1. I have a Kona Explosif and a Norco Range. I’d likely consider the Norco as the recipient but both bikes use the same fork so it would be nice to test on a hardtail and a full suspension.
2. Not that I know of since Biopace! I’m sure the castings for some of the forks I’ve used have likely been done at the Suntour factories though.
3. I’d classify myself as Advanced but my collarbone and back would classify me as dumbass. I am fully confident with stripping down suspension and rebuilding it. The toughest thing so far as been the rebuild of a Charger damper since you have to be so careful with the rubber. I would like to gain a better understanding of shim stacks next to really get into suspension rate tuning. The nerd in me keeps a spreadsheet of suspension settings for each bike.
4. Yes. I’ve been eyeing the DVO Diamond or possibly an Auron though they neither seem to be too prevalent on the market.
5. I prefer to build my bikes bit by bit and upgrade as necessary. I usually get good enough components that things don’t break down often. But things wear and I prefer to replace things as needed.
6. Maxxis Minion DHF 3C EXO 650b 2.35 - 5☆
THE tire to beat....unless you're an XC racer
This is the most dependable and reliable front tire I've ever had. Let's be honest, you're going to win no uphill climb battles with this bad boy. You're going to hear it a bit as it rolls. You're going to feel it with knobs and the added 100g or so. But unlike a Michelin, Specialized, Conti or anyone else, this tire hooks up in any and all conditions. With a square-ish profile and some serious meat on the side knobs you know you're going to hook up when this tire is leaned over hard. The middle siping and grip is rather slow so you'll have to put more into getting these things moving but once you do...look out! The tires will monster truck over anything in their path. With the triple compound design of the tire it finds a good balance of speed vs. grip. It rolls well in the dry, on marbles and even tracks well on wet roots and rocks. The sidewall casing is bombproof and stable enough to run at lower pressures. I often run mine at 20-21 psi and have no folding or burping issues. The tubeless setup has worked on the two brands of rims on which I've tried them and went on with simply a floor pump with no issues. They don't lose air as much as the competition either. I won’t get into the argument as to whether they are a true 2.35” width or not. That all depends on your rim width and how the tire fits that bead. There's a reason these tires are held up as the gold standard. Maxxis nailed it with the design, the casing, the compound and the bead on these tires. May these never be retired and I will always have a front tire on which to rail!
Profile of Maxxis DHF 650b 3C EXO TR on WTB i25 rim.