A fork conundrum

I finally have the parts together to build the geared A9C. Woohoo!

So, yesterday, I started working on it.

Step one- reduce travel of my 120mm, tapered steertube, maxle lite Reba to 80 mm. Done.

Step two- assemble front end of bike. Snag. The compression ring that should fit between the top headset bearing and the steertube won’t push down all the way because the end of the taper of the steertube is inside the bearing. Fail.

Apparently, by using a 100mm-long taper, SRAM has given the proverbial middle finger to those of us who ride a small or medium 29er frame:

Niner Air 9 Carbon Small: 100mm
Trek Superfly Small: 103mm
Santa Cruz Tallboy Medium AND Large: 99mm
Giant Anthem Small and Medium: 104mm
Giant XtC Small: 89mm, Med/Large: 99cm
Felt Nine Small (not tapered, but just for example): 100mm

I could go on, but I’m not in the mood to spend my morning looking at geo charts for every 29er on the market.

I’m sure a few of you are saying “buyer beware,” and, to a degree, you’re right. However, if you were SRAM, would you really want to eliminate the ability to use your product in a healthy section of a continuously growing market? I mean, seriously, what were you thinking?

My options now are somewhat limited.

-I could return the fork and get a non-tapered steertube fork with a reducer. Lame. I hate how that looks, and I really, really don’t want to do it. I also may run in to issues with the fact that I’ve already opened the fork & installed the travel reducers.

-I could fabricate some sort of an under-crown spacer a la Willow Koerber.

-I could return the whole damn thing and EP a Fox fork. That would also involve purchase of a couple of new Hope converter kits to go to their 15mm standard of thru axle from the 20mm of RockShox. I’m not quite as familiar with Fox as I am with RockShox- do they even make a 15QR model with 80mm of travel and a tapered steertube (or the option to reduce travel on a longer travel model)?

Anyone else have ideas or suggestions? I’m going to talk to SRAM today to see what they have in mind. Updates to follow…

EDIT: just got off the phone with SRAM. Not much help there- the suggestion was to look for a bottom headset bearing/race that would give me a little extra stack height. The tech also confirmed my “middle finger to small 29er riders” and said that frame manufactures need to take their taper size into account when designing their frames.

4 thoughts on “A fork conundrum

  1. Odd that you are having this issue, I just built up a small A9C with a Reba XX, no issues with the headset and steeretube at all. I wonder if the 120mm Maxle Rebas have a different taper than the 9mm QR ones?

  2. i have always loved my fox forks. now they are bringing back the terralogic inertia valve like my f100x had a few years back. hopefully it is as good as before (or improved if that’s possible). but sad thing is the f32 29er terralogic isn’t tapered for 2011 and the Tallas 29er tapered only goes down to 95mm travel. so you would have to go with the standard f32 fit rlc model to get everything you want (80mm, reduced steerer, and 15mm qr) maybe an OE takeoff of one of the other models will have different specs?????? don’t get me wrong i’ve been running the standard f32 29er for a couple years and like it but i do miss the terralogic. another option you may want to explore is i think cane creek had it set up where you could spec all kinds of different top and bottom headset bearings for the new designs coming out. maybe they have one that would fix you up?

  3. There was nothing wrong with 1 inch threaded, or 1 inch threadless, or any of the eleventeen other “standards” since promulgated… except that the bike companies need to “differentiate” and “innovate”.

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