better upgrade: fork or dropper?

Forums Mountain Bike Forum better upgrade: fork or dropper?

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This topic contains 19 replies, has 17 voices, and was last updated by  BNielsUT 2 years, 1 month ago.

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  • #230666

    My fat tire bike is my only bike.

    If I want to take on some more challenging trails and can only afford 1 upgrade for Christmas, where is the money better spent?  Dropper post to let me move around on the bike more, and have more leg suspension, or suspension fork to soak up the bumps?

    (for reference, my current fork is an aluminum rigid, and I’m leaning toward dropper post… I have bruised my leg by bracing myself on the seat, which tells me the seat IS getting in my way at times – and I don’t miss what I’ve never had when it comes to the fork)

  • #230670

    Oh man, I suspect this is going to be a contentious debate!

    Don’t get me wrong, a dropper post is a game-changer and I couldn’t imagine giving mine up. But front suspension is such a basic thing, even on a fat bike, that improves control in every situation, not just descending. For that reason, my vote is to upgrade the fork.

  • #230671

    it’s already a contentious debate in my head 🙂

  • #230674

    I’d go with the dropper post personally.

  • #230720

    Okay, what is your budget, are you sure we can’t help you find both in a price range you can live with? I know you can get a KS Eten 100mm dropper for under $120. More of a drop would be better, but what I have had on my current bike for two years and it still works fine. (under $100 if you can live without a remote button)

    And you didn’t say what brand or type of fat bike, but here is a decent price on a pretty good fork. https://www.amazon.com/RockShox-Bluto-RCT3-Fork-Adjustment/dp/B01F9KJK7O/ref=sr_1_26?ie=UTF8&qid=1513106889&sr=8-26&keywords=rockshox+bluto&refinements=p_89%3ARockShox

  • #230736

    Framed MN 3.0

    It’s not that I can’t afford both, necessarily, it’s that I don’t want to sink tons of money into a $750 bike unless it’s something that will transfer to my next bike, or something that is a true “game changer” for my riding experience.

    I like simple and reliable.  I prefer to drive manual transmission cars.  I shoot revolvers and bolt-action rifles. I make one-course meals.   My local trail (which, while great, is very beginner-friendly) definitely doesn’t require a suspension fork.  That’s not to say it wouldn’t change the way I ride it – but I do think it’s ridiculous when people on $5,000 full suspension bikes are clocking slower times than me in the TT series…  I look at that as wasted money on their part.

  • #230738

    Of you like rolling down stairs or jumping off drops, etc like i do, then go with the fork all day every day. The Bluto is amazing! I just adjust seat height for my current situation. If i’m being a aggressive i ride with it down the whole time and if i’m just putting in miles i put it up. I like and agree with the simplicity ethos dude!

  • #230758

    At first I wanted to say “fork”. But after you further explained your trail and riding I’d say dropper post definitely make more sense.

    Just keep in mind that different bikes has different seatpost diameters and if in the future you decide to go to different brand your dropper post might not fit your new frame.

     

  • #230764

    “– but I do think it’s ridiculous when people on $5,000 full suspension bikes are clocking slower times than me in the TT series…  I look at that as wasted money on their part.”

    Using your comment to respond, a dropper post is nothing more than a convenience thing(use better technique or body awareness on you bike)…like an earlier comment said…adjust your seat post to your ride….

    A dropper post is nothing more than a carbon seat, or carbon handlebars in my opinion..dont get me wrong they are all nice …but. there is a limited benefit to the dropped that can be deemed useless(overkill) in probably 35 states.

    A suspension fork….is an all ar0und work horse that will be in play on everytrail you ride….

    seeing that you are a TT you must be in the know a little and have seen that some products are nothing more then window dressing….To me…unless you live out west (with miles of downhill at your leisure) this decision is a no brainer and you will be living the kush life style riding dirty on your new Bluto!!

     

    my 2 cents!!

  • #230774

    Suspension fork all day long. If you know you have a long descent ahead you can lower your saddle at the top and raise it again at the bottom; I’ve been doing it for years. A suspension fork will be working all the time as you ride while a dropper post will be a deadweight most of the time. In my opinion droppers are more of a luxury item than suspension is, although you can definitely go without either. And even if your usual riding spots are doable on a full rigid bike, a good suspension fork will greatly expand your bikes capabilities and let you feel more comfortable riding different, more technical places.

  • #230778

    suspension. I ride a rigid fatbike all yr, and sometimes I wish it has front fork.

  • #230779

    I think you have to ask yourself what’s the real reason for the upgrade?    If you just want to keep riding your “very beginner friendly trails” neither is a necessity.  But if you want to take on more challenging trails as you first stated then I would think the suspension fork would be the higher priority. Don’t get me wrong, I love my dropper since I added it on. But before I had it I never considered it a true need.  When I first started I had a rigid (non-fat) bike and to me front suspension was a necessity.  I get the fact that fatbikes will soak up a lot if the vibration but it also depends on what tire pressures you’re running.  Is it possible you’re bruising your leg because your bike is bouncing off roots/rocks?

  • #230797

    Thanks for all the good perspectives 🙂

    I do want to  be able to take on bigger drops and harder trails.  I also want to ride the Mohican 100 at some point.  Maybe not on this bike, but we’ll see…  If I can actually train enough to make a 100 miler sound doable, then I can probably justify an XC bike.

    Unfortunately I’m only at around 600 offroad miles for the year.  I will probably hit 1,000 miles if I count the trainer and road rides, but I  have 2 kids under 4 at home, so that’s a big part of the self-imposed budget, as well as a realistic consideration for the amount of time I spend riding, and the level of risk I take.

    With that said, I have crashed a lot more times making mistakes on “routine” obstacles than I have by attempting to ride something I should have hiked.

  • #230859

    I bought a full-rigid fat bike for this Winter, only have about 20 off-road Kms on it so far and a dropper post is on the short-list for upgrades. A front fork isn’t on the list at all.

    So if it were me, I’d go for the dropper post easy.

    (BTW, revolvers are actually more complex than autos and, in my experience, less reliable. I’ve never jammed an auto pistol.:D)

     

    Ivan

  • #231060

    “there is a limited benefit to the dropped that can be deemed useless(overkill) in probably 35 states.”

    Although I agree that it is overkill in some states, I wouldn’t say 35. In fact, I would argue droppers are more useful in flatter (not the flattest) states. Mountainous regions often have trails that are all up and then all down. Just slam your seatpost down at the summit and go. In flatter states where the terrain is undulating but often times still steep, droppers are essential. You need it to comfortably go down and up and down and up. Before droppers, you would get off your bike a lot on the trails I ride if you weren’t able to deal with too high or too low of a seat.

    I would personally go with the dropper. During the winter months here in Wisconsin, fat biking is very popular. I ride a rigid fat bike with a rigid seat post, and while I ride (even on dry trails) I tend to wish for a dropper more than a suspension fork.  It’s mostly personal preference though.

  • #231061

    Considering buying used and buy both.

  • #231147

    Both! seriously though, I think the terrain you ride can partly help with your decision. Lots of rough rocky trails, go with the suspension fork. Smoother trails, but occasional gnar and short descents, go dropper. Aren’t you comparing products with pretty big price differences anyway? Whats the entry level price for a fat bike suspension fork? I would imagine at least double the cost of many dropper posts. Anyway, I am very happy with my Fox Transfer Performance post and Wolf Tooth lever. Its so smooth and easy to micro adjust, I find myself using it a shit load more than I would of imagined.

  • #231154

    I have a rigid fat bike and have been asking myself the same question. Since I’m selling my 29er hardtail and simplifying my biking experience, I’m going to be using it as my everything mountain bike for a while and I do think that the suspension fork could definitely give a lot of control on the tougher descents. It’s definitely where I’m considering spending my own money besides on bikepacking gear exclusively.

    While completely unrelated, the best improvement that I did to my fatbike though was a Jones H bar. With the shorter reach, I can get way back over the rear of the bike without needing to lower a seat and it gives me tons of hand positions so I can stay comfy on the ride to the trailhead.

    I rode it rigid as shown all last season, but I will be looking into a fat bike fork. I have my eyes on the Manitou Mastodon.

     

     

  • #231156

    I do not own a fat bike, but I have ridden them a number of times. I believe for the terrain that you desire to ride both items purchased used would be ideal as noted by Mr Mongwolf. As a longtime dropper post user I don’t believe they are window dressing nor really overkill anywhere save on a road bike. The excuses that one doesn’t have technical enough terrain, live in the mountains or aren’t the right states are bs.

  • #231197

    I would go for the fork.  I have been debating myself about buying one, but there is not an alternative purchase that I’m weighing it against, simply the cost of the fork.  It completely transforms the ride and the control.  I couldn’t see the dropper being particularly necessary without the fork.

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