Ok guys, I am looking to make my first real upgrade to my bike since I bought it last fall. Its a 2016 Trek Ex5, and I am wanting to replace the front shock with an air shock. What are the main points that I should look into when trying to make my purchase. And any suggestions that you would prefer over another? I am looking to spend from $500-$800. I should also not that I am planning on upgrading my breaks in the near future also to a bit larger of a size if that matters any. Oh, the bike is a 29er also.
The main things for a fork is to know what travel you need and whether you need straight steer or tapered. From what I see online looks like your bike comes with 120mm fork, so for your new one I would go with the same. Me personally wouldn’t go above 130 otherwise it will start to change your head angle. I haven’t seen what type of steer it is but from the pictures it looks like a straight steer. Now the down side for you is that you are on a 29er and the selection for straight steers are limited. I like my fox shocks, but I don’t believe they make an air one for straight steer that is for a 29er. Rock shock might, but I’m not sure. Suntour has one called the raidon. Suntour however, is not as highend as the other two brands. Your best bet is to talk to your lbs and search online, you might find an older year that would work. Alot of the newer models are going to the tapered steer. As for brakes, I prefer Shimano brakes. However, sram and avid are both equally as good. For Shimano I like the deore and above. As far as bigger rotors you only have to get the adapter for the caliperear for those to work.
According to the above link, you have a tapered steerer. You can get a Rockshox Pike 29 for about $6-800 (online). I also have a friend who is looking selling a 29 Pike for about $4-500 and I could put you in touch with him. Not really knowing the type of riding you’re into or your terrain, a Rockshox Revelation might be enough for you. The Pike is just a little burlier (heavier, stiffer). As far as travel, I think you’d be okay going up to 140mm, but I wouldn’t go further than that. As for brakes, I think the previous iteration of Shimano XT are the best brake I’ve ever owned and you may be able to find them at a shop on the cheap. That said, I have some SRAM Guide RS that are working really well.
Yep there is the tapered steer, I see it now. That opens up the options for upgrading. As I said earlier, I love the fox shocks, so I would recommend the fox 34 float. You can pick up the race version for around a little over 400. The factory series is better and is a little over 800. However, I have seen great deals on them on ebay, so that is where I would look for them. With the breaks I would check http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/.
Another thing to remember if buying used is to make sure there’s enough steerer tube for your preferred set up. I don’t find this to be a huge issue, but if the used fork is coming of say, a smaller bike where the head tube length might have been shorter and they hacked it exactly to their length leaving no wiggle room, it might be an issue for you. Just measure what your old fork is and ask seller’s to post what the length is. Good, complete personal ads should include this.
I’m biased but Suntour has some nice options and can customize almost anything easily. They are easy to work on, stiff and durable. You can get an Aion or Epixon pretty inexpensively and have money to spare and performance on par with the other brands.