotesWell, 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

<i>The 2011 Element Sport is a cross-country bike that should never be fitted with a 150mm travel fork.</i>

The 2011 Element Sport is a cross-country bike that should never be fitted with a 150mm travel fork.

Cross-Over Bike From XC to All-Mountain

Question: Aks2017 asks in the All Mountain and Cross-Country Forum: I'm riding a 100-millimeter travel Scott Spark 960. I love the bike, but it's not too flashy. I've recently been thinking about upgrading. I have my eye on the Santa Cruz 5010, which has about 130 millimeters of travel. I ride primarily XC, but I want to get more 'all mountain.' Is this much travel about appropriate? I would look at the Bronson, but 150 millimeters seems like overkill for XC.

bigquotes 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

Santa Cruz 5010C
Santa Cruz's 5010 has the extra travel and contemporary geometry to handle technical trails, but its marginal big-hit performance excludes it from a full membership in the all-mountain club.

Cassette Upgrade?

Question: nickkk asks in the Mechanic's Lounge forum: Hey guys, I'm looking to significantly update the transmission soon moving from an old 8sp LX to a 10sp Zee set up on a 24" rear wheel (Specialized Big Hit '07). I currently have a 36T single ring up front and I'm getting a little confused with the available gear ratios as its been a LONG time since the last time I had to do this type of work. What sort of difference in real terms am I likely to see between 11-32, 11-34 and 11-36 10sp cassettes? My riding FWIW is most definitely in the 'freeride' category - i.e. not much technical climbing or any all day epic XC/AM stuff, and roughly 75% would be descending. 11-32 makes sense to me based on the above but any advice or set up options I should consider?

bigquotesIf 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

10 speed cassette
There's no need to go to a wider range cassette if you're not spending much time climbing.

Have some unresolved tech questions? Jump in the Pinkbike Forum and we'll look to answer it for next time.


  • 84 0
 Well that was disappointing. I thought that heading "do I need more teeth?" Was about some dentist related question.
  • 82 1
 Do you look like Sam Pilgrim? If so then yes. Yes you do.
  • 15 1
 i was disappointed too. but because of the 130mm being too much question.
  • 23 0
 ahggggggggggggg 32 150 so flexy and bendy
  • 2 0
 Are you saying that old chomper is not enough?
  • 50 0
 Damn, looks like a Super Monster T is too big for my trail bike...
  • 61 4
 Hucking is the new Enduro - Huckuro will be next big thing. XC eliminator track on Rampage Site. 3 laps of near death experience.
  • 14 1
 Mandatory jumps and drops on an enduro course sounds reasonable to me. Hukduro here we come! I better get making t-shirts. Want to stay ahead of the curve after all.
  • 13 0
 Huckduro.... make the damn shirts
  • 5 2
 Steve Jones posted a photo of somewone whipping and some guy had a T-shirt in the background: Hucking is the New Enduro Big Grin . I really want to make shirts now hahaha Big Grin
  • 2 5
  • 14 0
 Senduro ....grip it!
  • 2 0
 This huckduro shit already took off, people are on the hype, it's called "the Enduro World Series of Dice"
  • 2 0
 I've always maintained, If XCE was a full contact discipline, I'd be watching all the time
  • 26 1
 My girlfriend said that size doesn't matter, so 130mm should be enough.
  • 8 17
flag kevindhr (Mar 17, 2015 at 4:31) (Below Threshold)
 Size doesn't matter when you have 8 inch
  • 61 1
 How many teeth does she have?!
  • 8 4
 Do you have a Porsche?
  • 5 0
 Start a new lube job. Our lube is looking for 10 people to represent our needs….You will have business coming on you on a daily basis.Check Here Don’t Miss Golden showers

  • 13 1
 Not sure if continuing the joke or actual spam..... ^
  • 2 0
 It is a bit hard to tell...
  • 23 1
 "Do I need more teeth"
Coming soon to the Post yer Tractors hillbilly thread.
  • 3 1
 Bless Patsy! Ya a made my mawnin!
  • 12 0
 Mahh maammys mahhh sister
  • 14 4
 I must say that I have a Blur TR and I prefer a 160 36 on it over 140 32. Optimum is a fantastic concept for those who have plenty of money, time and patience to surf between jillion of options asking jillion of questions on forums like: is PIKE better than 36? Or should I go for DeVille?. I rode XC racing frame from 2000 with 145mm fork and it worked much better on downhills than stock 80mm fork. I simply had no money for better complete bike. Quite a lot of people I know got into DH this way: Dirt jump frame fitted with 140+ fork. Is it trending? No - does it open a world of possibilities? yes. You can also take a loan and get the bike you'd have anyways.

Strength wise... the frame was a coke can, I still sent some 20ft jumps on it. Today it lives it's retirement days as a commuter... with 29er rigid fork that I will soon change to 888RC hahahah Big Grin
  • 6 1
 If he wants to trim down his cassette afterwards, I would recommend using the spacers from his old cassette instead of spending all the money on that useless OneUp thing, with the useless big ugly ring that probably adds the same ammount of weight that you're trying to safe by getting rid from the bigger rings. Using the old cassette spacers is cheaper and better (lighter).

Personally I would go with the maximum sized cog that his derailleur can handle. In my opinion the extra smaller gear gives more advantage than having one extra ring inbetween the same ratios. Might be good for some, but at the same time it also slows your shifting down when you have to shift quickly from one side of the cassette to the other side.
  • 6 2
 I have to disagree with Mike on this one, I put a Fox32 140 vanilla on my 2001 enduro which is a 100mm frame, I just set it to the steeper head angle setting so it was not choppered out and the bike feels perfect now. Well as perfect as a 13 year old technology bike can feel...
  • 4 0
 I'd have to disagree on the "up-forking" comment by Mike Levy, in one aspect. I've found with most bikes that I've ridden that a matched travel fork is not quite enough. An inch more fork travel usually does the trick for me. Having said that, I completely agree with the rest of his assertions.

When I started riding dh/freeride, there was a lack of good long travel bike options. So, we slapped long travel forks on shorter travel bikes and made do with ruined geometry as well as the consequences of snapped head tubes. With all of the options out there nowadays, we don't have to take those risks anymore.
  • 1 0
 I had the same thought, it wouldn't make any sense with that Rocky Mountain, but I think more travel in the front can help a lot (as long as it is within boundaries).
I've got a 2011 Banshee Spitfire V1 with 130mm Travel in the rear and I put a 160mm Pike in there. The Geometrie if the bike is quite aggressive, so it still sits low enough, but it's such a capable bike now.
I will upgrade to bigger bike as soon as I've got the money, but I never thought I could ride a trailbike that hard. I'ld say I'm a good rider, but I know a lot of guys that are as fast or faster (much faster in some cases), but they always scratch their head when we ride enduro, because I've got so much less travel and still keep up with them.
I think with a 130-140mm Fork that would be waaaay harder, because would have to place my front wheel much more carefully.

The Spitfire is a amazing bike, though, I've had a Iron Horse MKIII and a Mondraker Foxy before, and the Spitfire is on another level to those!
  • 4 0
 To the potential 5010 buyer, I think the Spec Evo 29 and the Santa Cruz Tallboy LT (which I ride) are similar in design and intent. Through a leg over a Tallboy LT while you are at the SC dealer.
  • 2 0
 There's a few other bikes I'd throw onto that list. If they're looking for something they can still ride XC on too, then pick something with the extra travel that still pedals well. An Ibis Ripley would be at the top of my list, but also consider the Rocky Mountain Element BC Edition, Pivot Mach 429, Cannondale Trigger or Salsa Horsethief.
  • 3 0
 Lots of good choices. The Tallboy LT fits my riding style (and size) well. However, if I were pulling the trigger today, I would probably get a short-travel all-mountain 29er, like the Kona Process 111 or its many imitators.
  • 1 0
 To everybody that responded, thanks. The only thing about several of the bikes listed above is (whether or not it is right, it is what I want) is that I would prefer a 27.5. I've taken a look at the Spec Enduro in 27.5 and 29. It seems nice, but I'm not 'excited' when I look at it.

The two most 'exciting' bikes I have seen are of course the 5010c and the Yeti SB5C which is out of my price range.
  • 3 0
 On the 27.5 front, in addition to those I've seen mentioned already, also have a look at Giant Trance, Trek Remedy and Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt. The Enduro sounds like way more bike than you're looking for, and doesn't pedal so great.
  • 2 0
 i just picked up a Commencal meta trail a month ago and absolutely love it . 120mm , 27.5 seems to fit all your needs
  • 9 4
 Surely a handtail would be unridable if you need the same travel front and rear for a bike to feel balanced? The review of the Stanton disagreed with that view somewhat.
  • 3 0
 slack hardtails are designed by the manufacturers to be ridden with 140-160mm forks. 100mm bikes are not, so adding 40-60mm will mess up the geo and even compromise the integrity of the frame.
  • 4 2
 You can lower quite a lot of forks by adding spacers in the right place, and external headset cups can squeeze in an oversized steerer into a lot of frames. I ran a 140:120 bike gor a couple of years and am currently riding a 180:160 bike, both feel ballanced and work absolutely great for me.
  • 9 1
 But why would you do that when you can just get a fork that a) has a 1 1/8" steerer and b) isn't stupidly big for your bike.
  • 6 0
 @karrot989 Given that he had to ask this question in the first place, I doubt telling him to do what your saying would be very wise advice.
  • 2 0
 As far as I know you can only mount a tapered fork in a 1 1/8" frame if the frame has a semi-integrated headset, and only in one of those specific sizes. Then you can press a 1.5" a-head-set in the bottom of your headtube. This means though that the front end will be lifted 15-20mm, so you'd have to compensate this by lowering your fork by the same ammount.

It's still a bit of a silly solution, but it could work if you ride a hardtail and want less front suspension anyways. But in this situation it would mean you have less front suspension than rear suspension, and you'd have to set your fork harder than your rear shock. It just won't ride as well.

The point of him wanting that fork is that he can ride 150mm suspension up front. That's just going to feel bad.
The worst part of riding a fork that is too high hasn't been mentioned: it's that the frame is not designed to handle the bigger leverage and will most probably snap.
Frame manufacturers always post a maximum fork length for their frames. If you mount a fork that is longer than they said, all warrenty will be lost on the frame.
  • 2 0
 Obviously slightly irrelevant as tapered into 1 1/8 won't go (or highly unlikely anyway) but isn't the deal with the talas that they have adjustable travel? @120mm they would probably be fine (or at least not bad) and give room for experimenting upwards.
  • 2 0
 A tapered fork will can only be 'retrofitted' to a head tube that is 44mm in diameter. If it is a standar 1 1/8' (roughly 34mm) this can not be done.
  • 3 0
 You guys didn't seem to mind the Transition Scout (which I ride) being "up forked" by 15mm. I dig it! But 150mm on a frame intended for 100mm is ridiculous.
  • 2 0
 I assumed he meant when they offer the same bike with a bigger fork than they spec on the main build. I didn't take it to mean that front and rear must always match. My Nomad is actually shorter travel up front by 5mm. Then there is specialized offering the status with 200 rear and 170 up front ...
  • 5 0
 That and the 2012 Fox Talas 150 is the worst fork ever.
  • 4 0
 Was thinking of getting a 120mm upgrade for my 2015 GT avalanche that came with 100mm... Is it still safe?
  • 2 0
 It's best to ask GT themselves.

Usually 20mm extra shouldn't make enough difference to make noticable difference in strength..
Switching your front tyre from a 2.0" wide tyre to a 2.5" wide tyre would already lift your front end by 13mm, plus a higher stack a-head-set can also easily add 20mm in total. I can't imagine a frame going from strong to weak in only this small amount of change. Lifting 30mm or more is where it might start getting sketchy, depending on the frame.

You should check out the a2c length on your current fork, and look around what other forks you could mount so you don't add too much to the a2c, but still get more suspension. For example Manitou's and Fox' are generally about 15mm lower than Marzocchi and Rock Shox, for the same ammount of suspension.
This means that (generally) if you'd go from a 100mm marzocchi to a 120mm Manitou, your a2c length would only increase by 5mm. This is perfectly safe for sure.
  • 1 0
 I read in GT's manual that it'll void the warranty, but I haven't asked them about the 20mm difference. Also how would you measure the axle to crown height? Was thinking of getting either an Suntour Epicon/Epixon or a Rockshox Reba.
  • 1 0
 google it first of all, people have put up charts. but you measure from the flat surface that the crownrace rests against, down to the middle of the dropouts.
  • 2 0
 Most accurate way to find out the a2c is indeed to check it out online. Start by checking out the website of the company, usually it will mention the a2c length in the description of the fork, or maybe in the user manual. If not search further on Google. For example some people on forums have treads where they collect all the a2c lengths on all the forks they can.
  • 1 0
 I'm sure GT will give you warranty as long as the a2c is not longer than the original fork. Alltough usually companies don't even ask for it. In case they would find out they will probably still offer you a nice crash-replacement-deal for a new frame (usually of any choice).
  • 3 0
 What about "down forking"? Mike, are you opposed to DH bikes with more than 8" of rear travel, without having the option of matching the travel up front?
  • 2 0
 ha! thanks for featuring my query PB, for the record my forum question title was sadly not 'Do I need more teeth?' although I wish it had been now lol cheers for the info guys.
  • 1 0
 I remember answering that first question by silkysmooth24. I said no the fork wouldn't fit. Didn't even think to look into the travel of the fork as it wouldn't fit the bike anyway, but yeah it would have been a good idea for me to mention about the travel had I noticed..
  • 1 0
 What options are there to replace an XX1 cassette? My 42t is worn-out! There's one place in Italy that makes a replacement 42t, but it's 1/2 the price of a new cassette and honestly I'd prefer a steel 42t. Aluminum and 1x ain't working for me - especially the front ring.
  • 2 1
 Can someone please tell me what the difference is between all mountain and cross country? This still baffles me. Isn't it either... Down riding or up and down riding? And then there's jumping riding, for the dirt jumpers out there.

I'm not being cheeky.. Ok maybe a little... But I'm honestly curious of the difference.
  • 1 0
 Both XC and All Mtn are up/down bikes, but XC bikes climb quickly and descents require more rider skill on rougher trails due to limits of the lighter/race-like frame design, All Mtn/ Enduro bikes climb more slowly (heavier/more travel) but descend faster on rough trails, due to more aggressive design (suspension travel/geometry) Dirt jump hardtails are built heavier and slacker geo than traditional XC hardtails, also all mtn hardtails like Cromag are built for rougher playtime.
  • 1 0
 Question: Can anybody explain de difference between shimano spd cleats?
There seem to be at least 3 options out there (SM-SH51, SM-SH52, SM-SH55 & SM-SH56)
I've always just used thoso which came with a new pair of pedals and now it is time to replace them...
  • 3 0
 Check out the descriptions. I know some of them are single-release (only releases with sidewards motion) and some of them are multi-release (which can also release under a lot of pressure, when it thinks you are falling)
  • 4 1
 A 24" big hit rear end is enough for me
  • 3 1
 Frame geometry, good damping and a stiff fork chasis is more important than travel.
  • 1 0
 yeah! bet you like it nice and stiff ,way more important to you than lenghth ,you would say that.
  • 1 0
 As long as the stanchion is slippery it works a treat
  • 1 0
 The first question gave a reasonable answer, well a no - But what is a recommended upgraded from 100mm travel?

Could I go up to 125mm? Or is it all frame/bike dependent?
  • 1 0
 I'm sure 125 mm would be great, go for it!
  • 1 0
 I read somewhere plus or minus 25mm is fairly standard, whatever I do it'll cost a fork-tune no doubt
  • 1 0
 Depends on the bike. If it's already fairly slack even a small increase in fork travel could skew the geo. My current bike was designed for a 170mm fork, & it's already a handful to climb with, I can't imagine raising the front end any higher. If the geo is middle of the road, or steepish for the intent? you can usually get away with a lot more fork than you got out of the box. Not 50mm more, but quite a bit.
  • 2 0
 120 mm would be the safe bet.
  • 1 0
 The bike's a Scott aspect 640, 2013 frame - I've decided to upgrade and make it how I want it rather than spend out the arse for a new bike & Then have to do the same!
  • 2 0
 Sure 120 mm will be fine. The front will very likely want to lift on climbs compared to the original 100mm with the geo change. Then maybe adjust bar/stem to accommodate the higher front end if needed. Or buy a new bike that has more travel.
  • 1 0
 B650wagon makes a good point. If you can drop 20mm of rise, either at the stem, bars, or spacers, you will notice the downsides of the higher axle to crown measurement far less. I can't look at the geo of your bike online, but it's got some slackness to it. do yourself a favor, hang on to your old fork for a while. you might end up finding the bike rides better with the smaller fork. you will, for instance, lose some of the BB drop that allows it to rail corners well in this upgrade, you may find the trade isn't worth it. If you can, look for a fork that will let you tune the ride height with spacers: that way you can experiment with say, 125mm, or 115mm, etc, & find where the bike rides best.

I will give you the same advice I give most people in your situation though: save up for a full suspension frame on buy & sell. lots of really good frames out there for not a lot of cash, especially for 26" wheels. Can't hardly give away 26" bikes anymore(I've been trying to sell one for months.)
  • 1 0
 Thanks for this, my other point i forgot to mention is my Suntour fork, the bike's default option is very stiff... And im a light rider! What with the weight also - whats you opinion on replacing like for like, maybe solo air instead?
  • 1 0
 I've been pretty happy with RS in general, & solo air in specific. Keep in mind that some smaller riders have problems with fox forks specifically, in that some of the blow-offs & such don't have enough adjustment to function under 130lb & less riders. Haven't heard similar complaints about RS. That said, you can often find better deals on xfusion, & they make excellent forks.
  • 1 0
 I tried a 5010, that's a really fun bike. Remarkable capable for that little travel, and very playful, quick, and responsive.
  • 3 0
 "Up-forking?" Maybe it is all forked up.
  • 1 0
 well, considering upgraded my hardtail from 120 mil to 150 mil and it handles better than before I have to disagree with the whole 'you should never do it' bit...
  • 2 0
 I definetly need more teeth, already 6 gone
  • 2 0
 Stop eating all that lovely chocolate!
  • 5 0
 I prefer to eat rocks, same result, just quicker

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