Ask Pinkbike - Fork Lengths, New Frames and DH Chainring Size

Sep 3, 2014
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 Length Concerns

Question: Pinkbike user goldhecklerswag asked this question in the Downhill Forum: So I'm looking to upgrade my BoXXer to a Marzocchi 888 RC3 Evo, and my only concern is the longer axle to crown height of the 888. I personally like a low handlebar so I'm wondering if the added 13mm of height will be noticeable?

bigquotesA change in bar height of 13mm is a fair bit that most will take note of, but less perceptive riders might not feel a difference. That said, you mentioned that you prefer a relatively low handlebar so I'm guessing that you would pick it up right away. The taller bar might not be a terrible thing, though, as the average downhiller would be quite surprised at just how high a professional World Cup racer prefers their grips. That doesn't mean that everyone should go that route, of course, but it doesn't hurt to try a different setup every now and then. Want to keep your bar at the same height regardless of what others are doing? Start by measuring its height - make sure your bike is standing straight up and not leaning over, then measure from the ground to the top of the end of the handlebar. If you want to also preserve your bike's handling so it is close to being the same as with the BoXXer, you can use an angle finder app on a smartphone to match it after you install the new fork by sliding the 888's stanchions up and down in its crowns (be sure not to exceed the lowest recommended position). It's true that those angle finder apps might not be the most exact, but that doesn't matter as you're only aiming to match the numbers taken with the old and new forks.

Once you've got the new fork installed, start by using the angle finder and by sliding the stanchions in the crowns to match the head angle of your bike with the old fork. Now, take a ground up measurement to the top the the handlebar to see how much, if any, further adjustment you need to make by adding or removing headset spacers under the top crown, buying a handlebar with a different rise to it, or going with a different stem. If you actually discover that you need to go slightly higher, a number of companies offer spacer kits that fit between the direct mount stem and the fork's top crown. All of the above might sound a bit like OCD to someone who prefers to just jump on their bike and ride, but those who are picky about their bike will understand.
- Mike Levy

Marzocchi 888.

There are all sorts of tricks to employ if you want to tinker with your bar height, which comes in handy when you want to swap to a different fork but keep the same handlebar position.

New frame or a New Bike?

Question: Jayandgt asks in the All-Mountain, Enduro & Cross-Country forum:I recently cracked my Voodoo hardtail frame. It's been round Welsh rocky trails for the last four years and a recent stint around Swinley forest led to a cracked dropout and snapped saddle rails. So, now I need a new frame, and I want to upgrade to a full suspension. I'm not the richest person in the world, with rent and my car and other financial drains, so I reckon I got a budget of around £1000 for a 140mm trailbike. Do I buy a full bike and then transfer my bits that are better over, or do a direct swap on my frame? I'm currently running 26 inch wheels. Is it worth going to 650b?

bigquotes The perfect storm for your budget is to find a close-out deal on a 26-inch dual-suspension frame that fits the components of your Voodoo hardtail, but that may not be possible. Your Voodoo probably has quick release rear dropouts, while modern suspension bikes have 12 by 142 millimeter through-axles, I'd guess that the Voodoo doesn't have a tapered head tube either, which creates a compatibility issue for your existing headset and fork steerer and may force you to buy a headset to adapt the fork to the new frame. Seatpost diameters tend to be smaller on hardtails, so you'll need to measure and match it, or be prepared to buy a new one, and many rear suspensions require specific front derailleurs - top or bottom pull, or direct mount - to clear the swingarm bits. The good news is that it should be easy to find a frame with a threaded bottom bracket shell to fit your existing crankset, and that your fork is already compatible with your front wheel. Switching over your components to a new frame is only advisable if you are well versed in component compatibility and have a comprehensive tool kit.

Forget about upgrading to mid-size wheels, because the frame upgrade will also force you to purchase an expensive new fork and wheels. Your best bet, although it will bust your budget, is to search for a close-out 26-inch trailbike that an on-line store or LBS is trying to unload at or below their cost. The overnight success of 27.5-inch-wheel mountain bikes has made new and slightly used 26-inch models almost worthless, so this is your shining opportunity to buy a great 140-millimeter trailbike bike for very little cash. - RC

SJ 26 Evo

We doubt that jayandgt will find a new 2014 Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper Evo to fit his budget, but with 26-inch-wheel stock crashing like Wall Street during the Great Depression, he should be able to score a top-performing, 140-millimeter small-wheel trailbike from a respectable bike brand for 25 pence on the pound.

32 Tooth Chainring for DH?

Question: PB user griz23 asked this question in the Downhill forum: Any thoughts on running a 32t chainring on a downhill bike and if so would I need to change the chain length?"

bigquotesYou can certainly run a 32t chainring on a downhill bike, although you won't have quite the same top speed before you spin out as you would with a 36 or 38 tooth ring using the same cassette. The terrain you typically ride on will determine whether or not you'll miss those extra teeth - on really steep, technical tracks it will hardly be noticeable, but on wide open, fire road or ski slope type sections you may find yourself wishing you could throw in a few pedal strokes to gain additional speed.

The question about shortening your chain will depend on the size of the ring you're currently running. To figure it out, once you have the new ring installed, shift down to your hardest gear in the rear and look at the rear derailleur cage. If the chain is sagging, or if the chain on the upper pulley is touching the chain on the cassette then you'll need to take out a link or two. If you're running a chainguide, you'll also want to lower the upper guide, and raise the lower roller as well. Many chainguides be adjusted down to accommodate a 32 tooth ring, but it is possible that you may need to purchase a different guide if this isn't the case.
- Mike Kazimer

New chain guide

Going to a smaller front ring means that any chain retention device that's in place will need to be adjusted.

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


  • 29 5
 "The overnight success of 27.5-inch-wheel mountain bikes has made new and slightly used 26-inch models almost worthless"...

This is sad and true. I can't sell any used 26"-bikes for a fair price. The bike is brand new? Noone cares... i was recommended to sell my bike for 20% of the original retail price. I'd rather keep it and ride it till the frame dies!
  • 20 15
 "Fair price"? If people don't want your old bike the price goes down. How is that unfair?
  • 25 0
 just took a short trip to the buy/sell on pink bike, looks like nothing has changed price wise… used modern bikes being sold from 1800-3600, just like usual… can't say that i see the market "plummeting like wall street" just yet
  • 3 1
 Nature of the beast unfortunately. Shops already fight for sales so they put bikes lower and lower and that leads to people having to give away their bikes for a lower price. I just sold my 2014 Marin Stelvio which retailed for $3980 and had to let it go for $2250. Brand new model year, only had it for 5 months. Little over 300 KM on it and that's how much I got. I also included Ultegra pedals which aren't exactly cheap pedals. I consider myself lucky to get that because if I would have waited til riding season in 2015, I would have been looking at $2000 for it. Just the way she goes.
  • 3 2
 Of course using the bike lowers the price significantly. But i do not see why i should get rid of my bike for peanuts.

My "old" bike is great and i hate to sell it, but I'll have to stick to another brand due to sponsoring and work. I worked hard and long for it, but two bikes of the same kind is too much for me. All I want to say is that I don't understand how two years ago, I could have sold the bike for a decent price and now, with 26" wheels, you don't even get a third of the retail price back...
I don't have much influence on the price. I added a brand new Havoc wheelset, new pair of brakes, free tires of choice and maybe this will get me 50 bucks more...
  • 6 2
 Fair price is relative....Fox forks hold their value better than Marzocchi or Manitou, regardless of model year. 2003 Fox's will still fetch a few hundred dollars.
  • 4 3
 Fox 36, DB Air, new Havoc Wheelset, XT Brakes, Carbon parts where possible, 170mm travel, Reverb, XO drivetrain. Slightly used. Recommended price - 15oo $... it's not my intention to advertise for my bike, but prices for used 26"-bikes are getting rediculous.
  • 6 0
 That's just used bike prices... a 29er like that would be similar. You want to extract maximum value, selling complete bikes is not the way to do it.
  • 13 3
 Don't like the price you're getting?

Don't sell.
  • 14 0
 still, its perfectly normal to sell anything used for 30-50% of what you paid.. cars, motos, bikes, electronics… there is nothing in this world that is sold anywhere close to what you paid for as new. this is not news, this is the way it has always worked. hard to fathom being surprised by this fact!
  • 3 2
 Well except for collectibles... the finest condition known example of Action Comics #1 just went for $3.2 million on ebay a week or so ago, original price tag... 10 cents. In bicycle terms... Fat City Cycles Big One Inch forks typically fetch $500 on ebay and they were originally $200 in the early 90s. I sold mine last feb for $550US and it came with a complete Rocky Mountain thunderbolt I bought in 1995 for $200cdn.
  • 16 1
 And don't ever think that an upgrade makes your second hand bike worth much more.

It doesn't - neg prop me all you like, lesson below.

It's still second hand and you want to sell it, along with your second hand 'upgrades'

I wanted a new carbon wilson last year, I sold my WC spec Orange for 1300 when others were asking more than 2k, why? Well I wanted a new bike and in order to get it At the bargain price I needed to sell my used race bike, I bet the people asking 700 more still had it for sale 6 months later while I had 6 months on my new bike.
Did the same with a reign this year, wanted a stumpy evo so let a reign go for 500 when the market was saying 8-900. Painful but I won't be looking for bikes for 3 years, my bikes won't be worth much so I'll hunt for bargains at the start of new product releases (I.e a 2016 model as 2017 hit the shelves) and I'll let mine go for cheap, why? Come on...... You're not really asking now, are you.........
  • 5 0

Your comments make sense - market will pay what market thinks its worth, not what seller assumes its worth

I've sold dozens of frames over the years including fs MTB, ht MTB, road, bmx and hybrid

Always sold with aggressive discount and drop 10% to secure sale

Its just a numbers game - customer with hard currency wanting that size at the time you are selling, always compromise on price to secure 'that' sale then its done, dusted and you are moving onto your goal of a new bike / frame, even if you have to find a little more cash

Best advice: "better to have some pounds in the bank, than a bike in the basement"

Seen too many friends get too precious on price and still have that frame for sale a year later...
  • 2 4
 Wow 27.5, like wasn't that 15 years ago when the standard was (still us for some of us) 2.7 tires F/R ? oH now it's new. ok.

Bring back the Mobster 2.7 Maxxis !
  • 2 1
 2.7 kenda excavator and a heavy tube lol
  • 14 0
 Hampsteadbandit - exactly my point, it's worth less and less each day, take the pain and move on or stay happy and ride what you've got.

The way i see it is simple

I ride twice a week on average, across 3 years that's around 300 rides, bikes cost around 3k, that's ten quid for each ride that may be between 1 and 9 hours, each ride keeps me out of trouble, makes me a bit more healthy, perhaps helps me live a better life and have more memories and stories than just spending every weekend f*cked up on booze and other material and hating my bank balance and work every Monday.

It's a bargain :-)
  • 7 0
 The other thing you guys are leaving out is the market is super saturated. With way too many options as a whole. This in turn significantly thins out the market for anything new or used nowadays! Been to buy beer or even a soda lately? There is sooooo many options to choose from. You used to go to the store knowing what you going to
Saturation of everything = Smaller interest
  • 1 0
 Good point.

I shat myself with the amount of options for my XC ride, I settled on the stumpy after riding around on 6 other bikes, that's a small pot of the available options but choice is a good thing right? Hahahaaaa yes to a degree. Well it seems another bike comes out very other week sometimes, most I'll never get to ride so I fear I may just miss the best bike I never had.
  • 5 0
 Price has more to do with warranty than anything else.
You can have a 5k bike that's never ridden and guess what, its used, no warranty and it's worth a lot less.

Why would anyone take on the risk of an un-warrantied bike to save a few hundred bucks?

I see so many bike where people say one ride, or only ridden a few months and still want to get 80% or more of MRSP- that's ridiculous.
First, no one pays MSRP
Second, if I wait til the end of the year, the used bike without a warranty you're trying to sell me for 80% MRSP will be on closeout out new with warranty for that much.
  • 8 2
 There are currently 6,113 items, new and used, for sale on Yahoo Auctions Japan under the "bikes" section which inlcudes all frames, parts etc, when you search for "26".

Do a search for 650B and you get a whopping 45.
The same for 27.5 and you get 51.

Even assuming equal demand, supply suggests 26 will be a lot more difficult to move without discounts.
Whilst I feel a bit sorry for you young 'uns, it makes great reading for some of us oldies who can see ourselves pedalling out our days on 26.

In fact, no edit that, it makes great sense to pick up a heavily discounted 26er for anyone any age; you could get a new bike with geometry and componentry that many could only dream of a few yers ago for next to nothing and have a great time on it for years and since you bought it at a ridiculous discount you are hardly going to miss any loss of resale value. In fact, you may well lose more on resale if you buy a new 650B.... so, go on, follow PB's advice and search out a kicking 26 inch trail bike at a ridiculous discount and have some serious fun!

Try this for 1200 GBP
  • 1 1
 Yes but yahoo auctions are a tiny marketplace... so is craiglist now... Kijiji btw is owned completely by Ebay, who also own Paypal, and co-own craiglist.

Right now on, in the cycling section there is a total of 890,647 listings, of which 2252 come up if you search for 650B, and 2625 if you search for 27.5 but only 1757 if you search for both together (showing you that not every seller is smart enough to list both terms in the title).
  • 1 0
 By the same token, there are over 6500 items listed with 29er in the heading, but only a bit over 1200 identified specifically as 26er related. If you do a search in categories like forks... of the ones where a wheelsize was specified, the 26" ones number 1472, 29er 1510 and 650B a mere 209. There are actually more (381) 20" forks listed.

Put simply, this really isn't the place to shop for bargains or specific things, you're far better off using ebay.
  • 2 0
 why sell if so hardcore on 26.
  • 2 0
 if everyone just kept their 26er, the price for them would go back up- supply and demand. if you dont want it why do you think someone else will pay for it? if you think losing your butt on a 26er is bad, better sell that car in your driveway soon cause when we run out of oil, there will be a lot of sad camaro owners out there with a worthless garage queen haha. i love 26" and am happy to see that i can just about afford whatever i want. yay im just gonna keep em till i can only get 65cents a pound at the recycle center
  • 1 0
 deeeight, yahoo auctions in Japan may be a tiny marketplace yet it is indicative of the second hand market right now, as the figures you researched seem to support. Here in Japan, Yahoo Auctions is the first stop for second hand parts and whilst ebay has the market in the US, both sites' figures suggest you are far more likely to be able to come across a very, very good deal for a new or next to new 26er compared to a tweener. It is where I would put my money if I had 1000GBP to spend on a trail bike and what I would suggest to jayangdt, who asked the question.
  • 20 0
 Probably the closest I will get to being famous
  • 20 0
 If you kill Jusin biebeer you will be famous, and loved by everyone.
  • 3 0
 Sound advice. Win win.
  • 2 0
 That's exactly how I felt when a comment of mine got posted haha
  • 1 0
 just like orlando.
  • 7 0
 @mikekazimer ... as far as i know, a big (3Cool chainring helps to eliminate pedal bob because the upper chain line comes closer to the virtual or real pivot point of the rear wheel. the bikes are designed for those chainrings and should be riden with them
  • 3 0
 (3Cool means ( 38 )
  • 2 3
 technically a smaller ring should cause less bob, although this will be offset somewhat by the fact that you will most likely be using a smaller cog (higher gear) at the back as well, on the same sections of trail.
  • 1 0
 Why would you use the smaller ring up front and the small cog in the rear?
  • 1 3
 I went from a 38t to 32t on my dh bike and can't notice any difference in pedal bob.
What is noticeable though is the sleeker more compact look, better ground clearance, ease of cleaning after a muddy ride, slightly lower weight (smaller ring, cassette and shorter chain), and generally less to get in the way of your ankles when peddling. Plus if you go narrow-wide you can get away with a smaller lighter chain guide. Recommended !
  • 4 0
 And a lower top speed. Although there is the argument that over a certain speed pedaling is counterproductive compared to just aero tucking.
  • 1 2
 Well, true. To spin out at 32-11 though you need to be riding some seriously fast trails. Depends what you ride and where you live I guess.
  • 3 0
 Not true. You would be surprised but you spin out very quickly with 32-11. With 36 you spin out at much faster speeds. It makes a massive difference !
I too found there was more bob with 32 t compared to 36 t ! (very noticeable)
  • 2 0
 thanks for that mate
  • 1 2
 I disagree I'm afraid. You can do 30mph plus with 32-11 which is pretty quick off road. As I say, depends where you live. If you live in the Alps then maybe you would want a bigger ring up front. In England single 30t rings are becoming popular for all round trail bikes.
  • 3 0
 I've spun out 40/11 before. Admittedly that was on 26" wheels, and yes, in the Alps. Still wouldn't dream of going much smaller than 34 tho. Not unless I only ever ran my bike on very specific trails.
  • 3 0
 Yeah I have 34T on my AM bike, 32T would always spin out too quick.

Yes you can maybe possibly do 30mph plus with 32/11 if your legs are doing 2000 rpm... Wink
  • 1 2
 Guess I must be fitter than you :-)
  • 2 0
 because you run a smaller chainring?
  • 1 2
 Ha, well I think the implication was that you would need to pedal much quicker to reach 30mph using a 32-11 ratio.
All I know is that I run exactly the same set up on my work commute bike and can keep up with 30mph traffic.

Maybe if you are an aspiring pro riding in different countries then you would want a 34t but I think for the majority of privateer riders 32t is sufficient. Let's be honest, how often do most of us actually use the smallest cog? I'm not sure if I ever used it on my previous cassette. Personally I would say to the average rider that the benefits of a smaller ring outweigh the disadvantages.
  • 2 0
 The thing is, (not to be argumentative, but as a genuine question) what are the advantages of a smaller ring up front?

Cassettes are now available with up to a 42t ring at the larger end, and this combined with a 32 up front will pretty much allow you to ride up a vertical wall, which I believe to be far more unlikely than the, admittedly infrequent, spinning out of the highest gear. I think also most people will be happier to get off and push if they do find themselves faced with a slope that they really can not pedal up, than run out of gearing coming down the other side (especially if late for work). Yes there is a slight weight advantage to smaller rings all round, but this is very small, and at least in my opinion offset by the reduced efficiency and faster wear rates on the entire drivetrain that smaller rings cause. I run a 54t front ring on my 700c commuter. Combined with an 11/28 cassette at the rear, I can not only keep up with 30mph traffic on the flat for short periods at least, I can also happily overtake them when things are sloping downhill.
  • 1 0
 I love these debates.
I did list the advantages in my initial post. I agree with the uphill argument - I would rather push too. Ultimately it comes down to personal preference I suppose (and what you ride/where you live).
For dh I am happy to stick with 32t. My friends all run 34t for dh now and race regularly. There isn't a massive amount in it.
  • 7 1
 @MikeLevy that was quite a confusing reply to Goldhecklerswag regarding fork choice.

@goldhecklerswag there are a few things to bear in mind if you buy forks with an increased axle-to-crown height. The axle to crown height quoted is the minimum height which the LOWER crown can be run at. Therefore with the lower crown at its lowest setting, the bottom of your headset will be 13mm higher (from the floor) with the 888 than with the Boxxer.

The distance from your BB and your saddle to your handlebars will REMAIN IDENTICAL to when you had your boxxers (as long as the thickness of the top crown is the same). Even though the distance from the floor to your handlebars will increase by 13mm.

The head angle of your bike will be slacker with the new forks, and your bottom bracket will be slightly higher. So although you may be able to lower your bar height with a different bar/stem/spacer set up, the handling of your bike will still change.

I think that most riders would notice this 13mm change, but some may see the extra slackness as a positive. However most manufacturers try to provide a low axle-to-crown height on DH forks as this gives you the option of going steeper and lower if riders want, but they can slide the fork legs through the crowns to give a higher axle-to-crown height if needs be.

Hope this helps!

  • 1 0
 I agree. If you're running a boxxer slammed chances are your front end is too low. Most of the WC guys run their stanchions raised 15-30mm over lowest setting, along with tall bars and or stem spacers. Ofcourse this is largely cause of how steep the terrain they ride is, as well as the long front centers they run(this is a factor too in choosing bar height). Maybe OP is running a short top tube?
  • 2 0
 All second hand goods are only worth what someone will pay. In my experience a bike will be worth about 50% after three years, similar to most cars, but with the new wheel sizes its inevitable that 26" wheeled bikes will depreciate far more.
  • 1 0
 ran a day with 5mm rise bars and top crown very low and bike rode like shite. (thought is was just me) than switched spacers and raised the top crown 1" + and changed to 1" riser bars. night and day difference, rode so much better. riding through stuff smiling, that would make me pucker up before.
  • 1 0
 Regarding the chain length when you change rings, since we know that each 2 teeth corresponds to a full link, and the chain length is good now, can't you just remove the corresponding number of links and be done with it? That's always worked for me, am I missing something?
  • 3 0
 Yes, your chain is on half the chainring. So a full link correspond more to 4teeth, than to 2.
  • 3 1
 I think the future of downhill will be like what Trek is doing. 26in for with short chainstays and stuff most people and Freeriders and 650B with a race geometry for obviously people who like to race. Smile
  • 1 0
 @pinkbike You had a previous article about the airborne toxin. It was mentioned that it lacked on the steep technical sections and for a few more hundred you could get a better what kind of bike?
  • 1 1
 as a dealer, I don't do Ebay unless it's a close-out, demo, used... etc. most companies we buy from don't allow their products sold on Ebay -- I don't care for Ebay myself --- the fees are simply too high. sure, there's more people on it but it's gotta be something special for me to walk away feeling like it was worth the effort on Ebay. only time I use Ebay is when I just want to get rid of something that's been sitting around too long, let the bottom feeders have at it..

as far as selling 26", 27.5", 29ers... big squish bikes... lots of interest in the 27.5 stuff but I would not say the 26" or 29ers are going to see their value decrease because of 27.5"... they're just different. still plenty of 20" wheels being sold out there too.

couple of you commented about you can't sell your used 26" at a good price --- that's bikes for ya --- they're just as bad as driving a new car off the lot --- value drops soon as ya pay for it.. think about it, there's very few products out there that really hold their values.. cameras, computers, boats, lawn equipment, the list goes on and on...
  • 2 0
 Well, Pb buysell is basically a stock market and the price is dictated by what people want, it's totally out of your hands
  • 4 3
 Actually EBAY is the stock market for values... not pinkbike... an audience of MILLIONS trumps tens of thousands.
  • 2 0
 This is true, mostly because its an auction based system instead of an asking price system. Tons of adds on PB doesn't mean anyone's buying. I bought a NIB 26" Devinci frame for $600 on Ebay with more in stock at that price, so that is essentially the going price even though people are asking twice that for their used version on PB.
  • 1 0
 Except fixed price listings far exceed auctions on the site now. 850,000 Buy It Now listings versus 46,000 auctions in the cycling section alone. I myself have a couple hundred listings up right now of which I think three might be auctions.
  • 1 0
 Regardless, I think I agree with the thought that Ebay is a far better litmus for pricing on bike stuff than Pinkbike.
  • 2 0
 People still want crack prices for 26" Fox 36's, Lyrik's, etc.
  • 6 0
 what people "want" is not what the "get"
  • 1 0
 "Boobdesign"... I like that.
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