MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION Magazine (ISSN 0895-8467 Canada GST 12500#9266RT: CPC INT’L. PUB MAIL 40024492) FEBRUARY 2016, Volume 31, Issue 2, is published monthly
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DOWN THE TRAIL
In the February 1996 issue we put two of the most progressive suspension forks head to head. We dubbed the
story “Long Travel Forks Are Here to Stay.” Our prediction
proved right, and the 3-inch-travel forks that were “long
travel” at the time paved the way for the ones we ride today.
The story: The Marzocchi DH- 3 and
RockShox DH Go Head To Head
What MBA said in 1996: Suspension
designers are no longer shy about pushing
the limits of travel. No one will be pinned
down saying 2 inches of travel is “correct”
for cross-country and 3 inches is for the
gravity crowd. Downhill forks are not as
downhill specific as they once were.
The experiment: Sure, there were
double-crown, 6-inch-travel, 5-pound forks
that no self-respecting cross-country rider
would dream of using at the time; however, the MBA test crew took the newest
long-travel, single-crown DH forks and
mounted them to cross-country bikes to
see if long-travel forks could be the wave
of the future for a wider segment of riders
RockShox Judy DH: The Judy DH performed better than the previous generation,
and why wouldn’t it? It had more travel,
better damping and an aluminum cartridge
that replaced the previous “plastic version
of the Exxon Valdez.” (Younger riders may
need to Google this reference.) We also
noted: “Downhill racers love ’em, and
cross-country racers will love ’em if they
give them a chance.”
Marzocchi DH-3: Cross-country riders
were a bit apprehensive at first but soon
were singing the praises of the DH- 3.
Riders were allowed to be less precise
because they could slam things they normally would go around with a 2-inch-travel
fork. In singletrack, the fork shined.
Looking back: The writing was on the
wall, even if nobody else saw it at the time.
MBA was truly testing the first enduro
forks, long before the riders who now race
at the elite level were even able to stay up
on two wheels. ❑