We are now offering suspension forks for 26″ MTB.
As component standards vary as widely as never before, it is sometimes ridiculously hard, if not impossible, to find replacement parts for good ol’ standard mountain bikes. So here we are, adding a quite ordinary MTB fork to our lineup for you.
Just skip the following section to photos if you’re not into tech details.
There is a good reason forks are subject to the rise and fall of various standards; all of the interfaces between forks and surrounding parts are fierce battlegrounds between standards.
Let’s start from the top. The steerer tube, or steering column, is where the fork is attached to the frame. Long ago it was 1″ (25.4mm) in diameter, but since about a quarter century or so ago it has settled at 1-1/8″ (28.575mm), first on MTB and then most all bikes, now including road racers and BMX. At the tip, that is. The bottom part of this tube, though, is now growing in size to secure rigidity. That’s not a bad idea at all per se, but there still are plenty of frames out there that have straight 1-1/8″ head tubes, including our very own Tanatos, that are not falling behind in terms of performance. On the other hand, aftermarket forks are almost all tapered now. This is the primary reason we ordered these fork to such specifications as explained here.
Next issue is tire size. As mainstream tire sizes changed from 26″ to 29″ and then to 27.5″, forks have been redesigned, since there is only so much tire size difference a fork can cover. We are maintaining our love of the 26″, so this is the second reason behind us offering this fork.
The next standards war theater is the brake mount. Typical forks used to have rim brake (cantilever brake) mounts, then IS disc brake mounts, and now post mounts. Post mounts offer easy adjustment, fair performance, and compatibility with much older brakes as well. So this was an easy choice, we went with the flow.
Now to the bottom end of the fork, the interface with the front hub. Major options that have existed include 9mm quick-release axle, 20x110mm thru axle, 15x100mm thru axle, and 15x110mm thru axle. Out of these, quick release is simply a fail. You shouldn’t just employ what worked fine on rim-braked rigid forks, risking rigidity, strength, and even your life as the braking counterforce will always try to pull your axle off the dropout. 20×110 was an attempt to overcome these issues, and has been the standard of choice at least in the gravity sector for 2+ decades. Then some moron seems to have thought, “hey, we can then make it lighter and cooler if we reduce the diameter, right?” and came up with the pointless 15x100mm. The “Boost” 15×110 is not much different AFAICS, lacking proper engineering. If you wanted a lighter setup for lighter-duty use, you could have just increased the hollowness of axle (with thinner tube wall). “Smaller diameter axles should allow for use of smaller bearings = weight saving, yay!” says armchair worriers. In reality, lots of hub manufacturers employ a common design for front hubs, just with different end caps to accommodate different shaft diameters. So, we chose 20x110mm axle standard in consideration of rigidity, strength, and for avoidance of short-lived buzz standards.
Black or white. Steerer is 265mm in length uncut, though may not matter much.
Air spring in left leg. Right leg has a cartridge damper, with lockout dial at the top and rebound adjuster at the bottom. You could make the lockout to work somewhat as compression damping adjustment, but that’s not usually necessary. Personally I keep it open so that the suspension actually works, wherever I ride including streets. The air spring keeps it from bottoming out anyway so that helps make matters simple.
Trusted 20mm axle. Post mounts are ready for 160mm rotors.
Sample setup, shortened to about 110mm here.
The travel is 150mm shipped, with our original reducer kit included. Combinations of special washers and sleeves allow you to adjust the travel in about 5 steps down to 80mm. We’ll prepare a separate article about installation (pretty easy).
There is one important point to note. You can put this fork on our Tanatos frame, but it’s originally an all-mountain freeride fork that boasts high rigidity, and not intended by manufacturer for extreme freeride or dirt jumping. Please be reminded that it doesn’t share the same end of the spectrum in terms of application, strength, and other priorities in design with Libido Bike Co. products.
We have tested three of these forks since Spring 2018. Two out of those have survived occasional use in street, dirt, pump track, mini downhill and North Shore-like mini trail, in temperatures varying between 30 deg C and -10 deg C, just fine. However, the other one ended up rocking the chopper style with bent crown, after repeatedly casing 4-meter doubles and so forth. We know no forks are indestructible, but we know it sucks when stuff break, hence the rather affordable price setting.
- Suspension fork for MTB
- Air sprung
- High rigidity 34mm stanchions
- 150mm travel (reducer kit included)
- Weight: 2.4kg
- Color: Black or White
- Wheel size: 26″
- Steerer: 1-1/8″ (OS) straight
- Hub: 20/110
- Disc brake compatible (post mounts for 160mm rotor)
Retail price (w/o sales tax): 41,800 JPY