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FORK TRAVEL - LET'S get some opinions

bizutch

Delicate CUSTOM flower
Dec 11, 2001
15,922
8
Over your shoulder whispering
OK....So I've had a 888RC for 2 years now in the 8 inch travel version and have enjoyed it to a certain extent because it is simply bombproof and I can set it and forget it....but....

Over the last 2 weekends I've felt a little "slow" in the front end of the bike with all that travel. This sounds silly but my old Dorado and Boxxer seemed to move around a lot quicker and come off the ground easier(although damping was not as good)....2 things that make a big difference in East Coast terrain to help in a race run. I have had it in the back of my mind that a 7 inch travel 888 might work better and help speed up the bikes handling.

At Sugar, Chris told me he had Fox lower his travel to 7.5 on his DH40 and at Snowshoe Jeremy said he was starting to wonder if he needed an 8 inch travel fork himself (he had hte 7 inch travel 888 last year and loved it).

Now all the DH forks are at 8 inches of travel.

Does anybody besides me miss having a 7-7.5 inch travel fork? Anybody else have that sluggish feeling in the front of the bike from that extra inch of travel? Or is this just me and my head playing tricks on me?
 

DHS

Friendly Neighborhood Pool Boy
Apr 23, 2002
5,101
0
Sand, CA
you thinking about this wayyy too much. go out and ride...
do you atleast run the lower crowns?
 

xy9ine

Turbo Monkey
Mar 22, 2004
2,812
213
vancouver eastside
i think we're finally reaching a plateau of optimum travel - not unlike moto-x bikes had years ago. i think in many circumstances, 7" of quality travel could be faster - under the right rider, of course. there's an interesting article on olivier bossard in the new dirt - he said that if he were to build an optimum wc fork it would be about 170mm. fabien barel (an ex-bossard rider) seems to prefer the shorter travel.
 

profro

Turbo Monkey
Feb 25, 2002
5,604
281
Walden Ridge
I think to a certain extent its you head playing tricks with you. JP runs an 8" 888 and its ain't slowing him down. I think if you raced and rode the fork more you'd get more used to it. That being said I have a 180mm Dorado and for the most part I never bottom it outside a few places. I do consistantly bottom it at Windrock and once at Sugar. I like the 180mm of travel I wish that it had a bottom-out resistence adjustment like the rear shocks. I do believe that the new Travis' have bottom-out adjustment.
 

Jeremy R

<b>x</b>
Nov 15, 2001
9,509
526
behind you with a snap pop
xy9ine said:
i think we're finally reaching a plateau of optimum travel - not unlike moto-x bikes had years ago. i think in many circumstances, 7" of quality travel could be faster - under the right rider, of course. there's an interesting article on olivier bossard in the new dirt - he said that if he were to build an optimum wc fork it would be about 170mm. fabien barel (an ex-bossard rider) seems to prefer the shorter travel.
Yeah, didn't Barel win the Worlds on a 7 inch 888?
I have the flat crowns, zero stack headset and a 1" rise bar on mine,
and sometimes I wish my front end was lower, but then again I have hunched over riding style, so it may just be a personal thing.
 

Cant Climb

Turbo Monkey
May 9, 2004
2,687
10
When you go to Mt. Snow your going to like that big high riding fork.......

Also, as for getting low........after Thursday practice i ran into Duncan Riffle going into his condo (right next to ours) and he had a negative stem on there....not sure if he was just expirementing though..
 

ncrider

Turbo Monkey
Aug 15, 2004
1,566
0
Los Angeles
Off topic slightly, but do you have flat crowns on your 888? I recently installed a pair of Risse crowns on mine and the bike handles so much quicker and more lively it amazing. If you don't have them maybe you should consider this as a cheaper alternative to buying a new fork.

Back on topic. I remember reading an article in Dirt about Barel's Kona Stab. He felt that a 7" fork was all you needed for the current style WC courses. Personally I've ridden a 7" fork and my 8" 888. It'd be hard to compare simply because my 888 is so much more plush than my previous fork. If you're quick and light then maybe 7" is all you need. Certainly you want what makes you most comfortable and for me thats my 888. For you maybe it's your old Dorado or Boxxer.
 

Transcend

My Nuts Are Flat
Apr 18, 2002
18,045
0
Towing the party line.
I thought 7 would be best. Figured 8 was too much travel, would feel sloppy etc.

I was wrong. My 40 feels amazing and bottomless at 8 inches, but doesn;t have the sloppy feeling I expected it would. That said, it is WAY plusher then my boxxer, so i still bottom it just as much, only it tracks the ground about 1000x better in corners now.
 

jackalope

Mental acuity - 1%
Jan 9, 2004
5,956
2,298
in a single wide, cooking meth...
After getting my V-10, I was positive that I "needed" to have a 8" fork on the front, namely a DH40...So after running a 66 RC on it for awhile when in I was in Canada, I switched over to my old trusty '03 Shiver...Figured it would hold over until I was able to sell a kidney and buy a DH40...But, after changing the oil in the Shiv, I've pretty much fallen back in love with that fork and have no plans to change it now...It actually feels better than the 8" 888s I've been on (blasphemy I know)...Thus, I think my set up is almost perfect now with the low axel-crown height and 190 mm of travel - just wish it didn't need 5 gallons of oil and was a little lighter...Oh well, I can always drill speed holes in the crowns :thumb:
 

PoserNewbie

Monkey
Feb 14, 2003
469
0
Lower Mainland, BC
I thought 7" was optimal for most riding but I am not really complaining getting the extra 1" of travel from my 05 boxxer. IMO, if the frame is built with the right geometry to handle an 8" travel, there is no reason why it would slow you down. Of course, on some course/trails where it is less technical, a shorter travel fork would be better.
 

Zark

Hey little girl, do you want some candy?
Oct 18, 2001
6,257
7
Reno 911
Its dependent on so many variables. The particular bike its on, terrain, rider height and weight and style. There isn't right or wrong answer, just a preference built on personal experience. I'd say ride the 8" and enjoy the security of having the travel if not always needing the travel.
 

spoke80

Turbo Monkey
Nov 12, 2001
1,494
0
Jeremy R said:
Yeah, didn't Barel win the Worlds on a 7 inch 888?
I have the flat crowns, zero stack headset and a 1" rise bar on mine,
and sometimes I wish my front end was lower, but then again I have hunched over riding style, so it may just be a personal thing.
I would spray that the lower overall stack height plays more of a role that the amount of travel.
 
I think Butch is trying to talk himself into buying one of those trick and purdy BOSS triple 8 from go-ride and is looking for support. :D

Okay back to topic: i'm a squid but think the whole 7 versus 8" is relative to the terrain. IE, you might want to extra slack and stability at one course (wide open) but you might want to quickness of the 7" in a more tight woods race or course.

So, i have nothing to add besides buying both forks!
 

profro

Turbo Monkey
Feb 25, 2002
5,604
281
Walden Ridge
Cant Climb said:
after Thursday practice i ran into Duncan Riffle going into his condo (right next to ours) and he had a negative stem on there....not sure if he was just expirementing though..
Both Duncan and Graves run their Race Face stems upside down to get a lower handlebar height.
 

Red Bull

Turbo Monkey
Oct 22, 2004
1,773
0
970
profro said:
Both Duncan and Graves run their Race Face stems upside down to get a lower handlebar height.
I am running my DH40 at 7", but i feel i may be faster with a slacker Ha for this weekend (Mt Snow and its super fast-ness) so i may try and change to 8, or maybe a happy medium, 7.5... (Its set pretty stiff, i only bottom off stuff over 8'...)
 

JRogers

talks too much
Mar 19, 2002
3,791
1
Claremont, CA
jackalope said:
After getting my V-10, I was positive that I "needed" to have a 8" fork on the front, namely a DH40...So after running a 66 RC on it for awhile when in I was in Canada, I switched over to my old trusty '03 Shiver...Figured it would hold over until I was able to sell a kidney and buy a DH40...But, after changing the oil in the Shiv, I've pretty much fallen back in love with that fork and have no plans to change it now...It actually feels better than the 8" 888s I've been on (blasphemy I know)...Thus, I think my set up is almost perfect now with the low axel-crown height and 190 mm of travel - just wish it didn't need 5 gallons of oil and was a little lighter...Oh well, I can always drill speed holes in the crowns :thumb:

I hear you. I've been tossing the idea around of getting a new 8" fork for my Mountain Cycle (that's what most people seem to run on them). I just changed the oil in my Shiver last night to get ready for Mt. Snow. WOW! I forgot what a fresh fork feels like. I should change oil and clean more, buy new stuff less. Definitely the smoothest fork I've owned or felt.
 

bizutch

Delicate CUSTOM flower
Dec 11, 2001
15,922
8
Over your shoulder whispering
I agree with the overall that frame angles, stack height, etc can play a big role in feel of the fork. But I'm speaking in terms of handling. I've noticed from day 1 that usage of travel has NEVER been an issue with my 888...the damping works perfectly regardless.

What I mean is in terms of time spent on the bike have to get the fork to move around. Things like quickly celaring a small obstacle to shave time, whipping the front around a tight turn, rather than sinking into the travel and getting it to just trace the turn. Also, when you're working a section that requires rhythm and popping the front over several objects to maintain speed, that 1" of extra travel seems to make my bike seem a little more sluggish.

Each time you pull up on the bars, that's another inch of travel and a tiny bit more time and effort you spend in getting over that object. Run through a blown out rock section like the part at Snowshoe just after the 3 drops up top....and you're talking pulling up on the bars and clear 10-15 objects in a 10-30 second time frame. That is where I noticed it most.
Things I might normally pop the front wheel over I would have to front wheel float, bump or "Tag" an obstacle on.
 

Zark

Hey little girl, do you want some candy?
Oct 18, 2001
6,257
7
Reno 911
But there is the trade off in the time gained from all the stuff you plowed over faster since your fork just leveled it, instead of you wasting energy trying to manhandle around it. (devils advocate)
 

OGRipper

Turbo Monkey
Feb 3, 2004
9,758
182
NORCAL is the hizzle
To me, if its set up right you aren't just getting an inch more at the top or bottom of the stroke. For a properly tuned fork I see it as being about a little more sag (so more plush, better in the small stuff) and a little more travel available before full compression (so more stroke available to ramp up to resist bottoming).

How much travel you've got in your frame also matters to me. Say what you want about sag, etc., but I've always preferred a balanced set up between front and rear. Since lots of frames are pushing 8" or more, I like the trend towards 8" for nasty DH.

I can definitely see how a 7" fork might be preferable on a tight twisty course with lots of sections where you need to loft the front wheel (or if that's just your style), and also for freeride and other kinds of play where you want to get off the ground. But like others have said, it very much depends on the fork the frame was built around (or at least what A-C dimensions were covered).
 

Kevin

Turbo Monkey
Make sure you have the right set up, then get a tie wrap around the uppers and see how many times and where you bottom it.
If you dont or rarely bottom it I suggest you get a 7".
Im running a 03 dorado in my 05 v10. The difference in travel (front and back) is obviously pretty big but I like the way the dorito keeps my front end nice and low. Plus I dont bottom it hardly ever on my runs. Maybee on a big drop or gap but I dont do FR just DH, so it doesnt bother me too much.
 

OGRipper

Turbo Monkey
Feb 3, 2004
9,758
182
NORCAL is the hizzle
Kevin said:
Make sure you have the right set up, then get a tie wrap around the uppers and see how many times and where you bottom it.
If you dont or rarely bottom it I suggest you get a 7".
Well, bottoming is really a separate issue. You could have the same lack of bottoming with a 7" fork if it's not set properly. Not sure what you mean by the "right set up" but depending who you ask, regardless of the amount of travel, you should be bottoming out now and then with whatever fork you ride. If you can't bottom your 8" fork then (depending on the fork) you need a different spring, less oil, less bottoming resistence, etc., not necessarily less travel.
 

partsbara

Turbo Monkey
Nov 16, 2001
3,996
0
getting Xtreme !
Kevin said:
Make sure you have the right set up, then get a tie wrap around the uppers and see how many times and where you bottom it.
If you dont or rarely bottom it I suggest you get a 7".
Im running a 03 dorado in my 05 v10. The difference in travel (front and back) is obviously pretty big but I like the way the dorito keeps my front end nice and low. Plus I dont bottom it hardly ever on my runs. Maybee on a big drop or gap but I dont do FR just DH, so it doesnt bother me too much.

you mean your locked out dorado :)
 

Ian Collins

Turbo Monkey
Oct 4, 2001
1,428
0
Pacific Beach, San Diego, CA
Cant Climb said:
When you go to Mt. Snow your going to like that big high riding fork.......

Also, as for getting low........after Thursday practice i ran into Duncan Riffle going into his condo (right next to ours) and he had a negative stem on there....not sure if he was just expirementing though..
He wasn't experimenting....I rode with him in santa barbara last weekend and that's how he runs it...the lower the front end the faster you can corner....
 

Ian Collins

Turbo Monkey
Oct 4, 2001
1,428
0
Pacific Beach, San Diego, CA
bizutch said:
I have had it in the back of my mind that a 7 inch travel 888 might work better and help speed up the bikes handling.
I ride the 7" and will probably continue to, the fork is so plush, and so progressive that there's no need for 8" in my opinion...there have been times where I would have wanted it on really gnarly trails like northstar, or santa barbara, but at the same time, I think if I had the extra inch, i'd be beating myself up having to work harder to throw my bike around the whole time, whereas I only want that extra inch of travel on 5% of the trail....Try the 7" fork man....you'll dig it...actually 170mm equates to 6.69" of travel, which sounds insufficient, but it's really pretty smooth

I just read your post on top of this page and you definitely want the 7"....the problem with the 8" is that it's to wallowy in it's travel and it dives a bit when you try to get hard on it in terms of handling
 

Jeremy R

<b>x</b>
Nov 15, 2001
9,509
526
behind you with a snap pop
Ian Collins said:
I ride the 7" and will probably continue to, the fork is so plush, and so progressive that there's no need for 8" in my opinion...there have been times where I would have wanted it on really gnarly trails like northstar, or santa barbara, but at the same time, I think if I had the extra inch, i'd be beating myself up having to work harder to throw my bike around the whole time, whereas I only want that extra inch of travel on 5% of the trail....Try the 7" fork man....you'll dig it...actually 170mm equates to 6.69" of travel, which sounds insufficient, but it's really pretty smooth

I just read your post on top of this page and you definitely want the 7"....the problem with the 8" is that it's to wallowy in it's travel and it dives a bit when you try to get hard on it in terms of handling

Well, I have ran the 7" on last year's DHR and now I am on the 8", and the only course that I have been on where I would have preferred the 8" is Vermont. But other than that the 7" 888 was killer everywhere else.
And even at Vermont, it was only on a couple of sections.
 

Kevin

Turbo Monkey
OGRipper said:
Well, bottoming is really a separate issue. You could have the same lack of bottoming with a 7" fork if it's not set properly. Not sure what you mean by the "right set up" but depending who you ask, regardless of the amount of travel, you should be bottoming out now and then with whatever fork you ride. If you can't bottom your 8" fork then (depending on the fork) you need a different spring, less oil, less bottoming resistence, etc., not necessarily less travel.
I know every fork should bottom every once in a while on the apropriate occasion (thats what I said before). But when you feel like your fork is set up proparly and u still dont use all the travel I think you could do with less suspension. Barel would probably not use all of the suspension of a 8" travel fork if it was set up right for him and his style of racing.
Once in a while I "try" and be smooth and check how much travel Im using and somethimes I dont use all my travel. If I make a normal run and dont care about being smooth theres a big chance the zip tie is all the way down (USD).
U dont have to use all the travel on your 8" fork imo because you can also absorb with your arms which allows you to maybee run your fork a little stiffer which reduces movement/pumping. Or you could just use a 7" travel fork which is probably enough for most DH tracks. Sure a lot of people are fast on 8"travel forks but it doesnt mean more travel is better.
Offcourse I could be talking BS and theres probably gonna be someone who knows more about this stuff and whos gonna totally anihalate my theory but this is what I experiance when I ride and I like to run stuff the way I like it in stead of what some one else says. No offence offcourse.
Course Ill try out suggestions from other people to see whats best allways.



Paul.
You are a cunt :devil:
Last time there was air in my fork but after some fixing and tuning by Bikeright/Be One it feels a hell of a lot better.
Hope to see you in Namur, Ill let Steve 0 know you coming and Ill try to arrange some Jupiler's.
Ill call you soon mate.
 

CBJ

Turbo Monkey
Mar 19, 2002
11,034
1,328
Copenhagen, Denmark
Ian Collins said:
I ride the 7" and will probably continue to, the fork is so plush, and so progressive that there's no need for 8" in my opinion...there have been times where I would have wanted it on really gnarly trails like northstar, or santa barbara, but at the same time, I think if I had the extra inch, i'd be beating myself up having to work harder to throw my bike around the whole time, whereas I only want that extra inch of travel on 5% of the trail....Try the 7" fork man....you'll dig it...actually 170mm equates to 6.69" of travel, which sounds insufficient, but it's really pretty smooth

I just read your post on top of this page and you definitely want the 7"....the problem with the 8" is that it's to wallowy in it's travel and it dives a bit when you try to get hard on it in terms of handling
Is this special for the 888?

I don't have that experience coming from an 04 7" Boxxer to 05 8" Boxxer in fact I feel its the other way around with more control through the travel.
 

sayndesyn

Turbo Monkey
Hey Kevin,
When is Namur? I think Paul and I may head up there and race/drink. Or is that drink/race... Sorry to de-rail this thread.. I think it depends on the riders style personally... I prefer to slam through everything and thus put flat spots in rims and bottom out 8" forks. But if you weigh 150 and are smooth I think that 7" would be better for cornering. If the course is right some risse crowns on a 7" might even be appropriate. I love cornering on my 80mm dj bike so I can imagine that a dh bike that is even less chopped out might corner like a son of a gun...
 

OGRipper

Turbo Monkey
Feb 3, 2004
9,758
182
NORCAL is the hizzle
Kevin said:
I know every fork should bottom every once in a while on the apropriate occasion (thats what I said before). But when you feel like your fork is set up proparly and u still dont use all the travel I think you could do with less suspension.
I hear what you're trying to say - that if you don't use all your travel most of the time, you might not need so much travel - but I just don't agree and I think that to an extent you are contradicting yourself.

You say that a fork should bottom out sometimes, then suggest using bottoming as a test for too much travel. If proper set up means bottoming every now and then, regardless of the amount of travel, then your test doesn't work - I know it doesn't work for me. I used to get roughly the same amount of bottoming from a 7" fork as I do with my 8" fork, because (like many) I try to tune my forks (regardless of travel) to bottom out on the nastiest hits.

If someone is not using all of their travel, they might need fork tuning, not necessarily less travel.
 

blt2ride

Turbo Monkey
May 25, 2005
2,334
0
Chatsworth
I like my 7" travel fork, but I'm not very receptive to change, so I may be short changing myself. Personally, I like the way my bike handles with a 7" fork.

On the other hand, there are times where I kind of wish I had a little bit more travel up front. For that reason, I will probably get a 888 next year, when they come stock with flat crowns.
 

Ian Collins

Turbo Monkey
Oct 4, 2001
1,428
0
Pacific Beach, San Diego, CA
CBJ said:
Is this special for the 888?

I don't have that experience coming from an 04 7" Boxxer to 05 8" Boxxer in fact I feel its the other way around with more control through the travel.

I think that the reason a 7" 888 is sufficient because in my opinion the 888 makes better use of the travel and feel more progressive than a boxxer....I haven't 7/8 inch boxxers back to back to compare the two...i'm considering the 06 air sprung boxxer tho
 

Kevin

Turbo Monkey
Ian

I guess your right on the zip tie test. Its not waterproof at all.
I think what Im trying to say is that I like to have my suspension a little stiff so I need to absorb the smaller hits with my arms but on bigger hits the travel should kick in.
On a 8"travel fork I dont think you should have to use all the travel because I think 7" is enough to take the bigger hits and you can still take the smaller ones with your arms.
Anyways I guess what Sandesyn said pretty much says it all. Depends on how you ride I guess.


Yo Sandesyn PM sent btw...
 

dexter

Turbo Monkey
Sep 23, 2001
2,950
32
Boise, Idaho
we all know you just want a supermonster bizutch its all good.

my point on this. it totally depends on bike, terrain, rider etc. i went from riding a yeti dh 9 with a dorado and slider+ on it and now a sinister r9 with s lider + and a travis on it and feel 10x faster on the sinister. they yeti just never worked for me but i rarely bottomed the suspension b/c of the rear suspension and headangle (i guess). on the sinister the slider plus blows through the travel really quickly (guess the old freshman/summer of sophmore year 15 is part of this) but i would love 8 inches. When i got the travis on the end (8 inch instrict ti) the bikes handeling slowed down a ton and it took more work to muscle the bike around (but nothing like the dh9). i should have the trav back in a few days set up at 7in which i beleive if set up properly is all you need for most courses except idaho, snowmasut would be nice but not needed, and mt snow.
 

SuspectDevice

Turbo Monkey
Aug 23, 2002
3,944
36
Roanoke, VA
I want 7" of travel, but with the crown-axle of an 8" fork. That's what I have running the big drop crown with my mojo'd boxxer. I can't possible see ever wanting more travel, as I can alter the springrate, damper setting and progressivity if need be. It's still quality over quantity, and the most important facto IMO is nice heavy low-speed damping so that your short travel fork rides higher in it's travel, and a nice progressive rampup at the end.
 

Inclag

Turbo Monkey
Sep 9, 2001
2,345
65
MA
How about you get the BOSS 888 internals which can be adjusted between 170mm and 200mm of travel and be a guinea pig for us :D
 

Jm_

Turbo Monkey
Jan 14, 2002
9,617
1,977
AK
I have felt in the past that some forks were just "too short" for a certain DH bike. It seems that you get too much manuverability, and then at speed when you are trying to corner, whether it be a tight corner or a wide one, the shorter fork just does not want to stay "on the line", it's like you are fighting it all the way to keep it going. I went with a longer fork at one time and I was quite suprised. To offset for the fact that there was then less weight up front I did change tires to a 2.8 michelin, but I felt that the tradeoff was worth it. I was able to turn much better, something that kind of sounds contrary to what you'd think. I could go as fast as I wanted in a straight line with the shorter fork, so "stability" just never really ran across my mind, but in turns it just doesn't want to stay on line at speed when it's too short IMO....
 

jon-boy

Monkey
May 26, 2004
799
0
Vancouver BC
Maybe the Travis and next years Boxxer with motion control will make a 8" fork feel more lively. If the fork didn't dive into travel so much under braking or reacted more to being pumped then 8" would work well. To me it sounds a little like a damping issue rather than the extra inch. I do see the point though. Maybe an 8" fork needs a slightly different riding style?
 

thaflyinfatman

Turbo Monkey
Jul 20, 2002
1,578
0
Victoria
IMO the biggest factor is the bike. I have an 04 SGS and I wouldn't want an 8" fork on there (I run a 7" boxxer fully slammed with the zero-stack headset) because it's already very slack (and the BB is nice and low and I don't want to jack that up). If I had something with a steeper head angle (Turner, R9, etc) then I'd probably be much happier with a longer fork on it.