Tell me about suspension fork brands and pricing

Jason Knight

Active Member
Region
USA
City
Keene, NH
As -- like most everyone else it seems -- I keep bottoming out the front fork on my Aventure, I'm saving up to replace the front fork. I know the dimensions I need and so forth, but I'm wondering about who to buy from.

I mean I'm looking at Amazon junk... and not so junk in the $200 to $400 price range, and so many of them in the $200 range seem to not only be the same exact thing under different brands (gotta love Chinese sellers) some of the reviews are horrifying... like lugs breaking off?!?

Who are the big players / reputable brands, trustworthy sellers, and what models should I be looking at in the 28.6mm diameter headset and 135mm fork spread, with 74mm brake caliper mounts?

I'd kind of like the taller style with the turn-stop rubbers, since with the cruiser bars I'm kind of stretching the brake lines if I turn the wheel more than 100 degrees either direction.

I'm looking at this:
Despite the bad reviews as a stop-gap since it's probably still a step up from what my bike came with.

I'm stuck either trying to make do with what's on the bike now, or getting junk that's still better, and saving up for something way better in 6-8 months. So even if I don't take your recommendations now, I'd like to have a plan in place.
 

al62286

New Member
Region
USA
The Aventure is not a serious mountain bike, so if the included fork or $200 ones are more than you need, then you better off selling it and buying a more serious mountain bike that meets your needs.
 

rich c

Well-Known Member
If you want a real suspension front fork, eliminate all spring forks from your list.
 

theemartymac

Well-Known Member
If you want a real suspension front fork, eliminate all spring forks from your list.
I wouldn't quite say that, or at least without qualifying the statement with "in the budget tier".

Generally cheap spring forks aren't great, but there are many premium coil forks that outperform air shocks in technical and severe-use environments.

An Adventure probably isn't worth installing a mid-range fork on, but upgrading to an air fork is probably the logical next tier. The challenge is finding one that will keep the quick-release axle, as most mid-range forks would require a thru-axle conversion. I was intrigued by Bolton's (Now area13ebikes) air fork, but have not found much info from actual users?
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
I agree spring forks aren't THAT bad, but we're talking relative terms here, right? My experience (to date) while riding on mostly paved surfaces, with air dampened vs. spring, has more to do with rebound damping. Spring forks are kinda like a pogo stick. After a while spent on rough blacktop, you get tired of hearing that thing slam OPEN. Even at my 300lb weight, my issue is generally not that they bottom (even with the preload/sag set as light as possible), it's the rebound that makes a difference.

For that kind of riding, I bought a set of these. Nothing to write home about, but enough of an improvement where I don't get that pogo stick feeling.


This for a bike running 27.5x2.4" Schwalbe Super Moto-X tires. They fit, but based on that purchase, knowing what I know now, I would have gone with the 29" front end to get some additional clearance between the tire and fender. This one is close enough where occasionally it will trap a dead leaf (creating a really distracting noise) and hold it there until the bike is rolled backward.

If I were riding/spending much time off road, this "air" fork would be immediately overwhelmed. That's where front ends costing several hundred dollars start becoming easy to justify.... My thought, FWIW. -Al
 

Jason Knight

Active Member
Region
USA
City
Keene, NH
The Aventure is not a serious mountain bike, so if the included fork or $200 ones are more than you need, then you better off selling it and buying a more serious mountain bike that meets your needs.
I'm not after mountain biking. I'm bottoming out the 80mm of travel on the stock fork at the stiffest settings trying to cross the paved paths on the nearby college campus to get to Walmart and BK to get my Ch'King on. I thought it was low on pressure but it checks.

Admittedly, I'm in New Hampshire where parking lots are pothole and lane-wide expansion crack death traps, and off-road is often smoother riding. Even curb depressions -- the lowered part to get on/off/cross the sidewalk -- end up with two or three inch drops after one good winter! The only way it could be worse would be if I was in the Commiewealth of Taxachusetts where thanks to corruption the roads are worse despite their having three times the budget, as politicians and contractors skim 80%+ off the top. You go down route 12 and hit that state line, you KNOW You're in Taxachusetts. There's a reason I don't live there anymore, as much as I miss riding the canal road.

An Adventure probably isn't worth installing a mid-range fork on, but upgrading to an air fork is probably the logical next tier.
It comes with an 80mm air dampened fork, I'm worried about making a step SIDEWAYS to something just as crappy. It's not "upgrading to an air fork" it's upgrading to a better one. At least if I'm grokking the terminology.

Also it's "Aventure". As in unintentionally and non-criminally causing someone else's death. Not a great name for a bike honestly.

And this is why saying "let's drop the "d" because our company name is Aventon" is stupid if you don't bother researching the word first. Admittedly it's an archaic definition of the word, but I have an archaic vocabulary as a side-effect of learning Olde Englsic alongside the modern. Yeongde stoore ef anout tiem.

Reminds me of Chevy's problems selling the Nova in Mexico, given what "no va" means in Spanish.

The challenge is finding one that will keep the quick-release axle
The Aventure also does NOT have a quick release axle so... the what now? I've seen people say this more than once and it's like "what?!?"

And I quote:

HUBS
36H Disc Thru-axle Front, Nutted Rear

I'm getting the feeling you folks either don't know what the Aventure is, or what it comes with. I'm hearing people say a lot of things that have nothing to do with the bike in question.

But the way you guys are saying "spring" are you telling me there are undampened "spring only", or that there are ones that are "air only" without springs? Because both of those would be pretty dumbass. Air compresses too quickly to act as the spring -- at least for what fits inside a bicycle fork -- and without a spring it's not going to return to true. I mean to put an air ride on a bike that would be canisters the size of a 2 liter bottle per arm. Which would be interesting to implement front-and-rear. A full / proper air-ride bicycle with big ass bladders?

I get the feeling the bicycle terminology for this stuff doesn't match motorcycles, automobiles, industrial machinery, or even RC cars.
I'm also surprised there are no oil dampened options. I mean FFS my crappy little RC Monster Beetle came with oil dampened shocks I got to put together myself. Is that a weight thing? Air is a pretty crappy dampener -- again due to its compressibility -- so why is it the go-to?

Though that is why we fill them with compressed air to fight that, right? Or am I completely misunderstanding the technology? Wouldn't be the first time.

Side note, am I the only one who giggle's like a teenager every time I hear "nutted rear?"
 

Jason Knight

Active Member
Region
USA
City
Keene, NH
Also I mentioned it at the start, tell me about the brands. Who's real, who are the gamers, who are the players, who are the scammers?

I see Bucklos mentioned a lot. Where do they fit on the scale from zero to hero? Same for Rockshox, but they don't seem to even offer a 135mm option.
 

Jason Knight

Active Member
Region
USA
City
Keene, NH
For that kind of riding, I bought a set of these. Nothing to write home about, but enough of an improvement where I don't get that pogo stick feeling.
I've had a lot of people tell me Bucklos is who to look at. Whilst it doesn't tick all my boxes I'm thinking on this:


Because it's cheaper for a "stopgap", a brand I've seen people at least say is decent if not- as you said -- nothing to write home about. Sometimes there's nothing wrong with mediocre. Beats the tar our of "well this is a steaming pile"

Even though size-wise it's a 1:1 and doesn't have the steering stops. I wanted to raise the nose a bit, but maybe that's just something for another time. It's still 40mm more travel than stock, so ... yeah.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
I've had a lot of people tell me Bucklos is who to look at. Whilst it doesn't tick all my boxes I'm thinking on this:


Because it's cheaper for a "stopgap", a brand I've seen people at least say is decent if not- as you said -- nothing to write home about. Sometimes there's nothing wrong with mediocre. Beats the tar our of "well this is a steaming pile"

Even though size-wise it's a 1:1 and doesn't have the steering stops. I wanted to raise the nose a bit, but maybe that's just something for another time. It's still 40mm more travel than stock, so ... yeah.
There's no rebound damping on the ones in that link.

They are air only. I don't believe there's a spring involved. To give you something to get your head wrapped around, have a look at the struts used to lift a hatch back on a car or SUV. That's pretty much what you are looking at inside these "air" forks - and the reason they are cheaper to replace than rebuild.

For true oil damping, clearly we're at a whole new level of sophistication, with the (adjustable?) valving involved, and our choice of air or springs to hold the front end up. Downside will be weight (these are MUCH heavier) and then there is the expense involved.....

I have a background in shock building for quads, ATV's, Snowmobiles, and a little dirt bike experience, so I'm good with the sophistication involved, it was the weight and the price that stopped me in my tracks. Those factors in mind, these cheap shocks started looking pretty good for my needs. Like you say - good enough.

To your question what is the difference in these 150 dollar forks vs. the 400. versions? I'll let you know if/when I figure that out. I looked into it a little, and maybe I was looking in the wrong places, but it would appear to me they are still using struts internally, so I have no idea why they're going for twice as much or more. -Al
 

TrevorB

Active Member
When comes to forks, you get what you pay for. Air forks from Rockshox, Fox, Suntour, marzocchi, RST shouldn't disappoint. Expect to pay around $400. Buy cheap chinese fork from Amazon and you will be replacing your rubbish Zoom ( had one on previous ebike) for another.

Suntour Mobie E45 (34mm stansions) in air or coil. I have coil version which it has excellent small bump compliance and is big step up in performance from my wife's Suntour XCM. This is trekking fork more for rough roads than big hits. As heavier rider go for air version as it gives more adjustment.
Suntour Raidon is the other option, more of MTB fork.
Best supplied and fitted by shop. The may have other suggestions.

Keep old forks so can swap them back when selling bike. Sell airforks separately or fit to new bike..

PS. just realised you need 135mm axle, your options just become lot slimmer as fat bikes aren't well supported by main stream suspension brands and few offerings aren't cheap.

Edit. Just found this one. Another $200 noname chinese brand but after market support is likely to better than Amazon.
 
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Jason Knight

Active Member
Region
USA
City
Keene, NH
Air forks from Rockshox, Fox, Suntour, marzocchi, RST shouldn't disappoint.
THANK YOU for actually trying to answer my question! That's more than I've gotten most places for a response.

And you confirmed my suspicion, 135mm does indeed seem to greatly limit my choices.
 

Rebelman

New Member
I have had my Aventon Level for over 2 years and no
trouble, except recently I took front wheel off to check
pads etc. and the wheel came out fairly easy but when
trying to put it back on the forks seem to have sprung
in and there is no way to get the wheel back into fork
because it is too narrow. has anyone here have any
suggestions, other than getting a new fork which I do
not want to do, could it be sprung out somehow without
damaging it or whatever, any help appreciated.
 

Jason Knight

Active Member
Region
USA
City
Keene, NH
I ended up ordering this, which arrived next day:


On the recommendation of a friend who put them on his Rad. Install went pretty easy, and it's changed the stance and ride quality a lot. (for the better).

As it's the "tall fork" style it's an inch and a half higher, and an inch further forwards which changes the rake as I expected. It feels like I've got a lot more control. That it's got 40mm more travel and is able to be adjusted up way "stiffer" means it also doesn't bottom out going over the typical New England 2" drop where driveways and curbs meet roadway. 80mm vs. 120mm is a big difference.
Only problem is the brake hose is at its limit length-wise, to the point I couldn't even fit it into the guide on the fork. I also need to rethink my upper tube bag as the fork is hitting it. Strangely the rear hose gained about an inch of slack when it was drawn taut before... despite the bars seeming to be further away.

Guess I'll have to buy some hose, do a drain and fill. Might be time for me to consider redoing the stock brakes whilst I'm screwing with it. But that was kind-of my plan all along, to buy something semi-cheap (yeah, that happened) I could use as a baseline to customize off of.

I'm going to post up some pics in another thread as soon as the thunderstorms stop, documenting what I've done and where I'm at so far. (I'll crosslink here)
 

Jason Knight

Active Member
Region
USA
City
Keene, NH
I have had my Aventon Level for over 2 years and no
trouble, except recently I took front wheel off to check
pads etc. and the wheel came out fairly easy but when
trying to put it back on the forks seem to have sprung
in and there is no way to get the wheel back into fork
because it is too narrow. has anyone here have any
suggestions, other than getting a new fork which I do
not want to do, could it be sprung out somehow without
damaging it or whatever, any help appreciated.
Can't say I've seen that, though I have to ask did you do something silly like forget to remove some of the washers? I had that happen once where I left washers on, they got pushed in flush against the hub, and then couldn't figure out why it was suddenly wider.

Does it have directional washers or cutouts? The rear on my Aventure has that where you have to spin the hub to line them up with the mounts. With the mounting washers in place on the tire you can't just put them on any-old-direction as they're not circular. Kinda threw me for a few seconds when I did my tire swap.
 

Jason Knight

Active Member
Region
USA
City
Keene, NH
That crosslink to the update on where I'm at so far.

 

Mitchb

New Member
Region
USA
That fork you bought is likely good enough for streets or gravel roads, take it on anything rougher and it wont last long, especially on a 75 lb bike.

Heres a good link describing the changes in geometry you made:
 
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AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
Im not a bike geometry expert but....Just because your fork is longer doesnt mean your rake has been increased, it just raised your front end. The rake is determined by the Head Tube Angle, that didnt change. Ill let you do your own research. That fork you bought is likely good enough for streets or gravel roads, take it on anything rougher and it wont last long, especially on a 75 lb bike.
If you measure that head tube angle before raising it, then again after, pretty sure it is going to change. Not in relation to other chassis parts, but in relation to the ground. And admitted, not changing it much for sure!
 

Mitchb

New Member
Region
USA
If you measure that head tube angle before raising it, then again after, pretty sure it is going to change. Not in relation to other chassis parts, but in relation to the ground. And admitted, not changing it much for sure!
I edited my post, found a good explanation attached above. The headtube angle doesnt change but the changes in geometry and therefore handling can be dramatic.
 

Jason Knight

Active Member
Region
USA
City
Keene, NH
That fork you bought is likely good enough for streets or gravel roads, take it on anything rougher and it wont last long, especially on a 75 lb bike.
Gravel roads really aren't a thing here. You'd think we have snow and by extension, snow removal. And as I mentioned somewhere else, I didn't even know "gravel" was supposed to be pea sized stone until I moved out of Taxachusetts as what we do have well... anyplace else in the world would call it loose rock... or "bed of jagged death". 3-4 inch long shards of granite that half the time isn't even packed.

But we do have lots of nice wide prepared bike paths that are nothing more than where they ripped out the rail lines in the '60's screwing over the local economy because NIMBY. And more than half of America's deep rooted hatred for rail, public transit, etm.

The most I have to deal with is roots, ruts, potholes, and the 2" drops typical to frost-expansion. Again as I said before, just crossing the college campus on paved surfaces can be harsher than the dirt trails I'm likely to go on. As evidenced by how the stock fork was bottoming out going from sidewalk to road at an alleged curb depression meant for such transitions.

I'm not "sending it" over jumps or any such foolishness. I'm in my early 50's, I'm well past daredevil nonsense. Though I did a 4 foot drop in the mid 20mph range when the bike was stock back in October by accident. I did something extremely stupid and followed some other random bikers down a side trail I didn't know in PAS 5. Was surprised how well it handled it all things considered.

The only reason I went for fatties was for snow. I never wanted or intended to use this as a hardcore mountain bike. Honestly given what you get, it's absurd anyone would even consider that viewpoint in regards to the Aventure. I'm a bit shocked people keep bringing it up!

But that goes back to my gripe of the effete elitist "Mountain bike hardcore trails or GTFO" attitude that seems way too commonplace online. To match the "I'm rich and going to rub your nose in it" BS.

Christmas on a cracker, does this look like something I'm gonna grind a double black on?

newFork3.jpg
 
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