Thursday, December 30, 2010

Downtube front fork swap out.

I may have mentioned this in one of my earlier posts that the 2009.5 Downtubes have a different front suspension fork that earlier ones. You can tell because there seems to be less travel in the new fork than the old ones. If you look at some pictures of new DT bikes, the shiny inner part of the fork seems to be a few centimeters shorter than the older ones. I like my bike to have a cushy front fork (i.e. more travel).

After a long search, I found a guy that had a front fork from an old Downtube (Thanks, Joseph Monti!). I paid $35 for his fork shipped. In addition, it’s kinda hard to find compatible forks for Downtube. They have to be 1 1/8” diameter and threaded. And, as I understand it, all threads are not alike. They’re supposed to be standard, but I’ve heard of some threads that do not match. I asked some LBS guys about buying a non-threaded fork and have them “cut” threads for one. They were wary about the threads matching and recommended against this.

Sure, you can buy a new fork on the DT site, but I was afraid I’d get one of the newer lesser suspension forks. After I got it, I immediately compressed it by hand on my floor and was confident it would work because it ‘gave’ way more than the old one. (BTW, Downtube has some fancy suspension adjustable forks on their site, but they are about $1K. That’s more than a new Downtube bike!)

The swap was fairly straightforward since everything matched. It was more time-consuming to move the brakes to the new fork and dial those in. The result: yes, my DT does have more cushiness, but some of the grease inside this replacement fork may have dried up. It could be better. Also, the color of the fork is dark blue so it doesn’t match my red bike (minor negative). I’ll probably have to take the fork apart and relube it. That will be a subject of a future post.