I’ve ridden a suspension fork (White Brothers Magic 29 110mm) only twice – my very first ‘shake down’ ride after building it up and the Wilderness 101 a day and a half later. I chose to run the fork because of what I heard about the course, but in hindsight I could have easily ridden a rigid fork. And since the 101 a rigid fork is all I’ve run.
Other than comparing the White Brothers Rock Solid carbon fork to it’s suspended brother (Magic 29), which is like comparing apples to cement blocks, I don’t have any other experience on rigid forks (road bikes don’t count here). There are plenty of reviews on rigid forks, so I will let you do the research on them. All I can tell you is you get a great deal of weight savings and no energy loss. I really like the carbon fork – it’s stiff, light and goes where I point it. I’m not going to sit here and lie to you . . . there are times while riding when I wished for a suspension fork (usually after smashing into some large inanimate object that doesn’t move) . . . however, it’s the cat’s arse. I don’t notice any lateral flex or movement under torque wrenching on the bars while climbing or under harsh braking. It’s good, very good and goes along with the diSSent like peas and carrots. That said, Misfit also offers their own steel fork which matches up nicely with the frame.
What will make any fully rigid single speed a much more comfortable, fun and enjoyable ride is going tubeless. I’m on my third year with Stans No Tube rims and love them. I’ve had one flat due to a slice in a side wall that was too big to be filled. I usually run about 21 lbs in the front and about 25 lbs in the rear. As you know I have girth, but I have yet to dent a rim in three years while riding hardtails. You get a metric ton more traction and control on slippery roots and rocks, you corner at speed better with added tire contact with the ground, and your tubeless set up provides you with some suspension. I think riding any rigid single speed, or any hardtail for that matter, would be a much less enjoyable experience if it weren’t for tubeless.
Paragon sliders – I love them. The sliding dropouts worked smoothly and flawlessly. I never ran out of room in either direction to have unlimited gear combinations. I tend to run a couple chains for different gear options and usually kept the sliders in and around the same spot on the dropout so I cannot comment on ride differences based on the location of the rear axle to the bike.
Alas, Paragon will be no more as a Misfit in-house design, said to be better, replaces them. Many ss’ers use half links, I don’t, never have. The adjustment is simple to use so why bother getting your hands dirty messing with the chain. I never had issue with the wheel or axle moving around on me.
Cable routing – simple enough detail, but I liked how I was able to neatly tuck away my brake line from damage due to inevitable crashes.
Paint – I’ve got a couple nit pics with the paint, nothing major again but worth noting. There is no clear coat over the decals. I am a bit anal retentive about keeping my bikes uber clean and tend to wash them lots. I found that over time the decals began to peel away. Also, if you are using a down tube clamp style bike rack on your car, it can tear at the decals. I ended up replacing the original decals and getting my own clear coat done locally for a reasonable price and quick turn around. If you’re going to be spending this kind of money on a beauty steel frame I don’t think too many would shrug at a few more dollars to have a clearcoat finish. The paint quality could be better as there were some flecks, blemishes here and there. I can only guess that because my bike was in the first batch of Fe frames that maybe it was rushed.
Seat stays – plenty o’room for big fat tires. The sliders assist in this regard, but I never had any issues fitting fat rubber in the rear. The largest tire that I ran in the back was a Schwabe Racing Ralph 2.4, but could have gone even larger.
Weight – I’ve never actually weighed my bike cause when you’re carrying around an extra five-to-ten pounds of girth bike weight isn’t that important. However, from my best guesstimate I put it around the 22lb mark making it a very nice bike to ride up hills and flick around the trails.
Don’t believe me? Calling me a big fat liar? See for yourself . . .
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